Ex Super Eagles stars have urged the Nigeria Football Federation and policy makers in sports to go back to the drawing board and develop a new structure that would train young football players at the grassroots.
The ex-international were reacting to the Super Eagles inability to qualify for 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
While decrying the poor performance of the team, the ex-internationals said that the Eagles played below the expectation of Nigerians.
The Eagles, who needed a victory to scale through to the continental showpiece, played a 2-2 draw with the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
Eagles ended their group A matches with eight points from six games, and placed third behind the qualifying teams— South Africa with 12 points, and Congo with 10 points.
Adokie Amesimaka said that the team did not exhibit sufficient skills in the match and that the defence played as if they were playing with so much pressure hanging on their necks.
‘’They did not approach the game with flair, confidence and good football skills that had been the hallmark of a Super Eagles team.
‘’We need to learn from this and resurrect our football through the youth ranks— where young players can be well managed and groomed to quality players,’’ Amesika said.
Former captain of the Green Eagles, Henry Nwosu, said that the team had not played well enough to qualify.
‘’It is sad the way we ended the qualifying series after doing so well on Nov. 15 against Congo in their country.
‘’The team should be disappointed in themselves for not getting the necessary result at home soil when it mattered most,’’ Nwosu said.
Another ex-international, Edema Fuludu, said that the team had no business playing a draw and failing the nation.
‘’Eagles could not rise to the occasion; they played as if they could get an easy result, hence, they were shocked by a more determined South Africa team.
‘’The team lacked team work, they were not professional about their approach,’’ Fuludu said.read more
Iyke Igbokwe has alleged that Stephen Keshi was sabotaged by his employers not to qualify for next year’s AFCON.
Defending champions Nigeria sensationally failed to qualify for the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea after they could only draw 2-2 with group leaders South Africa in Uyo on Wednesday.
Igbokwe, who contested the recent NFF executive committee polls and has since appealed against the conduct of the elections, said it was planned from the onset for Keshi to fail.
“The NFF board saddled to oversee the game are to blame for this failure because we all know there is no love lost between Keshi and the board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),” he argued.
“The NFF board sacked Keshi, but the presidency in its wisdom reinstated the coach because he started the qualifiers and with two matches to go, he should finish it.
“His replacement would have had a ready-made excuse had he being failed to qualify.
“Also, the team’s morale was low. Their daily allowances in Congo were not paid, but instead the NFF took 100 journeymen on a chartered plane to Congo for sightseeing paid for by tax payers.
No NFF board member was there to visit the team before the match this has never been done in the history
“The animosity between employer and employee played out in full glare in Uyo.
“This is certainly not a proper way to run football in Nigeria.”read more
Former Super Eagles’ Captain and Coach, Samson Siasia is set to begin screening players for the U-23 team ahead of next year’s All –Africa Games.
Siasia will be screening players for the CAF U-23 Championship (taking place in DR Congo, also next year), and also qualify for the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2016 Olympic Games through the CAF U-23 Championship.
There will be three batches of players, 39 for Sunday in in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Sunday, another 39 and then a further 38 to follow.
According to a statement from the NFF, Siasia has explained that each batch will spend only three days in camp before the other, with the selected ones among the lot to convene a proper camp late December. All the players are to report at FIFA Technical Centre, Abuja.
FIRST BATCH (23 – 25 November)
Goalkeepers: Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers); Kasim Yekini (Bayelsa United)
Defenders: Semiu Liadi (Enyimba FC); Stanley Okorom (36 Lions); Erhun Obanor (Insurance FC); Mohammed Gidado (Wikki Tourists); Etim Mathew (Enugu Rangers); Wasiu Kadiri (Akwa Starlets); Chinedy Okuotu (Insurance FC); Chris Madaki (Giwa FC)
Midfielders: Harrison Madu (Wikki Tourists); Abbas Hussein (Wikki Tourists); Samuel Adegbenro (Kwara United); Ifeanyi Mathew (El-Kanemi Warriors); Nafiu Ibrahim (Kano Pillars); Tiongli Tonbara (Bayelsa United); Paul Onobi (Sunshine Stars); Itchu (Warri Wolves); Emmanuel Obinna (Stationery Stores) Forwards: Samson Adeleye (Niger Tornadoes); Samuel Agba (Enugu Rangers); Idris Mohammed (Wikki Tourists); Junior Ajayi (3SC); Nuru Adebayor (Stationery Stores); Godwin Obaje (Mighty Jets); Barnabas Imenger (Lobi Stars); Idris Ahmed (Mighty Jets); Uche Ihearulam (Lobi Stars)
Others: Chigozie obi (Calabar Rovers); Ahmed Sani (Unattached); Victor Yakubu (Wikki Tourists); Tunde Afolabi (Spotlight FC); Chukweh Samuel (Bayelsa United); Chinedu Obino (COD FC); Umunna Emmanuel (Zamfara United); Friday Enejoh Jacob (Supreme Court); Ajibola Otegbeye (3SC); Wasiu Alalade (First Bank); Mohammed Wekasiu (El-Kanemi Warriors); Nura Abubakar (Kaduna United); Israel Daniel (Prime FC).
Coach Okey Emordi is determined to help his side Kano Pillars to their maiden CAF Champions League triumph after conquering Africa ten years ago with Enyimba.
In the past five years, the Kano-based club have made four attempts at Africa’s biggest club competition with the last three in 2011, 2013 and 2014 ending in disappointments. Their participation in 2009 remains their best when they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League on the back of edging out Egypt’s Al-Ahly over two legs in the second round.
That year Kano Pillars finished top of their group in the Champions League that had Al-Hilal of Sudan, ZESCO United of Zambia and Al-Merreikh of Sudan to set up a semi-final clash with Heartland. But Heartland stopped them 5-0 on aggregate including a 4-0 win in Kano where Emeka Nwanna and Uchenna Agba scored two goals each.
And current Kano Pillars coach, Emordi, believes that the champions have had enough experience taking part in the CAF Champions League after four failed attempts. Emordi, who helped Enyimba retain their African title in 2004 and won the African Coach of the Year at the same time, however will not be committed to making promises.
“I am sure the Champions League is something Kano Pillars, their fans and everyone in Kano including the government will hope we can win. Every team that takes part in the competition wants to win. The Champions League is a different competition entirely from the domestic league.
“When I won the Champions League with Enyimba, we were the defending champions then and it was difficult because everyone on the continent knew the team. But because we had a large number of those who played in the previous year when Enyimba won, it was good for the team especially experience-wise.
“For Kano Pillars, we just have to work hard so that we can have a chance, create our own luck on the pitch and ride on it too. We just need to keep the set of players we have and may be strengthen a bit here and there.”read more
Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi, is keen on staying in the position despite missing out on qualification for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Keshi believes sacking him will do nothing to reverse the downward trend the Eagles are currently experiencing, insisting the problems goes beyond him.
“If a team fails, sacking the coach won’t solve the problem. The authority should look beyond the coach to find solutions to the problem,” Keshi said.
Keshi, who has been working without a contract since the expiration of his last deal after the World Cup, admitted that he can be blamed for the failure to qualify for next year’s AFCON.
“I can’t deny it is a shame that we failed to qualify,on my part I failed the nation but my players took South Africa for granted,a match they had to win.”
His agent Emma Addo was, however, silent on his client’s future but echoed Keshi’s sentiment that the problem of the team goes beyond the coach.
“No explanation will be acceptable now by Nigerians but Super Eagles problems goes beyond coaching,if some issues are not resolved no one can succeed for long with the team,” Addo added.
“We shouldn’t forget where Keshi picked this team from in 2012, almost same place like they are now but nobody cared about how they got there, that is why it happened again.”read more
Super Eagles defender Kenneth Omeruo has likened Coach Stephen Keshi with the famous Portuguese gaffer, Jose Mourinho.
While some are questioning the Big Boss’ technical ability, Omeruo is full of praises for Coach Keshi who he claims knows how to get the best out of his players.
Omeruo who grew through the ranks from the Golden Eaglets through to the national team reckons Coach John Obuh as his best youth tutor while Keshi gets the nod in the senior cadre.
“At youth level, it has to be John Obuh but at senior level, no question…it’s the Big Boss, Stephen Keshi.
“I call him (Keshi) Nigeria’s Jose Mourinho because he knows how to get into the minds of his players and opponents” Omeruo told supersport.com
Already, Omeruo has been tipped to return to the Nigeria starting line up on Wednesday as the Eagles take on Bafana Bafana of South Africa at the brand new Akwa Ibom Stadium in Uyo in their last Africa Cup of Nations qualifying duel.
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has blamed his players for Nigeria’s inability to qualify for the 2015 African Nations Cup to be held in Equatorial Guinea.
Nigeria drew 2-2 with South Africa, falling short of the victory needed to defend the trophy they won in the last edition.
While South Africa coach Ephraim Mashaba showed up for the post match press conference and revealed his disappointment in his team for letting a two goal lead slip, Keshi shunned it altogether.
However, interestingly many foreign media outlets have quoted him in their reports.
“My players underrated South Africa and they paid for it. I am disappointed in their attitude and it cost us the chance to defend our trophy next year,” reports have quote Keshi.
Presently working without a contract at the Super Eagles, Keshi, who was reinstated as Super Eagles coach by the country’s president Goodluck Jonathan, refused to speak on his future with the team.
The Nigeria Football Federation have been silent on his fate as opposed to the last time out when Keshi was fired the midnight of the team’s first qualifier win against Sudan in Abuja.read more
Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba has said that Nigeria were lucky to avoid defeat in both games between the two sides during their 2015 African Cup of Nations Qualifying campaign.
The Super Eagles had kept South Africa to a goalless draw in Cape Town in September, while Sone Aluko scored a late equaliser as Bafana Bafana concluded their qualifying campaign with a credible 2-2 draw in Uyo on Wednesday evening.
South Africa had looked sure to win following a brace from Tokelo Rantie, but Nigeria fought back through Aluko to grab a point.
The draw though was not enough for Stephen Keshi’s men who will not have the honour of defending their title in Equatorial Guinea, while South Africa ended top of Group A having not lost a game in their six qualifiers.
“We planned to keep Nigeria at bay in the opening 10 or 20 minutes. We knew that it would happen, that they would break down. That’s why when we got the two goals, Nigeria did not know what to do because they were frustrated,” said Mashaba in the aftermath.
“The boys did everything until the referee’s optional time. We lost shape and the goalkeeper was obscured a little bit, that’s why they took a shot. We weren’t picking up (marking) one-on-one.
“It’s a question of luck, we should have beaten them at home in the 0-0 draw [in Cape Town] and this one as well. For them to come back in the last five minutes of the referee’s optional time shows that Nigeria have little bit of extra luck against us but they are a good side, make no mistake.
“They [Nigeria] play good football.”
Mashaba added that whoever takes South Africa lightly at next year’s tournament will be in for a surprise as Bafana Bafana aim to add to their 1996 triumph.
“It’s one competition that everyone wants to play and of course it’s been quite some time since we’ve ventured into that tournament. We’re not going to add numbers there, we’re going to compete and if people are going to take us for a ride, it will be at their peril,” Mashaba concluded.read more
The Nigeria Football Federation have promised that the Super Eagles will bounce back from their failure to qualify for next year’s AFCON, accepting full responsibility for the team’s results.
The African champions battled back to draw with South Africa in Uyo on Wednesday, when the narrowest margin of victory was needed, and left the country’s teeming football fans in a very sour mood.
But NFF President Amaju Pinnick stated that it was a time for sober reflection rather than trading of blames or looking for scapegoats.
“The NFF takes full responsibility for what has happened,” he said.
“It is a tragedy for us to come so near and yet fail to reach the finals. We made so much effort and sacrifice in Congo to achieve the victory we needed there on Saturday and really had no business bungling it here.
“However, our commitment is to build a sustainable football culture in the country and nothing has changed. This is a disappointment but for us, we gave it our best shot and supported the team fully.”
Pinnick said Wednesday’s failure could turn out to be blessing in disguise.
“All things work together for good for those that love God, according to Romans 8:28. This has happened but we believe it will work together for us to toil hard and achieve a renaissance that will take Nigeria football to much higher heights than it has ever been,” he added.
“I use this opportunity to thank the Akwa Ibom State Government for all the support they gave the team and the assistance they offered the NFF.
“This is a dark moment but we will emerge into sunshine shortly.”read more
Nigeria legend Jay-Jay Okocha has questioned the passion of the current Super Eagles players following their failure to qualify to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
The reigning African champions failed to qualify for the 2015 finals after drawing 2-2 with South Africa in Uyo on Wednesday, marking their second before absence from the tournament in the last three editions.
And while Stephen Keshi’s future has already been called into question, Okocha believes the players have to take some of the responsibility too.
“I think, to be honest, we will always produce talented players. But perhaps the question is whether they have the same passion that they used to have,” Okocha told Goal.
“People are pressuring them about that, you know, because sometimes it seems as if they don’t really care much about the result.”
Wednesday’s result combined with Congo’s 1-0 win in Sudan to extinguish Nigeria’s final hopes, but the 41-year-old said they had made it very difficult for themselves earlier in the campaign.
“Of course it was down to our bad spot, even if we were still in with a chance,” he added. “I think sometimes players must have a wake-up call before they realise they are back in African football. They left themselves get into a difficult position.”
Ironically, Okocha – who won 75 caps for his country – believes the Super Eagles could have gone on to perform very well again in the finals in Equatorial Guinea had the qualified amongst the final 16 teams.
“I have no doubt that had we managed to qualify we would have had a good tournament, because you have to play really well once it comes to the tournament itself. The qualifiers are sometimes a bit tricky here in Africa, so I think if they had qualified they would have had a good tournament.”
Okocha is currently acting as an ambassador for Western Union’s ‘Pass for School’ programme which will see funding made towards better education every time somebody posts an old photograph of themselves in a childhood sports photo to Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #PassForSchool.
He explained: “It is a great initiative, especially since it helps the less privileged children because we all know how vital education is. So I’m delighted to be a part of it.”read more
NFF President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, advised the Super Eagles to avoid being over –confident going into Wednesday’s crucial Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana.
“Pointe Noire was a bright point for us, no doubt. We went there with a strong mind to turn the campaign around and we did just that. But there are still 90 minutes to go in the qualifying race and it is critical that we maintain focus.
“The wise guys tell you that it is when a guy gets too confident that he is wide open for a sucker punch. I am a strong optimist and I know that we are as good as being in the Draw for the final tournament. But we must keep a level head for those 90 minutes, maintain focus and clinically take our chances.”
The two –goal win in Pointe Noire on Saturday means that the African champions will be eligible to defend their title in Equatorial Guinea early next year once they achieve any margin of victory against group winners South Africa at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium.
“I have been speaking with the Head Coach and some of the players and I know that they are determined that nothing will go wrong. We have a way with South Africa but we will not under –rate them.”
South Africa has never beaten Nigeria in a competitive senior men’s game, with both sides finishing 0-0 when they met in Cape Town in September.
Meanwhile, the Bafana Bafana contingent that flew into Uyo aboard a chartered flight on Monday evening, is housed in the cosy Hotel L’Meridien in the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The Confederation of African Football has already fixed the Draw Ceremony for the 30th Africa Cup of Nations for Wednesday, 3rd December in Malabo.read more
Bafana Bafana have their eyes solely fixed on a victory against their nemesis, Nigeria, when the two nations battle in the final qualification rounds of the 2015 CAF African Cup of Nations today.
Bafana arrived in Uyo on Monday night and had their first training session at the match venue yesterday evening ahead of Wednesday night’s clash.
Despite having secured qualification this past Saturday against Sudan, new Bafana captain, Dean Furman, insists his teammates still remain highly charged and motivated going into their game against the Super Eagles.
“It’s a huge game; having qualified doesn’t change anything for us. It has major significance every time we go play Nigeria,” said the Furman in a statement from the South African Football Association.
“It’s going to be a tough game; they will fight for their lives in an effort to qualify. But we want to fight for our nation, for fans, and for ourselves, beyond that we want to maintain our unbeaten record in this group and it’s important that we finish in a positive way.”read more