Nigeria international Leon Balogun ended a very successful season with Darmstadt as they earned promotion to the Bundesliga.
Balogun joined his teammates and their fans in the wild celebrations following the final whistle and could be seen waving the Nigerian flag.
An elated Balogun told supersport.com that he “was grateful to God for the achievement”, and proudly waved the Nigerian flag as the team made their lap of honour around the pitch.”
Darmstadt finished second ahead of Karlsruhe when they defeated St Pauli 1-0 to complete a remarkable double promotion having been promoted this time last year from the third division.
Balogun joined Darmstadt at the start of the season after Fortuna Dusseldorf refused to renew his contract following an injury incurred when he made his debut for Nigeria in Atlantic against Mexico in March 2014.
The defender had told supersport.com before the game that “we know the pressure ahead of this game and also know St Pauli need to win to avoid relegation but we will keep our focus and get the desired result.
“We would have done this already last week but we lost, otherwise we would have been promoted along with Ingolstadt but we are happy to achieve this.”read more
The Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has expressed satisfaction with the performance of invited Super Eagles players so far, ahead of their encounter with Chad.
Keshi commended the team’s first training session, following his return as the team’s coach for their performance on day one of the training.
Eagles will face their Chadian counterparts on June 13 in Kaduna, in the first leg qualifier for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
“Right now, a lot of them are a bit jittery and anxious because they are in front of the big boss.
“I tried to work on every department of football, fitness, techniques, tactical play just to see what they can do.
“The potentials are there; this is not the only players we can get in Nigeria, but this is the group that I want to start with and then, we can subtract and add.read more
Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been left out of the Nigerian squad as they prepare for their 2017 Afcon qualifier against Chad on June 13.
Nigeria head coach Stephen Keshi has been quoted in the local media as saying that the Chelsea man has refused to answer his telephone calls or even reply to his text messages.
The 53-year-old Super Eagles trainer also dropped four other top players in Brown Ideye, Emmanuel Emenike, Efe Ambrose and Elderson Echiejile from the squad.
Israeli-based goalkeeper Austin Ejide also failed to make the cut as Keshi decided to name just one overseas-based shot-stopper in captain Vincent Enyeama.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles begin their attempt to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon when they play hosts to Chad. They are also in same group with Egypt and Tanzania.
The full squad
Goalkeeper: Vincent Enyeama (Lille OSC, France)
Defenders: Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough FC, England); Leon Balogun (Darmstadt 98, Germany); William Troost-Ekong (FC Dordrecht, The Netherlands); Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia)
Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva); Babatunde Michael (Volyn Lutsk, Ukraine); Rabiu Ibrahim (AS Trencin, Slovakia); Anderson Esiti (Estoril FC, Portugal); Steven Ukoh (Biel-Bienne FC, Switzerland)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Aaron Samuel (Guangzhou R & F, China); Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England)read more
After finalizing their preparation in Germany and playing three test games, the Flying Eagles travelled on Sunday night to New Zealand where they will participate in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
It’s expected that the Flying Eagles will leave Germany on Sunday night aboard Emirate airline which will stop over at Dubai on Monday morning. The Flying Eagles contingent will then leave Dubai before noon to Melbourne, Australia then continue to Auckland, New Zealand.
They will then finish off the last leg of their long flight on Tuesday with a domestic flight to Plymouth where they are expected to play all their first round matches.
The Africa champions,Flying Eagles will no doubt have their hands full as Manu Garba has stated that he’s expectant of a good outing at the World Cup with his team.
Nigeria’s U20 team will face Brazil, North Korea and Hungary in the group stage.read more
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has adopted a new strategy for building the country’s future U-17 teams, according to the chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Felix Anyansi-Agwu.
Anyansi-Agwu, a ranking member of the NFF Executive Committee and chairman of two–time African champions Enyimba FC, told thenff.com on Sunday that the new measure is pragmatic and cost-effective, and will enable the building of a strong squad within a short period of time.
“I have already discussed the new approach with the present technical crew of the U-17 team led by Emmanuel Amuneke, and they love the idea. We decided on this new approach because it will save us time and funds in the long run.”
He explained: “Instead of doing the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) examination for all manner of players with potential, we just look at those that have potential from the beginning and create a pool of between 60 and 70 players for whom we will conduct the examination. That way, we can drop those who fail the test quickly and run with those who pass and are therefore eligible.”
The Technical and Development Committee chairman believes conducting the test after identifying players with promise (as was done in the past) was actually putting the cart before the horse.
“There is no point conducting open screening for players and discovering 100 players with some promise, and then you go for the test and 80 of them fail the test. You are back to square one, or at best compelled to make do with the remaining meagre pool, which may be populated by mediocre or average players. If you don’t like what you have, you return to the screening ground and take more players and move them to the laboratory, then probably find out that they also are ineligible. That approach is very long–winding, time-consuming and capital–intensive.
“That was one factor that worked against our U-17 team at the African Championship in Niger Republic earlier this year.”
The Golden Eaglets finished in fourth place at the African U-17 Championship in Niger, picking the last African ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup scheduled for Chile later this year.
“We believe the new approach we have adopted is much better and pragmatic, and will enable us to raise a much stronger team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, and in good time as well.”read more
Coach Stephen Keshi has invited goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and 14 other foreign -based professionals for next month’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Chad in Kaduna.
The Super Eagles skipper is joined by defenders Godfrey Oboabona and Kenneth Omeruo, midfielders Ogenyi Onazi and Babatunde Michael and forward Ahmed Musa, who were all at last year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
Exciting right back Leon Balogun, Israel -based John Ogu, former Switzerland junior international Steven Ukoh, China -based Aaron Samuel and Odion Ighalo, whose 20 league goals helped Championship side Watford FC to the English Premiership, have also been called alongside former junior international Rabiu Ibrahim.
New faces William Troost-Ekong, a defender based in The Netherlands, Kingsley Madu of AS Trencin in Slovakia and Portugal -based Anderson Esiti complete the list.read more
The home-based Super Eagles squad will on Tuesday play a friendly match in Katsina to open a brand new stadium in the Katsina State capital, the Nigeria Football Federation website confirmed on Saturday.
The Eagles will face Katsina selected side, with kick-off set for 5pm.
The new Karkanda Stadium, which will be declared open on that day, has a capacity of 35,000 and an artificial playing turf. It was only recently completed by the Katsina State Government under the administration of Governor Ibrahim Shema.
The Super Eagles, currently camped in Abuja for preparations ahead of the 13 June AFCON qualifier against Chad in Kaduna, will have a feel of the new pitch on Monday before playing the friendly on Tuesday.
They are expected back in Abuja on Wednesday.read more
Flying Eagles star Kelechi Iheanacho continued his hot streak of form for Manchester City U-21s on Saturday with another brilliant showing capped with two goals, completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup MVP netted the equaliser and the third goal as City’s Elite Development Squad, coached by Arsenal legen Patrick Vieira, defeated neighbours and U-21 Premier League champions Manchester United 3-1.
United took the lead in the first half through Ashley Fletcher but Iheanacho responded with the equaliser 10 minutes into the second half.
An impressed City Twitter handle described Iheanacho’s first goal thus: “A piece of individual brilliance by Iheanacho, who turns his man and coolly slots into the bottom corner.”
Iheanacho ensured City got their revenge for a heavy loss earlier in the season by scoring the home side’s third goal and is second in the 80th minute, ‘curling the ball into the top corner’ as described by the club’s Twitter handle.
The young Nigerian was the best player on the park on Tuesday night when City beat Southampton in another U-21 fixture. He scored once and assited two other goals.
Saturday’s appearance could mean Iheanacho will not be making his Premier League debut on Sunday against Southampton. He had been tipped to be one of the youngsters Manuel Pellegrini might be considering for the senior game which wraps up the season.
Iheanacho is expected to soon join up with the Flying Eagles squad for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, where Nigeria’s first match is against Brazil at 2am on 1 Juneread more
Nigerian-born midfielder Dele Alli has been left out by England U20 team from the Toulon Tournament in France.
Earlier in the year, England youth international Alli, had said that the tournament was a ‘target’ for him come the end of the season, but that won’t happen.
The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder had featured in Sean O’Driscolls’ England U19 side earlier in the season, but has failed to make the step up into the U20’s squad led by Aidy Boothroyd.
The 20-man squad includes players from top EPL sides like Manchester United, Chelsea and Southampton.
Nigerian-born defender Dominic Iorfa, who shone for Wolverhampton Wanderers, is included in the team.
In Group B the Young Lions will face China, Cote d’Ivoire, Mexico and Morocco.
Group A is made up of Costa Rica, France, Netherlands, Qatar and USA.
There will then be a fifth place match, third-place play-off and final to determine the winners of this year’s competition.read more
The Nigeria Football Federation have handed the Flying Eagles massive boost ahead of the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand after offsetting the camp allowance of the team, according to media reports.
Each player was paid the sum of $2000 for the duration of the training tour the team embarked on in Germany.
The national U-20 side have been camping in Nurnberg for the past 19 days in preparation for the World Youth Championship.
The boys played series of friendlies winning against the U23 teams of Hoffenheim, Freiburg and Nurnberg.
Flying Eagles are due to jet to out of Nurnberg tonight via a flight to Dubai before connecting to Australia and then New Zealand.
The competition is due to take place in New Zealand from 30th May to 20th June.
Coach Manu Garba named top marksman Taiwo Awoniyi, Manchester City starlet Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon who plies his trade at Belgian side KAA Gent in his crack squad.
Nigeria’s squad boasts of several youngsters – Kingsley Sokari, Musa Yahaya, Chidera Ezeh, Ojo Olorunleke, Dele Alampasu, Saviour Godwin, Issac Success, Musa Muhammed, Ifeanyi Matthew, Mustapha Abdullahi, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Idowu Akinjide, Zaharadeen Bello, Izu Omego, Onyinye Ndidi, Bernard Bulbwa and Chidiebere Nwakali.
The likes of Samuel Okon, Abdulganiyu Saheed, Abdullahi Alfa, Alhassan Abdullahi, Wasiu Jimoh, Adamu Abubakar, Monsuru Bashiru, Usman Saleh and Christian Pyagbara were axed by the technical crew led by coach Manu Garba.
Nigeria have been drawn in Group E alongside Brazil, North Korea and Hungary.read more
Nigeria’s Glo Premier League record goalscorer Mfon Udoh has been released from the camp of the Super Eagles preparing for next month’s 2017 AFCON qualifiers against Chad.
The Enyimba of Aba striker had reported to camp along with other invited players on Thursday but had to be excused from camp activities because of an illness that also sidelined him from his team’s Matchday 10 clash against Elkanemi Warriors in Aba on Wednesday.
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi says Udoh would return to the team once he has fully recovered from his health challenges.
“Mfon Udoh is an important member of this team and he will be back once he has fully recovered,”Keshi revealed.
“He reported to camp so that the Super Eagles medics can assess and also advice him.
They have asked him to take enough rest and avoid any strenuous activity so that his recovery can be faster and more comprehensive.Once he fully recovers,he will always get his chance with the team,”the Super Eagles head coach added.
Mfon Udoh set a new goals record in the Nigerian top flight last season scoring 23 goals and with four goals already this season he is among the premier league top scorers after ten matchdays.read more
The Super Eagles have begun training in Abuja ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Chad.
The team had their first training session on Friday morning in Abuja, with a good number of the invited home-based players.
Most of the players arrived at the team’s hotel in Abuja on Thursday and are ready to begin the battle for places in the Super Eagles ahead of the Chad game.
Super Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi has also urged the players to show more hunger, commitment and discipline in order to justify their invitation to the national team.
The players that were in the Super Eagles camp as at 7pm on Thursday included Chibuzor Okonkwo, Rabiu Ali, Nelson Ogbonnaya, Mfon Udoh, and Ezekiel Mbah.
The others are, Gabriel Okechukwu, Azeez Shobowale, Moses Ebong, Chima Akas, Nathaniel Joseph, Chinedu Udoji, Chidiebere Eze, and Olabisi Samuel.
Esosa Igbinoba, Joe Omale, Onyedikachi Bright and Idris Aloma, are also currently with the team.
On Thursday night, Ibrahim Shuaibu, Kunle Odunlami, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Tunde Adeniji also joined the team.
Meanwhile, the invited players from Warri Wolves like Solomon Kwambe and Gbolahan Salami are not expected until Saturday, as they have a postponed league game on Friday.read more