Bafana Bafana have confirmed that they will face Nigeria in a friendly at Mbombela Stadium on March 29.
Bafana were initially meant to host World Cup finalists Argentina but the fixture fell through.
Safa confirmed today that Bafana Bafana will now face the Super Eagles, who they beat to a spot at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
The Super Eagles were earlier tipped to face Ghana in a friendly in London but the game was cancelled by FIFA because it flouted its rules.
The NFF however said they were confident of getting opponents for the senior national team after they face Bolivia at the Akwa Ibom stadium on March 26th.
Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick believes improving the Nigerian Premier League must start with the match officials’ performances.
Referees came under intense criticism in the 2014 campaign for seemingly favouring the bigger teams, as well as those playing at home on any given matchday.
And Pinnick knows that sort of mentality could severely hurt the number of supporters turning up for each game, and has urged the men in black to step up their game.
“Importantly we must improve the quality of the league because as we all know the referees are a major determining factor of whether people will want to come and watch a match or not; going to a match you already know that a particular team is going to lose will not make you want to go and watch a match,” the NFF chief told Vanguard.
“A match is supposed to be competitive and to put somebody in suspense but once the suspense element is not there, there may be no need to go to the stadium and it is only the referee that can determine that.”
Nigerian football’s governing body have already moved to improve the level of refereeing in the NPL by sending several officials to a training seminar in England recently, and Pinnick is hoping for quick results.
“We are very excited about what we have been able to do with the referees so far, to whom much is given much is expected, after doing all these for referees, we do not expect them to do less, the leadership of the Nigeria Referees Association and the NFF referees committee will engage the league to find out about their remuneration, once we find out it is in line with global standards, we will not just blacklist them but to even prosecute them according to football laws,” he concluded.read more
The Nigeria Football Federation has intensified moves to get Arsenal under 21 skipper Alex Iwobi, to feature for the National Olympic National Team in the near future.
The attacking midfielder could play his first game for the Dream Team against Zambia in a month’s time in the return leg of the All Africa Games qualifiers.
Emma Okocha, a retired Nigeria international and representative of Alex Iwobi, has been in contact with his nephew, and he’s optimistic that the paperwork necessary for his international switch to be official will be completed on or before the next three weeks.
”Alex Iwobi has not been able to get the clearance from Fifa yet. It should be ready in the next two or three weeks,” Emma Okocha told SL10.ng.
”He has applied for a one time switch. The game against Gabon is out of it, but subsequent games he’ll be able to play.”
It has been claimed that ex Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu and Austin Okocha influenced Iwobi’s decision to play for Nigeria instead of England, but Emma Okocha has a different opinion.
”Nobody decided for him. He likes the atmosphere, he likes Nigeria. He was with them in Gabon.
”As soon as he gets the clearance from Fifa, he will come down for the next game,” Emma Okocha stressed.
NFF have disclosed that he could be invited for the friendly against Bolivia, and they are on the right path even if approval is not gotten from Fifa before March 26.
Since the match is unofficial, the youngster is permitted to turn out for the Super Eagles.read more
English side Tottenham Hotspurs have re-called Musa Yahaya to begin his rehabilitation after tearing his knee ligament while on international duty with Nigeria’s Under 20 National Team.
The EPL side’s doctors are working around the clock to get Musa Yahaya fit for the Fifa Under 20 World Cup which will be played in just over two months time, should Nigeria qualifies for the tournament in Oceania.
“Musa Yahaya has gone back to Tottenham Hotspur; he left last weekend. Spurs sent him a ticket,” a source close to the Mutunchi Academy product informed SL10.ng.
“He is already getting better. He has started receiving treatment, and has five weeks to recover.
“As soon as the treatment is over, Yahaya will come and join the Flying Eagles for the Under 20 World Cup.”
The White Hart Lane outfit have refused to point an accusing finger at the Nigeria Football Federation, as the attacking midfielder’s trip to Africa to train with the Flying Eagles was authorized by the club.
“They are not angry, he played a friendly game and for the national team. His trip to Nigeria was sanctioned, so they are not angry,” he concluded.
Musa Yahaya could return to full action by mid-April, which is six weeks before the start of the Fifa Under 20s.read more
Flying Eagles goalkeeper,Dele Alampasu claims he is more concerned about their performance in Senegal than regaining his position after losing the team’s number one choice goalkeeper to Joshua Enaholo.
The Nigerian U20 team departed Nigeria for Senegal on Wednesday for the Africa Youth Championship, and Alampasu says he is more concerned about the team having a good outing.
“I am really not bothered about who is first choice,” he told sl10.ng. “I think the focus is on us doing well in Senegal than who is first choice goalkeeper.
“We have worked together as a team and we understand each other and we know what we want, and I am not bothered but if the coaches pick me, I will be ready,” he said.
The Flying Eagles have travelled with three goalkeepers; Joshua Enaholo, Leke Ojo and Dele Alampasu.
And Alampasu, a member and first choice goalkeeper of the World Cup winning squad from Nigeria’s U17 team of 2013, however says he hopes to be the number one by the time the FFA U20 World Cup comes around.
“I wasn’t in the CAF U17 championship in 2013 but I was first choice at that year’s World Cup and maybe it will happen again,” he said sheepishly.
Ajayi who is on trial at Cardiff also had trials with Ipswich and Sunderland but to no avail,however in this game he was imposing and commanding at the back for Cardiff Under-21 snuffing out the threat of former premier league striker Al Bangura who is currently on trial with Coventry City.
Aside showing his defensive abilities,the Nigeria-born midfielder also joined the attack at will and after coming close to scoring on two previous occasion he made up for his missed chances with a goal in the 60th minute,a cracking shot from eight yards out that went in off the underside off the bar.
However a minute after scoring he effortlessly chased a long ball he never look likely to catch before an unfortunate slip enable Coventry to pounce and reduce the deficit.
The 21 year old took the game beyond the reach of Cardiff with five minutes left to play with a powerful header off a corner he earned to help his team win 4-2.
It is yet to be seen if he has done enough to warrant a deal at Cardif City where at the age of 21 he is expected to be close to the first team than at Arsenal.
He joined Arsenal two years ago from Charlton Athletics but he is set to depart without a competitive appearance for the first team although he was an unused substitute on four occasion.read more
Flying Eagles striker, Taiwo Awoniyi says he would like to finish the Africa Youth Championship as top scorer of the competition.
The 17-year old has been the king pin of the team’s attack in the absence of Isaac Success, and is expected to lead Nigeria’s attack in Senegal and has said he hopes to can live up to the expectations.
“I hope I can live up to the expectations and I hope I can finish as goal scorer and help my team win the competition,” he told sl10.ng.
“The coaches have told us that the competition is going to be tougher than the U17’s and so we expect a tougher challenge but I still hope I can make it for my team.”
Awoniyi, who now plays for Swedish club Kalmer, was a surprise breakout at the 2013 U17 World Cup, emerging from the shadows of Isaac Success, who suffered an unfortunate injury.
And two years later, Awoniyi says he is now a grown man and can handle himself against tougher opponents.
“Things are different from the U17’s now because we have grown a bit. I think we are better players now and we can handle pressure differently,” he said.read more
The League Management Company [LMC] has postponed the opening game of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) between champions Kano Pillars and Heartland.
Heartland were scheduled to play hosts to the champions this Saturday, but the game is now off after the Kano club were attacked by armed robbers along Abaji-Lokoja road on Thursday afternoon.
Five key players, Gambo Muhammed, Eneji Otekpa, Adamu Murtala, Reuben Ogbonnaya and Ubong Ekpai, were those left injured from the incident.
“The League Management Company has expressed shock at the news of the armed robbery attack on Kano Pillars Football Club contingent along the Abuja-Lokoja Road and consequently ordered an indefinite postponement of their Match Day 1 fixture in Owerri against Heartland FC,” the opening part of the statement from the league body said.
Chief Operating Officer of the league company, Salihu Abubakar, condemned the attack on Kano Pillars.
He added that the other nine matches of gameweek one will hold as scheduled with the two matches in Port harcourt tagged the doubleheader billed to go live on SuperSport this Saturday.
“Whilst we sympathize with the Club and strongly condemn this crime, Clubs are advised that the Match Day 1 fixtures will hold as scheduled except the Matches in Port Harcourt which will now serve as a double-header and will be televised live on Saturday,” Abubakar said.
Dolphins will play hosts to Kwara United in the early kickoff of the opening day while Sharks face Sunshine Stars in the second match of Saturday.read more
Former Nigeria international and a contemporary of out-of-contract Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, coach Henry Nwosu has observed that his former team mate should be civil enough to read the mood of Nigerians and quit.
Nwosu who told Sports Vanguard that he was expressing his personal view, said if he were Keshi, he would have since left the job because it appears Nigerians no longer want him.
“As a person, I would have since taken up another job. I want Keshi to read the mood of the people. The Nigerian populace don’t want him again but it appears he want to hang on there,” Nwosu said.
The former Super Eagles assistant coach advised his friend and the NFF to stop embarrassing themselves on the pages of newspapers. “NFF should sit down and discuss with Keshi. These frequent newspaper reports are not helping either of them. They should be able to resolve the matter without the press,” Nwosu said.
Nwosu, also spared a moment to discuss the Golden Eaglets performance at the just concluded African U-17 Chanpionship. “They must improve. I wasn’t too impressed with their performance against South Africa and Guine. The coaches have a lot to do before the World Cup.”read more
The national U-20 team, Flying Eagles, have arrived in Dakar, capital of Senegal in the early hours of Thursday for the 19th African Youth Championship.
The competition will begin from March 8 to March 22.
A statement by Ademola Olajire, Assistant Director, Media, of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), said the team arrived in Dakar in the early hours of Thursday.
“A contingent of 21 players and 10 officials touched down at the Dakar International Airport at 3a.m. Senegal time and were immediately ferried to the Alafifa Hotel.
“The team will move into Hotel Ngor Diarama, their official accommodation on Friday,’’ the statement said.
“The six-time champions will lock horns with hosts Senegal in the opening match of the tournament at the Stade Leopold Senghor, Dakar on Sunday evening.
“Nigeria will also play Congo-Brazzaville on March 11 and Cote d’Ivoire on March 14 in their Group A encounters,’’ Olajire said.
The statement gave the list of the players in the squad as Goalkeepers Joshua Enaholo, Sunday Alampasu and Olorunleke Ojo.
The defenders are Musa Muhamed, Zaharadeen Bello, Izuchukwu Omego, Mustapha Abdullahi, Samuel Okon and Abdulganiyu Saheed.
The midfield consists of Ifeanyi Matthew, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Akinjide Idowu, Obinna Nwobodo, Bernard Bulbwa and Abdullahi Alfa.
The strikers are Taiwo Awoniyi, Christian Pyagbara, Abdullahi Ibrahim Alhassan ‘Muazam’, Usman Hassan, Chidera Ezeh and Wasiu Jimoh, while Manu Garba is the head of the technical crew.
Ghana, Mali, South Africa and Zambia are in Group B.
Group B matches will hold at the Stade Caroline Faye in M’Bour, 50 kilometers outside Dakar.
The four semi-finalists in the tournament will automatically qualify for the FIFA World U-20 Championship to be staged in New Zealand from May 30 to June 20.
Ghana remains the only African country to win the World U-20 Championship when it was held in Egypt in 2009. (NAN).
Nigerian youngster Sad’eeq Yusuf a two year contract with Belgian side KAA Gent.
The 18-year old attacking midfielder is a product of the GBS Academy, where compatriot and now teammate Moses Simon was trained.
Top European clubs like Ajax, Liverpool and Juventus were keen on signing Sad’eeq, but he chose to join the Belguian side.
KAA Gent are looking at their future and are investing in young talents with Nigerian U-20 star Moses Simon joining the club in January.read more
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi, who is in a Super Eagles contract extension battle, has reportedly been in talks with Tanzania club Azam.
Azam parted ways with their Cameroonian coach, Joseph Omog, on Monday, and with Keshi still locked in contract talks with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), the Tanzania side are hopeful of luring him into club football.
“We continue to have talks with coaches from different parts of the world, but there is a greater chance of Nigerian Stephen Keshi taking over Joseph Omog’s place because negotiations between us and him are going well, and his background is something that has attracted us,” Azam’s General Secretary Idrissa Nassoro told Goal.
Keshi is currently in the United States, having failed to agree to the terms and conditions laid out to him by the NFF, the AFCON-winning coach having labelled their proposed deal a ‘slave contract’.
The Dar es Salaam-based club are currently participating in the CAF Champions League.read more