All posts by Aderonke Ogunleye

Steven Gerard retires from international football

Stephen Gerrad

The 34-year-old midfielder has earned 114 caps since his first appearance for the national team in the year 2000.

England Midfielder and Liverpool FC’s captain, Steven Gerrard, announced his retirement from international duties on Monday.

The skipper said he has enjoyed every moment shared in the English team.

“I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again,” he told the English Football Association website.

“This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career. I have agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to family, friends and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.

“To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club I believe this is the right decision, and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”

The 34-year-old midfielder has earned 114 caps since his first appearance for the national team in the year 2000.

Steven Gerrard featured in three FIFA World Cup finals.

Nigerian Football Crisis: Maigari, NFF board members hold crucial meeting

Aminu Maigari

There is also a large presence of security officials from the police and the Department of State Security, DSS, at the venue.

A crucial meeting of the ‘board’ of the Nigeria football Federation, NFF, is currently on at the federation’s secretariat in Abuja.

The embattled chairman of the NFF, whose removal led to a FIFA ban on Nigerian football, Aminu Maigari, is part of the meeting.

There is also an unusually large presence of security officials from the police and the Department of State Security, DSS, at the venue.

Though there is no official confirmation yet, there have been reports that the FIFA suspension on Nigeria has been lifted following the alleged return of the Maigari-led executive after a court case that led to their suspension was allegedly withdrawn by the wife of Rumson Baribote, owner of Nembe City Football Club.

There has been no official confirmation of any of these as courts in Nigeria have been closed all week due to workers’ strike, and there is no confirmation of the lift of the ban from FIFA yet.

Officials of the NFF are expected to brief journalists at the end of the meeting which was still on at 12:30 p.m.

Details later…

Federation Cup: Bayelsa United, Gateway to clash in Abuja, Friday

Bayelsa United FC

The match was earlier scheduled for Thursday.

The Nigeria Football League clubs, Bayelsa United of Yenagoa and Gateway FC of Abeokuta, will now trade tackles on Friday at the FIFA Goal Project, Abuja, in the 2014 Men Federation Cup Round of 16 match.

Earlier scheduled for Thursday, the game was moved by 24 hours after Gateway FC appealed to the Nigeria Football Federation for time to recover from a Nigeria National League clash with Go-Round FC of Port Harcourt in Abeokuta on Tuesday.

“We have decided to move the match to Friday at the same venue since Bayelsa United FC tendered “No objection” to the appeal,” Ruth David, Head of the Federation Cup Unit, told journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

All the other seven matches in the Round of 16 were played on Thursday, but yet to be concluded as at the time of this report.

FIFA Suspension: CAF postpones Nigeria Eaglets, DR Congo clash

golden eaglets

CAF cited Nigeria’s suspension and ongoing efforts to resolve the dispute as reason for postponing the qualifier.

The Confederation of African Football, CAF, on Thursday postponed the 2015 African U-17 Championship qualifying match between Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, from July 20 to July 27.

CAF’s decision comes as a relief to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, whose officials await communication from FIFA on the suspension clamped on the country on July 9, due to a court order barring the Aminu Maigari –led Executive Committee from functioning.

There were media reports that that the suit against the Maigari-led executive was withdrawn on Wednesday by the plaintiff, wife of owner of Nembe City football club, Rumson Baribote.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr. Baribote to confirm if the suit has been withdrawn, he would not confirm but promised to call back. Court workers in Nigeria have been on strike, which had stalled the progress of the case.

Also, even if a plaintiff withdraws or intends to withdraw a suit, by Nigerian law, it still has to be struck out by the judge handling the case for the withdrawal to be valid.

However, officials of the NFF said on Thursday that they communicated the ‘withdrawal’ of the suit to FIFA, and asked that the suspension be lifted since the principal reason for the clampdown had been met.

CAF cited Nigeria’s suspension and ongoing efforts to resolve the dispute as reason for postponing the qualifier.
In its letter to the NFF, the Federation Congolaise de Football Association (FECOFA), FECAFOOT, and the match officials, CAF declared that it was granting the grace of seven days with high hopes that the suspension on
Nigeria would be lifted before then,

“Following the suspension of Nigeria Football Federation by FIFA few days ago, please be informed that CAF is hopeful that an end to this crisis will be found soon.

“However, in view of the upcoming match scheduled between DR Congo and Nigeria U-17 national teams on July 20th, 2014 in Lubumbashi, we wish to ensure that the African youth players maintain their chance of playing
competitive football for their respective countries.

“As such, please be informed that CAF decided to postpone the above mentioned match from July 20th to July 27th, 2014,” the African football body said.

The match is the first leg of a 2015 African U-17 Championship qualifying fixture, and is Nigeria’s first step towards defending the world title she won in the United Arab Emirates last year.

Venue of the match remains TP Mazembe Stadium, Lubumbashi, and kick-off is 3.30 p.m. Congo time (2.30 p.m. Nigerian time).

FIFA Suspension: Sports Minister asks Baribote to withdraw court case

Tammy danagogo

Mr. Danagogo said the sports ministry will look into every allegation of corruption in the NFF.

The Nigeria Sports minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Tammy Danagogo, on Tuesday called on Ibiakpor Baribote to withdraw her court case against the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.

The Minister called on Ms. Baribote and the two rival factions of the NFF to do the needful to ensure that FIFA lifts the suspension.

Mr. Danagogo further said in a press statement signed by his spokesperson, Patrick Omorodion, that the sports ministry shall set in motion machinery to “To ensure that the parties are persuaded to withdraw the case and suspension is lifted and also “encourage the Nigeria Olympic Committee to quickly activate the Court of Arbitration in Sports (CAS)”

Mr. Danagogo said since FIFA abhors corruption, the sports ministry “shall employ every machinery of government to ensure that all the allegations of unbridled corruption over the years is thoroughly looked into and culprits brought to book.

He assured that the Nigerian government will promote the game of football and ensure sanity prevails in the management of government resource.

How Nigeria’s FIFA suspension can be lifted – Aisha Falode

aisha-falode-300x159-380x380

“I am appealing to all concerned to tow the line of reconciliation for the good of football in Nigeria.”

The National Women’s Football Coordinator, Aisha Falode, has said the way out of Nigeria’s recent suspension by FIFA is for all aggrieved parties to “tow the sober line”.

Speaking in Lagos on Tuesday, Ms. Falode, said she is concerned about the future of women’s football in the country, especially as the Canada 2015 U20 World Cup beckons with Nigeria as the big hope of Africa at the tournament.

“Yes, we can fight and disagree but I know that ultimately all of us are targeting the betterment of Nigerian football, hence I will appeal to all concerned, especially Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commissioner, Tammy Danagogo, those who went to court, especially Mrs. Baribote and others we may not know of, who are aggrieved to tow the sober line for the good of Nigerian football and Women’s football in particular”.

Ms. Falode, said she believes that the wide consultations that have been ongoing will also make world soccer governing body, FIFA, to treat Nigeria with a tender disposition.

“We have made gains of recent in Nigerian football and that is why I am appealing to all concerned to tow the line of reconciliation for the good of football in Nigeria. I know that the President of the Federal Republic is too busy with state matters but I will also appeal to him to use his good offices to call all concerned to sheathe their swords, we cannot be quarrelling with ourselves at the end of every World Cup year.”

“Alhaji Aminu Maigari may not be the best football administrator in the world but I think we should build on the gains of his very good reign for the future of the country and especially those of our youth,” she said.

FIFA Suspension: Sports Ministry urges Nigerians to remain calm

NFF President, Aminu Maigari

FIFA says suspension would be lifted once court action against NFF is withdrawn.

The Nigerian Sports Commission, NSC, and the Sports Ministry has called on Nigerians to remain calm as efforts are made to ensure that FIFA’s suspension of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, was lifted as soon as possible.

The Ministry said that an appropriate representation had been made to FIFA to present the true situation of the crisis within the “football family.”

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Sports Minister, Alfred Taye-Akinyemi, said the Commission had received the news of the suspension of the Federation by FIFA on the grounds of an alleged court order, which the world football body had interpreted as government’s interference in the affairs of the Federation.

“The National Sports Commission wishes to state that the said court action brought against the NFF followed an internal crisis within the football family and has nothing to do with government,” Mr. Taye-Akinyemi said.

According to him, FIFA had stated that unless the court action was withdrawn, the suspension of the NFF would not be lifted.

“It is pertinent to state that neither the NSC nor government is involved in the court process,” he stated.

He clarified that the suspension of the NFF was a procedural practice by FIFA each time it felt that there was an alleged interference by government, be it the Executive or Judiciary, in the affairs of its affiliate bodies.

He added that the Commission was appealing to Nigerians to stay calm while it resolved the issue.

Nigerian League: Enugu Rangers hires new coach

Enugu Rangers

Rangers currently sits on 15th spot of the 2013/14 league table.

Enugu Rangers has secured the services of Imama Amapakabo to coach the team for the second round of the 2013/2014 league season; officials have announced

The new coach replaces Ugali Osmond, who was relieved of his duties as the chief coach of Rangers.

In a press statement, the club’s Media officer, Foster Chime, said “Management after due considerations have completed contract talks with former Enyimba coach, Imama Amapakabo, who has already agreed and signed to join Rangers technical crew.

“Management believes that this move to a very great extent will put the club where it rightly belongs.”
Imama Amapakabo was the head coach of Sharks and Enyimba.

Rangers sits on the 15th spot of the first round of the 2013/14 season. The result made the club’s management to slash the salaries of all coaches by 50 per cent.

World Cup: Don’t give up on Eagles, Minister charges Nigerians

Super eagles 2

“Nigerians have every right to be disappointed because they expected their team to beat Iran.”

The Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, NSC, Tammy Danagogo, has called on Nigerians not to give up on the Super Eagles.

In a statement signed by his special assistant, Patrick Omorodion, the minister was quoted as urging Nigerians to not give up on the team despite the goalless draw with the Iranians on Monday,

“Nigerians have every right to be disappointed because they expected their team to beat Iran,” he said. “It is expected but I want to appeal that they should not lose hope but continue to pray and support the team. Bosnia is beatable and the Eagles can come back strong and post a victory against them.”

The minister, who left Brazil to return to Nigeria, said he believes that the team learnt from the mistakes they made against Iran and that the technical crew would plot new strategies to dislodge the Europeans who lost their first match against Argentina.

“I believe in the never-say-die spirit of the Nigerian athlete. The Eagles and the coaches must have studied the tape of the last match and will plot new strategies to win the next game. I therefore, urge Nigerians to continue to wish them well, they don’t have to lose hope,” he stressed.

The Eagles are currently placed second with one point, same as Iran who play Argentina who lead the group with three points. Bosnia are at the bottom with no point.

The Eagles play Bosnia on Saturday in their second group match.

World Cup: Eagles arrive Cuiaba for Bosnia

super eagles

Nigeria’s national team, the Super Eagles, arrived Cuiaba, Central Brazil, venue of their next group encounter against Bosnia Herzegovina on Thursday afternoon, for the game scheduled for Saturday evening in the city.

The team, which left the Campinas Airport at about 12:15 local time, arrived Cuiaba at exactly 1:10 p.m., after a 1hr 45minutes flight. Cuiaba operates a different time zone from Sao Paulo, which is an hour ahead.

 The city was warm at the arrival of the team, with temperatures standing at 33 degrees Celsius. Pockets of soccer loving Brazilians dotted the route and the front of the hotel to welcome the African champions.

Speaking on arrival in Cuiaba, Lazio of Italy midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi, said he can’t wait for Saturday to show how important the game is to him.

“One of the players of the Bosnian side is my teammate at Lazio, he plays from the left side of the attack and I want to prove to him that I am a great player at the world stage”, he said with Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, beaming with smiles.

Enugu Rangers management cut John Obuh, other coaches’ salaries

Enugu Rangers

The team has been given an ultimatum to win four matches straight.

The Enugu Rangers coach, John Obuh, and his coaching assistants will be on half pay for the next two months until they meet a four must-win match ultimatum as soon as the second round of the Nigerian League 2013/14 season commences.

According to a statement by the spokesperson of the club, Foster Chime, the club’s management was unsatisfied with the performance of the coaches in the just concluded first round of the league season; hence the latest development.

Mr. Chime explained that Mr. Obuh and his assistants pay cuts were based on the coach’s attitude during a home match.

“Management on Wednesday, after a crucial meeting with the technical crew, took far-reaching decisions to improve the club’s performance in the second round after a poor run in the first round,” he said.

“This included four must-win straight matches starting with the El Kanemi match in Enugu; placing the technical crew on half salaries for two months to improve, and possible reductions.”

He also stated that the coaches were advised to beef up the team with quality new players, while plans are on to reduce the current playing staff strength of the club.

Enugu Rangers is 15th on the league table with 24 points from 19 matches.

The second half of the league commences after the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

World Cup: Nigeria’s Oboabona may play against Bosnia – Keshi

Godfrey Oboabona

The defender was injured in Monday’s match with Iran.

The Super Eagles head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has said that injured defender, Godfrey Oboabona, would have recovered in time for Nigeria’s match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday.

Some media reports had suggested that Oboabona would not play on Saturday. However, according to a press statement by the Super Eagles spokesperson, Ben Alaiya, Keshi is still keeping hope alive and believes that Oboabona would be healed in time for the match.

The Rivespor defender was hit on his foot by an Iranian attacker during the goalless match between Nigeria and Iran on Monday. A scan showed that Oboabona had no fracture though he sustained a deep cut.

“Yes, I have received the medical reports on Godfrey and we are still very hopeful that before the D-day he may still make it. Let’s just be hopeful because he is an important player in the team,” Keshi said.

Another defender, Kenneth Omeruo, speaking on Saturday’s match, said that the presence of Manchester City forward, Edin Dzeko, will make the game against Bosnia and Herzegovina more interesting.

“It will be a delight to see how Edin Dzeko and I slug it out in the game. Hopefully, they will play an open game and we will also, which will make the game very interesting,” Omeruo said.

The Super Eagles’ captain, Joseph Yobo, said the focus should be on the game instead of talking about their game against Iran.

“We are all disappointed that we didn’t win against Iran but we must refocus on the immediate task of winning our next game,” he declared.

The Super Eagles will head for Cuiaba on Thursday morning for their second game against Bosnia-Herzegovina, after drawing 0-0 in their opener with Iran.