All posts by Tunde Eludini

Man City Coach hails Iheanacho, predicts bright future

Iheanacho scored in City’s 4-1 friendly win over Sporting Kansas City.

After watching Kelechi Iheanacho shine like a million stars on his Manchester City debut late Wednesday night in the friendly against Sporting Kansas, Coach Manuel Pellegrini has predicted a bright future for the Nigerian youngster.

Iheanacho scored in City’s 4-1 friendly win over Sporting Kansas City. Beyond getting on the scorer’s sheet, the erstwhile Golden Eaglets star proved his mettle in the star-studded Manchester City team to the delight of Pellegrini.

“Kelechi is just 17 years old and he’s a very important player for us in the future.

He demonstrated today what he can do in the future. It depends on the way he takes this profession, but I think he’s a good talent,” Pellegrini was quoted as saying on English tabloid Daily Mail.

The Chilean gaffer also added, “We’ve not decided yet (what the plan is for him) because it’s not easy. He’s just 17 and sometimes that’s the problem. We’ll see what he will do in the future,” he said.

“For the moment he will stay with us and we’ll see when we return to England what will happen with him. But he’s a very important player for the future for the club. After the tour we will see what happens with him. There are a lot of things to arrange to play in England but he has an important future.”

At the last FIFA U-17 tournament in the United Arab Emirates, Iheanacho scored six in seven games as the Eaglets romped to victory in the oil-rich Middle East country.

Already, many are calling for the fast tracking of Iheanacho to join the national team, the Super Eagles.

2014 Federation Cup: Enyimba, Dolphins secure semi final ticket

Eyimba

Enyimba scored two goals against Sharks FC.

Former champions, Enyimba International FC and Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt, are through to the semi finals of the 2014 Federation Cup having secured victories in their quarter final games on Wednesday.

Aside the two former champions, the duo of Giwa FC and Prime FC have also secured historic berths in the final four as they also saw-off their opponents in Wednesday’s thrilling quarter-final pairings.

For the defending champions Enyimba who were pitched against Sharks FC, the Aba Elephants showed class defeating the Coach Gbenga Ogunbote tutored side by two un-replied goals in Abuja to soldier on in their quest to retain the title won last year.

Sokari Kingsley and Raphael Boumsong scored in the first half to help Enyimba overcome Sharks and keep their title defense hopes alive.

Dolphins were also convincing in their win as they overcame fellow Glo Premier League side Lobi Stars 4-2.

It was, however, a tough call for the duo of Giwa FC and Prime FC who had to rely on the lottery of penalty kicks to sail through to the semis.

After a goalless 90 minutes, Giwa FC piped Crown FC 5-4 on penalties. On their part, Prime won 4-3 on penalties after the full time ended 0-0. Adejare Adeniyi was the hero again for the Osun State team.

Meanwhile the grand finale of this year’s Men and Women Federation Cup competitions has tentatively been slated for Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Saturday, August 16.

‎Messi is World Cup best player, Neuer best goalkeeper 

Golden Glove winner Germany's Neuer congratulates Golden Ball winner Argentina's Messi after their 2014 World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro
James Rodriguez won the golden boot award.

Lionel Messi of Argentina was voted the best player of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Sunday evening.

The Colombian midfielder, James Rodriguez, was also confirmed as the winner of the FIFA 2014 World Cup Golden Boot on Sunday night.

The attacking midfielder was in impressive form in Brazil as he scored a total of six goals in just five games to lead his side to the quarter-finals.

Rodriguez was unable to help Colombia beat Brazil, but he won the personal accolade after Thomas Muller was unable to add to his five goals as Germany clinched the famous trophy in the Maracana with a 1-0 win over Argentina.

Muller finished the tournament with five goals, while Lionel Messi, Neymar and Robin van Persie all managed to score four for their respective teams.

Argentine’s Messi won the personal accolade of the Golden Ball while Manuel Neuer won the Golden Glove as best goalkeeper of the tournament. Paul Pogba of France won the young player of the tournament while the Colombian team won the FIFA Fair Play award.

World Cup: Brazil crumble against Netherlands in third-place playoff

Fifa-World-Cup-2014-Brazil-Wallpaper

Netherlands were awarded a controversial penalty.

The FIFA 2014 World Cup host, Brazil, were served another bitter pill of defeat on Saturday night as they lost 0-3 to the Dutch national team in the third place playoffs of this year’s Mundial.

The defeat is coming on the heels of the 7-1 drubbing suffered in the hands of Germany in the semi-finals. This is the first time since 1940 that Brazil will suffer back-to-back defeats on home soil.

The match at the Stadio Nacional in Brasilia got off to a controversial start as the Dutch were awarded a penalty after less than two minutes when Thiago Silva pulled Arjen Robben back with the winger through on goal.

Television replays showed that though contact was made it took place outside the box. The Algerian referee also got wrong his decision to only show the returning Brazilian skipper a yellow card despite him being the last man.

Robin van Persie took the awarded penalty kick and he fired it into the top corner.

Things got worse for Brazil as they conceded the second goal after just 16 minutes. This time, Daley Blind found the top corner after a poor clearance from David Luiz.

Though Brazil were able to survive to keep the score line at 2-0 through the rest of the half and till the later stages of the second, the miserable campaign of the hosts was capped off in second-half stoppage time as Robben and Daryl Janmaat linked up to create a chance for Georginio Wijnaldum, who slid his effort into the bottom corner.

With the 3-0 win, the Dutch were awarded the third place medal while the Brazil team were handed certificates for their efforts.

Germany will face Argentina in the final match of the 2014 World Cup on Sunday.

FIFA rejects Suarez appeal

Luis Suarez bitting Branislav Ivanovic

Suarez is Barcelona bound.

The Uruguay forward, Luis Suarez, has been condemned to serving out his four-month football ban as his appeal and that of the Uruguay FA has been turned down by the world football governing body, FIFA.

In a short statement on its official website, FIFA stated that Suarez will serve out his punishment despite the apology made over his biting incident with Italian defender, Georgio Chellini.

“The FIFA Appeal Committee has decided to reject the appeals lodged by both the Uruguayan player Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan FA, and to confirm the decision rendered by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee on 25 June 2014 in its entirety” the statement of FIFA’s website read in part.

While FIFA said the decision to reject the appeals has been communicated to the parties involved, the Barcelona-bound forward has been given a leeway as the football governing body said that the relevant decision is not yet final and binding, i.e. an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) is still possible (cf. art. 67 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes) by the player and/or the Uruguayan FA, subject to certain conditions.

Despite the ban, Suarez is set to complete an 88 million Euro deal to move to Barcelona.

FIFA rejects Suarez appeal

Suarez is serving a FIFA ban after biting a fellow player at the ongoing World Cup

Suarez is Barcelona bound.

The Uruguay forward, Luis Suarez, has been condemned to serving out his four-month football ban as his appeal and that of the Uruguay FA has been turned down by the world football governing body, FIFA.

In a short statement on its official website, FIFA stated that Suarez will serve out his punishment despite the apology made over his biting incident with Italian defender, Georgio Chellini.

“The FIFA Appeal Committee has decided to reject the appeals lodged by both the Uruguayan player Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan FA, and to confirm the decision rendered by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee on 25 June 2014 in its entirety” the statement of FIFA’s website read in part.

While FIFA said the decision to reject the appeals has been communicated to the parties involved, the Barcelona-bound forward has been given a leeway as the football governing body said that the relevant decision is not yet final and binding, i.e. an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) is still possible (cf. art. 67 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes) by the player and/or the Uruguayan FA, subject to certain conditions.

Despite the ban, Suarez is set to complete an 88 million Euro deal to move to Barcelona.

Peterside Idah faults FIFA ban

Fifa world cup ball

FIFA has maintained it will only relate with the ousted NFF President, Aminu Maigari.

A former Nigerian international and sports pundit, Peterside Idah, has picked holes in FIFA’s decision to suspend Nigeria from all football activities for alleged government interference in the running of football in the country.

Idah submitted that it was wrong to punish Nigeria when an individual was responsible for taking the NFF to court and subsequently secured an injunction to sack the Aminu Maigari-led board.

According to Idah, rather than descend on the whole country, the party that went to court to secure the sacking of the NFF board is the only culprit in the scenario.

“I don’t think the ban on Nigeria is justified,” Idah, a retired goalkeeper, said. “So if I take the NFF to court because they are owing me money or for many other reason, Nigeria will suffer the consequence of my action.”

Having seen the ultimatum given to Nigeria expire on Tuesday, FIFA on Wednesday via a statement communicated that Nigeria has been suspended from football activities .

The world body however said the suspension will be lifted once the “properly elected NFF executive committee, the NFF general assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without any interference in their affairs”.

The decision immediately means the female U-20 team will be unable to participate in the Women’s World Cup which kicks off on August 5 if the suspension is not be lifted by July 15.

It also means that the Flying Eagles will not be eligible to play Lesotho next month in the final round of qualifying for the 2015 Africa Youth Championship.

The genesis of the Nigeria suspension started when a court sitting in Plateau State suspended Maigari’s board based on a petition by club owner, Rumson Baribote.

The sports minister, Tamuno Danagogo, appointed a sole administrator, Lawrence Katken, to run the NFF as directed by the court.

An emergency extraordinary congress was hastily summoned by the chairman of state FA chairmen, Effiong Johnson. The congress sacked the Maigari board and other sub-leaderships in the NFF.
The congress was seen as illegal by some including the Lagos State FA which said Johnson lacked the mandate to call a congress and that the mandatory 30-day notice was not observed.

For now, FIFA has maintained it will only relate with the ousted NFF President, Aminu Maigiari, and Secretary General, Musa Amadu, thus meaning that a return to status quo is key in seeing Nigeria out of the present logjam.

World Cup: Brazil’s 7-1 humiliation, ‘worst day of my life’ – Scolari

Luiz Filipe Scolari

We are sorry we could not get to the final and we will honour the team in the third-place playoff.

Brazil’s coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, is expectedly not a happy man after watching his side humiliated in Tuesday night’s semi-final match against Germany.

Speaking on FIFA.com, Scolari who was visibly dejected seeing his team missing out on a chance to play in the finals before their passionate crowd described Tuesday as the worst day of his life.

“I think it was the worst day of my life, but life goes on,” said the 65-year-old. “I will be remembered as the coach to lose 7-1 but I knew that risk when I took the job and life goes on so that is what I am going to do.”
Brazil were torn apart by the no nonsense Germans as goals from Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose, Sami Khedira and two from Toni Kroos put them 5-0 in front inside the opening half hour.

Andre Schurrle added two more goals for the Germans after half-time before Oscar’s late consolation for the hosts.

“My message for the Brazilian people and fans is that we did what we could do and we did what we think was our best,” added Scolari. “We lost to a great team with great skill that took six minutes to change the game with four goals in an extraordinary manner.

“Please excuse us for this mistake. We are sorry we could not get to the final and we will honour the team in the third-place playoff in Brasilia on Saturday.”

The 2002 World Cup-winning coach took full responsibility for the performance. “I’m responsible for what the team does out on the pitch – and I am to blame for this result,” he said. “I’m sorry we could not reach our goal. The fans supported us even when it was five, six, or seven down to Germany.”

Brazil were hoping they could increase their World Cup triumph to six but with the bashing from the Germans they will now take consolation in playing the loser’s final this weekend.

World Cup: Enyeama finishes second behind Howard

Vincent Enyeama

Sadly, both Enyeama and Howard have kissed the World Cup goodbye.

The Super Eagles Assistant Captain, Vincent Enyeama, has been rated as the second best goalkeeper by Opta after the second round of matches at the on-going FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Enyeama with 22 saves is rated second behind American goalkeeper, Tim Howard, who has a total of 27 saves with 15 of them coming in the game against Belgium.

Sadly, both Enyeama and Howard have kissed the World Cup goodbye as their heroics were inadequate to keep their country going in Brazil.

The sterling performance of Enyeama, who was the last keeper to concede a goal in Brazil, has understandably been widely applauded by everybody including former Super Eagles skipper, Austin Okocha.

Okocha stated via Twitter that Enyeama was Nigeria’s best performer at the World Cup followed by Turkey-based striker, Emmanuel Emenike.

“Enyeama was Nigeria’s best in the World cup. Followed by Emenike who worked selflessly, even without a goal. Just my view. Who’s your best?” Okocha tweeted on his page, @IamOkocha, on Thursday.

Nigeria was sent packing from the World Cup in the Round of 16, after conceding two late goals to France on Monday.

Nonetheless, the Eagles did make some progress, recording the first win for Nigeria after 16 years by beating Bosnia 1-0 in their second Group F game.

The Coach Stephen Keshi tutored side will also take consolation in the fact that they also equalled the previous best feat of making it to the last 16 recorded in Nigeria’s first two attempts in United States (1994) as well as in France (1998).

Yobo retires from Super Eagles

Yobo Norwich

Yobo scored an own goal in the match against France.

The Captain of Nigeria’s national team, the Super Eagles, Joseph Yobo, has announced his retirement from the national team.

Yobo’s retirement is coming on the heels of the Super Eagles’ ouster from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil having suffered a 2-0 defeat against France in the second Round.

The 33-year-old defender will go down in history as the first Nigerian to play 100 international matches

He also is the first Nigerian to play 10 World Cup matches but sadly capped it with an own goal in added time against Les Bleus on Monday.

“It was a bitter-sweet moment for me but I think it is time to focus on my family,” Yobo told reporters. “It has been a long road.”

The former Everton and Norwich defender featured for the Eagles at three World Cups and won the Africa Cup of Nations as captain last year.

“We’ve won the Africa Nations Cup and we came here and were not disgraced,” said Yobo who started out as a striker.

“I never thought that I’d be here because I missed the last six games of the season through injury. They gave me an opportunity but it is unfortunate what happened. “I gave my all,” he said.

Yobo, however, thinks that he’s leaving the national team in capable hands with the duo of defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Godfrey Oboabona able to continue in his place.

“They would grow,” he said. “Omeruo has done very well. Oboabona was injured but he got his chance at the Nations Cup. They’re going to get better, the experience is going to come and one of them has to take the responsibility and be a leader,” Yobo concluded‎.

World Cup: Ghana crashes out

Black Stars, Photo: tufaghanafc.com

Portugal, despite its win, is also kissing the Mundial goodbye.

The Black Stars of Ghana have become the third African team to crash out in the first round of the on-going FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Enmeshed in a series of off-the-pitch crisis, the Ghana team was defeated 2-1 in their final Group G game on Thursday by Portugal.

Portugal, despite its win, is also kissing the Mundial goodbye.

The Black Stars, who made it past the Group stages in their last two appearances, will now join Cameroon and Ivory Coast, the other two Africans on an early exit out of the World Cup.

An own-goal from Black Stars defender, John Boye, on the half hour mark in the game at Estadio Nacional already suggested that Ghana’s exit was all but confirmed.

Ghana captain, Asamoah Gyan, fired in an equaliser in the 57th minute. It was not enough to save the day for the West Africans as a late strike from Cristiano Ronaldo condemned them to a defeat.

Ten minutes from time, Ronaldo drilled home a goal from eight yards to at least register his 50th goal for Portugal and his one and only at this year’s World Cup.

In the other game in the group, despite USA losing 1-0 to Germany, they were still able to pull through to the knock out phase with a better goal difference compared to Portugal.

Thomas Muller was the goal scorer for the Germans who are now ready to justify their tag as one of the favourites for the title in Brazil.

World Cup: Why Victor Moses was kept on the bench – Keshi

victor moses

Moses is resting up from a muscle strain.

The Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has offered explanations on why Victor was confined to the bench in Nigeria’s last two outings at the World Cup.

The Big Boss claimed there was no iota of truth in reports suggesting he had some personal issues with Victor Moses.

After not being listed as a starter for the Argentina game, Moses was reportedly angered and opted to sit in the stands instead of the bench with his colleagues.

However, according to a press statement from Eagles Media officer, Ben Alaiya, the Big Boss claimed there was no iota of truth in the rumoured in-fighting.

“It’s purely medical. My last child is older than Moses, so why will I quarrel with my son? People must find out facts and not speculate especially when we have a capable media person in our midst,” Keshi was quoted as saying.

The coach went on to add that Moses had a muscle strain that was discovered by the team’s medics after the first game against Iran and he was advised to rest it so that he could come out better in subsequent games.

“We can understand that all players want to play at the big stage but it’s up to us and the medical team to manage their career and balance it with due diligence regarding their health and that is why we have not played him. We hope he would be back in training later on Thursday,” Keshi said.

Moses watched the Super Eagles match against Argentina from the stands with technical officials and was not dressed for the encounter. However, he looks ready to join the fray in the game against France more so as Babatunde Michael is out injured.

World Cup: Ghana expels Boateng, Muntari from camp

Boateng & Muntari

 Ghana play Portugal by 5:00 p.m. Nigerian time.

 

The crisis in the camp of the Black Stars of Ghana has deepened as there are reports that two senior players in the team, Kevin Prince Boateng and Suley Mutari, have been expelled from the World Cup camp.

Boateng and Muntari, who play for Schalke 04 of Germany and AC Milan of Italy respectively, were booted out of the Black Stars Brazil camp for indiscipline, few hours before their crucial encounter against Portugal.

According to reports monitored on U.K. Daily Express, Muntari slapped Ghana Management Committee member, Moses Armah, Parker after a row, while Boateng is believed to have clashed with Coach Kwasi Appiah during a training session.

Before the indiscipline display of the duo, Ghana have been in the spotlight over a bonus row that has necessitated the intervention of the country’s President, John Dramani Mahama.

The players protested that they had not been paid the appearance fee agreed on.

The players have since been paid their wages after the country’s president sent the sum to $3 million in cash to take care of their demands.

Ghana takes on Portugal in their final Group G match on Thursday. The West Africans need a significant win and also pray that both USA and Germany don’t play out a draw if they hope to qualify to the knockout stage

Before being expelled, Muntari was already banned for the game against Portugal after picking up two yellow cards in the competition so far.

Boateng is available but was left out of Appiah’s starting line-up for Ghana’s opening match against USA.