Cameroonian FA Orders National Team To Stop Super Eagles

With qualification hopes hanging by a thread following their 1-1 draw against visiting Zambia in  their Russia 2018 World Cup Group B qualifier in Limbe on Saturday, the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT)  has declared  Cameroon’s  double-header  against their bitter rivals  Nigeria   next year must-win games.

The Super Eagles  opened  up a four-point lead at the top of the table following their 3-1 defeat of Algeria in Uyo on Saturday.

Nigeria  have six points to sit  top of the group, followed by Cameroon in the second place on two points. Both Zambia and Algeria have one point apiece. The winners of the group will  book  the sole ticket  to Russia  2018.

The Eagles host  the Indomitable Lions in the first leg qualifier  on August 28, 2017, with the Central Africans hosting the Nigerians in the return leg fixture on September  2, 2017.

Apparently  afraid  the   four-time African champions  could miss out on a place at Russia 2018,  having appeared at   Espana ‘82, Italia ‘90, USA ‘94, France ‘98,  Korea/Japan 2002, South Africa  2010 and  Brazil 2014, FECAFOOT on Monday  told   Cameroon coach Hugo Bross that he must pick up maximum points in the double-header against Nigeria.

FECAFOOT, who expressed their disappointment at  the draw against Zambia, wrote  on their official website on Monday,  “The coming months will be months of hard work. In January and February next year, the  national team will have to confirm their  ambition to restore the national coat of arms during their  participation  at the  Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

“The  Russia 2018  World Cup  qualifiers next year  will be of great importance with two decisive matches against Nigeria, currently first in our group.

“To maintain the positive report of the performances of our various national teams, one goal is needed – to shine in Gabon and win these two matches against Nigeria.”

And the  Indomitable Lions’ Belgian manager Bross  called for focus ahead of the fixtures against the Eagles, tipping Cameroon for victories in both encounters.

“We already knew before the two matches against Nigeria would be decisive, that we would have to win to have a chance to go to the World Cup,” the 64-year-old former Belgium defender  was quoted by the Cameroon Tribune as saying on Monday.

Punch

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Algeria Squad Arrives Nigeria With Their Own Food, Water, Beddings

The national team of Algeria arrived Nigeria with their own supply of food, water and beddings.

According to former media officer of the Super Eagles, Colin Udoh, the North African players even brought along pillows.

Algeria arrived with a chartered flight late Thursday evening and were received by top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Algeria’s delegation was led by FAF president, Mohamed Raouraoua.

They were booked into the Le Meridian Hotel, where the Super Eagles are also staying and will train tomorrow at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium by.

New coach, Georges Leekens, has touched down with an injury-hit squad for the fixture.

Ryad Boudebouz is ruled out, while Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam remains a huge doubt as he has been battling a groin problem. But he travelled with the team

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ABS Promotion To NPFL: Kwara SWAN Congratulates Senate President

The Kwara Council of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), has congratulated the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki over the promotion of Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Ilorin FC, to the country’s Apex league.

The council in a statement jointly signed by its chairman Alhaji Abdulwaheed Bibire and Secretary, Olayinka Owolewa, praised Dr. Saraki’s support to the club which enabled it return to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), after three years in the lower division.

Kwara SWAN also appreciated the State Government for providing enabling environment for the privately owned Club as well as its consistent support to the Sports sector in the state.

The statement recalled how the Saraki Boys thrashed Gateway United FC on Wednesday in Ilorin 4-1 in rescheduled match day 14 Nigeria National League (NNL) encounter.

The council urged Dr. Saraki to redouble his finances and support to the team as the campaign in the NPFL will begin in weeks time.

The statement also thanked the players and the technical crew of the team for their doggedness throughout the season and for returning Premier League action to the state.

It congratulated the club’s Director of Football, Alloy Chukwuemeka, one of the national executives of the association, for his outstanding contribution to the progress of the Club.

The council equally rejoiced with Kwarans especially soccer enthusiasts for their unflinching support to the team day and night.

The statement urged the soccer fans to continue to be law abiding especially when Premier League season resumes.

It commended stakeholders in the state for standing firmly behind the team to make the journey to the Premier League possible in spite of all odds.

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Controversy Trails North West Etisalat U-15 Soccer

The Etisalat Zonal eliminations for the North West Zone ended in controversy at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna, with Kaduna State alleging match fixing in the match between Kano and Bauchi states.

Director Schools Sports, Kaduna State, Mr. Abel H. Yakubu alleged that several happenings at the 3-day eliminations point to shady schemes that edged his state and favoured Bauchi to qualify from their group.

He said that from the screening of players, many of those who were billed to represent his state were sent packing, leaving only eight players to prosecute their matches.

“The PRO of the Nigeria Schools Sports Federation (NSSF) who is from Niger State and the PA to the NSSF President, from Kano were brought to screen our players.

“He just looked at the players and touched them at will, disqualifying any player he touched in the process,” he said.

Yakubu said that scientific means were not adopted in screening players, to prove that their players were actually above 15 years.

Speaking further, he said that while the first half of the match to determine which team qualifies from their group, the coordinator from Kano State, Rabiu was heard discussing with someone on phone, ordering them that the match should be allowed to en that way, as at that time, the match was 2-1 in favour of Bauchi.

“Again, we were supposed to play Jigawa State this morning, but under strange circumstances, it was a walk over because Jigawa came up with lame excuses, which gave us a win with three goals, which is unfair, because Bauchi had earlier beaten Jigawa 12-0 which gives them advantage. If we played Jigaa, we woul have scored more than 13 goals,” he boasted.

Similarly, another complaint from the camp was that Bauchi State from the North East was not expected to feature in the North West zone.

When contacted on phone to react to the allegations, NSSF President said that he was not aware of any match fixing.

He said that though he will not rule out the fact that football politics may have played out, he was not in the know of any such arrangement.

“It is not true. What I learnt was that during the screening before the competition, Jigawa was left with eight players. One was injured, remaining seven. Out of the seven, their goalkeeper too ill and could not feature in the match against Kaduna, hence the walk over,” he explained.

He said being the President of NSSF, he belongs to the entire country and would not be seen taking sides.

“For instance, after the game between Kano and Kaduna, Kano complained about Kaduna featuring a disqualified player, but in the interest of peace I waived it aside,” he said.

The NSSF President said that it was not a good development for states that host competitions to always want to win, but should imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship.

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Alex Iwobi Gets New Name From Arsenal Fans

Arsenal fans have developed a new nickname for Nigeria youngster, Alex Iwobi, following his sterling performance at the Emirates.

Supporters of the north London club now describe the 20-year-old as Big17.

Iwobi was handed the jersey no 17 vacated by Alexis Sanchez at the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season.

The attacking midfielder has continued his steady rise in the past one year by notching three assists thus far this campaign.

His superb skills, flicks and killer passes have certainly made him a fan favourite.

It is for this and other reasons that the Nigerian is now described as Big17 despite his petite statue.

“Especially after a game, I’m trying to go home and I see fans almost breaking my car just to grab a picture, it’s just crazy,” Iwobi said about Arsenal fans.

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CAF Shortlist 30 For African Player Of The Year Award, Mikel, Four Other Nigerians Listed [Full List]

The Nigerian football trio of John Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho made the list of the 30 players shortlisted for the CAF African player of the year award for 2016.

Also, the duo of Mfon Udoh of Enyimba FC and Chisom Chikatara of Wydad FC of Morocco made the cut for the Africa-based Player of the Year award.

The list includes the 2015 African player of the year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Andre Ayew of Ghana.

THE FULL LIST

African Player of the Year

1. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)

2. El Arabi Hillel Soudani (Algeria & Dinamo Zagreb)

3. Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City)

4. Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon & Antalyaspor)

5. Benjamin Mounkandjo (Cameroon & Lorient)

6. Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire & PSG)

7. Eric Bailly (Cote d’Ivoire & Manchester United)

8. Yao Kouasi Gervais ‘Gervinho’ (Cote d’Ivoire & Hebei Fortune)

9.Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma)

10. Mohamed El Neny (Egypt & Arsenal)

11. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Dortmund)

12. Andre Ayew (Ghana & West Ham)

13. Victor Wanyama (Kenya & Tottenham)

14. William Jebor (Liberia & Wydad Athletic Club)

15. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco & Juventus)

16. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco & Ajax)

17. John Mikel Obi (Nigeria & Chelsea)

18. Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria & Manchester City)

19. Ahmed Musa (Nigeria & Leicester City)

20. Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo & Villareal)

21. Yannick Bolasie (DR Congo & Everton)

22. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)

23. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal & Napoli)

24. Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)

25. Itumeleng Khune (South Africa & Kaizer Chiefs)

26. Mbwana Samatta (Tanzania & Genk)

27. Aymen Abdennour Tunisia & Valencia)

28. Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia & Sunderland)

29. Dennis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)

30. Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns)

African Player of the Year – Based in Africa

1. Dennis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)

2. Itumeleng Khune (South Africa & Kaizer Chiefs)

3. Aymen Mathlouthi (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel)

4. Joel Kimwaki (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)

5. Joyce Lomalisa (DR Congo & AS Vita)

6. Salif Coulibaly (Mali & TP Mazembe)

7. Ali Gabr (Egypt & Zamalek)

8. Keegan Dolly (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns) 9. Jackson Mwanza (Zambia & Zesco United)

10. Rainford Kalaba (Zambia & TP Mazembe)

11. Elia Meschak (DR Congo & TP Mazembe)

12. Aymen Hefny (Egypt & Zamalek)

13. Morgan Betorangal (Chad & MO Bejaia)

14. Hlompho Kekana (South Africa & Mamelodi Sundowns)

15. Hamza Lahmar (Tunisia & Etoile du Sahel)

16. Jesse Were (Kenya & Zesco United)

17. Idris Mbombo (DR Congo & Zesco United)

18. Chisom Chikatara (Nigeria & Wydad Athletic Club)

19. William Jebor (Liberia & Wydad Athletic Club)

20. Reda Hajhouj (Morocco & Wydad Athletic Club)

21. Fabrice Nguessi Ondama (Congo & Wydad Athletic Club)

22. Mfon Udon (Nigeria & Enyimba)

23. Bassem Morsi (Egypt & Zamalek)

24. Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe & Mamelodi Sundowns)

25. Yannick Zakri (Cote d’Ivoire & Mamelodi Sundowns)

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We Were Intimidated By Nigeria’s Premier League Stars, Zambia Skipper Confesses

Zambia skipper, Rainford Kalaba, has revealed that his team were intimidated when they faced Nigeria’s experienced Premier League players on Sunday.

The Super Eagles displayed great attacking artistry far away in Ndola to defeat their host 2-1 – thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi who ply their trade in the English topflight for Manchester City and Arsenal respectively.

Aside the duo, the three-time African also had the likes of Mikel Obi of Chelsea, Leicester City’s Ahmed Musa and ex-West Brom forward, Brown Ideye, on display.

Coming against a Chipolopolo side who play predominantly in South Africa, the Eagles stunned the home crowd by going two goals up in the first half.

And Kalaba attributes his team slump in the first half to fear and inferiority complex – owing to the fact that his teammates follow the Premier League and watch these Nigerians on display.

“Playing against experienced players based in Europe, some of the guys were scared of playing against them because they always watch them every weekend in the Premier league and when they see them live, it is often difficult for them to concentrate on the game,” reasoned the TP Mazembe star who posted a stint in Portugal between 20018 and 2010.

“In the first half some of the guys were a bit scared, but in the second half we all saw how things went and we controlled the game.

“There are even more stars in Algeria and Cameroon, so this must be big lesson for us.”

However, Kalaba was full of praise for the West Africans who he claims are well organised and experienced.

“We respect Nigeria because they have some good players,” he added.

“They have some experienced players in the midfield and they were well organised.”

The exciting forward said the pressure will now be on the Chipolopolo to get their qualifying campaign back on track.

“Losing our first game has brought more pressure on us, but we hope to improve,” he admitted.

“We are all very disappointed we lost at home because it was important to start (this competition) well.

“We still have time to work together with the coach so that we that we could rectify the mistake we have made.”

Nigeria currently top Group B after Algeria and Cameroon settled for a 1-1 draw.

They face the Desert Foxes at home in November.

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Nigeria’s Flamingos Crash Out Of Jordan 2016 World Cup

Nigeria’s Flamingoes rounded up a disastrous U17 World Cup when they were trounced 3-0 by North Korea yesterday in a final Group C match.

Striker Ri Hae Yon plundered a hat-trick to book Nigeria’s flight back home.

The Flamingoes, captained by Rasheedat Ajibade in her second U17 World Cup, were never really in this contest.

Nigeria failed to score a goal in their three matches and managed only a goalless draw with England to finish on a solitary point.

The Flamingoes, who reached the quarterfinals in the last three editions of the competition, suffered from lack of international exposure, as they did not play any international warm-up before Jordan 2017.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said they did not have the cash to arrange any international games for the team

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LMC Confirms Relegation Of Heartland FC From NPFL

The League Management Company (LMC) on Thursday confirmed the relegation of Heartland Football Club of Owerri form the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to the second tier Nigeria National League (NNL).

Heartland and Plateau United FC faced each other on Sunday in Jos, in their last match of the season but the encounter was later abandoned by the teams.

The match was abandoned after the centre referee disallowed a goal by Heartland with about 25 minutes to the end of the encounter which would have given them a 2-1 lead.

Heartland fondly called Naze Millionaires were battling to avoid been relegated as the club had never been relegated from the elite league since its inception in 1976.

Rising from its meeting on Thursday after reviewing the match, the LMC said Heartland would forfeit three points thus losing the match to Plateau United.

The LMC also fined the club N3 million for abandoning the match in Jos.

The development had now placed Heartland on 18th place on the Nigeria Professional Football League table with 44 points from 36 matches.

The LMC in a statement said, “The League Management Company following a review of reports and video of the match issued separate Summary Jurisdiction Notices to the clubs.

“In the case against Heartland, the LMC charged the club for breach of B13.26 for failing to continue with the match. The team is also fined N3 million and will forfeit three points and three goals to Plateau United.”

The LMC also fined Plateau United N1 million after their supporters were cited in the video evidence throwing objects onto the field of play which led to the delay of the match in the start of the second half.

This, the LMC considered a breach of Rule B13.18.

It said, “For the breach, the LMC fined Plateau United N1 million and both clubs have 48 hours to submit to the ruling or elect representatives to appear before the commission if they are not satisfied with the decision.”

Heartland have won the elite league title four times and have also won the FA Cup thrice.

They have also won the Super Cup twice.

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Guardiola Bans Iheanacho, Man City Teammates From Internet

Nigeria youngster, Kelechi Iheanacho, might no longer be able to surf the web while in training according to new system introduced by Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola.

This revelation was made by Iheanacho’s teammate, Pablo Zabaleta, who claims the Spanish gaffer ordered connection to be disconnected in the club’s training ground.

Guardiola is famous for his passionate approach to the game and has already implemented some huge changes at the Etihad following his summer arrival from Bayern Munich.

As a result of this latest development, Iheanacho and his colleagues will no longer be allowed to use 3G on their phones.

“You always want and dream to be trained by the best coaches, and today I have the opportunity to work with one of the best,” the Argentine defender told Tyc Sports.

“Actually, you learn a lot, especially the way you live it. Beyond knowledge, his passion for football.

“He forces us to have breakfast and lunch together at the club. The internet is cut off, we are held incommunicado. We don’t even use 3G.”

Aside no longer being able to trawl the Internet, City players must now eat all their meals together in a bid to improve squad harmony, while calorific treats including pizza and fruit juice have been scrapped altogether.

Guardiola introduced a controversial “fat camp” for out-of-shape stars during pre-season, and he took things a step further by hiring key nutritionist, Silvia Tremoleda, last month.

The ex- Barcelona staff member personally worked with Lionel Messi and is credited with helping the Argentine get back on track after his injury-plagued season in 2013.

On the menu now are olive oil, whole grains, organic vegetables and nuts, but Guardiola’s wrath now appears to have extended beyond just the food.

City suffered their first defeat of the season on Sunday against Tottenham but will be hoping to bounce back after the international break.

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Dalung Urges Media To Stop Quoting Him Out Of Context

The Minister of Youth & Sport Development, Solomon Dalung, has called on the media to always quote him right and not out of context.

Dalung, who referred to recent reports credited to him in a national daily and a radio station that “athletes don’t need training to win medals but a winning mentality”, described it as “false, with an intent to create mischief.”

Dalung, currently in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to support the nation’s paralympians at the 2016 Paralympic Games, slammed the practice of “Yellow Journalism” by some writers which he said has contributed to the poor development of the sports industry.

Speaking from Rio, the minister said he did not grant a one-on-one interview with Brilla and challenged the writers to quote him right.

“The last interview I granted was at the flag-off of the NCC Tennis league at the National Stadium, Abuja. I was asked to compare the performance of Nigerian athletes at the just concluded Olympics and the on-going Paralympics and I said  that the performance of Nigerian athletes at the Paralympic Games has established the fact that, apart from the right training, there was also need for the determination to excel. I said that they trained under the same conditions like the Olympic athletes and that, apart from inadequate preparations, there is nothing else we can attribute the performance of the Paralympians who have done so well at the Games to. I argued that, if their argument was lack of good training, the Paralympians went through the same [training]. In fact, they trained here in Nigeria. This was what I said to the journalists who were at the stadium for the tennis event.”

Dalung urged sports writers to verify their reports and desist from writing defamatory stories that were capable of bringing people to public ridicule or disparage them in the eyes of right-thinking people.

“We need to go back and do a proper x-ray of both circumstances, so as to enable us make the best of of a bad bargain, because the poor preparation was created due to paucity of funds, but the Paralympians are making Nigerians proud here in Rio”.

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MTN Kano Traders Football Championship Kicks-off

In keeping to its promise of fostering comradeship and unity among traders’ business communities, MTN is set to host the annual traders’ football championship in Kano.

The explosive tournament that will last a month from August 20 to September 24 will see different traders slug it out in the epic battle for the ultimate prize.

Over the years the tournament has become a platform that brings traders together, to share their business experiences, bond, relax, build healthy business networks and make lasting friendships.

The Kano edition will be the first time the light-hearted football competition will be held in the northern region. Previous editions were held in Aba and Onitsha for the last 5 to 8 years.

In the first round of matches, Garun Barba Market will tackle Wapa BD Change, Hajj Camp Market will engage Kankara Market in the second match of Group A. In Group B, Jawala GSM will take on Gidan Boss Market while Farm Centre GSM will face Singer Market.

Other group games will see Wapa Motorcyle Market lock horns with Bata Global GSM and Wambai Market face Kwanar Market in Group C. In Group D, PRP Market will engage Danwali market while Sabon Gari Market will face a formidable opponent in Rimin kebe Market.

Participating teams are selected by the traders, usually by the type of products they trade in or by location. The winner of the competition gets N400, 000, while the first and second runners up will get N300,000 and N200,000 respectively. There will also be consolation prizes and raffle draws during the one month football fiesta.

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