• World Cup Finals: Nigeria needs a miracle to be at Russia 2018 - Babangida

    26/Jun/2016 // 1472 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JUNE 26, 2016: (DGW) - Nigeria would need a miracle to hoist its flag at the 2016 World Cup Finals, ex-Nigeria star Tijani Babangida has predicted.

    Babangida blamed Nigeria's chances on unpreparedness considering the group Nigeria is which comprises Algeria, Cameroon, and Zambia.

    The countries he said, are no pushover and doubts Nigeria's ability to scale through to the finals in Russia.

    “The worse happened already after we were not seeded,” he said.

    “And now with Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia in our group, only a miracle could take us out of this group, let’s be realistic even though we also know that anything is possible in football.

    “Other nations are already 100 percent ready for the qualifiers, while we are still not certain who our coach will be.”


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  • Defensive blunder costs Nigeria dearly in African Cup of Nationals qualifier

    26/Mar/2016 // 406 Viewers

     

    Johannesburg (AFP) - Nigeria ignored a football fundamental -- always play to the whistle -- and it cost them dearly in a 1-1 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying draw with Egypt Friday.

    The Super Eagles deserved to be more than one goal ahead at an overcrowded Ahmadu Bello Stadium in northern city Kaduna as the high-profile Group G clash drifted into stoppage time.

    Then, a pass from substitute Ramadan Sobhy caught the defence napping and as they stood appealing for offside, Mohamed Salah equalised.

    Oghenekaro Etebo, a star when Nigeria won the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations three months ago, had pounced on a rebound off the woodwork to break the stalemate on the hour.

    Victor Moses thought he had scored a second six minutes from time after rounding goalkeeper Ahmed Al Shenawy and pushing the ball toward an unguarded goal.

    But Hamada Tolba darted back to make a dramatic clearance under pressure just before the ball crossed the goal-line.

    Salvaging a lucky point kept record seven-time African champions Egypt two points ahead of three-time winners Nigeria halfway through the six-round qualifying schedule.

    Egypt have seven points, Nigeria five, Tanzania four and Chad none in the 'group of death'.

    The teams clash again Tuesday in Mediterranean city Alexandria and a win for the Pharaohs would all but seal a slot at the 2017 tournament in Gabon.

    Only the 13 group winners are guaranteed places at the biennial African football showpiece while the best two runners-up also qualify.

    Defending champions Ivory Coast went to the top of Group I with a laboured 1-0 win over second-placed Sudan in Abidjan via an opening-half goal from Gervinho.

    The Ivorians, who lifted the trophy a second time last year after a decade of underachievement, missed injured captain Yaya Toure at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny.

    Ivory Coast have four points, Sudan three and Sierra Leone one in the only three-team mini-league.

    Swaziland, one of 16 African countries never to qualify for the Cup of Nations, stayed top of Group L on goals scored despite being held 1-1 at home by second-place Zimbabwe.

    The hosts made a dream start as Felix Badenhorst nodded home a cross just 90 seconds after the kick-off at Somhlolo Stadium in Lobamba.

    Zimbabwe recovered to dominate the first half, but their equaliser a minute before half-time came gift-wrapped from the Swazis with Njabulo Ndlovu conceding an own goal.

    Guinea and Malawi failed to take advantage of the Swaziland stalemate by drawing 0-0 in Conakry, which was hosting the national team for the first time since a 2014 Ebola virus-induced ban was lifted.

    Swaziland and Zimbabwe have five points each and Malawi and top seeds Guinea two apiece.

    Mauritania joined Cameroon at the top of Group M after snatching a 2-1 victory over Gambia in Nouakchott through a stoppage-time goal from 'Bessam'.

    He put the hosts ahead at the Stade Olympique during the opening half and Mustapha Carayol, from English second-tier club Leeds United, levelled on the hour.

    Cameroon and Mauritania have six points each and Gambia and South Africa one each with the Bafana Bafana away to the Indomitable Lions Saturday.

    Youssef Msakni nodded in just after half-time to give Tunisia a 1-0 win over Togo in Monastir and top place in Group A on goal difference.

    Tunisia, Togo and Liberia all have six points while Djibouti have lost their three matches.

    The biggest win came in the final match with winger Sofiane Feghouli and Islam Slimani bagging braces as Algeria crushed Ethiopia 7-1 in Blida despite Yacine Brahimi failing to convert a penalty.

    Algeria have a maximum nine points in Group J, Ethiopia four, Seychelles one and Lesotho none.


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  • Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants ‘dignified’ exit

    26/Oct/2015 // 120 Viewers

    Sepp Blatter

    Sepp Blatter says he is determined to make a “dignified departure” from the FIFA presidency to honour his late father.

    Blatter, who intends to leave his role after February’s presidential election, is currently serving a provisional 90-day suspension that was issued by FIFA’s ethics committee earlier this month in the wake of a Swiss criminal investigation.

    Blatter, along with UEFA president Michel Platini, is not permitted to take part in any football-related activity until the ban expires, which includes media interviews on the subject.

    However, while Platini appears to be making efforts not to contravene the rules of his suspension, Blatter told Schweiz am Sonntag: “I am suspended from holding office, but you can’t be suspended as a private person.”

    The newspaper said the 79-year-old has received letters of support from heads of state, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, as he awaits a verdict from FIFA’s adjudicatory chamber.

    He stressed that, having started work at FIFA in the 1970s and served as its president since 1998, he does not plan to leave world football’s governing body via the backdoor.

    “I want a dignified departure after 41 years,” Blatter said. “Otherwise, I would fear visiting my father’s grave. What do you believe will happen when I tell him that I give up? He’d step out of his grave.”

    Blatter has more recently been implicated in the allegations over the 2006 World Cup, with Der Spiegel having reported that Germany paid €6.7 million to secure the votes of four FIFA Executive Committee members to host the tournament.

    German football federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach, who has denied that organising committee paid for votes, claimed FIFA requested the €6.7m to release a €170m grant necessary for the hosting of the tournament.

    It has been suggested that Blatter asked Franz Beckenbauer, who was the head of the organising committee, for the funds but FIFA said in an earlier statement that requesting such a payment “in no way corresponds” to its “standard processes and regulations.”

    Blatter has now said: “I have never asked Franz Beckenbauer for money. Jamais de la vie. Never ever. I also did not ask the German FA for money. That’s just not true.”

    He repeated advice his father had given him, saying: “Don’t take any money that you have not earned and never try to achieve your goals with money.”


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  • Siasia blows hot, turns his back, says 'I'm done with Nigeria'

    27/Aug/2016 // 275 Viewers

     

    PARIS, AUGUST 27, 2016: (DGW) Nigeria’s U23 coach, Samson Siasia, has expressed disappointment with the leadership of the Nigerian Football Federation over the treatment the team  got from the football house in Abuja while in Rio, Brazil.

    When asked about his future in an interview published by Vanguard, a visibly angry Siasia said, “my next step is that I am done with Nigeria for now.”

    “You can’t keep going to a place where they don’t appreciate you. It does not worth it. Sometimes it is not about the money but the approach. They seem not to appreciate the sacrifices. I know how much I have sacrificed since the team began camping two years ago.


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  • Heartbroken Messi retires from international football

    27/Jun/2016 // 394 Viewers

     

    AFP -  Lionel Messi sensationally announced his retirement from international football after Argentina crashed to an upset defeat against Chile in the final of the Copa America.

    The heartbroken Barcelona superstar was distraught after missing a spot-kick as Chile snatched victory in a penalty shoot-out – Messi’s fourth straight defeat in a major final while representing Argentina.

    “For me the national team is over,” the crestfallen 29-year-old told reporters. 

    “I’ve done all I can, I’ve been in four finals and it hurts not to be a champion.

    “It’s a hard moment for me and the team, and it’s difficult to say, but it’s over with the Argentina team.”

    Messi’s dramatic announcement followed Argentina’s third loss in a major final since 2014.

    They were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the final of the World Cup in 2014 and lost on penalties, also to Chile, in the final of the 2015 Copa America.

    Messi also tasted defeat with Argentina in the final of the 2007 Copa America.

    Despite a glittering career that has seen him be named FIFA World Player of the Year on no fewer than five occasions, Messi has faced persistent sniping from critics in Argentina.

    Yet he received support on Sunday from Chile’s victorious Argentine coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who maintained that Messi deserves to be regarded as the best ever.

    Record-breaker

    “As well as an admiration for Messi, I’m driven very much by his numbers,” Pizzi said of Messi’s record-breaking career.

    “I know what it means to value certain numbers and Messi’s numbers are unmatched, and I don’t think they will ever be matched because it’s impossible for a player to find the things that Messi finds.”

    But while universally regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever, he has regularly been targeted for his inability to land a major title in the colors of Argentina.

    Messi’s failure to match the achievements of Diego Maradona, who single-handedly carried the team to victory in the 1986 World Cup, has often been held against him.

    Pizzi said comparisons with Maradona were unfair.

    “My generation can’t compare him with Maradona, because of what Maradona did for Argentine soccer,” Pizzi said. “But it seems that the best player in history played in the United States. For me the numbers are impossible to argue with.”

    Maradona himself has often taken potshots at Messi, criticising him on the eve of the tournament for a perceived “lack of personality.”

    “He’s a really good person, but he has no personality,” Maradona said in Paris shortly before the start of Euro 2016.

    “He lacks the character to be a leader.”

    Globe-trotting

    Messi’s bombshell decision comes after a gruelling season which was disrupted by injury last year.

    He recovered to help Barcelona win the Spanish title once more and was relishing the prospect of leading Argentina to glory in the Copa America Centenario.

    His commitment to playing for Argentina was reflected in his decision to fly from Spain to Argentina for a low-key friendly against Honduras shortly before the tournament, where he suffered a back injury.

    He then returned to Spain to give evidence at his trial for tax fraud before jetting off to the United States to join up with his Argentina team-mates.

    Although he was injured for his team’s opening group game against Chile, he came on as a substitute in a 5-0 hammering of Panama to score a hat-trick in 19 minutes.

    He then equalled Argentina’s international goalscoring record of 54, held by Gabriel Batistuta, in the quarter-finals before setting a new mark with his 55th international goal in the semi-final win over the United States.


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  • Euro 2016: Spain's long reign ends in France as they lose to Italy

    27/Jun/2016 // 402 Viewers

     

    PARIS, JUNE 27, 2016: (DGW) Italy beat Spain, the defending champions  to proceed to the next stage in the ongoing Euro 2016 tournament in France. 

    The first half recorded a goal against Spain  in the 30 minute of play while the second goal came in added  time.

    Although Spain had  51% ball possession but could not convert that opportunity to any goal. 

    Italy triumphed with goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle and will face Germany in the quarter-finals.

    The Italians, who had not won a competitive match against Spain since the 1994 World Cup and were humiliated 4-0 by their old rivals in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev, were the better side, especially in the first half, on a damp evening.

    Italy, who were better organised and more aggressive before the break, had wasted several chances when defender Chiellini put them ahead after 33 minutes, following up to tap in after goalkeeper David De Gea failed to block Eder's free kick.

    The Italians suffered in the second half and had been resisting sustained Spanish pressure when striker Pelle connected with a Matteo Darmian cross to volley home from close range, doubling their advantage in added time.

    Spain's defeat marked the end of an era for a side who had established themselves as the dominant force in Europe by winning the European Championship in 2008, after knocking out Italy in the quarter-finals, and repeated the success in 2012.

     


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  • Ighalo, Troost-Ekong expected on Monday for Tanzania game

    28/Aug/2016 // 269 Viewers

     

    Nigeria senior national team will resume camp in Uyo on Monday ahead of September's 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Tanzania at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium.

    The Super Eagles camp is expected to swell with arrival of players, team’s assistant coaches and backroom staff alongside new handler Gernot Rohr.

    The Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed that Haugesund defender William Troost-Ekong who was on target for his side as well as Watford forward Odion Ighalo will arrive on Monday.

    Others expected are Enugu Rangers' Emmanuel Daniel, Ikechukwu Ezenwa of Ifeanyi Ubah and Kano Pillars defender Jamiu Alimi. The team will be accomodated at the Le Meridien Hotel, Uyo.

    Meanwhile, captain and Chelsea star John Obi Mikel, who led the Nigeria U23 to securing the 2016 Olympic bronze medal in Brazil will join the team on Tuesday.

    Coach Rohr will begin his reign against the Taifa Stars as he prepares the team for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia in October.


    INVITED PLAYERS IN FULL

    Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England); Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah)

    Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); William Troost-Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); Jamiu Alimi (Kano Pillars); Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal); Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey); Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France), Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia)

    Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium); Nosa Igiebor (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel)

    Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Imoh Ezekiel (Al-Arabi Sporting Club, Qatar), Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England); Brown Ideye (Olympiacos FC, Greece); Victor Osimhen (Wolfsburg FC, Germany)


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  • NFF falls out with Siasia, says he's an ingrate, they will expose his secrets

    29/Aug/2016 // 687 Viewers

     

    Former coach of the U-23 Dream Team Samson Siasia has been labelled an ingrate by a top official of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). 

    The official threatened to expose Samson Siasia, if he continues to castigate the football house. 

    Siasia, who recently won bronze with Nigeria’s U-23 team at the 2016 Olympics,  said he is “done” working for Nigeria after feeling neglected by the NFF before and during the Rio games.

    The Dream Team were left stranded in the US just days ahead of the Olympics and arrived Manus, Brazil five hours before their first match against Japan with they eventually won 5 – 4.

    Reacting to the numerous claims by Siasia, the unnamed official toldOwnGoalNigeria.com: “We have endured Siasia’s excesses, he knows we have our own side of the story he is telling to the press. He shouldn’t forget that our recent spate of failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations was started by him.

    “He is an ingrate, we gave him the chance to relaunch himself with the U-23s but he showed us he is still the same person, we know how some players were selected both for the Super Eagles in the two games he handled and also for the U23s, he should just keep shut.

    “We have facts to show he was involved in some dealings that led to our failures at tournaments; as a matter of fact, go and ask any board member, we received more petitions about Siasia than any other coach, he knows it.

    “If he doesn’t keep shut, we will shame him and end his coaching career, a team that should have won gold, he selected players based on favoritism and he wants us to celebrate bronze with him; we are wiser than that.”

    Despite the troubles faced by the team, Siasia’s boys did the nation proud by winning bronze medal – Nigeria’s only medal at the games. 

    The Dream Team defeated Honduras 3 – 2 in a third place match played at the Maracana stadium.

    Credit: naij.com


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  • Nigeria eliminated by Egypt from Africa Cup of Nations

    30/Mar/2016 // 321 Viewers

     

    Alexandria (Egypt) (AFP) - Nigeria crashed out of contention to reach the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon after they lost 1-0 to Egypt in Alexandria on Tuesday.

     

    It's the second successive tournament the three-time champions have missed out on -- although last time they missed out as reigning title-holders.

    Egypt, with seven points from three matches, now need only a point from their final group game against Tanzania in June to qualify for the finals.

    Nigeria have only two points from three games and can no longer qualify, while minnows Tanzania would need to win their two remaining matches to have any chance of piping Egypt to the finals.

    Teenager Radwan Sobhi, who was picked ahead of Anderlecht striker Mahmoud Hassan, grabbed the all-important goal in the 65th minute, when his toed effort from just inside the box trickled past goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

    England-based Victor Moses saw his shot crash against the post beyond the Egypt goalkeeper in the 84th minute, but it came back into play.

    But generally, Nigeria did not do enough to really trouble the Egyptian goal.


    READ ALSO: Morocco qualify, Egypt close, Nigeria out in CAN qualifiers

    Egypt created the better chances in the first half but Nigeria also had their moments at a packed Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

    Egypt created two early openings –- Ahmed Hegazy headed narrowly wide after five minutes and almost immediately skipper Abdallah Al-Said also missed the target from inside the box.

    In the closing minutes of the first half, Akpeyi pulled off two big saves from Ibrahim Salah and Al-Said.


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  • Morocco qualify, Egypt close, Nigeria out in CAN qualifiers

    30/Mar/2016 // 290 Viewers

     

    Johannesburg (AFP) - Morocco became the first qualifiers for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon after beating Cape Verde 2-0 in Marrakech Tuesday.

    Star striker Youssef El Arabi scored twice early in the second half, the first from a penalty that resulted in a visiting footballer being red-carded.

    Morocco hold a six-point Group F lead over top-ranked African team Cape Verde with two rounds left and a head-to-head advantage having also beaten the islanders last Saturday in Praia.

    Frenchman Herve Renard, who led minnows Zambia and underachievers Ivory Coast to the African title in the past three tournaments, replaced Badou Zaki as Morocco coach a month ago.

    Egypt and Senegal also triumphed to virtually seal places at the 16-nation finals while Nigeria were eliminated and South Africa look set to join them on the scrapheap.

    A second-half goal from Ramadan Sobhy gave Egypt a 1-0 Group G win in Alexandria while Moussa Konate and Papa Souare goals earned Senegal a 2-1 Group K win in Niger.

    Record seven-time champions Egypt need one point from a June visit to Tanzania and Senegal one point from games against Burundi and Namibia to be certain of playing in Gabon next year.

    But defeat for three-time title-holders Nigeria means they will miss the African football showpiece for the third time in four editions.

    Former champions South Africa need a miracle after a drab 0-0 home draw with leaders Cameroon left them five points behind with two matchdays remaining.

    Sobhy struck on 65 minutes with a shot from inside the box that was deflected past goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

    Victor Moses came close to levelling four minutes from time with a shot that struck the post and trickled across an unguarded goal.

    After Konate and Souare had given 2002 runners-up Senegal a two-goal half-time cushion in Niamey, Victorien Adebayor pulled one back for Niger.

    Senegal boast a 100 percent record after four rounds and are six points ahead of Burundi, who shocked Namibia 3-1 in Windhoek with Fiston Abdul Razak bagging a brace.

    South Africa, whose midfielder Hlompho Kekana scored a wonder goal from inside his half against Cameroon last Saturday, flopped in Durban.

    The Indomitable Lions were content to sit back against rivals too slow and predictable to create openings in a match they had to win.

    Minnows Mauritania forced a 0-0 draw in Gambia and host Cameroon in a top-of-the-table clash during June knowing victory will give them the lead.

    Max-Alain Gradel scored for defending champions Ivory Coast as they drew 1-1 in Sudan to retain a one-pont Group I lead.

    Liberia moved two points clear of more fancied Tunisia and Togo in Group A after a 5-0 win over traditional whipping boys Djibouti in Monrovia.

    William Jebor scored a hat-trick for the Lone Stars, whose last Cup of Nations appearance was 14 years ago when legend George Weah was captain.

    Togo were held 0-0 by Tunisia in Lome despite the return from self-imposed exile of star striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

    Democratic Republic of Congo scored late in each half through Joel Kimwaki and Jonathan Bolingi to beat Angola 2-0 In Luanda and build a two-point Group B advantage.

    Uganda, whose last played at the finals in 1978, wasted several good chances in a 0-0 Kampala draw with Burkina Faso, who top Group D on head-to-head records.

    Ethiopia led Group J pacesetters Algeria three times during a dramatic 3-3 draw in Addis Ababa with Faouzi Ghoulam salvaging a point by converting a late penalty.

    Guinea came from behind for a crucial 2-1 win over Malawi in Blantyre with Idrissa Sylla scoring the goal that kept alive hopes of overtaking Group L table-toppers Zimbabwe.


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