• Again, Nigeria humiliated before the Int. Community as Daniel Amokachi reveals dirty deals affecting growth of Nigerian football

    24/Dec/2016 // 4893 Viewers

    PARIS, DECEMBER 24, 2016 (DGW) A stunning revelation has just been made by Former Nigeria captain Daniel Amokachi before the international community why Nigerian soccer has really not recorded a steady growth.

    This practice, he said, is endemic as local coaches are often bribed to invite players onto the country's national teams, the BBC has reported.

    Despite no one being found guilty of the accusation, there have long been suspicions it happens in Nigeria.

    "Agents always come to give money for their players to be invited to camp," said Amokachi. "Does it have to be so?"

    The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has asked Amokachi to produce evidence to support his claims.

    The 43-year-old, who won the Africa Cup of Nations as a player in 1994, says it is time people spoke up about an issue that he says has long bedevilled the Nigerian game.

    "We know this thing has been going on for a while but we have to voice it," the current manager of Finnish second tier side JS Hercules told BBC Sport.

    Previously, Amokachi worked as an assistant to former Super Eagles coaches Stephen Keshi (2011-15), Shaibu Amodu (2008-10) and Austin Eguavoen (2005-2007).

    He says that all three used to complain about the practice.

    "Every time Amodu would tell me: 'Can you listen to these useless agents that are calling me? They want to give me US$10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 to bring their players in.'"

    "But he's a man of integrity and wouldn't take it. I worked with Keshi and it was the same scenario. With Eguavoen, it was the same.

    "If these three names mentioned had not had integrity, definitely they would have fallen victim."

    Mohammed Sanusi, the NFF General Secretary, rejected Amokachi's allegations while also calling on him to furnish the organisation with more information.

    "I think it is unfair to make such allegations and not mention the names of those involved," Sanusi told BBC Sport.

    "It would be fair if he mentions the names of those who have either approached him or approached some people to give them money. He should also mention people who he knew collected money.

    "I think that will be the best way to go about it.

    "I have not heard of this issue from any quarter and I can tell you that the NFF will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. If Amokachi has evidence of what he has said he should bring it forward and we will take it up."

    The former international, who enjoyed a fruitful career in Europe with Anderlecht (Belgium), Everton (England) and Besiktas (Turkey), says he has been inspired to speak out after being accused of the practice himself.

    It came after Nigeria, African champions in 2013, failed to qualify for next month's Nations Cup in Gabon.

    "Someone accused me lately, (saying) 'the reason Nigeria did not qualify is because all you coaches demand bribes.'"

    "You understand? I felt the pain."


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  • Joining Barcelona wasn’t easy - Messi

    25/May/2016 // 202 Viewers

     

    Paris, May 25, 2016: (DGW)Lionel  Messi has said having to relocate from his place of nativity - Argentina to Camp Nou as a teenager, at the age of 13 to be precise was not easy.

    The soccer legend and his family relocated to Barcelona as a teenager having spent his youth career with Newell's Old Boys.

    Messi has at the moment has no fewer than 28 trophies to his name including eight La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League crowns including five Ballon d'or awards.

    Despite the fame he has gotten with his affiliation with Barca, he said it was not easy having to leave the place of his nativity in Argentina to Catalonia after every frustrating attempt and trials to have the soccer giant to sign him on.

    His words:  “It was a complicated time,”

    “On one hand it was nice, because to come and play in Barcelona was something spectacular.

    “On the other hand it was difficult, because I left everything behind. I left my friends, part of my family, my childhood.
    “Arriving in a country where I had nothing, starting practically from zero was very difficult.”

    Messi,  will be representing Argentina at next month’s Copa America Centenario in the United States. 

    “One day I would like to go back to Argentina because I left my country at such a young age.

    “I couldn’t enjoy Rosario, my city, my people that much.”


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  • Mikel's father unhappy with FG over treatment of his son, others

    26/Aug/2016 // 382 Viewers

     

    Pa Michael Obi, father of the national Under-23 team captain Mikel Obi, has expressed his disappointment over the treatment of the team after winning bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

    Pa Obi said that he had expected his son to lead the team to the country to be given a rapturous welcome and a presidential reception, but lamented the majority of the  players left for their clubs after beating Honduras 3-2 in the bronze medal match  to win Nigeria’s only medal at the Rio Games.

    “I was surprised to read that there are no plans to receive the team. It is very unfair, especially after the team won the only medal at the Games,”  the Chelsea midfielder’s father told our correspondent in Jos.
     
    “The least they had expected was a hero’s  welcome and a presidential handshake to appreciate their superlative performance, especially when nobody had expected that they would go far  at the Games.

    “I had expected Mikel to lead the team back to Nigeria, accorded a befitting reception, before going  back to their various clubs.

    “This is want an appreciate sports authorities and the Federal Government would have done. “We are all aware of the shoddy preparations for the Games and how they were stranded in another country before they got to the venue, a few hours to the start of their first game against Japan. Despite this, they struggled to make the country proud and if this is all they could get for their efforts, I think it’s very unfortunate.”


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  • The five men vying for FIFA's top job

    26/Feb/2016 // 369 Viewers

     

    Zurich (AFP) - FIFA elects a new president on Friday, a vote seen as crucial to restoring the image of world football's scandal-tainted governing body.

     

    Here are the five men vying for the job

    - UEFA's man -

    Gianni Infantino made his name as UEFA's master of ceremonies but behind the scenes he has also played a key role in giving the European confederation the financial power to rival FIFA while serving as its secretary general.

    The shaven-headed Swiss-Italian lawyer is in a close fight to win the presidency, after coming out of the shadows with an ambitious plan for FIFA, including expanding the World Cup and giving more money to federations.

    - The Sheikh -

    Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa is a football executive and senior member of the Bahrain royal family, whose sister is the wife of the Gulf state's king.

    A front-runner, he has built up heavyweight support despite human rights questions shadowing his campaign and has vowed to make FIFA rise like a "phoenix".

    - The prince -

    The brother of a king and an army major general and former FIFA executive, Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan won praise for his challenge against Sepp Blatter in FIFA's presidential election last year.

    But the frustrated Arsenal fan has struggled to win support this time, campaigning against the "backroom deals" that he says are one of the biggest causes of FIFA's long-standing troubles.

    - Pele's choice -

    Jerome Champagne spent 11 years as a top FIFA official under Sepp Blatter and is not ashamed of the football baron's tainted legacy as his reign ends in disgrace.

    Champagne, very much a longshot to become FIFA's leader despite a Pele endorsement, said that "to carry out reforms you have to know an institution from the inside".

    - Anti-apartheid hero -

    Tokyo Sexwale served prison time with Nelson Mandela and became a tycoon and politician, but none of that has boosted his attempt to become the first African to head FIFA.

    He has endured constant criticism of his campaign, failing to secure the support of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and he may not even get South Africa's vote.


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

    26/Jun/2016 // 1499 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 // 472 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 // 156 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 // 330 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 // 423 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 // 449 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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