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Ex-internationals move to rescue Oruma

By EmmanueL Onminyi with Agency report,

Former Super Eagles stars, including Austin Eguavoen, Taribo West and Nwankwo Kanu, have agreed to take part in a charity football game to raise funds to aid their former colleague, Wilson Oruma.

Oruma has made the headlines due to recent mental disorder following his huge financial loss.

The former Golden Eaglets captain allegedly lost most of his money after he was swindled six years ago in a failed business deal, thereby leading to depression, and deterioration in health.

The Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, Waidi Akanni, revealed that the planned Charity game to help Oruma has been proposed to hold in Lagos in February.

He said he is confident more ex-internationals will make themselves available to help one of their own.

The 41-year-old Oruma had an illustrious career playing most of his club football in France where he represented many top clubs including Lens, Marseille, and Sochaux as well as a handful of other European teams.

Aside from his successes in club football, Oruma also had it good playing for Nigeria right from the Under 17 side to the national team- the Super Eagles.

He was allegedly defrauded by a clergyman and some fake oil businessmen to the tune of N1.2 billion in December 2012; a development that has seen his life take a serious turn for the worse.

“Aside from playing the Charity match to help Oruma, we will are also intending to use the medium to share our experiences to the current players on how well to manage their finances and prepare well for life after football,” the Lagos FA boss declared.

In the mean time, the General Secretary, National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers, Austin Popo, hinted that steps are being taken to quicken Oruma’s rehabilitation.

“We have had series of close door meetings to see how we can address the issue. I discussed with Sam Sodje who confirmed to me that he had put a call to Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission.”

NFF confirms date for Wembley friendly

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

As part of Nigeria’s preparation for the World Cup, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has confirmed that a prestige friendly match between the Super Eagles and England’s Three Lions will take place at the Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday, June 2 2018.

The match will be only the third between both countries at senior level, and will serve as the Eagles’ final preparatory game for the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia, with their first match against Croatia in Kaliningrad coming two weeks after. 

NFF first Vice President and Chairman of the Federation’s Organizing Committee, Seyi Akinwunmi, told thenff.com: “The match is now confirmed. We had been doing a lot of work in the background, even going back to last year.

“Now, we are happy to say that it is all sealed. Certainly, it is going to be a big match between two countries of remarkable historical affinity and similarities.

“We have other matches and programs for the team, and we will soon roll out the entire plan for matches, camping sites and training camps.”

Plans for a friendly game between England and Nigeria was first started in 2015, when NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, met with former Chairman of the English FA, Greg Dyke, in London.

Afterwards, Pinnick and NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman Shehu Dikko met with incumbent Chairman of the FA, Greg Clarke, also in London.

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, also reacted to the game: “This is good news for myself and the entire team. England is a very strong team presently and I believe they will give us a very good match. We will be able to test our readiness for the World Cup when we meet the Three Lions at Wembley.”

While the Super Eagles play Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D, the Three Lions will face Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G.

We can’t surprise Argentina again- Rohr

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr, has admitted that Nigeria’s last World Cup group match with Argentina on June 26, 2018, at Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg will be a difficult one.

According to Argentine publication, Ole, Rohr reportedly remarked that the match will determine who qualifies from the group. In essence, he is projecting that both Argentina and Nigeria will emerge from the Group D and the last match will only determine the group leader and the runners-up.

The runners-up face a potentially difficult Round of 16 match with projected Group C leader, France. The French side eliminated Nigeria in the second round in 2014. The tactician has a link with the French, even though he was born a German.

On the South Americans, Rohr stated: “You know how we play, so we cannot surprise them like the last time”, referring to the 4-2 defeat Nigeria inflicted on Argentina two months ago.”

He acknowledged that this time it will be more difficult to beat the the two-time World Champions who lost to the Eagles in an international friendly game played in Krasnodar, Russia, in November, 2017.

“It will be more difficult this time than in the friendly because they know how we play, so we cannot surprise them like the last time.”

Eagles Defender, Ebuehi, on Norwich’s radar

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

As the January transfer window officially opens, Super Eagles right back, Tyronne Ebuehi, has been linked with a move to English Football League, Championship side, Norwich City, as manager, Daniel Farke, hopes to strengthen his team’s right-back position for the ongoing season.

The Nigeria international comes off contract with the Dutch league side, ADO Den Haag, on June 30, 2018, implying he can start discussing with clubs now even without the approval of his current club.

Meanwhile, Ebuehi has a contract extension on the table from ADO Den Haag but has yet to commit his future to the club.

In the mean time, English journalist, Aaron Sayer, revealed on twitter that Ebuehi was sighted in a hotel in Norwich, apparently negotiating with the Canaries representative.

In confirmation of Sayer’s speculation, highly respected Dutch Journalist, Jim van der Deijl, revealed Norwich’s interest in Ebuehi on his twitter handle, stating that the Championship side have contacted the defender over the possibility of a move.

The 22-year-old Netherlands-born defender has played 71 games for the Hague based club, scoring one goal and providing three assists.

He is in, however, in possession of a European Union passport and is free to represent an English club despite having only two caps for the Nigerian national team.

Nigerian striker, Ujah, resumes training with Mainz

Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Nigeria international, Anthony Ujah, has resumed training his Bundesliga club, Mainz, ahead of the resumption of the second half of the ongoing 2017/2018 season.

Six and a half years after the striker first joined Mainz from Norwegian side, Lillestrom, he was among the 25 players, including 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers, that took part in the first training session of 2018 at Bruchweg.

Super Eagles central defender, Leon Balogun, was also in top condition and trained without any injury concerns.

Austria international Karim Onisiwo, who is still eligible to represent Nigeria, will compete with Ujah for an attacking spot. The striker is back on the pitch after recovering from a shoulder injury which had kept him on the sidelines for more than three months.

For the remainder of this season, Ujah will wear the number 20 jersey, the club announced on Wednesday, January 3.

As part of their preparations for the trip to Hannover 96 on January 13, Mainz have lined up friendly matches against FC St. Gallen, and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Ujah began his career with FC Abuja, and  was signed by Warri Wolves in 2008. He, however, left Warri Wolves in January 2010 to attend a trial with Lillestrom in Norway.

 

Young Nigerian striker, Eze, returns to QPR after loan spell

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

With a statement on their official English Football League Championship club, Queens Park Rangers, have confirmed that former Super Eagles invitee, Eberechi Eze, has returned to the club after a successful loan spell with Wycombe Wanderers.

The 19-year-old will resume training with the London club’s first team in the coming days and is in contention to make the squad for their Emirates FA Cup clash with MK Dons on Saturday.

Manager of the side, Ian Holloway, told the club’s official website, www.qpr.co.uk: ”Eze’s had an outstanding period out on loan but now is the right time to bring him back.”

“We feel he’s a good fit for us in terms of how we want to play going forward, with two number 10’s playing just off a striker, like we did against Cardiff.

“He’s going to be back in my squad. He deserves the opportunity. He’s earned it with the way he’s played during his time with Wycombe.”

Eze, a former Arsenal and Fulham trainee, was handed a late call-up to the Super Eagles squad during their training camp in London in March 2017.

We are ready for Africa- Ezenwa

As the Home-based Eagles gear up for the Africa Nations Championship, CHAN, goalkeeper and skipper of the team, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, has echoed the team’s readiness to take on all comers at the tournament slated for Morocco from January 13 to February 4.

In an interview with thenff.com, the Enyimba International FC’s goalkeeper stated that their preparation has been top-notch, adding that they are in good shape as a result of the friendly games, and intensive training the team has been exposed to.

Although the former youth international stressed the difficulty of the of oppositions which consists of Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, and defending champions, Lybia in Group C, he stated that the Eagles are equal to the task.

“Rwanda, Libya and Equatorial Guinea are very good sides when it comes to the CHAN tournament. Look at the last edition, Rwanda were very tough and they performed better than us.

“Libya are former champions so they are no newcomers to the competition and for Equatorial Guinea, they will be coming with the bunch of players that played the World Cup qualifiers for them, so to be honest, it’s going to be a very tough group for us but we are up to the task,” he said.

Meanwhile, the former FC Ifeanyi Ubah goaltender, has played down speculations that the home-based players can not break into the World Cup-bound Super Eagles.

Ezenwa stated: “I think any player that does very well will have an opportunity because the Technical Adviser, Mr. Gernot Rohr will be in Morocco with us just like he was with us in Ghana where some players who did well were invited for the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Zambia.

“So, I strongly believe anyone who proves himself well will definitely get a look-in, but the most important thing for us right now is to go to Morocco and do the nation proud by winning the trophy.”

Nigeria will win World Cup, say ex-International, Adelabu

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Technical Study Group member, and former Green Eagles’ winger, Adegoke Adelabu, has stated that the Super Eagles have the potentials of winning the tournament slated for Russia in June.

Adelabu, who was part of the Green Eagles’ squad to Libya for the 1982 African Nations Cup, was recently named by the NFF as member of the Technical Study Group alongside Abba Yola, Taribo West, Bernard Ogbe, Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Tijani Babangida, Victor Agali, Godwin Enakhena, Mike Idoko, and Bitrus Bewarang.

According to The Guardian, the former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan winger said that Nigeria, like other countries stands the chance of winning the World Cup in Russia if the national team is given proper preparation.

“I don’t want to be part of those saying that the Super Eagles cannot progress beyond the group stage or second round. No, we have what it takes to be in the final and even win the World Cup trophy. Limiting our chances to the second round or the quarterfinal is like saying the Super Eagles should not go to Russia.

“We have already known our group opponents and the most important thing to do now is to work on intelligence of our players. We have to know the area of strength and weakness of our opponents.

“I am happy the NFF has already lined up series of friendly matches for the Super Eagles as build up to the World Cup. But it is also important for us to have in-house programmes to let our coaches understand what they should expect from the players.

“As I always say, the development of a sport is reflected in nation’s ability to modify the training, participation and competitive strategy of the athletes.

“We should focus on winning the World Cup and not targeting the second round or quarterfinal. I am optimistic we can win the World Cup in Russia because we have the players,” Adelabu stated.

Ex-Intenational, Eguavoen, urges Eagles to reach World Cup Semi-finals

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

As the Super Eagles look forward to 2018 mundial, ex-Nigeria international, Austin Eguavoen, has urged the Nigerian team to reach the semifinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and beyond.

The former national team handler said he feels excited that Gernot Rohr’s side has made Nigerians happy in 2017 and has urged them to improve at the global showpiece.

Eguavoen, who led the Super Eagles to the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, has expressed delight in how the three-time African champions have performed in 2017.

In an interview with Completesportsnigeria.com: “Everybody is happy with the Super Eagles in the outgoing year and I am sure that you journalists are also happy because you all had something good to report about the team.”

“They played their entire World Cup qualifiers without defeat, though there were some games we were not happy about but when you look at the whole thing, you will agree with me that they made Nigerians happy in the year 2017 which you are talking about.

“I am sure that they would have learnt from all their mistakes in the year 2017 and ready to improve on them in the year 2018. The semi-final stage is a possibility for the team at the 2018 World Cup.”

Chelsea star, Moses, makes 2017 African Team of the Year

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Chelsea and Super Eagles star, Victor Moses, has been named in the African Team of the Year for 2017 by celebrated French football magazine, France Football.

The right talented wing-back was the only player of Nigerian descent that made the prestigious list after commanding a good performance in the year.

The list contains English Premier League stars, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, (both from Liverpool), but there was no spot for Borussia Dortmund’s striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was listed among the five substitutes.

Moses had a good season in 2017, helping Chelsea win the Premier League title and reach the final of the Emirates FA Cup; he was also outstanding during Nigeria’s quest for a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The 27-year-old missed out on the Confederation of African Football and BBC Player of the Year but is among the favourites to be named in CAF’s Team of the Year at next week’s gala ceremony in Accra, Ghana.

He has been nominated for the best right winger in Africa in 2017 by CAF along with Keita Balde (Monaco, Senegal) and Mohammed Ounnajem (Wydad Athletic Club Casablanca, Morocco).

The African Team of the Year according to France Football include:

Essen El Hadary (Egypt, Al-Taawoun), Nabil Dirar (Morocco, Fenerbache), Medhi Benatia (Morocco, Juventus), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal, Naples), Faouzi Ghoulam (Algeria, Naples), Victor Moses (Nigeria, Chelsea) , Naby Keita (RB Leipzig, Guinea), Jean-Michael Seri (Ivory Coast, OGC Nice), Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool), Sadio Mane (Senegal, Liverpool), Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon, FC Porto).

The substitutes are:

Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon, AC Seville), Ahmed Hegazy (Egypt, WBA), Thomas Partey (Ghana, Atletico Madrid), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco, Ajax Amsterdam), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon, Borussia Dortmund).