Nigeria Players Exploit: Ajagun helped Panathiniakos past Club Brugge

Champions league: Ajagun scores winning goal for Panathiniakos

Former Nigeria U-20 skipper Abduljaleel Ajagun helped Greek club Panathinaikos come from behind to beat visiting Club Brugge of Belgium 2-1 in a UEFA Champions League qualifying clash on Tuesday night.

‘Pana’ fell behind in front of their fans after just 10 minutes, but they showed great character to come back and win with goals in the 37th and 65th minutes.

And that was after they had defender Sergio Sanchez sent off two minutes from halftime and also missed a penalty in the 34th minute.

Ajagun was replaced in the 46th minute on account of the red card against his team.

Monaco won 3-1 at Young Boys after a goalless first half, but they were without Nigeria defender Elderson Echiejile, who did not make the trip to Switzerland.

Interestingly, Laryvin Kurzawa, who has limited Elderson’s appearance at left back in Monaco, grabbed the opening goal in Switzerland.

Nosa Igiebor’s Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv lost 2-1 at home against Viktoria Plzen from the Czech Republic.

Igiebor was in action for the entire 90 minutes and his mazy run into the opponents’ box in the 79th minute was not crowned with a goal.

Earlier Tuesday, Kehinde Fatai was on target as his Czech club Sparta Prague pulled off a great result – 2-2 draw – at highly-fancied CSKA Moscow, who paraded Nigeria international Ahmed Musa.

The overall winners of these ties will qualify for the group stage of the Champions League.


NFF/Keshi Saga: NSC seeks out-of-court settlement

Keshi.jpgThe legal battle between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and sacked Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi may be settled out of court following the intervention of the National Sports Commission (NSC) on the matter.

Keshi dragged the NFF to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) demanding to be paid N1 billion as compensation for his sack last month as the chief coach of the team by the federation

NSC Director General, Alhasan Yakmut, who revealed the intention of the Commission to intervene in the matter, urged both parties to embrace a more effective Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) strategy.

He said: “Let me admit that I have personally gotten the letter of the suit but instead of replying, I rather opted to inform the NFF, asking them if they were aware that Keshi has gone to court, which they admitted knowledge of .

“It is left for them, the architects of the contract that engaged and disengaged Keshi to ensure that there is no provision of the engagement that is violated. As for us, we will advise that both parties should use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to settle their disagreement because it is now the most reliable and dependable way of resolving family crisis.

“I want to assure you that is what we are going to apply to manage this crisis between NFF and the very respectable Keshi. We are going to certainly mediate in the crisis because it is my primary assignment.

Two Nigerians join Copa Coca-Cola international camp

cocaTwo Nigerian youths, Chidiebere Chibuzo Ibe and Peter Osaze Imafidon, are among children from across the world at the largest brand-supported grassroots football initiative, Copa Coca-Cola, which began in Berlin, Germany on July 26 and will end tomorrow.

The event, a six-day programme featuring 100 footballing teens, is aimed at helping the children forge friendships and gain valuable skills both on and off the pitch.

Ibe, a product of the Kanu/Greenspring summer camp, is a gifted attacking midfielder, who has participated in several local and international youth competitions, including the popular Nottingham Youth Tournament.

Imafidon, who was discovered at the Shell/NNPC school competition, is a disciplined talent who has won laurels at national youth games and the recent summer vacation competition in the United Kingdom.

According to the organisers, the programme is the pinnacle of a season which has seen more than 1.3 million teens compete in over 60 countries, promoting an active lifestyle and encouraging values that are the foundation of life and sportsmanship.

The six-day trip to Berlin involves training sessions, workshops, games, events and coaching as well as guidance from members of Germany’s 2014 FIFA World Cup winning football team.

The organisers said, “the International Camp gives young players from across the world the opportunity to pursue their football dreams, make new friends from different countries and together recognize the importance of playing different roles within a team. Highlights of the Copa Coca-Cola event will include an Opening Ceremony, training sessions with Hans Flick, Assistant Coach of the 2014 FIFA World Cup winning German national team, and daily challenges in the grounds of the prestigious Lindow Sports Academy.”

According to the Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Patricia Jemibewon, “With an action-packed schedule, the teens attending, including two from Nigeria will have the opportunity to gain skills, enjoy new experiences with new friends from across the world and even meet FIFA World Cup champions in an inspiring atmosphere.”

Don’t rate Oliseh by Tanzania match result, Agu begs fans

oliseh and crewSuper Eagles’ goalkeeper trainer, Aloy Agu, has told Nigerians not to judge the ability of the team’s new coach, Sunday Oliseh, by the outcome of the Gabon 2017 African Nations Cup qualifier against Tanzania.

Oliseh was recently appointed as Super Eagles coach following the Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) dismissal of Stephen Keshi from the post.

The Eagles under Keshi failed to qualify for the 2015 edition of the competition, but Agu says such fate would not befall the team this time. He added, however, that the new technical crew needed some time to reshape the team.

Pleading with Nigerians to support Oliseh and his crew, Agu revealed that the Super Eagles technical crew has been working round the clock to select credible for the team, adding that every player must justify his inclusion in the team to remain part of the squad.

He also confirmed Vincent Enyeama’s position as Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper, saying that more goalkeepers would be invited to camp to learn from him.

“The technical crew has finished its paper work on the selection of players and technical aspect of the team ahead of the 2017 Nations Cup qualifier against Tanzania. You should bear in mind that Oliseh just took charge of the team and he needs to be encouraged to succeed.

“So Nigerians should support him no matter the outcome of the qualifier against Tanzania. We have already gotten the list of players that will jostle for positions in the Eagles. Their names will be released soon,’’ he said.

NFF seeks partnership with Germany

Nff_logo1The Nigeria Football Federation has moved to formalise closer relationship with Germany in all football matters.

The Ambassador of Germany to Nigeria, Mr. Dietmar Kreusel, met with top NFF officials on Tuesday in Abuja as they highlighted the achievements Germany has recorded in world football.

“Germany are not only the reigning champions of the world in football, the country is also a strong economic power. We have come here to express our intention to make Germany our model for development of the game of football,” NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said.

“We desire to partner with the DFB (Germany Football Federation) and the German league. The NFF is presently doing a lot in the area of development of the game in Nigeria. We are requesting support for our developmental programme for women’s football, as well as capacity building for our referees and coaches.

“In view of our various programmes, we are requesting that Your Excellency initiate an easier procedure for our officials – NFF Executive Committee members, management and staff – to secure entry visas into Germany for football programmes.”

NFF 2nd Vice President/Chairman, League Management Company, Mr. Shehu Dikko, added: “Our checks have shown that the Bundesliga is the top model league in the world. The Nigeria Professional Football League is ready to adopt this model.

“We have had discussions with the CEO of the Bundesliga, and our plan involves sending some of our club managers to Germany to go and see how it is done in that country. “

Ambassador Kreusel, who confirmed that he is a big supporter of German Bundesliga club, Mainz 05 (the club of Super Eagles’ defender Leon Balogun), assured that the requests by the NFF would be looked into.

“Nigeria and Germany have always maintained very close relations. I recall that one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s first visits outside Nigeria after inauguration was to Germany. That shows how close our ties are,” he said.

Mbachu backs Falcons to beat E’Guinea

F,VFormer Falcons forward Stella Mbachu has tipped Super Falcons to beat Equatorial Guinea when they meet in Bata, Equatorial Guinea on August 2 for the second leg of their 2016 Rio Olympics qualifiers fixture.

Equatorial Guinea held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in Abuja in the first leg of the fixture, putting the Falcons in a precarious situation ahead of the reverse fixture in Bata.

Mbachu told our correspondent on Tuesday that she believes that Falcons will beat Equatorial Guinea and qualify for the Olympics.

“I believe our girls will qualify. For Equatorial Guinea to come here and play a draw with us, we can go there and beat them. It is not too difficult for us to beat them there. After getting a draw in Nigeria and an away goal, they will feel they have arrived and they will be more relaxed believing they will beat us in Equatorial Guinea but they will be surprised that day,” she said.

Mbachu however warned the Falcons to buckle up saying some other African countries are developing in women’s football and are targeting to punctuate Nigeria’s dominance.

Mbachu said, “The female national teams of other African countries are coming up so Falcons need to up their game. Countries like Ghana, South Africa, and Cameroon are good.

“They are coming up and beating Falcons is their target. I like the fact that Africa’s women’s football is becoming more competitive. It will help Falcons to work harder.”

Pillars confirm Ganaru as coach

kano pillarsKano Pillars on Wednesday confirmed the appointment Mohammed Baba Ganaru, as their new head coach, as the club looks to defend their Nigeria Professional Football League title, with half of the season left.

Ganaru has replaced Okey Emordi, who was sacked about a week ago after a string of poor performances, resigned his appointment as coach of Nasarawa United on Monday sparking speculations that he had been chosen by the newly appointed Kabiru Baita-led board of Pillars.

He beat other coaches who showed interest, including former Super Eagles assistant coach, Daniel Amokachi, and erstwhile coach of the Flying Eagles, Manu Garba, to get the job.

This would be Ganaru’s second stint with Pillars as he had led the club to win the NPFL title twice before leaving them two seasons ago.

Pillars’ media officer, the Idris Malikawa, told our correspondent that the club’s management chose Ganaru ahead of Amokachi and Garba, in a meeting held on Wednesday.

Malikawa noted that the selection process was thorough and the board chose Ganaru based on merit.

He also said Ganaru is expected to hit the ground running as they work towards beating Lobi Stars on Sunday.

He said, “We are in training now, we resumed on Monday. We are getting set for our game on Sunday as we start the second stanza of the league this season. The coach will start immediately and by the grace of God, we are not expecting anything less than a win.”

Dolphins take home games to Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium

dolphins-fcDolphins will henceforth play their home games in the Nigeria Professional Football League at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Omagwa.

The decision was taken in a bid to launch a battle against relegation having lost one game and played five draws at home to place 19th on the league table.

In a press release made available to Goal, the decision has been sanctioned by the League Management Company (LMC).

The stadium will host the double header involving Dolphins versus Nasarawa United and the other tie between Sharks and Warri Wolves as both matches have been earmarked for live telecast on Saturday to usher in the second stanza of the league

Media has huge role to project Nigeria sports- Pinnick


President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has, once more, emphasized the strategic position of the media in projecting Nigeria football, nay sports, to the global audience in a positive manner, to engender development.

Delivering paper on “Globalising Nigerian Sports: The Challenge for the Nigerian Media” at a seminar organized by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (Lagos State chapter) in Lagos on Wednesday, the NFF boss harped on the need to objective and balanced reporting by the media, as well as a conscious effort towards positive projection of individuals and institutions in the country to the outside world.

“I keep saying this at every opportunity I have: The media is key to the development of any institution or sector. Even the IOC and FIFA recognize that. At every sporting event, the media have more sections of the stadium than any other arm. There are the media tribune, media centre, main press centre, international broadcast centre, mixed zone, press conference room, et cetera.

“What the media puts out goes a long way in moulding opinion of the world about individuals and institutions.

“It is time for the Nigeria media to start to project our leading lights positively, in order for them to take up positions they are appropriately qualified for in international sports bodies. If you project me positively; it is not about Amaju Pinnick, it is about Nigeria.”

Tracing the history of Nigeria’s participation at global sporting events, especially the Olympic Games, since 1952, and noting the three gold, eight silver and 12 bronze medals, Pinnick reiterated that Nigeria has the potential to be a world beater in sports.

“As a country, we have come a long way. There are countries in the world who don’t have the resources that we have, and cannot present the kind of quality personnel that we are capable of. But they are in influential positions in world sports because their countries’ media projected them to high heavens.

“At all times, we welcome criticisms, but let them be constructive. Criticize fairly and offer solutions so that administrators can take you serious.”

Director General of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Alhassan Yakmut also delivered a paper at the seminar, which theme was ‘The Future of Nigerian Sports’.

Gateway Sign Flying Sports Academy Goalkeeper

gatewayNigeria National League side, Gateway FC, have signed Flying Sports’ goalkeeper Christian Callistus till the end of the season, can report.

Callistus caught the eyes of coach Abimbola Samuel with the plethora of crucial saves he made during his side’s 3-2 win against the NNL side.

“Callistus has joined Gateway till the end of the season, for an undisclosed fee,” Media Officer of the academy Charles Odunige disclosed to

Odunige however revealed there were three other players who impressed Abimbola but for the time limits for their registration.

“The coach was also impressed with other players but he wasn’t too sure if their registration will go through,” he concluded.