Nigeria is Coming to Attack Congo

Nigeria have vowed to attack Congo in their Pointe-Noire fortress this weekend and move closer to a seventh Olympic Games football tournament appearance.

The west Africans take a fragile 2-1 lead into the second leg of a third-round qualifier for the 2016 Rio Games and coach Samson Siasia has revealed his game plan.

“We will attack because we want to win in Congo, not avoid defeat,” the 47-year-old former national team striker told reporters.

A draw will suffice to take the ‘Dream Team’ to the final African qualification stage – an eight-nation tournament in Senegal with the top three finishers securing tickets to Brazil.

But Congo, guided by French coach Claude Le Roy, can eliminate Nigeria on away goals by winning 1-0 at Stade Municipal in the Atlantic oil hub.

Siasia and Le Roy can offer strong arguments as to why the ‘Dream Team’ or the ‘Red Devils’ will succeed. Nigeria excelled on the road this year in 2015 All-Africa Games qualifiers, which are also restricted to under-23 footballers, winning 4-1 in Gabon and 2-1 in Zambia. Taiwo Owiniyi was the two-goal saviour in Zambia, but only appeared as a second-half substitute against Congo because he was not fully fit.

Siasia said: “I have been in difficult situations with the ‘Dream Team’ before and have always emerged victorious.”

Backed by a 40,000 full house in Port Harcourt, Nigeria ran Congo ragged but woeful finishing prevented the hosts building a commanding lead.

Instead, Moise Nkounkou grabbed a precious away goal after Junior Ajayi struck twice within seven minutes soon after half-time.

Le Roy, whose success-filled career with numerous African countries does not include an Olympics appearance, believes his ‘Devils’ can claim another notable victim.

Congo eliminated former Olympic bronze medalists Ghana in the previous round by winning the second leg 1-0 and a penalty shootout 5-4 in Pointe-Noire.

“We were lucky to only lose 2-1 in Nigeria,” admits the bespectacled 67-year-old with flowing fair locks. But it is going to be far more difficult for Nigeria on an artificial pitch in Pointe-Noire,” warned the 1988 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations-winning coach.

The Zambia – Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa – Zimbabwe and Tunisia – Morocco ties are also delicately balanced while Egypt and Mali should progress at the expense of Uganda and Gabon respectively.

Zambia must do without defender Boyd Mkandawire, red-carded during a goalless first leg in Abidjan, and be wary having held Nigeria away in the All-Africa Games only to fail at home.

South Africa, angered by what they believe was a “home town decision” that earned Zimbabwe a penalty and an undeserved 1-1 draw, warmed up for the return game with an impressive 2-0 victory over Rwanda.

“It has been a long time (15 years) since South Africa last competed at the Olympics football tournament and I think this team has what it takes to reach Rio,” predicted coach Owen Da Gama.

Dominant Morocco could build only a 1-0 home lead over Tunisia while Mali, who will lack suspended leading scorer Adama Niane, enjoy home advantage and a 1-0 lead against Gabon.

Only a miraculous comeback can save Uganda after a 4-0 drubbing in Egypt with Kahraba, real name Mahmoud Abdel Moneim, the two-goal destroyer-in-chief.

NSC Wants an Out-of-Court Settlement Between NFF and Keshi

The 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.”

Rufai: Prepare for Enyeama’s Exit

Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Peter Rufai has told newly appointed coach, Sunday Oliseh to have a standby goal tender that will step into the shoes of current number one Vincent Enyeama.

Enyeama, has been between the sticks for the Super Eagles since 2002. He recently indicated that he will not be there forever, when he announced that he might call it quits after the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

Rufai, a former Stationery Stores of Lagos keeper and one of Nigeria’s goalkeeping legends advised Oliseh to start shopping for a replacement.

“I think one of the tasks before him will be to find a replacement for Vincent Enyeama,” Rufai said.

“But Enyeama is still around and we don’t have to panic. But the coach must begin to look for replacement because we need to have someone capable when he (Enyeama) is gone.”

Rufai said he will be in support of whichever goalkeeper the Super Eagles coaches feels is the right one.

“I believe the coaches know what they are doing. I’m sure they must be looking at other options so whichever goalkeeper they choose eventually will be good I believe.”

Green: “A World Cup without Nigeria is not complete”

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has stated how Nigeria’s absence at the 2018 will affect the biggest football showpiece on earth.

Nigeria was handed a relatively ‘easy’ draw following the conclusion of the draw for the tournament in Russia last Saturday.

Barrister Chris Green, an executive member of the NFF, stated that it will “do everything it takes” to guarantee qualification of the Super Eagles for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

Nigeria will meet the winner of the tie between Djibouti and Swaziland in the second round of qualifying in November after the draw for the tournament was conducted in Russia on Saturday and a win for Nigeria in the second round will see the Super Eagles progress to the third round which will consist of five groups of four teams each.

The five group winners automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup and the NFF insists that the three-time African champions will be among Africa’s five flag bearers in Russia.

“A World Cup without Nigeria is not complete and as a federation, we will do everything it takes to see that the Super Eagles qualify for the tournament,”Green was quoted to have said shortly after the draw.

According to him, Sunday Oliseh will be given every required support to guide the Eagles to a place at the finals.

“We will continue to give the necessary support to (Sunday) Oliseh to get him to succeed. The Super Eagles owe Nigerians the obligation of playing well, winning matches and getting to play at every edition of the world cup. “We want to ensure that Nigeria becomes a great force in international football again.”

2018 World Cup Draw: Nigeria Draws Djibouti/Swaziland

The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Saturday were ranked as one of the top ranked teams in Africa. The three-time African champions have been drawn with the winner of the game between Djibouti and Swaziland.

Nigeria made it safely into the second round of the African qualifiers. The match, which took place in St Petersburg, Russia, was well attended by Cameroonian soccer star, Samuel Eto’o, and many other dignitaries who came from Africa and other continents to grace the wonderful event as well.

The 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa face a tough second round meeting against Angola; the African champions Ivory Coast will play either Liberia or Guinea Bissau, and the 2015 runners-up Ghana will face either Comoros or Lesotho.

Meanwhile Algeria, Africa’s highest ranked nation, will play the winner of Tanzania and Malawi match.

Nigeria, under new coach Sunday Oliseh, has been ordered by his employer (the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)) to qualify the country for the World Cup in Russia, 2018.

Tanzania Goes to European Training Camp Before Facing Nigeria

While Nigeria defeated Chad 2-0 in its opening qualifier, Tanzania lost 3-0 to Egypt in Cairo. For Tanzania to keep hope of qualifying for the tournament alive, it needs a win in the game against Nigeria, hence the TFF had concluded arrangement for a week training tour of Europe.

The TFF has also postponed the resumption of the league till September 12, a week after the tie against Nigeria must have held.

The postponement was necessitated because of the need to get players focused on the all important match.

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and clubs met recently and agreed to delay the kickoff to allow the national team, Taifa Stars, to play its Africa Cup of Nations match against Nigeria on September 6.

The league was to get underway on August 22, but according to a top TFF source, the kickoff will now be on September 12, while the Charity Shield match pitting Yanga against Azam will take place on August 22.

The source, who sought anonymity for he was not the federation’s spokesman, said the decision stems from the fact that the earlier date coincides with Taifa Stars training, which will deprive some clubs of their star players.

The official said shortly after the Charity Shield match, the Taifa Stars coach (Boniface Mkwasa) will select the team, which will head off to Europe for a weeklong training tour.

It was earlier reported that Taifa Stars would pitch a camp in Turkey, but the source said it would be in another European country, which he also declined to reveal.

“It is meaningless for the league to start on August 22 and then take a break until after Taifa Stars encounter Nigeria on September 6, so it is true that we agreed to delay it until September 12,” he said.

“The TFF and Tanzania Premier League Board (TBBL) want to see the league progressing without interruptions.”

According to him, the TFF and TPLB are currently busy drawing up fixtures, which would be released in a few weeks’ time.

He said after the Stars-Super Eagles match, the league will start and run through December when it will break to allow the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup to take place.

Jonas Tiboroha, Yanga’s secretary general, confirmed that they (clubs) had a meeting over the league’s kickoff dates and that they agreed to push it back to September 12.

The Stars currently sits in last position on the table following a 3-0 defeat to the Pharoahs of Egypt on match day-one.

The Super Eagles on the other hand opened its campaign with a 2-0 win over Chad.

Enyeama Remains Super Eagles’ Captain

Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama will not be punished for his comments about the choice of venue for Nigeria’s AFCON qualifier against Chad last month.

Enyeama questioned the decision to play the game in Kaduna and was pulled in front of a disciplinary committee for his, what Glass House described as, ‘unguarded comments’.

The punitive action was expected to include a fine and possibly taking the captain’s armband from him, but fans of the Super Eagles and the keeper will be pleased to know no disciplinary actions were taken against him.

But chairman of the NFF Disciplinary Committee, Christopher Green, has said that the issue had been settled without Enyeama being fined and he would continue as the Super Eagles captain.

“He is the captain of the Super Eagles and will continue as such,” chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation Disciplinary Committee Christopher Green told in an interview.

“He is eligible to play any day any time because he does not owe us anything. The matter has been dealt with and he’s not being fined. The issue has been dealt with administratively and I can tell you that there is no problem and everything has been settled and of course he has been forgiven,” Green concluded.

Oliseh: “This Job is a Risk Worth Taking”

New Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, has revealed that he rejected the offer to handle the Super Eagles when he was first contacted by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFFOliseh).

Writing for his website, Oliseh said, “It is definitely the most delicate job in the African Football continent and definitely the most demanding. The Job of super Eagles Coach is one many love to hate but as a Nigerian Ex international and patriot it definitely does not leave you indifferent. When I was proposed the job,my first thought and reply was; “no I am not interested” but after a second thought and discussions with Family and close confidants, I could not help but go back on my decision as I decided to borrow a leaf from the new president of Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari who at over 70 is bent on trying to bring about change and better the lives of his compatriots. The most difficult task facing us is that Nigerians want the super eagles to not only win matches, but win them playing in a flamboyant manner immediately.”

This particular problem is further compounded with the fact that we get only by FIFA rules players from their clubs 4 days to the National team games. Time is needed to work on the players!

We could go on and on but we are here to share why we feel it is worth giving it a try to make a difference and how we intend to try!

“Many have asked or insinuated that they need me to miraculously repair our football in a flash! Though super motivated, I am not a Messiah and will need desperately the help of the Nigerian Football Federation, the Nigerian people and most importantly God’s help and Guidance.”

 

Eagles Pass Directly Through to World Cup Qualifiers

The Super Eagles will not be a part of the preliminary qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after the decision of the Confederation of African Football to group Nigeria among 27 elite teams in Africa based on the latest FIFA rankings.

Nigeria are currently 57th in the latest FIFA rankings, and 10th in Africa, even after dropping 14 places from 43rd in June.

The continent’s football body will be conducting the draw for the qualifiers on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

CAF said in a release on Tuesday that 53 teams would be featuring in the qualifiers, and 26 of them would play the preliminary round from October 5 to 13.

“The 26 lowest-ranked participating associations from the region will contest round one. The 13 highest ranked teams and the 13 lowest ranked teams will be drawn against each other to play over two legs on a home and away basis,” the statement read.

Niger, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Kenya, Botswana, Madagascar, Mauritania, Burundi, Lesotho, Guinea Bissau and Swaziland are ranked as the best of the bottom 26 and will occupy Pot 1 on Saturday.

Pot 2 will contain the last 13 teams in the rankings – Tanzania, Gambia, Liberia, Central African Republic, Chad, Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti.

U-23 Qualifiers for Rio 2016: Nigeria 2 – 1 Congo

Although having lost several good scoring chances on Sunday, the Nigeria U-23 team still pulled out a 2-1 victory against visiting Congo at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt. With the win, the team lead by Samson Siasia have a slight advantage ahead of the second leg fixture in Brazzaville next month.

Nigeria appeared more determined to win the game with their attacking formation that was responsible for several scoring chances right from the start of the game.

The Congolese were rattled in the seventh minute when Ajayi’s shot was deflected. Five minutes later, he found his way into the opponents’ 18-yard box but his shot went over the crossbar.

A few corner kicks and several goal-bound shots failed to produce any goal for Nigeria in the first half as Congo defence and the goalkeeper Christoffer Mafoumbi kept them at bay. The Congolese, on the other hand, were finding it difficult to break through the Nigeria midfield.

An indirect free kick for Nigeria on the edge of the box in the 31st minute was wasted just as a corner kick Ogene Etebor headed off target immediately after.

The Nigerians appeared frustrated even as they matched off the pitch for the break, but they returned in the second half with more determination. And in less than two minutes into the second half, Ajayi gave them the much needed lead.

The Shooting Stars man was on hand in the 54th minute to nod home a cross from Daniel Ekong to make it 2-0 for the hosts.

It was obvious the Nigerians wanted more goals as they kept up the attack, but another onslaught in the 58th minute was halted when a Congo defender handled the ball in the 18-yard box. Referee Anthony Oswayo from Kenya would, however, not award a penalty for the foul.

A counter attack in the 67th minute put Daniel Emmanuel to the test but his initial footed save fell on Miose’s path, who latched on to give Congo something to cheer about.

With just a minute left in regulation time, Nigeria cried out for a penalty when Taiwo Awoniyi, who replaced Ajayi, was fouled in the opponents’ goal area, but the referee looked away again.

A late minute effort from Ogene Etebor went above the bar, giving the Congo goalkeeper some respite in the added three minutes before the referee ended this thrilling match.

The return leg fixture will be held on 2nd August in Brazzaville, Congo.