Siasia Invites 31 for AAG

Under-23 coach, Samson Siasia, has invited 31 players to camp in preparation for next month’s All-Africa Games, in Brazzaville, Congo.

The list which is made up of mostly players who qualified the team for the Games has some new faces like Lucky Jimoh, Bright Onyedikachi, and Olisah Ndah amongst others.

The invited players are expected to report to the Parkview Hotel, located at Zone 1, Wuse, Abuja on Wednesday 12th August, 2015? with their international passports.

The team will play Ghana, Senegal and Egypt in Group B of the Men’s Football Tournament of the 11th All-Africa Games scheduled for Brazzaville, 3-18 September.

Other invited players are Daniel Emmanuel, Bala Yusuf Mohammed, Erhun Obanor, Segun Oduduwa, Amuzie Stanley, Azubuike Okechukwu, and Saviour Godwin.

Siasia also invited Etebo Oghenekaro, Junior Ajayi, Peter Onyekachi, Usman Mohammed, Atanda Sodiq, Kingsley Sokari, Taiwo Awoniyi , Chima Akas, Aminu Umar, Daniel Etor, Augustine Oladapo, Semiu Liadi, and Tiongoli Tonbara.

The coach also extended invitation to Ikechukwu Okorie; Etebong Akpan, Sincere Seth, Abdullahi Shehu, Ndifreke Effiong, Abiodun Akande, Dele Alampasu, Lucky Jimoh, Bright Onyedikachi, Olisa Ndah and Solomon Efosa.

We’ll Swim and Sink With Oliseh – NFF

Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick affirmed yesterday that the appointment of former Super Eagles captain Sunday Oliseh was not a mistake. He added that the NFF has full confidence Oliseh will deliver results.

Oliseh, was appointed in July after coach Stephen Keshi was fired for job hunting. The appointment of Oliseh attracted mixed reactions, but Pinnick insisted that Oliseh was Nigeria’s own version of Pep Guardiola.

“People are talking about experience. Experience is the accumulation of knowledge over a period of time. Football today is driven by technology and Oliseh is quite up to date. He is like Pep Guardiola,” said Mr. Pinnick while speaking on AIT to mark his 11 months in office.

Amaju-Pinnick..He argued that Oliseh has proved that he was worthy of his appointment as coach of the national team.

“We don’t have any regrets selecting Oliseh. If you know what he has done in the last one month you will know that he is a true professional.

“He is not just a coach, he is a manager. He manages the confidence of the players. A lot of countries in Africa wanted him, but he held back for Nigeria. He has so much capacity and we have so much confidence in him. He will deliver.”

He submitted that the NFF was bent on hiring a foreign coach after Keshi was shown the exit door, but it was a news article on Oliseh that informed the decision to bring him on board.

“We were already in touch with a world class coach. As we were talking one of our members drew my attention to an article about Oliseh. Amazing article it was.”

Siasia: “Iheanacho Still Part of My Plan”

Under-23 coach, Samson Siasia, says he had not lost hope of having Kelechi Iheanacho in his squad for the All Africa Games slated for September in Congo Brazaville.

Siasia, however, said that Iheanacho would not be guaranteed automatic shirt ahead of the forthcoming All Africa Games and Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal in November.

8769“Kelechi has been in our programme and in our plans but he has always been involved with his club,” Siasia said.

“We already have overseas based players in our team and if anybody wants to try out they are free to come and if he (Iheanacho) is available he will come,” Siasia added.

“If he comes he won’t be guaranteed a place in the team because everybody that comes in will have to fight for a place and he will not be an exception,” Siasia said.

Oliseh Will Not Blacklist Players From Keshi’s Team

Ahead of Super Eagles Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Tanzania in Dar es Salam, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has allayed fears that new coach Sunday Oliseh will completely blacklist all the players used by his predecessor, Stephen Keshi.

Oliseh had recently warned that Nigerians should expect surprises in the players he would invite to camp ahead of the team’s preparations for the qualifiers, a statement that some people interpreted to mean that most of the players used by Keshi may not make the new Super Eagles.

NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, told The Guardian that Oliseh was set to give Nigeria the best available players, adding that he has gone round to meet the players needed for the match, including those who have been part of the Super Eagles in the recent past.

Sanusi assured that the federation would create for the team the enabling environment to excel in Tanzania. He added that the coach has either met or spoken with some new players, who are doing well at their various clubs, but have never been invited to the national team.

“The NFF is working assiduously to ensure that our match against Tanzania is won decisively. The coach has been working round the clock to make sure that he invites all the players that are doing well in their clubs both at home and abroad. We at the federation level are doing everything to ensure that he is provided with the enabling environment in terms of logistics and all other arrangements for him to do well.

The coach is coming into the country this week and the camp will also open this week by the grace of God. “He has spoken to almost all the players that he needed to see, including those that were part of the former coaches’ team, who are still doing well in their clubs. With the combination of a few old ones and the new ones he will introduce into the Eagles, we hope that by the grace of God, he will give us a very formidable team.”

Adeniji Thanks Oliseh and Promises to Break the NFPL Goal Record

Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, leading marksman Tunde Adeniji has vowed to break the NPFL goal record this season.

Adeniji who spoke shortly after being invited to the Super Eagles camp on Friday disclosed that his aim was to become the league’s highest goal scorer this season.

He added that his ultimate goal however, is to break the NPFL all time goal record of 23 goal set last season by Enyimba’s Mfon Udoh.

“My target is to break the record created by Mfon Udoh last season. He scored 23 goals and with the help of my team mates, I know I can go pass that record this season,” Adeniji noted.

The erstwhile Rising Stars of Akure forward, has scored 12 goals so far, one ahead of Heartland’s Bright Ejike who is on 11 goals.

Adeniji, 19, who was discovered by scouts of the Ondo State Football Agency, ODSFA, while playing for Methodist High School in Okitipupa, Ondo state has helped Sunshine Stars reclaim NPFL top position from Enyimba of Aba.

Meanwhile, he has expressed appreciation to new Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh for giving him the opportunity to prove himself in the senior national team.

Oliseh on Friday named the striker among a strong 23 home -based professionals for next month’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away to Tanzania.

FIFA Ranking: Nigeria Now 53rd

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have moved four places up to 53rd in the latest monthly FIFA/Coca-Cola ranking released on Thursday, but remain 10th in Africa with 601 points.

In July’s grading, the Super Eagles dropped 14 places to 57th – their poorest drop in 2015.

Algeria remains the highest ranked African country, followed by Ivory Coast and Ghana. Other leading African teams are Tunisia, Senegal, Cameroon, Congo, Cape Verde, and Egypt.

The new Copa America champions, Chile, entered the top ten at the expense of the Netherlands, who dropped two places to 12th in the world. Argentina remains the best football playing country in the world according to the ranking and they are followed by Belgium and Germany respectively.

Former world champion Spain moved a place up to the 11th spot. Brazil, another recent world champion, is fifth in the world and third in South America.

The next FIFA ranking will be released on September 3, 2015.

Oliseh Sends a Message to Nigerians Playing for Chelsea

Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh has advised Nigerian players at big clubs abroad to go on loan to other clubs instead of staying on the bench all the time.

In an interview with BBC that was on Tuesday, Oliseh could not hide his worry for Nigerian players who spend so much time on the bench.

“Players not playing regularly at their clubs is a huge problem because they might struggle with the rhythm. I’ve spoken to the majority of the players that may come into the reckoning to play, to be in the first pool of players that we are building. But they have to do something about it. They are still young – they need to think about playing now and it might not be bad for them to go out on loan and play and maybe get to a level where Chelsea will have them back to play and not just sit and watch. The player will decide his fate, it’s not for the national team to impose but I would advise them to play as much as possible. They will have to try and play as much as possible.”

Oliseh Receives a Home-Based List of Players

Super Eagles assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf, who is in charge of scouting the home based players for the team has already submitted a list of possible invitees to head coach Sunday Oliseh, which includes several ‘new faces’.

It remains unclear the number of home based players that will be called to camp, but there will be major changes to the group that was usually called by former coach, Stephen Keshi, with some of his favoured players dropped.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will officially commence camping on August 17 ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and 2016 CHAN qualifiers in September and October respectively, and the first group of players to arrive will be the home based, with new coach Sunday Oliseh expected to announce his first Super Eagles list in the coming days.

The players will commence training for the first time under Oliseh from the 17th, but will be allowed to honour league games for their respective clubs and will be in camp until when the overseas based players will be invited to camp.

Draw Gets Nigeria Closer to Rio 2016

Johannesburg: Nigeria demonstrated what a good away team they are by forcing a 0-0 draw in Congo Brazzaville at the weekend to win a 2016 Olympic Games football qualifier.

Known as the ‘Dream Team’, the west Africans advanced 2-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg in Port Harcourt two weeks ago by that score.

Nigeria also impressed on the road this year in qualifiers for the 2015 All-Africa Games, an under-23 competition like the Olympics.

After hammering Gabon 4-1 in Libreville, they overcame Zambia 2-1 in Lusaka to reach the Africa tournament during September in Brazzaville.

In November, Nigeria will join hosts Senegal, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia at an Olympic tournament, with three 2016 Rio Games places up for grabs.

After wasting many first-leg chances, Nigeria coach Samson Siasia vowed that his team would attack a Congolese side guided by veteran French coach Claude Le Roy at Stade Municipal in Atlantic oil hub Pointe-Noire.

Keeping the promise, the ‘Dream Team’ spent much of the opening half on the offensive with Usman Mohammed, Daniel Etor and Oghenekaro Etebo threatening to score.

Even during a more balanced second half, Nigeria created the better chances and substitute Aminu Umar squandered a late chance to win the second leg.

Nigeria have been the most successful African football nation at the Olympics, winning the 1996 Atlanta tournament and finishing runners-up to Argentina in Beijing seven years ago.

Mali followed up a solitary-goal away victory over Gabon by winning the return match 2-0 at Stade Modibo Keita in Bamako.

The Gabonese had to score first to have a realistic chance of salvaging the tie, and they did after 68 minutes.

Unfortunately for the visitors, the goal came at the wrong end of the pitch with Mboudou Karl putting the ball into his net.

Adama Traore added a second Mali goal a minute from time to earn his team an easier-than-expected passage to Senegal for the November 28-December 12 tournament.

Mali qualified once for the Olympics football tournament, topping a 2004 Athens group before losing to Italy in the quarter-finals.

Players Oliseh Should Count On

Reiterating his earlier stance on inviting only players who are playing in first division leagues in various countries and Nigeria, Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, via a video on his personal website, said he would be selecting first division players because of high standard of games they are used to.

“We feel the best has to play for us and the best play in the best divisions,” Oliseh said in the video.

“Of course they might be exceptions but the basis of our decision is that the best players in the top division are used to a different tempo and competition standard and for that reason, we need the best who are used to this tempo to serve and play for Nigeria. This involves outfield players who are involved with the tempo of the game and not the goalkeeper. Senior players who have served Nigeria and won titles for us and are tied up in a second decision team will also be selected,” he sad.

Oliseh made it pointedly clear that unfit and struggling players will not wear the colours of Nigeria with him as the manager. While not a few Nigerians saw the resolve as long overdue, a section expressed reservation on the pronouncement, saying that Oliseh’s decision will rob the country of quality players.

 

Babatunde Michael, for example, is one player Oliseh has to look at seriously. The Volyn Lutsk of Ukrain player posted very impressive performance in the past league season, severally getting the coach’s commendations.

Even though he quit the club last week due to salaries owed him, which runs up to seven months, the midfielder proved that he will plug the void in Eagles central defence with his sterling performances, which was, only last week, attested to by his coach at Lutsk.

“Michael is a very important player to us. He was instrumental to our quarter final placing in the domestic cup. Our club is passing through a phase and we had actually wanted him to remain with us and help out, but there is a limit to what we can do,” Vitaliy Kvartsyanyi, the coach, said while reacting to the player’s departure.

Another player, Ramon Azeez, is a consistent performer for UD Almeria of Spain even though the club was eventually relegated from Spain’s top flight. During last season, the midfielder saw good action in the La Liga. As a central midfielder, Azeez combined very well with captain, Miguel Ángel García Pérez-Roldá (called Corona), to form a formidable centre for Almeria in the matches he played.

In the Super Eagles, John Obi Mikel has been a huge suspect in his hitherto creative responsibility and it is obvious that Oliseh will need a blend of versatility and youthfulness to reposition the Eagles centre. Also at 22, Azeez presents a good choice for the coach. The player might have been relegated with Almeria, but that has not robbed him his deft touches in the midfield.

Former Inter Milan and Eagle’s fringe midfielder, Joel Obi, is one player that will readily grab any opportunity to return to the Super Eagles. Obi, who just joined Torino, is a product of Inter’s youth team and developed from the ranks. His career has been plagued with injuries, which cost him Eagles and Inter Milan places. Having sought a fresh challenge, Oliseh should monitor the 24-year-old.

Also, Oliseh must rely on the versatility of Spartak Moscow forward, Ahmed Musa, to achieve success with Eagles. This is one player that has demonstrated that he is capable of even leading the Super Eagles as skipper. That he is a regular with CSKA Moscow makes him a sure bet for Oliseh.

According to Henry Nwosu, “Musa is one player that has blossomed in Eagles. He has developed so much and will help current Super Eagles manager to qualify Nigeria for the nation’s cup. Oliseh should build his attack around him.”

Gbolahan Salami is another player that has improved remarkably since he debuted for the national team over three years ago. His pace and work rate is handful to defenders. Salami scored the first of Eagles’ two goals in the AFCON qualifier against Chad in Kaduna. But for his temperament, Salami can go for another Rashidi Yekini with his precision in front of goals.

Nwosu said of him: “He is very good and should be retained by Oliseh. I think he reminds me of Amokachi. With players like that and good atmosphere, Oliseh will succeed.”

In the match against Chad, unknown defender, Kingsley Madu, acquainted himself well to the demand of international football in what was his debut game for the three-time African Champions. The Slovak based left back joined the attack at will and also performed his defensive duties with panache. This player, no doubt, will help Oliseh in solving the perennial defensive problems of the team.

According to pundits at the pay-station, Super Sports, Madu impressed so much that he was given 8/10 in the match. “Madu is really what Nigeria needs to help solve its defensive challenges. He played very well and composed himself, even as a debutant.”

Also, Oliseh must look at one William Troost Ekong. Against Chad, the 21-year-old former Dutch youth international had a senior Nigeria national debut to remember. Dominant in the air, solid in tackle, neat in possession and won all of his duels, little wonder the Dordrecht of Holland defender broke the over three years central defence partnership of Kenneth Omeruo and Godfrey Obaboana in the heart of Eagles defence. His greatest asset is his young age. He presents a huge option for Oliseh in the heart of Eagles defence.

 

Coming to the players in the age group competitions, it is imperative that Oliseh seriously consider players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Chidiebere Nwakali and Taiwo Awoniyi. Keshi obviously erred in not taking advantage of these players, which presented him the option of youthfulness and skill.

Awoniyi may not have secured a contract in Europe, but the academy player has been reportedly courted by top clubs like Monaco, FC Porto and Manchester United. The player will undoubtedly give additional bite to Eagles frontline.

It is now all up to Oliseh to ensure he monitors these players and others to ensure he follows their successes.