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Nigerian Referees Deserve Commendations – Wigodo

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A renowned retired grade one football referee in Rivers State, Barrister Innocent Wigodo has dismissed insinuations that referees kill joy in Nigerian football.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt, Wigodo said that Nigerian football referees deserve to be commended for doing their best in ensuring that the game is played according to the rules. He however noted that soccer fans were misconstruing them as being biased in their officiating during matches.

“It is high time people understand that referees are human beings and are prone to mistakes, and should not be crucified for being unable to oversee every infringement during the course of a game,” he said.

Speaking on the poor turnout of soccer fans to the stadium, the one time treasurer to the Rivers State Referees Council attributed it to poor quality of play exhibited by players in most matches.

“Honestly, I can assure you that most Nigerian soccer fans often prefer staying on Television than going to the stadium to watch Nigerian league that could not boast of quality stars” he remarked.

He stated that the chances of the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, were huge.

The Eagles, according to him, would qualify for the mundial considering the new spirit in the team and the array of tested players in the squad.

“The Eagle players would not like the episode of 2006 to repeat itself. They know how important the World Cup is to Nigeria and would be the greatest beneficiaries if at the end of the day Nigeria qualifies for the mundial in South Africa.

The retired referee would not be surprised the Eagles throw everything they have into the remaining matches to ensure that they overhaul Tunisia and grab the sole World Cup ticket available in Group B.

Wigodo advised the national team to be cautious in their approach to the home match against Tunisia and away to Kenya.

He called on Nigerian soccer lovers to remain steadfast in their support of the Super Eagles and continue to check them despite the shaky note on which they started the final World Cup qualifying campaign.

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NPFL : Eguma Urges Rivers People To Keep Faith

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The Technical Manager of Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, Stanley Eguma, has called on Rivers State people to be faithful and support the team, saying that they would not let them down this Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) season.
He said that, all the players in the team are hungry for success this season, adding that, he is planning with the players that have winning mentality.
Eguma said this on Sunday in his post match interview with sports journalists shortly after they saw off Kwara United with 3-0 in the match day six of the NPFL, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
He appreciated his players for the victory, adding that initially the game was a bit difficult.
According to him, his players were more technical on the ball, pointing out that he had to change the tactics of the game.
“Rivers people should still have faith and support the team because we will not let them down this season.
The league is a marathon one; it is not yet time to sing songs.
It is still work in progress.
We started well but we still have hope that the team will improve more on their performance because every club in the league is very strong,” Eguma stated.
He noted that his team last season did not change but the approach and mentality of the players have changed the game.
He disclosed that the team is highly motivated and taking care of, saying, most of the players want to deliver and make name for themselves.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Chukwu Blames Rohr For Not Developing NPFL Players

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Former Nigeria Super Eagles Captain Christian Chukwu, has blamed former National Coach Gernot Rohr for not developing the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) players.
He disclosed that Rohr was employed to build the NPFL players for them to get opportunity to play in European clubs rather than concentrating on foreign- based players.
Chukwu said this on Monday in a television programme monitored by Tidesports in Port Harcourt, adding that Rohr was supposed to base in Nigeria to enable him get in touch with the home base players.
According to him, Rohr failed for the development of the home-based- players, adding that, before now, all other coaches gave the home-based players the opportunity to showcase themselves in the national team.
Chukwu who had also coached the Super Eagles team, explained that Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) did not believe in Nigerian coaches, adding that, he is happy with what the interim coach, Austin Eguavoen is doing with the Super Eagles within the short period of time.
” Rohr was employed to develop our national players but he concentrated on foreign- based players.
We have players in the NPFL who are very good but they were not giving opportunity under Rohr to play in the national team.
All the players we have before now were home- based players”, Chukwu stated.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Eguavoen To Effect Changes Against Guinea-Bissau

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Super Eagles interim coach, Augustine Eguavoen has revealed that he would be making some changes in the final group match against the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau tomorrow so as to give players who have not tested action some game time.
Tidesports source reports that Nigeria currently tops Group D with six points from their opening two games, after beating Egypt and Sudan and are guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages of the competition.
“Obviously, we will make changes for the last group game against Guinea-Bissau.
“We have depth in the team and it’s a good opportunity for the other players to play, we will play to win the game and I trust the players to do a great job,” he said.
Eguavoen also warned his players against complacency and taking their chances in front of goal in subsequent matches.
“No game comes easy. We knew it was going to be tough and tried as much as possible to be ready for any opponent that comes our way.
“So it’s a little bit difficult to say whether we were complacent in the Sudan game or not but we will discuss this with the boys going forward,” he added.

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