The Nigeria Football Federation, has expressed disappointment and utter dimay at the performance of the Under-23 National Team, otherwise known as Dream Team V, at the on-going CAF U-23 Championship in Morocco.
Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, (NFF) General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu said there was nothing the technical crew of the team asked for that the NFF did not provide.
He said: “We are shocked at the team’s poor outing in the first two matches. Yes, it is true that if the results of the last two matches go our way, we will still qualify for the semi finals and be able to fight for one of the three automatic places at the Men’s Football Tournament of the London 2012 Olympics. But we are dismayed by the team’s performance in the first two matches and we cannot hide it”, stated the association General Secretary.
Amadu also outlined the support the NFA gave the Dream Team V before the tournament: “To start with, the team never lacked anything all through the qualifying matches, against Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania. We remain grateful to the Edo State Government for all the support we were able to secure from it.
“After this, the team had several phases of camping and training programmes, including a three-week stay in Ibadan, Oyo State. The NFF sent the Head Coach, Eguavoen and chairman of the Technical Committee, Barrister Chris Green to Europe to request for the release of foreign-based players, sought and paid for a training camp in Ghana where the team spent 10 days and played a number of friendly matches, and ensured the team travelled early to Morocco to acclimatize to the weather and also fine-tune final preparations.
“The NFA also took the Head Coach of Super Eagles, Mr. Stephen Keshi to Morocco to be with the team in advisory capacity and also to provide advice and suggestions here and there, as well as for the players to put in extra effort knowing they stood a chance of being called into the senior team.
“The NFA President promised the team a special package before the first match, and we promised them 200 per cent win-bonus for the second match. What else do you do for motivation?”
The NFA scribe equally lamented the absence of several key players who led the charge during the qualifying matches against Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania.
“There is no doubt that the presence of players like Ahmed Musa, Rabiu Ibrahim, Haruna Lukman, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Nosa Igiebor, Odion Ighalo and Ekigho Ehiosun would have made a difference. We also tried to get Joel Obi and Uche Nwofor but their clubs blocked them,” said Amadu.
He went further: “Nonetheless, we made it clear to the team that was available before the beginning of the tournament that the Government and people of Nigeria were fully behind them and were expecting them to bring an Olympics ticket back to Nigeria. You expect a team that has been provided so much financial, moral and technical support to lift their game and play with their hearts. But the reverse is the case. It is a shame the way the team has played.
“There is nothing the Head Coach, Mr. Augustine Eguavoen requested for that the NFA did not provide. There was a time he reported the NFA to higher authorities simply because we wanted him to play a friendly match in Nigeria against a strong team so that Nigerians could assess the team before the tournament in Morocco.”
Aiteo Cup: Go Round FC Attributes Loss To Poor Officiating
Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt has emerged Champions of this year’s Rivers State FA after they defeated Go- Round FC of Omoku 5-4 by penalty shootout at the Sharks Football Stadium in Port Harcourt.
The match which ended 1-1 all draw in regulation time went straight to spot kick where the pride of Rivers sealed the victory over Brother Felix Obuah’s boys.
The match was postponed last Friday due to heavy down pour and rescheduled for Tuesday 10: am at the Sharks Football stadium, Port Harcourt.
Speaking in his post match interview, the head coach of Go- Round FC, Ngozi Elechi, attributed the los to poor officiating by the assistant referee during penalty shootout.
“I am highly disappointed by the assistant referee, how he can raise flag when the ball has already got out for replay of the spot kicked,” Elechi said.
According to him, his players played the ball confidently, adding that it was painful that they had to go through penalty and lost the game.
“My boys played confidently, kicked the ball around but it is painful that they had to lose by spot kick,” he stated.
Elechi, commended the centre referee for a job well done, but added that, it was annoying when the assistant referee did not do the right thing.
“It is unfair when people want to please other people”.
By: Kiadum Edookor & Miracle Chioma Peters
Eguaveon Explains Olisema’s Omission From S’Eagles Squad
The Nigeria Football Federation Technical Director, Austin Eguavoen, says picking the home-based squad for the Mexico clash was not easy.
Eguaveon invited 25 players to camp for the game billed for the international friendly on July 4 in the United States and Switzerland, but many questions were raised over the exclusion of Enyimba’s midfielders Cyril Olisema and Astin Oladapo.
In a chat with reporters after the team’s training at the FIFA goal project in Abuja, Eguavoen explained the process of selection.
“I have been to few venues to watch league games, the NPFL and of course the NNL, even the NLO and we pencilled down a lot of players and I had to also rely on information from coaches that I know in the league, Eguavoen told reporters.
The coach said: “It wasn’t that easy because I have seen a lot of criticisms in the pages of newspapers and of course electronic media but it is okay, the only thing is that people have to do their research first before they speak, everybody is entitled to his or her opinion, it’s not a problem at all.”
On Cyril Olisema’s, omission, the Nigeria Football Federation’s technical director said:
“My apologies, there is one player that is not here, Olisema, was my player in Gombe United, I know him very well in and out but in these positions, we have a lot of players, but this is only one game, other games will come”.
CAF Mulls Super League Idea
The Confederation of African Football [CAF] is discussing the idea of introducing an African Super League, a continental competition which would likely replace the current CAF Champions League and hopefully boost revenue for the organising body.
The revelation was made as CAF President Patrice Motsepe issued a statement outlining the changes and reforms the new leadership is making to ensure African football is globally competitive and self-sustaining.
The idea has taken shape even despite the disastrous European Super League [ESL] proposal earlier this year, which caused major controversy before being banned after most founding member clubs bowed to fan pressure and pulled out.
“ExCo [the CAF executive committee] may have to discuss and consider new CAF competitions which may generate additional funding or income for CAF, its member associations and bodies and also contribute to African football becoming globally competitive and self-sustaining,” Motsepe was quoted as saying by Tidesports source.
“In this regard, we are assessing and [are] in preliminary discussions to start an inclusive and broadly supported and beneficial CAF African Super League. We have been following the attempts by some top European clubs to form a Euro Super League and will learn from their experience and pitfalls.”
CAF is looking to boost income after recent forensic auditing revealed that the organisation has been beset by financial irregularities.
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