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Nigeria Pitch Awards Gets New Date

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Organisers of Nigeria’s longest running football awards, The Pitch Awards, on Monday said that the much-awaited grand ceremony would now hold third week of this month.
President of the awards, Shina Phillips, in a statement in Lagos, stated that the 7th edition of the event would be held at Ibis Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
The 7th Award Ceremony, earlier scheduled for March, was postponed and rescheduled following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also led to the cancellation of major football events across the globe.
“It has been our tradition since 2013 to schedule our award ceremonies to coincide with major Super Eagles match engagements.
“The 7th award ceremony is to honour deserving award winners for the year, 2019. Unfortunately, the circumstances engineered by attempts to halt the spread of COVID-19 forced a major postponement of the event.
“This year’s event will have few guests and sports editors and journalists only in attendance. This year’s award ceremony will mark the first award ceremony which will be held in Lagos,” he said.
Phillips added: “As organisers and as a responsible corporate citizen, we are mindful of the need to observe all government laid down COVID-19 protocols in order to keep our guests safe.
“This is why physical attendance will be restricted as many nominees including members of the Super Eagles will follow the event online.
“Major highlights of the award ceremony will include the announcement of winner of the King of the Pitch Award which will be a keen contest.
“It is between Super Eagles and Leicester City F.C Midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, Manchester United Striker, Odion Ighalo and Super Eagles and Napoli FC sensation, Victor Osimhen.
“In the women’s category, the Queen of the Pitch Award will be a straight battle between Onome Ebi, Super Falcons and Henan Huishang FC player, Chiamaka Nnadozie of Rivers Angels and the Super Falcons and Barcelona Women sensa-tion, Asisat Oshoala,” he said.
Phillips said that Football fans should expect tough contests in the Striker of the Year, Defender of the Year, Midfielder of the Year, Coach of the Year and the Football Friendly Governor of the Year categories.
“Other categories to be decided at the Award Ceremony include the Sam Okwaraji Award for commitment to Nigerian Football, State with the Best Grassroots Football Development Programme.
“There is also the Football Journalist of the Year in the Print, Radio, TV and Online categories,” he said.

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Falcons Needs Overhauling – Ex-NFF Players

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Following the Super Falcons embarrassing 4-2 defeat to South Africa at the recently concluded Aisha Buhari Invitational tournament, former players of the team have unanimously agreed that the team needs an overhaul.
Two penalties and an own goal by defender Michelle Alozie handed the Banyana Banyana a famous win in the final played at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos on Tuesday.
Speaking with Newsmen Stella Mbachu who starred for the Falcons from 1999 to 2014 and won six Africa Women Cup of Nations titles with the team said Randy Waldrum’s team lacked fitness and were out of sort in the finals.
“That was not a good game, it was obvious the Falcons were not in their right frame of mind,” she said. 
“The game was a bad one that is not the team I know. The entire team didn’t play well.
“They need to put this behind them and work harder to perform better during the Africa Women’s Qualifiers.
“They need to overhaul the team and reassemble a new team. The Falcons need to be worked on. They lacked fitness as a coach in my own opinion and that was why the South Africans out ran them.
Tidesports source reports that on Waldrum’s tactics, Mbachu said  she does not know his pattern since he arrived maybe he needs more time with the team. He needs to study the players more particularly those playing in the Nigeria Women Football League.
The Nigerian Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick also agreed that the Falcons needs a rejig as the defeat to South Africa exposed the weakness of the team.
“We are all disappointed by the performance of the Super Falcons, especially on a day we claim to be celebrating the Girl Child,” he said.
“The whole essence of this competition for us as NFF has been achieved. We have a qualifier against Ghana in the next few weeks so we needed these matches to test the readiness of our players for the task ahead.
“The Banyana Banyana team has exposed the weaknesses in our team. They came to Lagos with so many young players and gave our girls some football lessons on the day.
“For me, the lesson here is that, we need to inject more players from the NWFL into the team. As you can see, the outstanding players in Nigeria’s two matches against Mali and South Africa are home based players and that is the more reason why we must invest more in the Nigeria women’s football league to expose more of these hidden talents.”
Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation, Austin Eguavoen, also agreed on the overhaul but added it must be gradual.
“The whole crowd was shocked with the result. They are not playing well and that is why it is tagged the Aisha Buhari International friendly and it is an opportunity for the coach and the entire Nigeria especially football stakeholders to start looking inward.
“But we cannot wipe these girls out completely, it is impossible and that’s why it has to be a gradual process,” he added.

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Akwa United Boss Rues Elimination From CAF Champions League

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Head Coach of Akwa United Football Club Kennedy Boboaye has admitted that his team were eliminated from the CAF Champions League by the Algerian Champions CR Belouizdad, who were more technically superior.
Tidesports source reports that the Nigerian champions crashed out at the preliminary stage of Africa’s premier competition after losing the second leg 2-0 in Algiers last Sunday and are out of the competition on a 2-1 aggregate score.
In a reaction to his team’s defeat and elimination from the competition, Coach Kennedy Boboye said “The moment we won by just one goal in Uyo on September 12th, I knew it will be difficult for us to get a favourable result in Algiers, but at the same time it wasn’t an impossible task for us. 
After a careful study of the first leg, I realized that our opponents (CR Belouizdad) were technically better than us and that was why we came to Algiers with a game plan which, unfortunately, didn’t work for us.
“Two of my players Charles Okafor and Marshal Johnson had passport issues, one player Denis Nya sustained an injury during the warm-up and that altered the plans we had. We needed to move Dare Ojo to the centre back position, which he did very well but we missed his experience in the midfield and it affected our game plan.
“Having won the first leg, we knew that they (CR Belouizdad) will come out to attack us so our plan was to get at least a goal in the first half but we came up against a very good team. The way they played, one can tell that they have been playing together for a very long time. The first goal they scored was a good goal but the penalty against us wasn’t a good one, but that is football.
“We have to go back and start preparing for the new NPFL season and I think that the exposure and experience we have garnered from these two games will help the coaching crew and the players in subsequent outings both in the league and at the continental level” Boboye assured.
The Promise Keepers who won the Nigeria Professional Football League title for the first time in their history returned home on Tuesday.

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FIFA Confirms Venue For S’Eagles, CAR Double-Header

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FIFA has confirmed venues for the 2022 World Cup qualifying double-header between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Les Fauves of the Central African Republic.
The Super Eagles will host Raoul Savoy’s men in a matchday three encounter at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on October 10.
The reverse fixture will take place three days later at the Stade De Japoma, Douala, Cameroon.
The Super Eagles started their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win against the Lone Star of Liberia last month.
Gernot Rohr’s charges then defeated the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde 2-1 four days later in Mindelo.
The three-time African champions top Group C with six points from two games.
The top team in the group will proceed to the final play-off for the final round.

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