Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu has taken the unusual step of explaining the reasoning behind his omission of certain players for next month’s 2010 World Cup qualifier against Tunisia in Abuja.
Although reaction to his current squad has been less vitriolic than the past, Amodu has seen his non-selection of Obafemi Martins criticised, as well as his inclusion of John Utaka and Obinna Nwaneri.
“No national team list can be comprehensively correct. We expect criticism whenever we release a team list. We listen to that criticism and take it into consideration when we draw up the next list. In this case, I will say that overall the reaction has been good.”
The exclusion of Martins has raised the most eyebrows, but Amodu explains: “In drawing up this list, Martins was in my head throughout. But I also considered that he had just joined a new club and would need time, not only to settle down, but also to change his orientation from the English style to the German style.
“I tried to call him, but his phone was turned off. I then sent someone to Germany to see him and Ogbuke with instructions to call me up on the phone so I could speak to them. I spoke with Ogbuke, but the day the person was to go to Martins’ club, he said he was travelling to Italy to see his doctor. What that told me was that he was either not ready psychologically to be part of this team, or he was not fully fit and needed time to recover before joining us.
“After we came out with the list, he called me and said he wanted to play. I asked him if he was fit, and if I called him up between then and Monday, if he would come. He said he was ready to get on a flight and join up as soon as he is called.
“I considered including him, but at the same time I recalled that we had written to his club when he joined them, congratulating them on signing him and informing them that he was one of our key players.
“We also told them that we would like to give him some time to settle in before we called him up. So I decided that it was better to let him stay, and then call him for the next one, when he would be raring to go.”
Amodu also explained the thinking behind the selection of Nwaneri and Utaka, saying: “We tried to strike a balance, to pick two players for each position. After the initial plotting, we saw we had two deficiencies, one in attack and one in central defence.
“Our options in central defence were Sodje, Shittu and Nwaneri. At the moment, Sodje is still trying to sort his club position out and we need him to focus on that. Shittu is almost in the same position, but we tried to reach him to ascertain if he was in the right frame of mind to play. We could not reach him on the phone, and he did not respond to emails. Nwaneri, on the other hand, was in contact with us throughout, and we decided to pick him.
“In attack, it was between Utaka and Akpala. Akpala’s commitment cannot be faulted. In fact, I can guarantee it. But we also needed someone who was versatile and experienced for such a crucial match. Utaka can play on the right, in the centre and in the midfield, so we decided to go with him.”
Amodu added that he was confident he had the players to claim all three points on the day, suggesting that he did not expect to leave the stadium with a job if he failed to win
“We are focused on winning that match. If we don’t win, I may be sacked on that day. So it is important for me to take the decisions that will see us qualify for the World Cup.”
21st NSF: Team Rivers Hopeful Of Good Outing
About halfway through the ongoing 21st National Sports Festival, Asaba 2022, Team Rivers is struggling to make impression on the medals table, given that there are still many events on preliminary stages, there is still hope and expectation that the team Rivers would finish impressively on the medals table.
As at press time, Team Rivers has won one gold, two silver and four bronze medals, currently occupying the fifth position on the official medals table, after failing to losing out in three events it qualified for the gold medal rounds yesterday. The State’s athletes had chances to pick gold medals in swimming 50metres Backstroke, 100metres Breaststroke and 200metres freestyle but failed to make any hit.
But speaking in an interview, the Head Coach of Para-tennis, Peter Simeon Ambakaderemo, yesterday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium shortly after one of their events, said he was still optimistic that his team would give the State at least three gold medals.
However, he complained about poor organisation and frequent changing of draws and time.
“Honestly, to me the organisers of the festival are not trying at all because they keep on rescheduling draws that have been made.
It is disheartening to note that Delta State officials meet the referees and change draws and schedules. This has severally caused arguments and fight between coaches.
I have not experienced such a thing before at any sports festival, in fact I am tired of the whole thing,” Ambakaderemo said.
Also speaking, Team Rivers Handball Coach, Loveday Ikiriko, expressed sadness as their male team lost massively to Lagos State 30 – 12 in their first preliminary game.
According to him, there is still hope to clinch a medal before the end of their event, either from the male or female category.
“One of our major problems is that we didn’t prepare on time, we only entered into camping one week to the event and that was not enough for a major festival of this nature.
I plead that arrangement should be made subsequently for us to be in camp early, because in any competition,early preparation is important,” Ikiriko said.
Also speaking, the Head Coach of Shooting, Mary Ikpeamaeze, expressed optimism that her athletes will give Team Rivers at least two goal medals.
According to her, already they had won one bronze medal and some events are still on the way.
By: Tonye Orabere
Kano Pillars FC Appoints New Technical Adviser
Kano Pillars of Kano have unveiled Evans Ogenyi as the club’s new Technical Adviser for the 2022/2023 football season.
The new technical adviser was unveiled at Kano State sports commission hall by its Chairman and acting chairman Kano Pillars FC, Ibrahim Galadima.
He said a total of 31 applications were received from within and outside the country for different positions, among them are five from foreign countries, including three from Africa i.e; one from Cote d’Ivoire two from Ghana and one from Turkey and the other one from Mexico, northern American country as well as Nigerian coaches.
Fourteen coaches applied for the job and one of those interviewed was from Cote d’Ivoire.
“ What the club needs as for now is dedication, commitment and sacrifice is what is needed from the management and technical crew in order to revive the club”, Galadima said.
In his speech, the Kano Pillars FC’s new technical adviser pledged to overcome all difficulties and build on what he met on ground to achieve great results.
Other members of the technical crew are Ibrahim A Musa as coach, Ahmed Garba Yaro Yaro Assistant coach, Gambo Mohd assistant coach II, Abbas Auwalu Sola goalkeeper trainer and Sani Lawan as team manager.
Among many clubs he has managed in the past, Coach Evans was a former coach of Warri Wolves football club, Enyimba FC of Aba, Jigawa Golden Stars, Lobi Star and Nasarawa United of Lafiya two consecutive times.
21st NSF: Nasarawa Targets Top Position
The Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Nasarawa State, Amb. Lucky Yargwa, has reiterated that mouth watering reward would be given to any athlete or coach that wins medal at the on ongoing 21st National Sports Festival (NSF) holding in Asaba, Delta State.
He stated that his team will finish within the top ten at the end of the competition, saying that already they have won three medals, one Silver from Para-Table Tennis and two Bronze coming from Taekwondo.
Amb. Yargwa, said this on Saturday while briefing sports journalists at the media centre of Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Nasarawa started to attend NSF in 1998 and in 2021 edition hosted by Edo State, a total of 22 medals: five gold, four silver and 13 bronze were garnered by the state.
According to him, the State is taking part in 27 sporting events at Asaba 2022, adding that they will surpass their previous records on the medal table.
“In all of these sports, we are very confident of surpassing our previous medal records.
“So far, Team Nasarawa has won three medals – one Silver from Para-Table Tennis and two Bronze coming from Taekwondo Events.
“Some of our athletes are already at the verge of winning medals in some sports, and before the end of today, we should have more medals in our cabin.
“But I want to assure you that before the end of the Festival, Team Nasarawa will be among the top ten highest medal winning States.” Amb. Yargwa said.
The number one sports man in Nasarawa state revealed that Governor Abdullahi Sule has redeemed his N16.5million naira pledge to athletes who won medals at the 2021 NSF held in Benin City, Edo State.
By: Tonye Orabere, in Asaba
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