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‘No Coaching Vacancy In Eagles’

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Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Sani Lulu Abdullahi said on Monday that the Federation has not at anytime declared vacant the position of Super Eagles’ head coach, currently occupied by Mr. Shuaibu Amodu.
“We appreciate that as a result of Nigeria’s qualification for the 2010 African Nations Cup and World Cup finals, there is bound to be extensive debate over certain issues.
But the NFF wishes to make clear that there is no vacancy for the Head Coach’s position. We have followed the raging debate over a new head coach or whatever and we find it necessary to make this clarification,” said Lulu.
Few days to the Moslem world’s celebration of the Eid-el-Kabir, Lulu reiterated that some people are simply wasting precious time sharpening knives for a ram that had long bolted.
“Coaching, as in most sectors of football, has to do with results. Let us forget the sound and fury, and work with statistics.
In his 15 years in and out of the senior team as Head Coach, Shuaibu Amodu has lost only one competitive match. In 12 matches during qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, he won nine and drew three, losing none.
“It is time that we start appreciating what we have as a people. This is the re-branding that the Federal Government is talking about. It is hard to find a man with such record in today’s international game, and who has also qualified his country for the FIFA World Cup on two occasions, not even talking about Amodu’s feat in earning us our first berth in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. We made a pledge to stick by Amodu and we will not go back now.”
Lulu made it clear that Wednesday’s meeting of the NFF Executive Committee will deliberate on how Nigeria can participate creditably at next year’s African Nations Cup and World Cup finals, as well as in other international engagements.
Amodu, who also qualified Nigeria for the 2002 World Cup finals by leading the Eagles to win their last two matches of an otherwise floundering campaign, attended Friday’s African Nations Cup Draw ceremony in Luanda, Angola. He was there with NFF’s 1st Vice President Amanze Uchegbulam, General Secretary Bolaji Ojo-Oba and Media Officer Ademola Olajire.
The Eagles are housed in Group C against defending champions Egypt, Mozambique and Benin Republic in the group phase.
Nigeria will play Cup holders Egypt in the opening match of Group C in Benguela with tantalizing games against neighbours Benin Republic and World Cup qualifying foes Mozambique to follow. The match against Mozambique will take place in Lubango.
Benguela is 692 kilometres from the capital Luanda. There is no land transportation in a country devastated by three decades of civil war, and where infrastructure has largely collapsed. There is a big race to get key issues like stadia, airports and hospitals ready for the finals and basic things are in short supply despite oil money.
Benguela is a city of 1.4 million people while Lubango is a city of 2.6 million inhabitants. The Benguela Stadium has capacity for 35,000 people while Lubango Stadium can hold 20,000.
Already, the Nigeria Embassy in Luanda has started mobilizing the approximately 5,000 Nigerians living in Angola to be ready to travel to Benguela and Lubango to support the Super Eagles in January. Nigeria’s first match is against Egypt on January 12, with the game against Benin Republic coming up four days later and that against Mozambique scheduled for Lubango on January 20.

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NDDC U-17 Peace Cup To Resume In Uyo

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The long awaited finale of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) U-17 Peace Cup would expectedly resume next week as two qualified teams from the nine states converge in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.
Technical Director of the tournament  Etim Esin in a statement on behalf  of the Local Organising Committee Chairman John Ekpeyong and Secretary Ada Gwegwe yesterday said the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, will declare the tournament open.
It added that the Special Assistant to the President Muhammad Buhari, on Sports Development, Coach Daniel Amokachi, NFF Technical Director Coach Augustine Eguavoen along with football legend Taribo West and other notable Niger Delta-based and foreign scouts will be on ground.
The LOC appreciated the Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa, for his support towards the conclusion of the tournament, adding that it is better late than never, as the competition will still be among his numerous legacies.
According to the statement, the arrival date for participating teams is 11th of December, while screening of teams and official kick off, will take place the following day.
The statement further called on the Coordinators of the states not to forget the rules of engagement, especially on the age bracket of the players, as the screening will be strict, for the aim of the competition to be achieved.

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FIBA World Cup: Kida Lauds D’Tigers’ Strong Qualifiers Start

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Top basketball administrator and immediate past Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) president, Engr Musa Kida, has congratulated the D’Tigers for starting their 2022 FIBA World Cup on a strong note after picking two victories in three matches.
With five points from a possible six and a superior point difference, the team sits comfortably atop group A ahead of the next round of games coming up by the 27th of June, 2022.
Kida described the team’s performance as inspiring despite peculiar circumstances surrounding the federation’s election as well as FIBA’s stance over Nigeria’s participation at the qualifiers.
“It is really nice to start such important qualifiers on a winning note which is very good for our chances of qualifying for the World Cup. We had to put our administrative differences aside for the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
“We feel elated and justified that our decision to give FIBA the go ahead to register the team which enabled them participate paid off in the long run as we join hands with all stakeholders to continue growing the game in Nigeria”.
16 teams are vying for the available five spots at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with Nigeria grouped alongside Mali, Cape Verde and Uganda.
“The top three teams from each group will advance to the Second Round of the African Qualifiers and will join three other teams to create two six-team groups with results from the preliminary rounds carried over,” Musa added.

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AWCON Qualifiers: Ebi Targets Revenge Against Ivory Coast

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Super Falcons defender, Onome Ebi, says the team will go all out for revenge when they clash against Ivory Coast in their final 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers next year.
The qualifying game which will be played on a home and away basis is scheduled for February 13 and 17 with the winners qualifying for the AWCON in Morocco.
The Falcons who will be hoping to defend the title they won at the 2018 in Ghana are eyeing their 10th trophy Morocco but to qualify for the event, they’ll have to go past the Ivorians who knocked them out of contention for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Ebi, who is Nigeria’s current longest-serving player says her aim is to avenge the loss that saw them miss out on the 2020 Olympics at the hands of the Ivorians.
“I can tell you that we still nurse the pain of missing out of the Tokyo Olympics as a result of the loss to Cote d’Ivoire in the qualifying series,” Ebi said.
“This time, we will repay them in their own coins. Personally, I want to play in the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup, and I know it is the same for my teammates.”
The Falcons are the most successful African women’s team in the world and have won the AWCON a record nine times and will be hoping to get their 10th next year after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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