Amokachi Set To Take Over Super Eagles
Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu will have to win his next game against Benin convincingly or see himself shunted aside for his assistant Daniel Amokachi to take charge for the rest of the Nations Cup, while Mozambique coach Mart Nooij is favoured for the World Cup.
Tuesday’s defeat to Egypt has seen the pressure on Amodu rise to unbearable levels and the Nigeria contingent held no less than three meetings on Wednesday as they sought to find a way forward, with confidence in Amodu’s abilities falling to a dismal low.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), executive committee have previously backed Amodu publicly, but our source understands that a heated meeting on Wednesday saw the majority of board members asking for Amodu to be asked to ‘step aside’ with immediate effect and hand over to Amokachi for the rest of the competition.
However, NFF chairman, Sani Lulu Abdullahi would have none of it and insisted that Amodu be given at least one more game, against Benin, to save his job.
For the World Cup, the bulk of the NFF Executive Committee are in favour of Nooij, who is currently in charge of Mozambique.
Nooij’s major edge over other contenders, including Claude Leroy who is in Angola, is his deep knowledge of the Nigerian team and players after scouting them during the qualifiers, and again for the Nations Cup.
“There is no time between now and the World Cup for someone to try to study the team and we need somebody who already knows the players and understands the team,” a top official of the NFF said.
An additional advantage for Nooij is that he is Dutch, and favours the 4-4-2 formation which most Nigerians prefer with an emphasis on wingers. The NFF top brass have also been impressed by the job the Dutchman has done with the Mambas.
Another NFF official however said that although there has been no contact with Nooij recently, there has been ‘informal’ contact in the past and is confident a deal can be thrashed out after the Nations Cup.
‘Ondo Didn’t Abandon Sunshine Queens’
Ondo State commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Bamidele Ologun, says the state’s female football team, Sunshine Queens, has not been abandoned by the state government, The Tidesports source reports.
He said why too much has not been heard about the team in recent times was because they were relegated last season.
Sunshine Queens were relegated to the NWFL Championship last season after finishing bottom of the table in Group B with seven points from 12 matches.
Ologun maintained that the management and coaching crew of the team were working hard to ensure the 2015 Federation Cup champions returned to the Nigeria Women’s Football League.
“It’s unfortunate that the team got relegated, but relegation is part of football, we will stand with the team to return to the (NWFL).
“Since they went on relegation last year, we retained the players and also recruited fresh legs that can complement them in order to return the team to the women’s elite league. We motivate them, we did not reduce their salaries, it has always been paid regularly.
“When they complained about their hostel, we also ensured that we got them a befitting hostel to make them feel comfortable and relaxed ahead of their Championship playoffs scheduled for Abuja in the next few weeks,” he said
The NWFL Championship playoffs is scheduled for June 26 to July 3 in Abuja.
Aruna Explains Withdrawal From Lagos WTT Contender
Nigeria’s table tennis icon, Quadri Aruna, has explained why he will not participate in the upcoming World Table Tennis Contender in Lagos.
In a video post on his Instagram handle @quadriaruna on Tuesday, Aruna said the development was due to club engagements.
“Nothing is as good as playing in front of my home fans and it’s always fun getting support from them year after year.
“I am really sorry that I won’t be able to make the WTT Contender in Lagos next week due to my club engagements.
“I really hope that all of you (fans) will support my compatriots and other players participating in the Contender.
“Thank you also for the support over the years and I really hope to see all of you at the next WTT event,” he said.
Aruna lost out in the Round of 32 at the recently-concluded World Table Tennis Championship in Durban, South Africa.
He joined Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg table tennis club of Russia early in the year.
Meanwhile, the tournament is billed for Monday to June 18 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, with Nigeria presenting a 25-man contingent to compete against their foreign counterparts.
The Contender Series, which is the first in sub-Saharan Africa, will afford players the opportunity to garner ranking points in their quest to pick tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Finidi Unhappy Over Draw Against Insurance
Following their 1-1 draw against Bendel Insurance on match-day three of the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League Super 6 playoffs in Lagos, Enyimba coach, Finidi George, was dismayed by his team’s inability to move up to seven points in the title race, Tidesports source reports.
After going ahead in the early stages of the game, Enyimba were pegged back by a stubborn Insurance side on Wednesday at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos as their bid for a ninth NPFL title and a return to the continent suffered a setback.
Sadiq Abubakar scored first for the People’s Elephant with a beautiful left curler, but his effort was cancelled out minutes later by Divine Nwachukwu, who headed home for Insurance.
It was the second time the eight times champions will drop points from a winning position in the playoffs.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t take the three points, but we had a good performance. I’m quite disappointed we didn’t win because we could have won it,” Finidi said after the game
“Moreover, when you play with 24 hours in between and all games at 2pm, it’s really energy sapping, so, we have to get our boys back to full fitness ahead of the two crucial games ahead.”
Enyimba’s next game is against Sunshine Stars on Friday, before facing off with champions Rivers United on Sunday.
With a win and two draws, Enyimba currently have five from a possible nine in the playoffs as the race opens up between them, Rivers United and Remo Stars.
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