The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Abuja announced the participation of the Super Eagles in an eight–nation invitational tournament in the U.S. in February 2011.
Dr Sanusi Mohammed, NFF’s Assistant General Secretary (Competitions), told newsmen that the tournament tagged “2011 Green Soccer Bowl Tournament’’ will hold from February 12 to February 20.
The competition is being organised by the U.S. Presidents’ Day Celebration Soccer Invitational Tournament Foundation.
“The tournament will involve teams from the African, European and Asian continents and Nigeria has been drawn in Group A with Poland, Malaysia and Iraq.
“The organisers have been in touch with us for some months now and they are requesting for either our team A or B.
“But, we feel it is a good avenue to expose the locally–based players and an opportunity for the players to show what they can do.
“Therefore it is a worthwhile invitational tournament,’’ Mohammed said.
Our correspondent reports that three teams from Africa, two from Europe and three from Asia will participate in the competition, with Group B having African champions Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kenya and Bahrain.
The tournament will be staged at the Ford Field Stadium in Detroit, Michigan State and the PHP Stadium in Dallas, Texas State.
Mohammed listed the tournament’s benefits to the participating teams to include the opportunity to try and develop players from their local leagues in an international match.
“This is a good benefit, instead of relying on players playing professionally abroad all the time,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Mano Menezes, a specialist in leading big clubs out of the doldrums but little-known outside his own country, became the coach of Brazil on Saturday when he accepted an offer from the five-times world champions.
The 48-year-old, currently coach of Corinthians, confirmed he had said yes to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), which had been turned down by Muricy Ramalho the day before after his club refused to release him.
“For the whole of Brazil, I say that I officially accept the invitation,” Menezes told a newsmen at a conference.
Menezes, who replaces Dunga in the hot seat, will have the huge task of trying to rebuild Brazil’s national team.
The team had been discredited after their quarter-final World Cup exit against Netherlands three weeks ago, and win a sixth world title when they host the 2014 World Cup.
Winning their own World Cup is seen as an obligation by Brazil’s 190 million inhabitants.
With Brazil’s failure to win on home soil in 1950 still being mentioned regularly, the pressure on Menezes and his team will be greater than ever.
Menezes, 48, made his name in 2005 when he led former South American champions Gremio out of the second division.
In an extraordinary decisive game, Gremio had four players sent off, survived a penalty miss by opponents Nautico and then snatched a goal to win 1-0 and clinch promotion.
Two years later, he took them to the final of the Libertadores Cup, the South American equivalent of the Champions League.
He then joined Corinthians, another hugely popular team, and led them out of the second division in 2008.
Since then, his side have won the Copa Brasil and signed former Brazil World Cup winners Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos.
Amstel Malta Ultra Unveils Brume As Ambassador
One of Nigeria’s biggest supporters of sports, Amstel Malta Ultra, at the weekend in Lagos, unveiled Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Ese Brume, as its brand ambassador.
The brand has also launched a new campaign tagged, ‘Choose your Way to Live.’
Structured as a fitness event, the campaign launch doubled as the unveiling of Brume, who is also a three-time African senior champion in the long jump, as well as the unveiling of the ‘Choose your way to live’ campaign commercial.
Introducing the campaign TV commercial, which played for the first time at the event, Portfolio Manager, Non-Alcoholic Brands, NB Plc, Elohor Olumide-Awe, said, “the campaign is about celebrating choice and finding a drink that works for you and your healthy lifestyle.
“For us at Amstel Malta Ultra, we aim to empower our consumers to be able to live a balanced and active lifestyle, without the need to compromise on the taste or quality of their favourite malt drink and we couldn’t have found a better ambassador that embodies these qualities and we are truly excited to go this journey with Ese Brume.”
The campaign TV commercial features the newly signed brand ambassador, Ese Brume and Amstel Malta Ultra’s long-time ambassador, Dakore Egbuson-Akande, highlighting the luxury of making choices and what it means to choose one’s way to live focusing on the brand as the perfect beverage for a wellness journey.
Speaking on being the new face of Amstel, Brume said, “I am super excited to join the family and kicking off with Choose Your Way To Live campaign, which truly resonates with me, as an athlete it is important that I find a healthy balance between staying fit and making choices that complement my lifestyle.”
Super Eagles’ Goalkeeping Department To Improve – Shorummu
Super Eagles goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu, has promised that the blunders noticed in the current goalkeeping department will soon end, saying the coaches are working hard to steady the department.
Speaking on the error made by Francis Uzoho in the recent international friendly against Algeria, Shorunmu told newsmen that although the mistake is painful, it is not enough to write off the entire department.
He revealed that more strict measures would be employed to recreate that area of the national team.
“Nobody wants to be part of failure, so, I believe Uzoho was not happy it happened. On our part as the coaching crew, we are engaged in underground work at the moment. When it manifests, Nigerians will be proud of us. Things will happen gradually.”
He said the coaches have beamed their searchlight on the domestic league for quality goalkeepers, who will be invited for screening, adding, “the new NFF board will also help the coaching crew with positive guidelines to follow in revamping the team.”
Shorunmu also disclosed that the Super Eagles are ready for this month’s international friendly match against Portugal, assuring Nigerians that they will see a more improved performance from the team.
Ikpeme May Become NFF Secretary-General
There are strong indications that the Deputy Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme, may be appointed as the new scribe of the football federation today.
The chairman of Zamfara Football Association, Ibrahim Gusau, emerged as the new NFF president last Friday in Benin City during the elective congress of the football body.
The Tidesports source learnt yesterday that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has already commenced the process of replacing the incumbent NFF Secretary General, Mohammed Sanusi, who is from the same geo-political zone with the new president (Gusau).
Apart from the issue of his geographical zone, Sanusi was said to have fallen foul of civil service etiquette through an alleged wrong move he made during the NFF election.
Sanusi was said to have displayed absolute disrespect for the Sports Ministry and the office of the Minister, Sunday Dare, in the build-up to the NFF election in Benin City.
According to a source, Sanusi allegedly wrote a letter in mid-September, this year, to report the Federal Government to FIFA for interfering in the NFF election.
“Sanusi sent a copy of his letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Sports Ministry. The NFF is still a parastatal under the Ministry and answerable to the Minister. The Ministry is the supreme body responsible for the administration of sports in Nigeria and it is fully empowered by the constitution.
“Sanusi and the NFF thought they could use FIFA to blackmail Nigeria.Disrespecting constituted authority is taking it too far by the Secretary-General. He (Sanusi) has created problems for the new NFF president by his behaviour and is likely to be ejected from the NFF secretariat because he is a civil servant, just like other secretaries in the various sporting federations,” the source stated.
Another source hinted yesterday that Ikpeme, who is from the South-South geopolitical zone of the country, might be announced as the new NFF Secretary-General today.
According to the source, the decision to arrive at the choice of Ikpeme as the new NFF scribe is hinged on his experience as the next in command to Sanusi in the Federation.
“Apart from being the most senior officer next to Sanusi in the NFF, the sports ministry recently appointed Olumide Bamiduro as secretary of the Interim Management Committee of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL). Both Bamiduro and the IMC Chairman,Gbenga Elegbeleye, are from the Southwest geopolitical zone,” the source added.
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