The Nigerian national team camp was thrown into jubilation following the arrival of duo goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and defender Ebube Duru in Constantine on Wednesday.
All the invited 24 players were in the Super Eagles camp at the Marriott Constantine, ahead of Nigeria’s international friendly match onTuesday in Oran.
Nigeria champions Rivers United’s left-back Duru was called up following injuries to a number of players, including defender Leon Balogun, and joined the team on Wednesday after returning from Liberia, where the Pride of Rivers reached the penultimate stage of this year’s CAF Champions League preliminary phase.
Team captain Ahmed Musa and forwards Henry Onyekuru and Samuel Chukwueze are the others knocked out by injuries.
The number of national team stars rose from 18 to 21 following the arrival of Atalanta winger Ademola Lookman, Hapoel Jerusalem goalkeeper Adeleye Adebayo, and Portugal-based star Godwin Saviour on Tuesday evening.
Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, defender Kevin Akpoguma, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forward Chidera Ejuke are returning to the squad after some period out, while midfielder Richard Onyedika and forward Godwin Saviour are joining up with the big boys for the first time.
Israel-based keeper Adebayo was in the squad for the AFCON qualifying matches against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe but did not see action.
Tuesday’s clash will be only the second-ever friendly match between the Fennecs and the Super Eagles, with the two-time African champions edging a clash in Austria in October 2020 by the odd goal.
Hajduk Split defender Chidozie Awaziem was the first player to arrive at the Eagles camp.
Seventeen other Eagles including vice-captain William Troost-Ekong, Nottingham Forest’s Taiwo Awoniyi, and Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi later joined Awaziem in Constantine.
The Eagles stars had their first training session on Tuesday under the watchful eyes of the team’s coaching crew.
Lookman, Adebayo, and Saviour walked in to join their international teammates not long after the training session began.
Leicester City forward Iheanacho arrived in Constantine on Wednesday afternoon, marking a return to international duty for Iheanacho, who was not in the Eagles squad that kicked off their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe in June.
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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