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President of AFCON, Amaju Pinnick, told the gathering of African football’s decision makers yesterday in Rabat why CAF’s flagship tournament should be expanded.

“This proposal is hinged on sporting, commercial and infrastructural reasons, and we believe that sooner than later, everyone would come to appreciate the position of the proponents of a bigger Africa Cup of Nations.

“George Weah from Liberia became the only African to have been named the World Player of the Year, same year he was voted the African Player of the Year and European Player of the Year. He is from a nation (Liberia) many would consider a minnow in the African game. If we have a bigger AFCON, there will definitely be more talented players coming onto the stage, and we could just discover that the next ‘Weah’ would come from either Djibouti or Botswana.

“For commercial reason, more corporate organizations and stakeholders will be involved and it is certainly a bigger cake for everyone. CAF will be richer and the Member Associations will surely benefit. When UEFA staged the European Championship in 2012, when it was a 16 –team event, they made a profit of $1.5 billion. Last year, when they staged a 24 –team event for the first time, they made $2.1 billion.

“Having a 24 –team AFCON will also compel the development of stadia facilities across the African continent, as CAF will certainly encourage co-hosting, and this will also ginger general infrastructural development in the continent.”

The African Football Symposium with the theme, 'African Football: Our Vision' ended yesterday in Rabat, Morocco with high hopes for the future of football in Africa.

 

 

He has had a brilliant beginning, a limiting heart, a career filled with golden goals and the heart to look back and give life all over again.

Former Nigerian international, Kanu Nwankwo has come full circle as a footballer and now he is drawing one more stroke with his latest project, Papilo FC.

“We have to go back to the grassroots, but for me people like us have to come out to make sure we support any league, not only pro league, division3, division 2, division 1 and that’s how we all started before we get into the Premiership, so we have to do our best and the Federation will do theirs.”

Kanu’s charity took shape after he survived a career threatening heart problem that shattered his world in 1996 but he was able to bounce back and since then, he hasn’t looked back with his heart foundation, providing help for indigent children with heart-related problems.

Since the launch, many fans of the former Arsenal, Inter Milan, and Ajax star have been wondering when and how he will contribute back to the game that brought him fame and fortune. The qualification of Papilo Fc to the Nigerian national league raised eyebrows, simply because there is only one name attributed to that Moniker Papilo.

“If it's not Papilo, you will not know the team, if its Papilo, then definitely you will know that Papilo is contributing”.

“It’s a difficult task, but we are still on, we did it in division 3, division 2, division 1 and here we are in the pro league, so I will still do what I am supposed to do, help the young ones build a platform for them but it’s a huge task, so we are trying to reach whoever we can reach to support what we are doing.”

Papilo FC debuted in the 2nd tier of the Nigerian Football league; Nigeria National League (NNL) with a big ambition and a splash on Matchday one in the presence of Kanu Nwankwo, picking a point away from home against AS Racine at the Agege Stadium in Lagos.

“This is 3 points we wanted to go home with but somewhere, somehow it happened and that’s football, but it’s a good game, at least everybody enjoyed it, the referee did their best, you can see in the stands, you see a lot of people who left whatever they were doing and they are here to support this. This what we have to do, we need more people to come out and watch games like this”

Coach of the team, Uzor Obinna is a big example of going to the grassroots to develop the raw talents inherent as he graduated from being a player of Papilo FC to the coach after his career ended.

Uzor guided Papilo FC  to the NNL from the third tier Amateur league, earning the promotion, year in year out with the support of Kanu Nwankwo’s beautiful heart, a gift to football.

 

The 18th edition of the FIFA U-17 world cup tagged India 2017 would kick off on Friday, October 6th, 2017 but without the defending champion and the most successful country at u-17 level, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria.


Started in 1985 and hosted by China, the maiden edition was won by the Golden Eaglets with promising talents like the great Nduka Ugbade and Jonathan Akpoborie who later progressed to the Super Eagles. that was the aim of the tournament, fishing-out talents for the main team of a country.


The Golden Eaglets has since participated in 11 U-17 World Cup, playing in 8 finals, winning 5 and losing 3 of the finals, becoming the first Nation to win the tournament a record 5 times churning out talented players in the likes of Fatai Atere, Mutiu Adepoju, Nwankwo Kanu, John Obi Mikel, Kelechi Iheanacho and many others who later progressed to the Super Eagles.


It is no more news that Nigeria will be absent at India 2017. But despite that, the NFF engaged the Golden Eaglets by sending them to South Korea in 2016 for the Four Nations U-19 Suwon Continental Cup where they played against Iran's U-19, England's U-20 and South Korea's U-19 teams. But afterwards, there have been no camping, even though the NFF assured that apart from the Suwon tournament, they (NFF) would keep the boys busy this year with series of invitational tournaments and friendly matches.


The Nation's U-13 / U-15 age grade competition, which used to be the pool from which our Golden Eaglet team is selected was put on hold between 2013 and 2016 for financial reasons and restarted in 2017. The U-13 / U-15 youth development football program was initiated by the NFF in 2009 with the aim of grooming young football talents of right ages and also reduce age-cheat in Nigeria football. Eze Chidera, Kelechi Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi are some of the products of the National U-13 / U-15 program that have graduated to the Golden Eaglets team of Nigeria.


The German team that won the 2017 confederations cup in Russia is made up of young and energetic players that came through the ranks. What can we do to be at that level?


You will recall that the first sets of Nigeria's Golden Eaglet were from school teams. Do we go back to the good old days where the Nucleus of the Golden Eaglet is gotten from school teams?

In line with the charity theme of the award instituted by the League Management Company (LMC) the player nominated Mallam Kawu Youth Rehabilitation and Orphanage Centre in Bauchi to be the beneficiary of 50 percent of the prize money.

Ahmed Usman, a former Almajiri (street kids) who won the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 24 VAT Wonder Goal award has nominated a Youth Rehabilitation Center in Bauchi as his preferred Charity and went on to describe the award as the high point of his season at Wikki Tourists. The player popularly called Manu expressed the hope that the recognition will motivate him to achieve more in his career.

Ahmed has four goals to his name so far this term but the Match Day 24 goal against Niger Tornadoes in a 3-1 win for the Tourists has had him in national focus and the player said shortly after the ceremonial presentation of the N150, 000 prize money the goal which was his second of the season will mark the beginning for more. 

"I chose Mallam Kawu because it is a centre that gives the orphans the Almajiri system of education. I was an Almajiri myself and this is why I still identify with them. I hope my donation will help take care of those orphans", Ahmed told www.npfl.ng

It has been a long lane to honours for Ahmed whose football path has led him through local clubs in Bauchi including Zabgai FC and Yankari FC but he reserved a huge appreciation for Wikki’s new coach, Bala Nikiyu for granting him more playing time on the pitch than he had ever had previously.

"I feel so happy for winning the VAT Wonder goal award. That was my second goal of the season and I hope it will be the beginning of good things to come for me as a player” said Usman who had since doubled that tally in four other games.

While dedicating the award to his team mates and club supporters, the forward promised to do more to help the team strengthen their quest to retain a place in the NPFL. And to his coach, he expressed gratitude for allowing him a free role to express himself and providing the tutorial that has boosted his confidence on the pitch and improved his game. 

"I wouldn't have achieved this award without the support of my teammates and our fans. I dedicate this award to them.

"I also thank coach Nikiyu. He has always told me to be adventurous especially whenever I am in the box, that I should try and penetrate and that if my effort does not go inside the net, somebody will be there to finish it.

"I am enjoying this moment. It is my high point of the season so far and I hope to do more", he promised. 

The VAT Wonder Goal is supported by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to promote tax education and enrich club-community engagement.

Antonin Panenka resurfaced in the shape of a Moroccan – Youssef El Gnaoui - on Friday night in Rabat to leave pain and gnashing of teeth in his wake as Nigerian side, Rivers United FC bowed out of the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup with a whimper. 

United needed to win at a rocking Stade du FUS (Hay Nahda, Rabat) but started on the back foot with the North Africans pushing and probing in search of an early goal.

They almost got it in the fourth minute when El Gnaoui forced a brilliant save off the Rivers United goalkeeper, Abiodun Akande who would go on to have a barn storming game.

Three minutes later, United were reeling again as Ifeanyi Nweke rallied to produce a goal line clearance before Akande evoked memories of former Colombia international maverick goalkeeper, Rene Higuita by heading away a dangerous free kick. 

FUS continued to dominate but profligacy coupled with an Akande in inspired form, kept the former Botola Pro champions at bay.

There is a maxim in football which buttresses a point about paying the price when you fail to convert numerous opportunities and it was ruthlessly displayed when United scored with their first real opening of the game.

Nweke’s opportunistic cross into the FUS box was flapped at by goalkeeper, Aymane Majid and the loose ball fell towards the path of poacher, Bolaji Sakin.

The big striker could not believe his luck as he calmly took aim and curled the ball into the far corner to give the ‘Pride of Rivers’ a fortuitous lead.

It was a horrible time to concede but to their credit, FUS did not panic; they stayed true to their ideals and philosophy; playing their passing game which soon led to ultimate punishment for the Port Harcourt club in a high octane second half.

 

Youssef El Gnaoui tapped into an unguarded net from close range in the 52nd minute following good work by El Mehdi El Bassil after Bernard Ovoke unsuccessfully tried to dribble his way from the back. 

The Moroccans struck the final nail into the Rivers United coffin with just two minutes remaining on the clock when Mohammed Fouzair converted a penalty – ala Panenka- after Festus Austine needlessly handled the ball in the box. 

It was a richly deserved victory for the Moroccans who dominated and were denied on two occasions by goal line clearances from Nweke and Joseph Douhadji. 

The Rivers United goalkeeper, Abiodun Akande was his side’s best performer on the day as he produced a series of top class save to help keep the eventual result respectable. 

Technical manager of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma and his counterpart from FUS Rabat, Hoalid Regragui gave their thoughts about the game in a post-match press conference.  

Rivers United finished bottom of Group A with six points from six matches while KCCA finished in third place with nine points after losing 0-4 in Tunis to the eventual table toppers, Club Africain. 

United and KCCA thus crash out of the competition at the group stage while the two North Africans march on.

FUS Rabat qualified for the quarter finals after finishing in second place with nine points from six matches. 

Teams

FUS Rabat: Aymane Majid, Mehdi Khalis, Saad Khorsa (Hamza Semmoumy 74’), Naif Aguerd, Ayoub Skouma, Mohammed Fouzair, Badr Boulhroud, Lamina Diakite, Zakaria Benlamachi, El Mehdi El Bassil and Youssouf El Gnaoui (Mohammed Saoud 86’).

Substitutes not used: Ibourahima Sidibe and Younes Ezziadi.

Rivers United: Abiodun Akande, Festus Austine, Douhadji Joseph, Ifeanyi Nweke, Ovoke Bernard (Guy Kuemian 90), Saka Ayo (Egbuonu Odumegwu 66’), Bolaji Sakin (Wassa Gabriel 81’), Zoumana Doumbia levitra  Lukman Mohammed  Alliassou Sanou  and Ojobo Markson.

Substitutes not used: Femi Thomas, Ayobami Asekunowo and Obomate Frederick.

Yellow cards: Zoumana Doumbia (59’) and Abiodun Akande (87’)

 


World soccer governing body, FIFA have suspended the Sudanese football association citing government interference in the activities of the SFA.

Following the decree of the undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice of June 2nd, 2017 which is in conflict with art 13 of the FIFA statutes, the Sudan Football Association is suspended in accordance with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council dated 27 June 2017.

The decision was contained in a letter dated 6 July 2017 and signed by FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura.

FIFA'S LETTER OF SUSPENSION



As a result, three Sudanese clubs, El Hilal, El Merreikh in the Total CAF Champions League and Al Hilal Obeid in the Total CAF Confederation Cup are disqualified from the two competitions.

The suspension will be lifted only when the decree is declared null or void and the board of directors of the SFA with its President. Dr. Mutasim Gaafar Sir Elkhatim is reinstated.

Blessing Okagbare and Ogho-Oghene Egwero both inspired Team Nigeria to victories in the 4X100m Relays event at the 2017 Warri Relays & CAA Grand Prix held on Tuesday at the main bowl of the Delta State Polytechnic Ozoro.

While Okagbare led the female team to a comfortable win in a time of 43.92secs, the men team were stretched by the Botswana quartet who came to Ozoro with the aim of getting a qualifying time for the World Championships in London.

The Nigeria men’s relay team returned a time of 40.17secs while Botswana finished with a time of 40.21secs.

There was more to celebrate for Nigeria in the Women’s 100 Hurdles event as U.S based Tobiloba Amusan continued her impressive run this season; winning the race in a time of 12.97secs while Grace Ayemoba finished a distant second in a time of 13.53secs and Efe Favour third in 13.63secs.

In the Men’s 100m men was won by Egwero came first as he clocked 10.33secs, Keene Motukisi in second position in 10.41secs and Harry Chukwudike 10.47secs in third position.

Isoken Igbinosun finished ahead of national champions, Aniekeme Alphonsus, in women’s 100m as she posted a time of 11.49secs. Alphonsus crossed the line in 11.51secs and Ntia Obong Mercy in 11.66secs.

In the Women’s 800m, Agber Shimenge claimed top position with a time of 2.11.29secs.

Ihekandu Philomena and Oluchi Offoma settled for 2nd and 3rd sport respectively with a time of 2.12.17 and 2.12.20 respectively.

In the 110 Hurdles for men, Martins Ogieriakhi who few days ago won the national title followed up with another winning performance as he breasted the tape in a time of 13.82secs ahead of Abejoye Oyeniyi and Bashiru Abuduliahi who picked second and third spot.

For the 400m Women’s event it was a good day for Yinka Ajayi who not only won the race but also registered a new personal best time of 51.30secs, Abike Ebegniyi and Folashade Olotu were relegated to 2nd and 3rd spot having finished their races in 52.03 and 56.83secs respectively. Meanwhile, Kelechi Nwanaga on Tuesday broke a 15-year national record in women’s javelin throw, with her 58.15m throw in Ozoro.

The previous record of 55.30 was created by Sorochukwu Ihuefo in 2002. Nwanaga’s new feat is yet to be officially ratified by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

150 athletes are set to compete for glory at the Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) Taekwondo Prix Series II starting on Friday June 9 at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja.

The two-day championships has become breeding ground for future stars.

According to the CEO of CCSF, Chika Chukwumerije, “The event is for upcoming athletes only. National athletes and athletes who have been to the National camp are not eligible to participate. Since the tournament is using the latest World Taekwondo Federation rules and the upgraded Daedo software, it gives the upcoming athletes great exposure and an advantage in their careers.”

The Athletes are drawn from 11 states - Niger, Benue, Plateau, Lagos, Edo, Kano, Kebbi, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto and Cross River as well as host– Federal Capital Territory (FCT),Abuja.

“This is the first time an active online registration portal is used to register for a Taekwondo event in Nigeria. We must use technology to catch up with the rest of the world. This process made it cheaper, faster and more effective for persons to register,” the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games medallist added.

In the breakdown of participants, 150 competitors comprising 28 teams with 53 Adults, 26 juniors, seven cadets and 63 kiddies will jostle for honours. The list is comprised of 103 Male and 51 Females.

 

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has been granted an exception by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) to fight Wladimir Klitschko for their heavyweight title.

The IBF, one of the world’s boxing sanctioning bodies, however, noted that the bout must take place before December 2.

Joshua’s promoters Matchroom Boxing requested the special extension and it was approved by the IBF at their convention.

The governing body ruled that the winner of any potential rematch between Joshua and Klitschko must then face number one contender Kubrat Pulev in a title defence.

They also stipulated that there will be no further exceptions or unification fights beyond December 2.

One of the World’s Leading boxing promoters Frank Warren, as announced that elite Nigerian boxer, Larry “The Natural” Ekundayo, will be fighting for the WBO Inter-continental welterweight title at the Copper Box Arena, London on July the 8th 2017. 

 

The undefeated, former African boxing champion and Prize Fighter winner has been given the opportunity to fight for this prestige’s title as the main support to Billy Joe Saunders, who headlines the show and is defending his world title live on BTSports. 

 

Larry Ekundayo (12-0) will fight against the highly ranked and much feared Gary Corcoran, who has an impressive (16-1) record and who has recently campaigned at a higher weight division. Should Ekundayo overcome this challenge he will be catapulted high into the WBO world rankings, with a world title shot in sight.

 

“The Natural” recently attracted major media attention in Nigeria, and across Africa, as world Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Joshua, recorded a special message requesting that all Nigerians get behind Larry in his forthcoming title fight.

 

Speaking from his training base in London U.K, Ekundayo, who proudly wears the green and white of Nigeria into battle, said “I would really likely to thank my management team, MTK, for arranging this title shot and for Frank Warren for giving me an opportunity to showcase my skills in front of a global audience.”

 

Ekundayo, represents the country’s best opportunity of delivering sporting success in 2017 for those who wear the Nigerian colours. He is thrilled to have the whole nation behind him, saying “They have recently passed a bill in the Nigerian National Assembly to help support me and help bring big time boxing back to Nigeria, if we as fighters are supported correctly we can rule the world of boxing!”

 

Larry, and fellow elite level boxer, Olusegun Ajose, were recently blessed by Ooni of Ife with further promise of support, not only for the boxers but for all Nigerians in the Diaspora seeking to bring glory to their fatherland. His Royal Majesty the Ooni of Ife had earlier urged all Nigerians in the UK and Europe to attend the boxing event to give maximum support to Larry in his forthcoming bout.

The Liebherr 2017 World Championship in Dusseldorf Germany witnessed an uncommon match up between, 12 year-old Rizumu Ono from Philippines, born to Japanese father and Filipinos mother, against 41-year old Olufunke Oshonaike from Nigeria in the Women's Single qualifications stage.

 

Almost three decades gap between the two, the fact that they played together at the global stage, is a true unifying force for the game, that age is no barrier and table tennis is a sport for all.

 

Rizumu Ono was born on 9th October 2004 and Olufunke Oshonaike was born on 28th October, 1975.

Olufunke Oshonaike beat Rizumu Ono in a thrilling six games encounter (15-13, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 6-11, 12-10) but the match and the situation was more than just the close scores.

 

Not shying away from what she felt, Olufunke Oshonaike said,

“I must admit that I have never been so nervous like this in my life particularly playing against the young girl who is not even older than my first son who is 14. I was so scared because she is so talented that even before the match, I could not sleep well. I knew that if I don’t beat her I won’t be able to make it out of the group.”-Olufunke Oshonaike

 

“I must tell you that I was really scared wondering what I will tell Nigerians back home, that a 12 year-old girl beat me without knowing that the girl is more talented than her age,”

The General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi has donated three glittering trophies to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), FCT for its forthcoming sports competition.

 

The week –long competition that will see football as the cynosure of all eyes, will start on Tuesday.

 

Speaking at the presentation inside the Coordinator’s office at the NYSC permanent orientation camp, Kubwa, Abuja on Wednesday, the NFF scribe challenged the youth corpers to compete keenly but fairly, and to be good sportsmen and women.

 

“As a people, we have a responsibility to encourage the young ones. Sport is one area in which the youth can be meaningfully and productively engaged. I charge the youth corpers to conduct themselves with pride as they take part in this competition,” Sanusi said.

 

An elated Coordinator, FCT camp of the NYSC, Abdulrazak Salawu praised the gesture by Dr. Sanusi and assured that the youth corpers would be much encouraged by the glittering trophies.

NFF

Former Nigeria international Nwankwo Kanu has offered to help persuade Vincent Enyeama to make a return to the Nigerian national team, ahead of the country's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Cameroon next month. 

The Super Eagles are still in search of Enyeama's full-time replacement following the Lille goal-minders international retirement in 2015 - with Daniel Akpeyi having manned the goals last time out. 

Akpeyi was unconvincing in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) defeat to Bafana Bafana, with the burly shot-stopper unlikely to continue in goal. 

Head coach Gernot Rohr has reportedly set his sights on goalkeepers plying their trade in Nigeria, with Carl Ikeme out of contention after he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia last week. 

With no end in sight to the goalkeeping conundrum, former Arsenal forward Kanu has called on Enyeama to come out of retirement. 

"As it is now we need Vincent badly. In my opinion, Enyeama should come back immediately," Kanu told KweséESPN. "Whoever is close enough to reach him should tell him to start coming back.

"Enyeama is very very good. He is one of the best players in Africa, and one of the best in the world. Let the Federation look into it and do everything they can to bring him back."

The former Enyimba shot-stopper quit international football following a fallout with former coach Sunday Oliseh, but Kanu is desperate to see the 34-year-old make a return. 

"If Enyeama says he doesn't want to come, people like us can talk to him, the federation too can talk to him. If a lot of people talk to him, I'm sure that definitely, he will change his mind," Kanu concluded.

The Nigeria Professional Football League produced 13 goals in their week 30 fixtures, the Akure Gunners(Sunshine Stars) won away from home, while 5 teams win at home, and 2 teams draw at home.

Mfon Udoh and Ikechukuwu Ibenegbu condemned Lobi Stars F.C. to a 2-1 loss to Enyimba International F.C. in Aba. Anthony Okpotu scored for the away team.

Remo Stars were shocked in Shagamu as the Sky blues held them to a 1-1 draw with Shooting Stars. Moses James scored for Oluyole Warriors, while Awazie Ekene scored for the NPFL bottom rockers.

Emma James strike earned Plateau United a 1-0 win over Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra Warriors).

Harrison Madu goal (1-0) sealed a win for Wikki Tourists F.C. against Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

Kastina United tame Kano Pillars 1-0 with Martins Usale who scored for Kastina based team.

Samuel Mathias was on the scoresheet hitting a brace(2-1) in today encounter as Nasarawa United defeat El kanemi Warriors. Hashimu Haliru scored for the Borno Army.

Chiamaka Madu goal earned Flying Antelopes a 1-0 over MFM (Olukoya Boys), but the game is been postponed until further notice.

Ezekiel Thompson goal demolishes Rivers United in Port Harcourt, as the Akure Gunners secured away victory(0-1).

Abia Warriors and Akwa United both played draw in Umahaia (0-0).

Sunshine Stars 0-1 Nasarawa Utd

El-Kanemi 1-0 Abia Warriors

Kano Pillars 2-0 Rangers

Lobi Stars 3-2 Remo Stars

Akwa United 3-0 Gombe United

Ifeanyi ubah 1-0 Enyimba

Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Plateau United

ABS 0-0 Rivers United

3SC 1-0 Katsina United

MFM 1-0 Wikki tourist

The beauty of a football match is the goals, the unbelievable skills, and the colorful fans, but more importantly, it's in the aesthetics of the stadium that makes the experience unforgettable.

A typical match-day in the NPFL is filled with the joy of goals, the faces of defeat and magical moments that make or Mar the outcome

Beneath all the magic is the work that goes into preparing the stadium for every moment to be enjoyed both live at the stadium and especially at home.

Enter match day branding and it goes beyond the boards and graphic/fonts because it's an industry on its own.


Currently valued at a minimum N200 million per season in its current form, an amount regarded by Obi Nnaobi, MD, Arena Signage, as a drop in the ocean of endless opportunities if properly harnessed.

“if Nigerian sports is truly professionalized, you will see a lot of brands coming to do different activities on match day; the value of  the market if the right conditions are in place should be in excess of N1billion with thousands of people employed”

Infographics on Matchday Branding

The minimum labour requirement is pegged at about 5 individuals per venue and covers 10 venues each day of league football; that's 50 individuals engaged per match-day in an aspect of league football that is just taking shape.

As a fledgling industry, match-day branding is not without its challenges, which includes planning for weather for each venue, the logistics of moving equipment around and ensuring the universal consistency in design across all venues.

The future of match-day branding lies in not just going digital, but a highly planned engagement opportunity for brands with a real affinity for football.

It cost N200m to bring in a single unit of standard digital advertising boards for stadiums and another N10 million to operate per match day.

“What do you say about Nigeria, we have less than 3 partners, so how do you bring in electronics, if you bring in electronics who will pay for them, so as we begin to develop as a league, as more sponsors come, as clubs begin to professionalize their ranks by getting local sponsors, then we can begin to talk about going digital; so if anyone says we are backward because we don’t use digital boards, then they don’t understand what it takes”

NFF President Amaju Pinnick on Monday inaugurated the committee that will organize the first edition of the AITEO Cup Competition (formerly Federation Cup) for men and women.

While inaugurating the 11-member Committee, headed by NFF 1st Vice President/Chairman of Organising Committee, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, Pinnick insisted that the Committee’s membership was strategically drawn based on the core services of the two competitions.

NFF 2nd VP/LMC chairman Shehu Dikko is vice chairman, with NFF Executive Committee members Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, Sharif Rabiu Inuwa and Ms Aisha Falode as members. NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi is the Secretary.

Other members are Mr. Andrew Onyearu (Group Executive Director/Chief Legal Counsel of AITEO), Mr. Ndiana-Abasi Matthew (Senior Manager, Corporate Communications of AITEO) and Barr. A. U. Mustapha (SAN).

The NFF President charged the Committee to be fully focused on delivering a competition that the Nigerian Football fraternity and sponsors AITEO would be proud of.

Responding, Barr. Akinwunmi promised that his team would move swiftly to draw up a revised calendar for this year’s competition, and also insist on the very best values in all areas of the organization while working to bring new glory to the oldest football competition in Nigeria. 

The leadership of Nigeria Football Federation, led by the President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick on Monday lauded the performance of Referee Joseph Ogabor in Sunday’s Nigeria Professional Football League Matchday 27 clash between Lobi Stars of Makurdi and Rangers International of Enugu. 

NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, had disclosed at the opening ceremony of the FIFA MA Elite Course that he received heartwarming phone calls from the management of visiting team, Rangers FC (who lost 1-3) to the effect that Ogabor had an excellent outing in the game played at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi. 

All dignitaries in the hall, from NFF President Pinnick to the NFF Executive Committee members and NRA executives, devoted minutes to praising the Ogabor, who also emerged tops at a recent Confederation of African Football referee course in Cairo, Egypt. 

“We need more of Ogabors in Nigerian Football: Young referees who care for nothing other than to achieve excellence, through upholding the values of integrity and fairness. The NFF is proud of you and will continue to monitor your performance, just as we will work assiduously with the NRA to produce more referees who are committed to officiating matches according to the laws of the game,” Pinnick said.

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Alberto Zaccheroni wants to manage in the Premier League - as it reminds him of Serie A in its pomp.

The Italian, 64, is keen on taking charge either Crystal Palace or Southampton, who are both looking for new managers.

Mauricio Pellegrino is expected to take over at Saints.

But Palace are nowhere nearer finding a replacement for Sam Allardyce, who quit on May 23.

Veteran Italian Zaccheroni has made it clear he wants a crack in England and he said: “For sure I would like it.

“At my age, it is more appealing, an intriguing reality.

“The Premier League represents what Serie A represented when I was there from 1995 to 2010.”

Zaccheroni boasts an impressive CV having led AC Milan to the Serie A title.

He has also managed the likes of Inter Milan and Juventus as well as leading Japan to the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil.

Zaccheroni has been out of work for a year, having had a short stint with Beijing Sinobo Guoan in China.

He added: “I bring all my experience in the years of Serie A, including the management of almost all the best players in the world who passed through Italy.

“I’ve also had international experience with Japan, who I took to a World Cup and Confederations Cup.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly told his agent Jorge Mendes to "do everything possible" to ensure that the Portuguese returns to Manchester United in this summer's transfer window.

Towards the end of last week, it was claimed that Ronaldo had made an 'irreversible decision' to leave Real Madrid ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

The 32-year-old has scored 406 goals in 394 appearances since joining Madrid from Man United in 2009.

The attacker's 42 goals during the 2016-17 campaign helped the Spanish side land their second successive Champions League crown, and wrestle the La Liga title away from Barcelona.

Ronaldo has been accused of defrauding the Spanish tax office of almost £13m over four counts of tax fraud relating to image rights, however, and despite being backed by Real Madrid, the attacker is said to want out of the Bernabeu this summer.

Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Chelsea have all been credited with an interest, but according to The Sun, Ronaldo is only interested in a return to Man United due to his special relationship with the club.

Ronaldo, who is currently with the Portugal squad at the Confederations Cup, scored 118 times in 292 appearances for Man United between 2003 and 2009 - winning three Premier League titles and one Champions League in the process.

Tony DiCicco, a U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee who coached the women’s national team to a 1996 Olympic gold medal and the 1999 World Cup title, died Monday evening. He was 68 years old.

 

The cause of death is unknown, but in a family statement posted by his son, Anthony, on Tuesday, it revealed that he had endured an illness. He passed away at his home in the company of his family.

In addition to his success on the senior women’s level (a 105-8-8 record), DiCicco coached the U.S. Under-20 national team to World Cup glory in 2008 and went on to coach the Boston Breakers in WPS from 2009-2011.

May His Soul Rest in Peace.

AIPS AFRICA President Mitchell Obi speaks at the ongoing CAF symposium on Africa Football workshop session on communication and media.

 

In the Picture are Mamadou Gaye of Fox Sports, Symposium compere and former AIPS Exco member, Jalal, Mitchell Obi and Mourad Moutawaqull after the opening session of the CAF symposium in Rabat.

 

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