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Sat, Aug

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.

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 Nigeria Football Federation will soon embark on a nationwide developmental project for the Football Associations of the various States, in the form of mini Secretariats, so says NFF President Amaju Pinnick.

 

Pinnick, while speaking at the Lagos State Football Association’s Ekofootball Review Public Presentation on Wednesday, said the project, to be financed by a major partner of the NFF, will see six such projects completed in Jigawa, Osun, Bayelsa, Borno, Kwara and Abia States before the end of this year.

 

“We are working real hard to see that the focus returns to the grassroots. The States are closer to the grassroots and we have a responsibility to encourage them in that area, while we also work very hard to see that we qualify for the World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations championships.

 

“Football administration is never a journey, but a destination. Each administration will do its best and the next one takes it from there. But one thing our administration is determined to achieve is to ensure the NFF attains financial independence before our tenure is over. In this regard, the recent passage of the NFF Bill is a welcome development.

 

“Lagos State is really setting the pace. We commend their initiatives and encourage other States to emulate their style and engagement.”

 

Speaking earlier, Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association/NFF 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, declared that grassroots football is the lifeblood of the game.

 

“Our administration realized this immediately we came into office. And our achievements in this area testify to the work we have put into it. Today, we have 64,000 kids in our U15 Future Stars’ data –base and over 36,000 in the U13 team. Position is temporary; posterity will judge you based on what you are able to achieve.

 

“Our vision is to be the best football association in Africa. Ekofootball is our philosophy for re-defining the style and standard of football and of football administration in Lagos State.”

 

Players like Super Eagles’ Dele Alampasu and Wilfred Ndidi, and Super Falcons ace Asisat Oshoala passed through Ekofootball’s developmental furnace.

 

The presentation revolved around Lagos FA’s well –structured developmental programme, the new Ekofootball academy, its corporate social responsibility and great rapport with Corporate Nigeria.

 

At the occasion, leading football diarist Kunle Solaja spoke about the history of football in Lagos and Nigeria at large while foremost journalist and sports marketer Ejiro Omonode made a presentation on using football as a marketing tool.

 

Akinwunmi disclosed at the end that the much –talked about ‘game changer’ is a plan the LSFA has put in place to start a profit –based Super League in the state in a few months, with the focus on having community –based clubs, which is already drawing enthusiasm from various individuals and and groups.

 

Also at the occasion were a representative of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission Deji Tinubu, Hon. Adedamola Kasumu, NFF Executive Committee members Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi and Ibrahim Gusau, NNL chairman Chidi Okenwa, NWFL chairman Aisha Falode, FA chairmen Ganiyu Majekodunmi, James Odeniran and Ayo Alabi, Lagos FA vice chairman and NRA president Tade Azeez, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo, Mutiu Adepoju, representatives of Spanish La Liga, Peter Rufai, Tilewa Adebajo, Obi Asika, Opeyemi Okunoren, Deji Okoya-Thomas, Mitchel Obi, Harry Iwuala, Dr. Isaac Ayodele, SWAN President Honour Sirawoo, Yomi Kuku, Bolaji Yusuf, Mrs Koiki of Greensprings International School, Barr. Dudu-Orumen, leading sports editors/managers and other football stakeholders.  

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.

The Nigeria Football Federation alongside the League Management Company have consummated a multi-faceted strategic agreement in general football development with the Football Federation and Premier League body of the Kingdom of Morocco.

 

On Thursday, NFF President Amaju Pinnick and NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC Chairman Shehu Dikko put pen to paper on a memorandum of understanding with their Moroccan counterparts, the result of detailed discussions, deliberations and considerations over time. The FA Presidents signed their own side in the offices of the Federation Royale Marocaine de Football in Rabat, while Dikko and and Chairman of the Ligue Nationale de Football Professionnel, Said Naciri signed at the LNFP office, watched by the two FA bosses.

 

Both Pinnick and FRMF President Fouzi Lekjaa (who is also Director of Budget in the Kingdom of Morocco) are Members of the CAF Executive Committee.

 

“The strategic partnership is for technical development, exchange of ideas and contacts, training support, friendly matches, use of facilities and joint marketing where necessary,” Dikko, who is also Chairman of NFF Marketing, Sponsorship and Television Advisory Committee and NFF Strategic Committee, explained to thenff.com. “Morocco has one of the best technical centres globally and they are still developing it, and they are delighted to make the facilities available for use by the National Teams of Nigeria and Nigerian Clubs. The Kingdom also has one of the most innovative structure in managing the domestic media rights of both their National Teams and the elite League, which we intend to replicate.

 

“The agreement between the two League bodies is to collaborate in areas of mutual interests between the Leagues and participating Clubs. The Moroccan FA only recently set up an independent elite League body in line with global practice, and wants to learn from LMC Governance Structure of the NPFL. On their side, they would help our Clubs understand the structure and principles of community club ownership, elite players development, youth development et cetera. It is all about fostering mutually beneficial relationships.”

 

On Friday, Pinnick and Dikko were at the offices of a Moroccan multinational company with extensive business interests in Nigeria, where an MOU was executed to explore the sponsorship of some activities in Nigerian Football including the NPFL. A steering group has been set up to ensure the conclusion and activation of the milestone MOU.

 

The agreements represent another landmark feat by the Amaju Pinnick –led Nigeria Football Federation, coming exactly one month after the N2.5 Billion, 5-Year partnership with Nigeria’s foremost energy solutions company, Aiteo Group for payment of salaries of Coaches of the National Teams.

 

The latest pact also sits comfortably with the ever –improving strong working relationship between the Governments of Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco.

 

Only last week, both Governments signed pacts to drive the implementation of gas regional pipeline and fertilizer initiative. The proposed Morocco-Nigeria Gas Regional Pipeline will have a direct impact on 300 million people through the speeding up of electrification projects in West Africa. 

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has again re-affirmed total commitment of the present NFF administration to the improvement of refereeing in Nigeria. 

The NFF supremo, who is also Member of the CAF Executive Committee and Member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, restated his administration’s resolve to tackling one of the big issues of Nigerian Football at the opening ceremony of this year’s FIFA Member Association (MA) Elite Programme for Nigerian referees, assessors and physical fitness trainers in Abuja on Monday.                                                                                                                

“Refereeing is a critical aspect of the game of football. In fact, it is a major issue in the game. You would recall that at the advent of our administration, referees were the first set of people we sent on capacity building programme. Since then, our determination to improve refereeing in Nigerian Football has never waned, and going forward, we are fully committed to ensuring that we achieve wholesale improvement in all aspects of officiating. 

“I want to appreciate the instructors sent by FIFA (Felix Tangawarima and Tracey Lovell) and I believe our referees stand to gain so much knowledge from this year’s programme.” 

Tangawarima, a former FIFA referee from Zimbabwe, now a referees’ instructor, praised the leadership of NFF for the presence of most of its Executive Committee members at the ceremony, saying that in his years of working on referee development programmes, he has never seen such robust top-echelon support for a refereeing course. “The words of the NFF President, who also has foothold in CAF and FIFA, are also very reassuring, and I challenge you all to justify the confidence the NFF leadership has reposed in you by committing to integrity and excellence.”

Also present at the opening ceremony, inside the Kalem Suites, Abuja were NFF vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, Executive Committee members Ahmed Yusuf Fresh (Chairman, NFF Referees Committee), Sharif Rabiu Inuwa (vice chairman, Referees Committee), Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, Aisha Falode, Mohammed Alkali and Babagana Kalli, NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, NFF Director of Technical Bitrus Bewarang, NRA President Tade Azeez, former NRA President Ahmed Maude, other members of the NFF Referees Committee and some members of the NFF Congress.

The Confederation of African Football has appointed Tunisian arbiter, Youssef Essrayri as the referee for next month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Uyo.

 

Essrayri, 40, who became an international referee five years ago, will be assisted by compatriots Yamen Melloulchi (Assistant Referee 1), Hassen Abdelali (Assistant Referee 2) and Said Mohamed Kordi (Fourth Official).

 

The match commissioner is Andy Quamie from Liberia and Kotey Alexander Neequaye from Ghana will be referee assessor.

 

The encounter at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Saturday, 10th June will open the curtain on the qualifying race in Group E for Cameroon 2019, with only the group winners guaranteed slots at the finals. Libya and Seychelles are the other teams in the pool.

 

Meanwhile, the Super Eagles had their first training session in Ajaccio on Wednesday morning, ahead of Friday’s friendly match against the Corsica Senior Team at the Stade Francois Coty.

 

Expected at the team’s Best Western Hotel camp by Wednesday night are Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Mikel Agu and Abdullahi Shehu.

 

An interesting game is at hand for the three –time African champions, against a team that has only lost once in the nine matches it has played since forming a squad in 1967.

 

The only defeat the Corsica Senior Team has suffered was a 0-1 reverse to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a friendly in Bastia on May 14, 1998. The Lions were then preparing for the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals in France.

 

The only time Corsica had played 1998 FIFA World Cup champions France was in February 1967, and the former won 2-0.  

 

CORSICA’S ACCOUNT

 

28 Feb 1967 France 0 Corsica 2 (Marseille)

14 May 1998 Corsica 0 Cameroon 1 (Bastia)

6 June 2009 Corsica 1 Congo 1 (Ajaccio)

19 May 2010 Corsica 2 Brittany 0 (Ajaccio)

21 May 2010 Corsica 1 Gabon 1 (Bastia)

31 May 2011 Corsica 1 Bulgaria 0 (Ajaccio)

24 May 2012 Corsica 2 A Squadrra Internaziunale 2 (Ajaccio)

29 May 2015 Corsica 1 Burkina Faso 0 (Bastia)

27 May 2016 Corsica 1 Basque Country 1 (8-9 penalties) (Ajaccio)

AITEO, Nigeria’s foremost energy solution company, on Wednesday acquired the ‘Naming Right’ of the NFF Federation Cup, as an extension/addendum to the company’s sponsorship agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation. It is also part of the rights AITEO has under the original agreement.

Those rights will enable the acquisition of additional commercial assets from the NFF that are available and not encumbered, on a mutually –negotiated basis. To this end, the NFF Federation Cup, the oldest football competition in Nigeria, is henceforth to be known and addressed as "AITEO Cup"

The duration of this aspect of the sponsorship is 5 years, similar to the main agreement (signed on 26th April 2017) on a Cost Value Arrangement and commencing from the 2017 season.  This arrangement will see AITEO underwriting the costs of the organisation of the competition which encompasses the costs of organising the competition from the Round of 64 to the men and women’s finals, solidarity support to Football Associations of the 36 States and the FCT, expenses and indemnities of match officials, support to participating Clubs, Media, Branding/Activation and Prize Money to winners.

Accordingly, for the 2017 season, the prize monies for the AITEO Cup will be N25million for the winner of the men’s competition and N10million for the winner of the women’s competition. The runner –up for the men’s competition will pocket N10million, with the runner –up for the women’s event going home with N5million. The NFF and AITEO will, in due course, unveil further details of all the benefits of the extended agreement at a press conference.

 

The Cost Value Arrangement of the transaction is for NFF and AITEO to, annually, decide the nature and value proposition of the AITEO Cup under the framework of the relationship, and AITEO would thus underwrite the cost as the competition’s ‘Naming Right Holder.’

The NFF team at the contract signing inside AITEO Group’s Lagos office said it was “extremely delighted” by the extended agreement, while AITEO chieftains stated “we are happy to do this for Nigeria.”

At Wednesday’s simple but colourful ceremony were NFF President Amaju Pinnick, Deputy Managing Director of AITEO, Mr. Francis Peters, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi (NFF 1st Vice President/Chairman, Organizing Committee), Mr. Shehu Dikko (NFF 2nd VP/LMC Chairman/Chairman, Marketing, Sponsorship and Television Advisory Committee), Mr. Andrew Onyearu (Group Executive Director/Chief Legal Counsel, AITEO), Barrister A. U. Mustapha (SAN, Vice Chairman of NFF Committee on Ethics and Fairplay), Mr. Victor Okoronkwo (Senior Vice President, Commercial and Gas, AITEO), Ms Aisha Falode (Member, NFF Executive Committee/Chairman, Nigeria Women Football League), Mr. Ademola Olajire (Director, Media and Communication of NFF) and Mr. Ndiana-Abasi Matthew (Senior Manager, Corporate Communications of AITEO). 

The Confederation of African Football has appointed Tunisian arbiter, Youssef Essrayri as the referee for next month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Uyo.

 

Essrayri, 40, who became an international referee five years ago, will be assisted by compatriots Yamen Melloulchi (Assistant Referee 1), Hassen Abdelali (Assistant Referee 2) and Said Mohamed Kordi (Fourth Official).

 

The match commissioner is Andy Quamie from Liberia and Kotey Alexander Neequaye from Ghana will be referee assessor.

 

The encounter at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Saturday, 10th June will open the curtain on the qualifying race in Group E for Cameroon 2019, with only the group winners guaranteed slots at the finals. Libya and Seychelles are the other teams in the pool.

 

Meanwhile, the Super Eagles had their first training session in Ajaccio on Wednesday morning, ahead of Friday’s friendly match against the Corsica Senior Team at the Stade Francois Coty.

 

Expected at the team’s Best Western Hotel camp by Wednesday night are Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Mikel Agu and Abdullahi Shehu.

 

An interesting game is at hand for the three –time African champions, against a team that has only lost once in the nine matches it has played since forming a squad in 1967.

 

The only defeat the Corsica Senior Team has suffered was a 0-1 reverse to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a friendly in Bastia on May 14, 1998. The Lions were then preparing for the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals in France.

 

The only time Corsica had played 1998 FIFA World Cup champions France was in February 1967, and the former won 2-0.   

 

CORSICA’S ACCOUNT

28 Feb 1967 France 0 Corsica 2 (Marseille)

14 May 1998 Corsica 0 Cameroon 1 (Bastia)

6 June 2009 Corsica 1 Congo 1 (Ajaccio)

19 May 2010 Corsica 2 Brittany 0 (Ajaccio)

21 May 2010 Corsica 1 Gabon 1 (Bastia)

31 May 2011 Corsica 1 Bulgaria 0 (Ajaccio)

24 May 2012 Corsica 2 A Squadrra Internaziunale 2 (Ajaccio)

29 May 2015 Corsica 1 Burkina Faso 0 (Bastia)

27 May 2016 Corsica 1 Basque Country 1 (8-9 penalties) (Ajaccio) 

The National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers opened their new office in the Ikeja area of Lagos with the aim of uniting all the factions in the footballer's union. It's located at 19 Oremeta Street, by Opebi bridge.

 The August occasion was witnessed by NFF President, Melvin Amaju Pinnick, Supporters Club President General, Dr. Rauf Laf Ladipo and was presided over by the new president of the United Nigerian football body, Dahiru Sadi, represented by Larry Kubeinje his vice. Austin Popo, the Secretary-General was also very active at the occasion and talked of uniting all the factions for the good of football in the country.

Ex-footballers in attendance were Elastic Friday Elaiho, Clement Temile, Godwin Okpara, Benjamin Fejokwu, Ifeanyi Udeze and several others too numerous to mention in an occasion that the organizers and the team were only craving for a united Nigerian professional football body.

Sadi said at the occasion said that he will continue to run an all-inclusive administration and urged all those who are still aggrieved to come over and join the union as it’s time for peace in Nigerian football. “We have a new body and we must thank the nff President and all those who helped to reunite not to relent because we have to go ahead and move in one spirit. We are talking of insurance for former and present players and general welfare for all of us”, he declared.

 Pinnick in his brief and succinct speech declared that there must be unity among the football unions as it is the case with the world body Fifpro. He called for a truce among those who are still aggrieved and declared that the NFF is ready to help in an all inclusive government for professional footballers home and abroad in Nigeria.

 

 

General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi has charged organizers of the annual Nigeria Pitch Awards to ensure the sustenance of the values of transparency, credibility and integrity that have assured the project a pride of place in Nigerian Football in the few years that it has been in existence.

 

Speaking in Abuja at the weekend, Sanusi lauded the diligence and efforts that Matchmakers Consult International Limited have put into the organization of the Awards since its first edition in 2013.

 

“I am delighted that despite all the challenges faced by the organizers over the years, they have managed to sustain the Nigeria Pitch Awards. It is a noble programme because Awards are very special in the role they play in motivating and galvanizing people to strive to be better in whatever they do.

 

“With regards to the Nigeria Pitch Awards, the existence of such a project makes our football players, referees, coaches, administrators, sponsors and even player-managers to aim to do their job better. I advise the organizers to remain upright and rigid about the values inherent, and not to succumb to any temptation to tamper with the credibility and transparency that the Awards are known for.”

 

Just as the NFF, the Super Eagles and indeed all Nigerian football fans are eagerly looking forward to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between the Eagles and Bafana Bafana of South Africa, scheduled for Uyo on Saturday, 10th June, organizers of the Nigeria Pitch Awards are also looking forward to the day.

 

It is on that day that the fourth edition of the Nigeria Pitch Awards will take place, hours after the match scheduled for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

 

“We are making all necessary arrangements and tying up every necessary end to ensure another successful Nigeria Pitch Awards ceremony,” Shina Phillips, President of the Awards, told thenff.com on Sunday.

 

“We are indeed happy at the level the Awards have grown to and very much aware of the expectations of Nigerian Football stakeholders. For us, the Pitch Awards is a national project, something that must be sustained and alongside, the values of credibility and integrity that have taken us thus far.

 

“We treasure the endorsement of the Nigeria Football Federation and the encouragement that we continue to receive from highly placed football administrators and other stakeholders of the game.”

 

The Nigeria Pitch Awards is the only ceremony that honours players in all departments of the football field as well as almost all workers in football in a single night.

 

Phillips revealed that the nominees for this year’s Awards will be announced during the week.

 

At a ceremony held in Lagos in February to present certificates to some of last year’s winners, Phillips declared that from next year, the award statuette would be fully gold –plated.

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