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Fri, Sep

The draw Ceremony for the West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations tournament for senior national teams in the sub –region scheduled for September took place at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra on Thursday. The competition has been scheduled for September 9 -24, and teams are expected to feature players plying their trade in their countries.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have been drawn in Group A alongside host nation Ghana, with Mali and Guinea also involved in a format that will see teams play single games before proceeding to the quarter finals.

All the teams in Group A will play in Takoradi, the twin city of Sekondi that also hosted matches during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles are drawn to play Sierra Leone. Other teams in Group A are The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Mauritania and Guinea Bissau.

                                                                   CHAN DRAW

Group B will compete in Cape Coast. 2015 African champions Cote d’Ivoire headline the pool that also has Senegal, Burkina Faso and Benin Republic, with Liberia, Niger Republic, Togo and Cape Verde also involved.

Ghana and Nigeria have seven African titles between them, with the Super Eagles and the Black Stars featuring in the last two FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014).

The Nigeria Football Federation’s  Director of Competitions, Ayobola Oyeyode, represented Nigeria at the ceremony.

Nigerian players have backed CAF's decision to move the Africa Cup of Nations to June and July.

The Super Eagles trio of Vincent Enyeama, Ogenyi Onazi and William Troost-Ekong have all expressed support for CAF's decision, which also included expanding the tournament from 16-24 teams.

According to Former captain Enyeama, the competition will benefit from the new date change, saying: "It will improve the quality of the competition because a lot more players will now be available."

After Nigeria's Nations Cup victory in 2013, many of the players were asked to report back to their clubs immediately, stated midfielder Onazi, who played for Italian side Lazio at the time.

"Fortunately I have not had difficulties with that because my club then never gave me any problems, but when we finished the Nations Cup when I was supposed to celebrate with my teammates, they told me to come back immediately to join them in Germany for our Europa League game.

"It was the same for other players too. I remember Efe Ambrose went from South Africa to his team and when my team saw him playing a game the next day, they called me to come too.

"Also, some teams only allow players to come [to national team camp] when it's three days to the start the tournament, which is not good for the players to bond together.

"[But] the team will now find it easier to release players because now the period for the Nations Cup is better. I think clubs will be happy about the development."

Bursaspor defender Troost-Ekong has also never faced the club-versus-country battle in relation to the Nations Cup, but he had a taste of it with the Olympic Games.

"I haven't had my share yet, but even to be released for the Olympics last summer was a fight," says the defender "And I wasn't even missing that many games in comparison to AFCON. So I know it would be a hard sell to my club now.

"It will be good for the competition and it will also make it better for the players so they don't have to fight with their clubs."

 

 

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.

 

Nigeria's National U-20 Women's team, The Super Falconets will alongside 18 other African countries contest for the 2 available slots to The Confederation of African Football at next year's FIFA U-20 women's world cup to be hosted by France.


The Nigerian team will not partake in the preliminary round but will join in the first round of the qualifying series where they will host Tanzania on the weekend of 15th - 17th of September 2017 and the return leg on the weekend of 29th of September - 1st of October 2017.


Nigeria has attended every edition of the FIFA U-20 world cup losing twice in the finals to Germany, in 2010 and 2014.


The qualification process begins with a preliminary round scheduled for the weekend of 21-23 July 2017.

The final two teams will be known by the weekend of 26-28 January 2018.

The last edition of the FIFA women's U-20 world cup was held in Papua New Guinea in 2016 where Nigeria lost out in the group stage.

Tottenham Hotspur are also reportedly keen on landing want-away Paris Saint Germain defender Serge Aurier before the end of the transfer window. 

Spurs are in for another right-back following the sale of Kyle Walker to Manchester City for a whopping £50 million. 

With money in the bank and PSG open to sell following their capture of Dani Alves, Spurs could land the Ivory Coast international for half the price they demanded for Walker. 

Interest from Manchester United and Inter Milan, though, could up Aurier's price with The Sun reporting that the 24-year-old's wage demands could throw a spanner in the works for Spurs. 

Only three of Mauricio Pochettino's men earn over £100,000-a-week (Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Harry Kane) with the club unlikely to offer Aurier the money he demands. 

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?

Three goals in under half an hour, including a brace by Leicester of England’s Ahmed Musa steered the Super Eagles past the Hawks of Togo in an international friendly in Paris on Thursday.

 

Musa slotted past goalkeeper Fatao Alhassani as early as the third minute, after a marvelous job by English FA Cup champion Arsenal FC’s Alex Iwobi. Iwobi also provided the assist for the second goal by Musa 15 minutes later.

 

The Eagles dominated to near –embarrassing degree against the fellow West Africans, who featured at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon earlier in the year.

 

On a day that NFF President Amaju Pinnick, 2nd Vice President Shehu Dikko and Aiteo Group chieftains Francis Peters and Andrew Onyearu had gingered the players and technical crew with assurances that money would no longer be a problem, following the 5-Year partnership agreement between the NFF and the foremost energy solutions company in April, the ever –businesslike Oghenekaro Etebo got the better of goalkeeper Alhassani in the 27th minute and laid for Kelechi Iheanacho to tap into the net for Nigeria’s third.

 

Victory means the three –time African champions remain unbeaten in all their eight matches over the past one year, winning six of those and scoring 15 goals while conceding only five.

 

The triumph also came on a day that Nigeria moved two steps up in the monthly FIFA ranking to 38th, and 4th in Africa. English Premiership club West Ham’s target Kelechi Iheanacho has now scored seven goals in 10 matches for the Super Eagles, including scoring in seven of the last eight matches.

 

SUPER EAGLES’ UNBEATEN STREAK

 

27 May 2016: Mali 0 Nigeria 1 – Rouen (Friendly) – Kelechi Iheanacho

31 May 2016: Luxembourg 1 Nigeria 3 – Luxembourg (Friendly) – Brown Ideye, Odion Ighalo, Kelechi Iheanacho

3 Sep 2016: Nigeria 1 Tanzania 0 – Uyo (Afcon qualifier) – Kelechi Iheanacho

9 Oct 2016: Zambia 1 Nigeria 2 – Ndola (World Cup qualifier – Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho

12 Nov 2016: Nigeria 3 Algeria 1 – Uyo (World Cup qualifier) – Victor Moses (2), Mikel Obi

23 Mar 2017: Senegal 1 Nigeria 1 – London (Friendly) – Kelechi Iheanacho

26 May 2017: Corsica 1 Nigeria 1 – Ajaccio (Friendly) – Kelechi Iheanacho

1 June 2017: Nigeria 3 Togo 0 – Paris (Friendly) – Ahmed Musa (2), Kelechi Iheanacho 

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