Monday, May 23, 2011

Ekigho Ehiosun rises to shine

Warri Wolves all-action striker Ekigho Ehiosun has taken Nigerian football by storm this season with goals for both club and country.
The recently qualified petroleum engineer, who will celebrate his 21st birthday next month, made a goal-scoring debut for the Super Eagles in a friendly against Sierra Leone in Lagos in February.
It was a classic goal poacher’s goal as he pounced on a through ball delivered by fellow debutant Joel Obi just moments after coming off the subs’ bench.
‘Ehis’ has also fired four goals for the country’s Olympic team and was on target for the Eagles ‘B’ team four times at the recent WAFU Nations Cup hosted by Nigeria. now sits down with the ‘Man on Fire’, who just wants to keep roasting defences match after match.
MTNFootball: Ekigho, you must be delighted to be picked for next month’s top games against Argentina and Ethiopia.
Ekigho Ehiosun: I was so, so happy that I was included in the team. I thank Almighty God for propelling me thus far in my career. I sincerely thank the chief coach, Samson Siasia, for believing in me. I thank coach (Simon) Kalika and the rest of Eagles technical crew for encouraging and guiding me also. I also thank my team mates for the love and brotherly love among us. I promise to do all my best and continue to work extra hard to justify my inclusion in the team.
Before the Nations Cup qualifier in Ethiopia, the Eagles will host Argentina in a friendly in Abuja.
EE: The friendly would be a good preparation for the important Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia. I am sure we will do our best as a team to try and win and make Nigerians happy.
I would also make this appeal as a part of the team to tell the fans to be patient with us when the goals are not coming or whenever we are trying to do our best in the game and we are initially finding it difficult to break the Argentines. Their patience and support would definitely propel us to win the match on our own soil.
You are already being compared to the legendary Rashidi Yekini?
EE: It is not right for anybody to compare me with a legend like Rashidi Yekini who had represented this country in no small way. He has done great things for this country, while I am just beginning. I have been hearing his exploits since I was very young.
So, I want to be known as Ekhigo Ehiosun, not Rashidi Yekini, because the vacuum he has left behind is very difficult to fill.
Yekini is a player to look up to but I just want to be my real self and nothing more. What I set before me is to work extra hard every day to ensure I become a prolific scorer that my coaches can always rely on.
I am working hard and trying to listen to my coaches and also learn from my seniors in the Super Eagles so that I could be a complete striker everybody would be proud of.
Let nobody compare me with one of my idols, Yekini. I hope to achieve what he has achieved or even more in the nearest future.
So, are you under pressure any time you play for Nigeria?
EE: I love playing football. He has become part of me and I just try to enjoy myself and do my best on the field, so I don’t feel any pressure playing for my country or club. But I am always very happy any time I score goals.
Everybody expected the Eagles ‘B’ team to win the WAFU Cup only for Togo to upset you.
EE: Honestly, I don’t know what happened or what went wrong in that match. We did our best as a team but we were not lucky enough to emerge champions.
I was so confident that we would win because we were very ready to win. But that day everything just went wrong. I couldn't say what went wrong, so also my colleagues. I had thought that I would win my first trophy as an Eagles player but man proposes, God disposes.
We lost to hard luck. Luck was not just on our side. When luck fails you, you will do everything and it won't work. Our coaches did everything humanly possible for us to win the cup.
Let us leave that behind us now and face the Argentina friendly and especially the Africa Nations Cup qualifier away in Ethiopia. If we win these two games, I am very sure Nigerians would forget the WAFU Cup loss.
How would you describe the last three months of your career?
EE: Even if I were to surrender my whole body, it wouldn’t be enough to thank God for what he has done in my life and most especially my career. On and off the field God has done wonders in my life and words are not enough to appreciate what He has done for me.
In my life generally I need to thank Him from the bottom of my heart and to the depth of my soul.
On the back of such great form, you must be on your way to playing in Europe.
EE: I am currently enjoying my football with Warri Wolves. If something good comes my way, you people will know, but not until then.
Did your parents support you when you started out kicking the ball as a kid?

Joseph Yobo wins League title

Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo became a league champion with Fenerbahce, scoring the last of his club's four goals in a thrilling 4-3 win at Sivasspor.  

Closest rivals Trabzonspor won 4-0 at Emmanuel Emenike's Karabukspor to finish on the same 82 points as Fenerbahce, but Yobo's side claimed the title by virtue of their superior head to head record against Trabzonspor.

The victory handed Fener thier 18th title, one more than arch-rivals Galatasaray.
Needing a win to guarantee the title going into the last day of the season, Andre Santos put Fenerbahce ahead in the sixth minute, but they were pegged back on 20 minutes when Jakup Navratil drew level. Selcuk Sahin restored their lead near the end of the first half.

Second-half goals from the club's Brazilian captain Alex and Joseph Yobo sealed the victory for the visitors, and Erman Kilic's two late goals, the last on the stroke of time, could not stop Fenerbahce's party.

It was sweet payback for club, who were denied the title on the final day of last season by Trabzonspor, a 1-1 draw handing Bursaspor their first ever title.

Fenerbahce fans thronged the streets on the Asian side of Turkey's biggest city, chanting and waving flags in the club's blue and yellow colours. They last won the title in 2007 and both Galatasaray and the other major Istanbul club Besiktas have won the title since then.
Coach Aykut Kocaman, who took over from Germany's Christoph Daum,wins the title in his first season in charge, along with a host of new players including Yobo and Senegal's Mamadou Niang.  

Chelsea sacked Carlo Ancelotti

Chelsea have sacked manager Carlo Ancelotti after he ended his second season at the club without a trophy.
He was dismissed following the 1-0 loss to Everton, as the west Londoners finished second in the Premier League.
The 51-year-old had one more year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.
A club statement read: "This season's performances have fallen short of expectations and the club feels the time is right to make this change ahead of next season's preparations."
Speculation had been mounting that Ancelotti would be sacked following Chelsea's first season without a trophy in three years.
They missed out in the Premier League as Manchester United clinched their 19th top-flight title last week, further compounded by exits in the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup during the season.
The Blues, who were Premier League and FA Cup holders at the start of the campaign, finished nine points behind United and only ahead of third-placed Manchester City on goal difference.
Former manager Avram Grant suffered similar treatment when Chelsea finished second in the domestic table and lost the Champions League final in 2008 on penalties.

And ambitious owner Roman Abramovich, who bankrolled an audacious £50m move for striker Fernando Torresduring the January transfer window, will now start the search for a successor capable of recapturing the Premier League from Manchester United, while also guiding the club to the much-coveted Champions League trophy.

"Chelsea's long-term football objectives and ambitions remain unchanged and we will now be concentrating all our efforts on identifying a new manager," read the club statement.
Ancelotti had reiterated his ambition to remain at Chelsea, but insisted the decision was entirely down to the club's demanding hierarchy.

"I am now on holiday - but I am not sure how long my holiday will be," he said in his post-match media conference shortly before he was sacked.

"We haven't arranged any meeting but I think in the next week, now the season is finished, the club can address my job and they will take a decision.
"I have to wait and see what happens. I don't have to say anything to the club - they can judge me on my job for two years."

Managers since Abramovich took over Chelsea in 2003

  • Sept 2000-June 2004 Claudio Ranieri
  • June 2004-Sept 2007 Jose Mourinho
  • Sept 2007-May 2008 Avram Grant
  • July 2008- Feb 2009 Luiz Felipe Scolari
  • Feb 2009-June 2009 Guus Hiddink
  • July 2009-May 2011 Carlo Ancelotti
Ancelotti had been coveted by Abramovich after spending eight years in charge at AC Milan, guiding the Italian giants to two Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007.

He signed a three-year contract in June 2009, taking over from interim boss Guus Hiddink, who had guided Chelsea to the FA Cup before returning to take charge of the Russia national team.
Ancelotti's first season in English football began in spectacular fashion, winning the Premier League and FA Cup - sealing the former with a thumping 8-0 victory against Wigan on the final day of the 2010 calendar.

But his second year in west London proved significantly more challenging as he was twice thwarted by Manchester United domestically and in the Champions League, where Chelsea suffered a quarter-final exit to Sir Alex Ferguson's team.
Ancelotti's progress was hindered when lassistant manager Ray Wilkinsleft the club in November after they decided not to renew his contract.

The Blues had been top of the table but the former England midfielder's departure coincided with a poor run of form, losing 3-0 to Sunderland before a 1-0 reverse against Birmingham during a six-match winless league run.

Defeats by Wolves and Liverpool followed at the start of the year before a late-season renaissance revived their title hopes.

However, a 2-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford on 8 May effectively sealed Sir Alex Ferguson's 12th Premier League title.
"Last year was really good, this year was not so good," added Ancelotti.

Chelsea's attentions will now turn to finding Ancelotti's successor, their seventh manager in the eight years since Abramovich took control of the club in 2003.
Porto's highly rated Andre Villas-Boas, Hiddink and former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard are all in the frame.

Dutchman Hiddink, who has a close relationship with Abramovich, revealed he still has an advisory role at Stamford Bridge.

"Since I left two years ago I've been advising the club on things concerning the squad," he wrote in De Telegraaf on Saturday.

"Sometimes I become a sounding board. It costs me very little time and I can combine it well with my position with Turkey. There is no conflict at all."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cristiano Ronaldo sets new Primera Liga scoring record

Cristiano Ronaldo set a new Primera Liga single-season scoring record with his 39th and 40th of the campaign for Real Madrid against Almeria.
He notched his first after four minutes and his second on 77 as Real thumped their already-relegated opponents 8-1.
His double meant he moved two clear of the previous mark, which he jointly held with Real's Hugo Sanchez and Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra.
Sanchez scored 38 in the 1989/90 season and Zarra's 38 came in 1959/60.
Xabi Alonso's free-kick to the far post was headed back across goal by Sergio Ramos and the unmarked Ronaldo was on hand to poke in the opening goal.
His second came late in the game when he fired a long-range effort inside the far post.
Emmanuel Adebayor, whose loan spell from Manchester City is expiring, signed off with three goals, Karim Benzema bagged two and youth team player Joselu notched one at the end.
Ronaldo, who had scored nine goals in his previous three games heading into the final fixture, has netted 53 in all competitions for Madrid this season.
"To score so many goals in a season is very hard. I have to thank my team-mates," Ronaldo said. "The record is for them and the fans too.
"It's good to finish the season in the best manner possible."
Ronaldo and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi are the first Spanish league players to score at least 50 goals in all competitions in one season.
Messi was left out of the squad for champions Barcelona's 3-1 league win over Malaga on Saturday.
But the Argentine can add to his tally of 52 next Saturday when Barca face Manchester United in the Champions League final.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Siasia seeks formula to break Argentina jinx

Thinking coach
Coach Samson Siasia is seriously searching for the formula that would propel his Super Eagles side to their first win against Argentina when both heavyweights clash in an high profile international friendly match on June 1 at the Abuja National Stadium.
Tagged the Big match by the organisers and sponsors, Guinness Nigeria Plc, this match holding in less than 12 days from now, promises to be replete with fireworks as the Nigerians search for their first ever victory against the Argentines, who on their own, are desperate to maintain the 100 percent winning record over the west Africans.
Coming from an humbling 3-2 defeat in the hands of Togo in the finals of the West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup in Abeokuta, Siasia, we gathered, is pained with the way his winning record as Eagles coach was ended by the Togolese and is determined to make amends with a good showing against the Argentines, who are a highly rated team in the world.
Both teams have played thrice in the past with the Argentines winning all the games. In fact, Siasia was in the squad that first lost to Argentine 2-1 in a group game at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States of America.
He also lost to Argentina in the final of the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Championship in the Netherlands and in the finals of the football event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games.
A close associate of the former Beijing 2008 Olympics silver-medal winning coach said that Siasia has been devising the formula that would guarantee a n historic Nigerian win on home soil.
“Coach is serious about the match against Argentina because he knows the importance that Nigerians attach to the game and like in everything that he puts his hands into, he does not want to disappoint his fans, most of whom, clamoured for his appointment as Eagles coach.
“Coach wants to break the Argentina jinx. He does not want the trend to continue. That is why he is searching for the winning formula”, he said

NFF warns Siasia

The Nigeria Football Federation is not comfortable with the degree of attention Super Eagles chief coach, Samson Siasia is paying to the Nigeria/Argentina friendly.
The football house is worried that there has been so much media hype about the June 1 high-profile international friendly at the expense of the all important 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and Ethiopia.
Super Eagles chief coach Samson Siasia told reporters in Abeokuta that he can’t wait for the friendly when he said, “it will be a real rumble. It is a match I want to have because it will provide an opportunity for the two countries to settle some football scores.”
But the Acting Secretary General of the NFF, Musa Amadu sees it differently. Speaking on Sport Radio. Brila fm during the week, Amadu said, “I wish to remind Siasia that as far as we(NFF)  are concerned, the Ethiopia match is more important than the Argentina friendly. He should not concentrate on the Argentina match and forget about the all-important match against Ethiopia.”
Amadu said the Ethiopia match was a must win and Siasia and the players must ensure that victory was attained in Addis Ababa.
“We cannot afford to lose that match. If we lose that will put us in a very difficult situation in the group,” the acting scribe said.
Nigeria with six points and a plus five goal aggregate is closely behind Guinea with seven points and a plus 4 goal aggregate. A victory for the Super Eagles will brighten their qualification chances.
Guinea, Nigeria’s main contenders will be at home to Madagascar when the Super Eagles will be meeting with Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on June 5.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Taiwo completes AC Milan switch

Nigeria defender Taye Taiwo has finalised his switch to Italian champions AC Milan, completing a three-year deal on a free transfer.
The left-back successfully underwent a medical at the club on Wednesday and sealed the move from French club Olympique Marseille on Thursday.
The 26-year-old told the BBC he is delighted with the transfer.
"I thank God for this move, joining another big team like AC Milan is a dream come true," he said.
"I am leaving a big club for another one, one I was only able to dream of playing for as a kid.
"I will surely miss the city and Olympique Marseille, the fans, players, management and French football in general.
"It is emotional and sad to leave a place I have come to call home but I'm taking a piece of Marseille with me."
The Super Eagle regards the move as a new chapter in his life and says he is excited about the challenges ahead.
"I hope to bring my best to a team that's parading great players already," he added.
"The three-year deal is signed now and all I can do is give my all to a dream club and win trophies to complete the union.
"I am a happy man and my immediate target is to be a winner here."
Taiwo becomes the fourth African player on Milan's books - joining Ghana's Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sierra Leone's Rodney Strasser and fellow Nigerian Nnamdi Oduamadi.
The defender played a pivotal role in Marseille's first league title in 18 years last term and scored the only goal in last month's League Cup final victory.
He joined Marseille, his first European club, in 2005, going on to make more than 200 appearances for them, while also gaining Uefa Champions League experience.
Milan will contest next season's Champions League after wrapping up their first Serie A title in seven years.

‘Please, have mercy on Osaze’

Mixed reactions have greeted the exclusion of England-based striker Osaze Odemwingie from the Nigeria squad for next month’s games against Argentina and Ethiopia.
Odemwingie has banged 15 goals in his debut season in the English Premier league, but has been sensationally dropped by Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, for walking out on the team in March.
Former international Felix Owolabi has implored Siasia to recall Osaze, while ex-Eagles skipper Stephen Keshi said the issue could have been better handled.
However, top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have said they stand by Siasia’s decision.
“I have heard that Osaze absconded from camp after the Africa Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia and did not wait to play the friendly against Kenya. This is not good enough and it is an act of indiscipline by Osaze,” said Owolabi.
“But be as it may, I still want Siasia to tread softly on the boy’s matter. In as much as everybody that knows me that I don’t tolerate indiscipline from my players since I was disciplined during my playing days and I have always respected my coaches both at the club and national level.
“I am pleading with Siasia to forgive the boy and bring him back for the Ethiopia match at least. Siasia should forgive him and draw him nearer and make him see reasons why he should not behave the way he did in the first instance.
“In order to get the best from the team and achieve success, he needs to study these players and find a way of controlling their emotions, attitude, behaviour and temperament.”
The board member of the Shooting Stars of Ibadan further urged Osaze to shape up.
“Osaze should learn to behave himself and have respect for constituted authorities that include his coaches. I am sure the boy will change and turn a new leave,” he advised.
Keshi said: “I would have expected Siasia to sit down the player and asked him why he did what he did or slash his allowances.”
Several top NFF officials told that Siasia has the final say on his team and they fully support his quest to instil discipline in the Eagles.
“The technical committee meeting in Abuja on Thursday gave their full blessing to Siasia for trying to bring sanity to the national team,” said a top official.
“No player, no matter how good he thinks he is, is bigger than the country.”
Siasia and Osaze had major fallout during the 2008 Beijing Olympics where the striker was the “overage player” allowed for the football tournament.

Ocean Boys sack Coach Eceli

Nigeria Premier League club, Ocean Boys have sacked their entire technical crew led by Larry Eceli. The decision to ease Eceli out was made public on Friday.

Spokesman of the club, Eddy Ohis told said that Eceli was sacked because of the club’s recent unimpressive run in the NPL which culminated in their 3-1 loss to relegation-threatened Plateau United on Wednesday.“The members of the former technical crew are on compulsory leave as we seek to improve the performances of the club,” Ohis told
Former Niger Tornadoes Coach, Samson Unuanuel has been appointed as head coach with immediate effect. The new Coach met with the players on Friday morning at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa.
“Unuanuel met with the players after training on Monday and the boys have taken to him.
“We hope we have a better second round with the latest development,’ Ohis said.
Ocean Boys are in 15th place in the 20 team NPL log.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Super Eagles team list

Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has left out Osaze Odemwingie from his squad for June's double header against Argentina and Ethiopia. 

Instead, Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi has been called up take part in the high-profile friendly against the South Americans in Abuja and an African Nations Cup qualifier in Addis Ababa.

Siasia also handed a recall to defender Yusuf Mohammed to plug the hole at right-back, with Heartland's Chibuzor Okonkwo the only available right-back following the tragic loss of Adefemi Olubayo early this month.

Also recalled is Karabukspor striker Emmanuel Emenike.

Vincent Enyeama, Dele Aiyenugba, Austin Ejide

Chibuzor Okonkwo, Yusuf Mohammed, Taye Taiwo, Joseph Yobo, Dele Adeleye, Efe Ambrose, Yusuf Ayila

John Mikel Obi, Joel Obi, Fengor Ogude, Kalu Uche, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Nosa Igiebor, Isaac Promise

Victor Anichebe, Peter Utaka, Obinna Nsofor, Ike Uche, Ekigho Ehiosun, Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa

Shola Ameobi, Victor Moses 

Taiwo passes Milan medical

Nigerian full-back ready to step into Maldini's boots

Taiwo: Will link up with Milan over the summer
The Nigeria international will complete a move to Italy over the summer, once his contract at Marseille comes to an end.
He will be charged with the task of filling the problematic left-back spot in Milan, with the Rossoneri having struggled in that area since the legendary Paolo Maldini hung up his boots.
Taiwo is confident he can handle the pressure which will be placed upon him and insists he had no hesitation in penning a three-year contract with the Serie A champions.


"This is a very, very big club and I am proud to be coming here," he said.
"When you visit the club you understand its culture and everything that comes with being a Milan player.
"Now everything is done I can relax and go on holiday.
"I will then return knowing that I have the chance to prove myself in the same position held by the greatest left-back football has ever seen, Paolo Maldini."

WAFU: Eagles’ Boss Exonerates Calamity Rotimi

Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia, Wednesday eased the pressure on under-fire Sunday Rotimi, by insisting the Dolphin of Port Harcourt goalkeeper was not responsible for Nigeria's 3-2 loss to Togo in the final of the WAFU Cup.
Nigeria's anticipated victory party was botched after Togo were 'gifted' three cheeky goals by stand in captain Rotimi, in the final played last Sunday at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta.
Rotimi was largely touted to be in the frame for the national No 3 goalkeeper slot, behind the established Vincent Enyeama and Dele Aiyenugba.
While it appears his chances of making the Nigerian squad to be named Thursday for the games against Argentina and Ethiopia are narrow, Siasia outright refused to be drawn into guessing about the future of the keeper, capped 10 times at the full level.
“I won't blame Rotimi. The loss was a collective mistake. Sometime you have an off day as a goalkeeper; that was what happened to him. Though he committed some howlers, he also pulled some saves superb that still put us in the match towards the end of the match. We have to give him credit for that. Mistake is part of football,” Siasia said. Before the WAFU Cup, Rotimi last appeared between the posts for the Eagles in 2005, and only recently tried to inch back to international consciousness after he had been long forgotten.
While Siasia agreed that two of the goals appeared soft, he said one of the outfit players was liable for conceding the foul that led to the third goal.
“I said it was a collective error because the foul that led to the final goal was needless. Why should that defender commit an infringement on the Togolese when it was not necessary? That is why I refuse to blame the goalkeeper.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Liberia angered by Caf decisions

The Liberia Football Association president Musa Bility is unhappy with some decisions taken by Caf
The Liberia Football Association (LFA) has reacted angrily to decisions taken by the Confederation of African Football's (Caf) executive committee.
The LFA is unhappy the committee has given its backing to incumbent Sepp Blatter in the upcoming Fifa presidential elections.
In a press release the LFA also expressed its anger at changes to the West African Football Union (Wafu).
Caf has decided that Wafu should now be split into two separate zones.
In the statement from the LFA the association's president Musa Bility gave his backing to Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam, the only person standing against Blatter in the Fifa presidential elections.
"My decision, along with Nigeria, Ghana and others to support the candidacy of [Mohamed] Bin Hammam remains unwavering in spite of the Caf decision," he said.
"Caf does not have votes of its own rather the votes of its member associations such as Liberia.
"Blatter has had his reasonable share of power at Fifa, having served for 17 years as secretary general and then president since 1998.
"Besides, Bin Hammam offers a better platform than Blatter as far as football development in Liberia is concerned."
Fifa's 208 member associations will vote to elect a president on 1 June at Fifa headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
Bility feels that the changes to Wafu are aimed at weakening the organisation that he felt was "growing in influence and stature and that they will rather kill regional football in West Africa rather than enhancing it."
Caf on the other hand claim the move was being made "considering the organizational issues that face Wafu" and that the region would be divided into two.