Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stephen Keshi confident to squash Wasps


Super Eagles’ head coach, Stephen Keshi has expressed confidence in his troops ahead of Wednesday’s Africa Cup of nations qualifier against Rwanda.

Keshi says he believes Nigeria can record a positive result against a side ranked 26th in Africa and 108th in the world.

“Obviously, we hope we get a good result against Rwanda because this is a crucial game. I have confidence in the players that I have selected and I am positive we will get a good result in Kigali,” he said.

The Nigerian coach also launched an astonishing tirade at the Nigerian media for their ‘lack of support’ toward him ahead of Wednesday’s 2013 Afcon qualifier against Rwanda’s Amavubi.

Keshi is unhappy that he did not receive any information about Wednesday’s opponents from the Nigerian media and voiced his frustrations that he (Keshi) was the only one disseminating information about his side.

“I am disappointed with my friends in the (Nigerian) media because they have displayed a lack of support for me,” Keshi said on Monday.

“No one of you guys gave me any information about the Rwanda national team yet you all say we are building the national team together.

“How many of you gave me any information about Rwanda? I was the only one who kept giving out information about my team and my players but I got nothing about my opponents from you,” he said.

The Nigerian trainer also took time to speak on the state of his players ahead of Wednesday’s game.

“Most of them came in on Monday from their various European clubs. It’s not an easy situation but I have tried to get them mentally prepared for the game,” the former Nigerian captain.

The Nigerian team for the game against Rwanda is made up of 11 foreign pros and 11 domestically-based players and Keshi says no player is certain of a starting spot for Wednesday’s game.

“Anyone who thinks he can just walk into the team is making a mistake. There is no automatic shirt for anyone and I will only start those who are ready to play.

“Those who are not ready to give a hundred and ten percent of their commitment will not play,” Keshi concluded.

Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Nation’s Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

© SuperSport.com

Week 11 NPL Table

Monday, February 27, 2012

Joseph Yobo to set Nigerian record

Nigeria captain, Joseph Yobo is on the verge of setting a new all-time appearance record for his nation's team.

Yobo has won 86 caps for the Super Eagles and has equalled the all-time appearance record held by Late Mudashiru Lawal and former captain, Nwankwo Kanu.

The 86th cap of the former Olympique Marseille man came in the Eagles 2-0 win over Zambia in Kaduna on November 15, 2011.

Now the Fenerbahce centre-back is in line to make his 87th appearance for Nigeria when they face Rwanda in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying at the Stade Regionale de Nyamirambo this Wednesday.

The game will also mark Yobo's 11th year in the Nigerian men's national team since he made his debut in 2001.

However, Yobo faces a battle for a first-team place in the heart of Nigeria's defence against Rwanda from two Nigeria Premier League (NPL) stars, Azubuike Egwuekwe and Papa Idris.

Osaze targets 18-goal season

Super Eagles' striker, Peter Osaze Odemwingie wants to beat his goals total of last season for his Barclays English Premier League club, West Bromwich Albion in the 2011/2012 season.

Odemwingie hit a brace for West Brom as they steamrolled Sunderland 4-0 at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

The striker’s double took his total for the season to nine goals but the former Lokomotiv Moscow man says he wants to score more goals this season than he managed last term.

The 30-year-old scored 15 goals and provided seven assists last season but his recent form which has seen him score five goals in his last three matches has seen him grow in self belief.

“People have asked me if I can beat my (goals) record (from last season) or hit double figures.

“I said yes, if I have a good run, maybe it’s possible. I’m happy (the goals are) coming,” Odemwingie said.

SuperSport.com can report that Odemwingie has already left the England to join his Super Eagles teammates for the 2013 Africa Nation’s Cup qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali on February 29.

Victor Moses trains with Eagles

Wigan Athletic winger Victor Moses was among eight Europe-based pros who trained with the Nigeria Super Eagles Monday morning ahead of a 2013 Nations Cup qualifier in Rwanda.

Moses’ appearance has thus doused any speculations that he has developed cold feet over his decision to feature for Nigeria ahead of England.

He said he is “super excited” to be part of the Eagles.

The Wigan star is expected to make his long-awaited Eagles debut on Wednesday in Kigali.

Also, midfielder Sani Kaita trained fully with the Eagles in Abuja to finally dispel rumours he is nursing an injury.

Other overseas stars at the training were the England quartet of Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Blackburn Rovers), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham), Osaze Odemwingie (West Bromwich Albion) and Taye Taiwo (QPR).

Three players, Vincent Enyeama, Joel Obi and Ikechukwu Uche, have been permitted by coach Stephen Keshi join the squad later Monday as they were involved with their European clubs Sunday.

Monday’s morning workout was exciting as the 11 players from the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) battled to assert themselves on the pitch.

The other interesting aspect of the training was that all the players sported newly designed training kits delivered by kit sponsors adidas.

The team will depart for Rwanda Monday night on a chartered flight.


Eight 'foreign' Super Eagles arrive in Abuja

SuperSport.com can confirm that eight of the 11 foreign-based stars arrived at the Bolton White Hotel lodgings of the Super Eagles.

Nigeria head coach, Stephen Keshi confirmed to SuperSport.com that the eight players arrived in the team's Abuja camp between Sunday and Monday.

Dickson Etuhu was the first foreign-based player to arrive camp on Sunday afternoon.

The latest arrivals in the Nigerian team are Taye Taiwo, Joseph Yobo, Victor Moses, Sani Kaita, Peter Osaze Odemwingie, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Ahmed Musa.

Three players, Vincent Enyeama, Joel Obi and Ikechukwu Uche are still being expected to arrive on Monday and Keshi said the trio was excused on grounds of their clubs playing on Sunday.

"Right now there are eight foreign-based players plus the 11 local-based players we have here. So in total we have 18 players, which is almost a full house. We are expecting three more players later today (Monday).

"Vincent (Enyeama), Ike Uche and Joel Obi should be here before we leave for Kigali, as their clubs had games last night in their different leagues," the 50-year-old Nigerian coach said.

The Super Eagles are expected to leave the shores of Nigeria for Kigali, Rwanda from 11pm to face the Amavubi in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier this Wednesday.

© SuperSport.com

Nigeria Super Eagles to play Peru & Namibia in friendly Match

Nigeria's Super Eagles are expected to play two international friendly matches before the end of June this year.

The first of the tune-up games will be against South Americans, Peru in May.

In June, the Super Eagles will play hosts to Namibia at the National Stadium in Abuja.

Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Musa Amadu confirmed the warm-up games are in line for the nation's national team.

He added that the Peru game is however "outside of the Fifa international window" and will have a team of local-based players representing Nigeria.

"The Super Eagles made up of home-based players will play Peru in a friendly match in May. The match is outside of the Fifa international window and that's why the home-based will be used to prosecute that game.

"Some of the home-based players will also be part of the friendly against Namibia for Abuja in June, as the team prepare for the second leg of the (2013) Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda," he said.

The Nigerians are scheduled to face their Rwandan counterparts in a first leg game of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualification in Kigali on Wednesday.

© SuperSport.com

Sunday, February 26, 2012

We don't want Mikel Obi - Anzhi Makhachkala

Russian Premier League club, Anzhi Makhachkala has declared that they are uninterested in the Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi.

Mikel who has been out of favour at Stamford Bridge this season has reportedly attracted interest from the super rich Russians but Anzhi say they have no interest in prising the 24 year old from Stamford Bridge.

The Nigeria international was quoted as saying that he was considering the possibility of signing for the Russian club after growing unhappy at his lack of playing time at the English Premier League side.

However, Vice President of Anzhi, Herman Chistyakov says the club’s interest in the player is at best imaginary as they have no intention of signing him.

"After a few days we get bored of these ridiculous statements in the media," Anzhi vice-president Herman Chistyakov said.

Despite having the former Chelsea Manager, Guus Hiddink at the helm of affairs at the club, the Anzhi number two claims ‘nobody at the club’ knows Mikel.

"Nobody at this club knows anything about this player, we are not in contact with him."

Anzhi finalized a deal for Blackburn defender Christopher Samba as the Russian transfer window slammed shut on Friday.

Mikel has made 14 appearances for Chelsea in the Barclays English Premier League this season.

© SuperSport.com

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stephen Keshi Release Six Home Players

That effectively rules out the players from those who are likely to make the trip to Kigali when Nigeria face Rwanda in a 2012 Afcon qualifier on February 29.

Keshi told the released players that they will be recalled for two upcoming friendly matches being planned by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in April.

The released players are Henry Uche (Enyimba), Uche Oguchi, Kingsley Salami and Kabir Umar (Heartland), Precious Osasco Omoma (Sunshine Stars) and Daniel Essien Etor (Niger Tornadoes).

Keshi said the decision to release the players was done reluctantly.

“It was a painful decision, but it must be done for the sake of the nation and because we have our brothers coming from Europe, but it’s not to say the players are not good, they are very okay and we’ll call upon them soon again when we have friendlies lined up for the national team,” Keshi said.

The players have since left camp for their respective clubs and Keshi said he would continue to monitor their activities.

Meanwhile, the 16 players left in camp trained on Friday morning.

NPL Players Still in Camp:

Chigozie Agbim, Okiemute Odah, Godfrey Oboabona, Juwon Oshaniwa, Papa Idris, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Gabriel Reuben, Uche Ossai, Sunday Mba, Bartholomew Ibenegbu, Barnabas Imenger, Obinna Nwachukwu, Izu Azuka, Ejike Uzoenyi, Solomon Jabason, Uche Kalu

© SuperSport.com

Wikki Tourists attacked and robbed

Players and officials of Nigeria Premier League club, Wikki Tourists have been attacked by armed robbers on their way to honour a league match against Warri Wolves.

The Wikki contingent was attacked along Abuja/Lokoja expressway on Friday.

Goalkeeper of the team, Afessoh Attah told SuperSport.com that players and officials of the club lost cash and valuables to the robbers.

“Yes it is true. We were attacked by robbers and they carted away our phones and cash,” Attah told SuperSport.com.

It is still unclear whether the club’s game against Wikki Tourists which was supposed to be played this weekend will still go ahead.

© SuperSport.com

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mikel Obi confirms Anzhi approach

Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi has confirmed he was contacted by Russian big spenders Anzhi Makhachkala over a possible move from Stamford Bridge.
MTNFootball.com broke the Anzhi interest on the Nigeria international only for some local media outlets to then quote the player’s agent, John Ola Shittu, as denying such a move.
However, the player himself told MTNFootball.com Thursday that he has been contacted by Anzhi officials.
But, he also said he has yet to give them his word if he will join the Russian team, who already have in their fold Samuel Eto’o, Roberto Carlos and Yuri Zhirkov.

“It is true that Anzhi officials contacted me and made a move to have me, but I have not given them my word yet,” he told only MTNFootball.com

“I am still a Chelsea player, changing clubs is not a decision to rush into, I love Chelsea and I am taking my time.
“I want to play always and that has not been happening for a while now but I hope after my recent injury problem, I will get a regular football action.”
The Jos-born star, who has not enjoyed regular football lately under Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas, has said he may move if his fortunes at Chelsea do not change.
Mikel has been a subject of transfer rumours in recent time as he has been linked with a move away from Chelsea to Juventus, Real Madrid and PSG.
The 24-year-old star still has two years left on his contract with ‘The Blues’.

Mustapha Babadidi set for VVV Venlo

NPL leading scorer Mustapha Babadidi is bound for modest Dutch club, MTNFootball.com has been informed.

Babadidi has already scored seven goals in his debut season in the Nigeria Premier League and has been called up to the Nigeria U17 team currently training in Abuja.

The agent who transferred one-time NPL hotshot to Venlo, Tony Harris, is again behind the move to take Babadidi’s scoring boots to Europe.

“The young striker has already released his passport to those behind this transfer for his travel papers to be processed,” a top source informed MTNFootball.com

“He is not going for trials, just to do his medical and sign.”

MTNFootball.com has further gathered that the rookie striker could command an initial monthly salary of about 10,000 Euros (more than 2 million Naira).

Venlo already have a strong Nigerian contingent namely Alex Nkume, Michael Uchebo and Uche Nwofor.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why I left out Mikel - Keshi

SuperSport.com can report that Nigeria head coach, Stephen Keshi, opted to leave out Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi from the squad to face Rwanda owing to his injury.

Nigeria's Super Eagles play their Rwandan counterparts, Amavubi in Kigali on February 29 in a 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifying.

Mikel has been out injured for Chelsea since December's 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur and Keshi said he decided to leave out the 24-year-old to catch up with his fitness level at Stamford Bridge.

The midfielder was sidelined for seven weeks by a muscle abductor injury and missed nine matches but was restored to the Chelsea starting 11 last weekend in the FA Cup game against Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge.

Keshi, 50, specified that he is a "father" figure to the 24-year-old Chelsea star who cannot descend to having a row with the player.

“This camp is a national team’s camp of love and not of hate. How can a father like me quarrel with a son like Mikel?" Keshi queried.

"The young man is full of talent and is a player who has several years left in him. But he was just coming back from an injury lay-off and we thought it wise to leave him to settle down before we call on him again to come and fight for his fatherland.”

Last week, Keshi named 11 foreign-based players and left out some top players such as Kalu Uche, Brown Ideye, Chinedu Obasi and Mikel.

© SuperSport.com

Keshi dispels fears about Kaita’s recall to Eagles

Super Eagles’ Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, on Tuesday in Abuja defended the call-up he extended to midfielder Sani Kaita ahead of the team’s February 29 clash with Rwanda.
It will be recalled that Keshi had on February 16 invited Kaita and 10 other foreign-based players to the senior national team in preparation for the match.
Kaita, who is with SC Tavriya Simferopol of Ukraine, last played for the national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.
He bagged a red card in the match against Greece, a match Nigeria eventually lost 1-2.
Speaking to newsmen after the Eagles’ training, Keshi said it would have been insensitive of him to call up an injured player for a very crucial match knowing what was at stake.
“ Some journalists have been misleading Nigerians that Kaita have not played in his club for about two years now, but this is not so.
“ If he is injured, does anyone think he will be invited? We (the team’s technical crew) don’t do that here. Maybe in the past they (technical crew) did. But for now, we don’t and won’t,’’ he said.
Keshi disclosed that he had talked to Kaita personally, as well as his club manager, and that there was nothing that showed that the player was injured.
“ We know what is at stake and we won’t take anything for granted,’’ he said.
On the team’s preparation for 2013 African Nations Cup qualifier in Kigali, the coach said the training time was for the players to adapt to the match’s kick-off time.
He, however, said he was happy with the attitude of the players and the other members of the technical staff.
“I like the response from the players and the rest of the technical crew. We are all on the same pitch. So, the struggle continues,’’ he said.


Ahmed Musa impresses in Champions League debut

Nigeria winger, Ahmed Musa put in a lively performance for Russian army club, FCF CSKA Moscow in their first leg, round of 16 clash against nine-time European champions, Real Madrid on Tuesday night..

As expected, Ahmed Musa made his UCL bow for CSKA under freezing conditions at the Luznicki Stadium.

The former VVV Venlo attacker was on from the start and quickly got involved with dazzling runs; one of which looked set to bear fruit before he was unceremoniously hauled over by Real’s Portuguese left back, Fabio Coentrao on 6 minutes.

CSKA looked to stop the Spaniards from imposing their passing game and Musa was involved all night long.

The young Nigerian was again involved in the 11th minute with a fine challenge on Coentrao as he repaid the favour.

Musa’s quick thinking in the 21st minute resulted in a cross been whipped in from the left but the winger hit his effort long.

CSKA coach, Leonid Slutsky eventually hooked the Nigerian for Liberian, Sekou Oliseh in the 64th minute.

Musa and his CSKA Moscow teammates will be huge underdogs ahead of the second leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ahmed Musa: "It will be incredible to play against Cristiano Ronaldo!"

Ever heard of Ahmed Musa? Probably not, but the 20-years old Nigerian talented player is anxious to make his debut in the UEFA Champions League, precisely against Real Madrid and someone who he admires a lot:Cristiano RonaldoCSKA will face Real Madrid tonight

In a short interview granted to a Nigerian newspaper, Ahmed Musa noted that this game will be a special one, not only because they are about to play against the mighty Real Madrid, but also because he'll have the chance to meet Cristiano Ronaldo. Ahmed Musa: "This is going to be an amazing game. I have played with several great football players in the past, but facing Cristiano Ronaldo will be incredible! People have compared me to him a few times already and I really want to meet him on the pitch", told Musa, not hiding his anxiety before the big game.
Ahmed Musa with his head shaved and wearing gloves, in VVV Venlo, during the Dutch League in 2011
Ahmed Musa: "I love playing against the top teams and I never had a bad performance in these kind of games. I can remember matches against the likes of Ajax or Feyenoord and I've always done well back then. Even in the big games in Nigeria like Kano Pillars  against Heartland, I've always managed to leave my mark...", noted Musa, showing his confidence on being able to put Real Madrid into trouble next week. What he'll probably understand this Tuesday, is that the UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are in a totally different level of the one that can be found in the top notch clubs over the Dutch and Nigerian leagues.


Controversy rages over Kaita injury

Recalled Eagles star Sani Kaita is in the centre of a controversy over whether or not he is fit for next week’s Nations Cup qualifier in Rwanda.

Kaita himself has debunked claims attributed to his Ukrainian club and representatives that he is nursing an injury that has sidelined him for over two months.

“There is no truth that I’m injured and out of the match in Kigali,” Kaita told MTNFootball.com Tuesday

“I have fully recovered from the injury I suffered towards the end of last year and I’m with my team in Turkey on a training tour and I have even played a test game.”

He disclosed he will join the Eagles training camp in Abuja this weekend ahead of the trip to Kigali.

However, other media reports have quoted officials of Kaita’s club Tavriya as saying the player is injured even though he is with the club in Turkey.

A representative and the defensive midfielder and former international Tijjani Babangida also confirmed the player’s injury, but insisted that “even with one leg, Kaita will honour Keshi’s invitation”.

Last week, Kaita was recalled by Nigeria after almost two years frozen out of international football following a sensational sending off against Greece in a 2010 World Cup group game in South Africa.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Eagles move training to noon

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have changed their training times to 2pm local time due to an early kick-off of their 2013 Nations Cup qualifier in Rwanda. 

Nigeria visit Kigali on February 29 in the first leg of a qualifying round for next year’s Nations Cup to be staged in South Africa. 

According to a press statement, the Eagles training schedule has been altered in readiness for the harsh weather in Kigali. 
From Monday, the team will now train daily from 2pm, away from the original training schedule of 8am in the mornings or 4pm in the evening. 
Officials said this was a tactical shift to help achieve the ultimate result they desire in Kigali. 
Foreign-based players are expected to fall in line with the training time when they arrive later this weekend for the match in Rwanda. 
The home-based stars have continued to train since their return from Liberia, where they won a friendly 2-0. 

At the moment, there is palpable tension and suspense among the 19 home based professionals in camp over who will make the cut of 9 for the Kigali battle. 
Keshi has named the 11 foreign-based professionals for the encounter, and going by his antecedent, he’s now expected to name an additional 9 players this week for the 20-man squad for the Nations Cup qualifier in Rwanda. 
All the players spoken to expressed optimism about making the team to Rwanda with Papa Idris and Sunday Mba saying they will abide by the decision of the coaches. 
The only player not in camp from the 20 who went to Monrovia was Enyimba’s Sunday Emmanuel, who was excused. 
The team had a two-hour work out Saturday morning, the first since their return from Liberia with immediate past Eagles coach Samson Siasia on hand to watch them train.

Dolphins FC win away in CAF Champions League

Dolphins finished their CAF Champions League first round first leg encounter in Malabo with an emphatic 3-0 win over Sony Ela Nguema on Sunday at the Estadio de Malabo. 

The game was only seven minutes old when Dolphins showed a glimpse of what they planned against the home side as Adamu Mohammed broke free of his marker, but with only the goalkeeper to beat pushed the ball too far.

However, Emma Nwachi who was returning to the team after a six week injury lay off opened the scoring in the 16th minute.

Four minutes later, it was Nwachi again, free by Chidi Osuchukwu who blasted wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Osuchukwu who had been Dolphins most impressive player up till that point got his name on the score sheet in the 26th minute.

After a pretty combination with Adamu Mohammed, he set himself lose, rounding the goalkeeper to score.

At this point there was some fracas in the stands as a member of the delegation from Port Harcourt was slapped by a fan on Nguema. 

This action resulted in a fight that lasted about 15 minutes before the police eventually calmed things down.

While the fans were having an altercation Emma Nwachi was off injured and replaced with Ifeanyi Egwim who got his name on the score sheet five minutes into the second half.

Victor Babayaro came on for Kenneth Anyanwu who hurt his shoulder while while Chidi Osuchukwu was also injured and replaced with Olewezi Johnson.

Three yellow cards were shown to Abduljeleel Ajagun who had a quiet game, Victor Ezuruike and Festus Austin in the later stages of the game when the home team put so much pressure on the Dolphins defence hoping to at least pull one back but it eventually ended 3-0


Friday, February 17, 2012

Erico - Aiyegbeni, Kaita's recall very healthy

Former Super Eagles' assistant coach, Joe Erico has described as healthy the recall of the duo, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Sani Kaita to the senior national team.
The duo was handed a ticket to feature at the Afcon 2013 qualifier against Rwanda in Kigali on February 29.
Both players have been avoided like plague after their misdeeds at the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
Erico, who has openly canvassed for their recall to the Super Eagles, told SuperSport.com that as nation we should develop large heart to tolerate and forgive.
"It's a welcomed development to bring back the two players to the Super Eagles.
"I think we've been getting it wrong to condemn our players once they do things we perceive to be wrong.
"Aiyegbeni and Kaita didn't commit any offence to warrant the treatment we meted out to them.
"Missing a goal or picking red card are no crimes in football.
"Drogba, Gyan, among others have missed crucial goals and penalties yet they play for their nations.
"So I think it is a positive step both to the players and nation," Erico said.
However, the former Nigerian goalkeeper viewed the invitation of the 11 foreign-based players for Rwanda as improper.
"I don't know who drew the list of 11 foreign-based players for the Rwanda game.
"If I were in coach Keshi's shoes, those domestic players that played against Liberia would be called back to camp and handed shirts against Rwanda.
"I am sure, they won't disappoint us against Rwanda.
"The pros are likely to send jitters in the psyche of the domestic players.
"The invitation of Aiyegbeni now will disrupt his performance in the Premiership.
"He may not even be at his best psychologically given the boos he got during the Nwankwo Kanu ceremonial game in Lagos.
"Except somebody will work on that aspect and bring Aiyegbeni to act as an inspiration to the local players," he said.


NPL League Table After Week 9 Matches


Stephen Keshi eyes FIFA top 10

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has targeted a FIFA top-10 place and as such the country’s federation are not disturbed by the team’s crash in the latest rankings, officials said.

The latest FIFA rankings have seen Nigeria plunge 11 places to 56th in the world, the country’s worst rating since late 2000.

Nigeria are now eighth in Africa behind the likes of Mali, Gabon and Zambia.

Cote d’Ivoire despite losing the AFCON final to Zambia are the top African football nation.

However, general secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Musa Amadu, has told MTNFootball.com that the federation are not shocked at the ranking and are more preoccupied about improving on their standing as promised by new Eagles coach Stephen Keshi.

“I know that coach Stephen Keshi in qualifying the country (for both the 2013 Nations Cup and 2014 World Cup) is also eyeing a top 10 spot in the world, but right now the ranking is not our primary concern," said Amadu.

"We are not surprised at the ranking. It was expected since we did not feature at the Nations Cup finals"

“We knew that we would drop in the ranking because we did not go to the African Cup of Nations. You can see that we were even placed ahead of some countries that were at the Nations Cup finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

“Having said that, the Nigeria Football Federation wishes to assure Nigerians that from now on, our country would only move upwards on the FIFA Ranking, and in leaps and bounds”.

He added: "But in any case the FIFA ranking is the least of our worries. We are focused at qualifying for AFCON 2013 and the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.” 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sani Kaita has promised not to disappoint Nigeria

SC Tavriya Simfeporol of Ukraine midfielder Sani Kaita has promised not to disappoint after he was handed a chance for a long-awaited return to the Super Eagles.
He said he will not let down himself, the fans and the coach, Stephen Keshi, who has deemed it fit to recall him to the national team after an infamous red card at the World Cup in South Africa.
MTNFootball.com: Sani, you have been recalled to the Super Eagles. How do you feel? 
Kaita: I am very happy for this chance to return to Eagles under coach Stephen Keshi. I have been longing for this opportunity and I won't let it slip off my hands again. 
I see this as a great honour and I won't disappoint myself, the coach and the whole country for giving me a second chance to play for Nigeria. 
I am always ready to serve my country. It is an honour to wear the green and white jersey. 
Do you still remember your red card against Greece at the World Cup? 
That was the worst moment of my entire life. That was my first-ever red card in a competitive game. It was a big stain on my record. 
You apologised to Nigeria for this red card but you must have been disappointed that you were not recalled by the Eagles till now. 
Yes, I was not happy because I always want to serve my fatherland. I know all of us can’t play at same time but I believe I have place in the team. Keshi has now done the right thing. 
I never saw myself as out of the team. I have always considered myself as a player of the Eagles. 
How then was it like watching the last Nations Cup without Nigeria? 
It was sad, but we can’t help it. Now all we need do is look forward to making the next edition, which thankfully will be next year. 
You signed for Belgian club Germinal Beerschot and later we learnt it was cancelled and now you are in Ukraine, what happened? 
It was so unfortunate, I wanted to really play for Germinal. We had signed a contract but I could not play for them because the home office refused to give me a work permit and without that I couldn’t play, so we had no choice than for us to go our different ways. That is in the past now as I am Tavriya player now. 
Now that you are in Ukraine, what are you looking forward to? 
I want to continue to do well here and I also want to win trophies with this team. 
How would you describe the league in Ukraine compared to where you have played previously – Holland, Russia and France? 
Here we have a strong league, big players are here too. All the leagues I have played in are very competitive, they all have their pluses, which make them unique. 
You know this is my second coming to Ukraine so I know how it is here. 


Yakubu & Kaita Recalled

Yakubu & Kaita
Nigeria head coach, Stephen Keshi, has handed Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Sani Kaita recalls to the Super Eagles for the 2013 Afcon qualifying against Rwanda.
Yakubu and Kaita are among 11 foreign-based players named in the side to face the Amavubi of Rwanda on February 29 in Kigali.
The duo has been in international football wilderness following Nigeria's dismal show at the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
Blackburn Rovers' striker, Yakubu was left out of the Eagles for his schoolboy's miss against South Korea while Kaita got a red card in the game against Greece and ever since then both players became Super Eagles' outcasts.
But the return of Yakubu and Kaita to the national team setup ends close to 20 months of both players inactivity at the international front.
Other foreign-based players called up by Keshi are Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo, Taye Taiwo, Joel Obi, Dickson Etuhu, Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa, Ikechukwu Uche and Peter Osaze Odemwingie.
However, Keshi has left out Espanyol new man, Kalu Uche and Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi from the squad to face Rwanda.
Also, the 20 players from the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) who travelled for Wednesday's international friendly against Liberia, will be part of the pre-2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying against Rwanda.
The Super Eagles made up of players from the nation's top flight defeated Liberia's Lone Star 2-0 in Monrovia.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Director of Technical, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme said on Thursday that the players are expected in camp on February 26 while the Nigeria delegation to Rwanda will fly out of Abuja aboard a chartered flight on February 27.

Europe-based players:
Goalkeeper: Vincent Enyeama (Lille, France)
Defenders: Joseph Yobo (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Taiye Taiwo (QPR, England)
Midfielders: Dickson Etuhu (Fulham, England), Sani Kaita (Tavriya, Ukraine), Joel Obi (Inter Milan, Italy), Victor Moses (Wigan, England)
Strikers: Ikechukwu Uche (Granada, Spain), Osaze Odemwingie (West Brom, England) Yakubu Ayegbeni (Blackburn Rovers, England), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia)
Locally-based players:
Chigozie Agbim, Godfrey Oboabona, Juwon Oshaniwa, Gabriel Reuben, Uche Ossai, Sunday Mba, Kalu Uche, Papa Idris, Henry Uche, Osasco Omamo, Obinna Nwachukwu, Izu Azuka, Ejike Uzoenyi, Sunday Emmanuel, Kabir Umar, Kingsley Salami, Uche Oguchi, Okemute Odah, Bartholomew Ibenegbu, Azubuike Egwueke