The Nation » Sports
http://thenationonlineng.net/new A news breaking website. Truth in Defence of Freedom Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:31:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/whatll-happen-to-osaze-this-time/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/whatll-happen-to-osaze-this-time/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:58 +0000 Taofeek Babalola & Rasaq Oboirin
In July 2012, Nigerian striker, Peter Odemwingie was reported to have had a bust-up with West Bromwich Albion manager, Steve Clarke suggesting he was heading for the exit door at The Hawthorns. West Brom denied that report.
Since then Odemwingie has had altercation with his country’s football federation and national team coach, Stephen Keshi, over being left out of the Africa Cup of Nations.
But his latest attempt to force a move to QPR from West Brom has landed him in the black books of the Baggies fans, who once loved him. Certainly Odemwingie’s failed move to QPR remains the highpoint of the mid-season transfer window’s deadline day after he travelled down to London to complete the switch without permission, according to West Brom.
“It’s fine. West Brom was my home but this is a new chapter. I love West Brom and always will. I am optimistic. A few good players have arrived here and I am happy with the trust Harry Redknapp has in me.
“The last few results have given us a chance to stay up. I don’t think the owners will bring in so many players if they don’t think it will happen. I hope West Brom are happy with what they will get and they hope to get players,” Odemwingie, who already viewed himself as a QPR player, told Sky Sports News outside of Loftus Road on Thursday night.
West Brom’s statement
Just as Odemwingie was hoping to ink a deal, Albion released a quickfire statement that killed off any chance of the striker joining the R’s.
“The club can confirm they have held further discussions with QPR but those talks have so far proved fruitless and no agreement has been reached. Albion would also like to make clear that Peter has not been given permission to speak to QPR about a potential move,” the statement from West Brom read on Thursday.
Immediately the gate of Loftus Road was slammed in the face of Odemwingie as he was turned back by QPR.
Odemwingie has, however, fought back. He has claimed that West Brom signed him from Russian club, Lokomotiv Moscow without permission among others.
He also said he met with West Brom technical director, Dan Ashworth, before leaving the Midlands for London believing his move had been sanctioned on Thursday.
“I learned now that the role of technical director is not superior to a chairman. When you are in England, you are gentlemen and you have to understand each other. After talks there was no need for training. I said I can go now, I got the go ahead from what I understand. I went round to thank everyone in the club, the laundry, left some autographs. I promised to come back next week. I will miss them. I want to see everyone to say thanks very much.
“In my opinion everything was done right. In the last moment I don’t know what happened. I think he (Ashworth) can deny it, he has to look good in this situation. Anyway, we will find a way forward which is suitable for everyone. The truth is we all went wrong somewhere. A few days ago he told me himself we could have handled it differently. I agreed.
“I came to West Brom in an unprofessional manner. Lokomotiv Moscow did not give me permission to speak to West Brom. I still love the club. The club knows the reasons I want to leave. I think I’ll still leave. I’m not saying that in disrespect. We are not enemies. It’s all about football and not personal. There’s nothing illegal,” he told Sky Sports News on Friday.
What Redknapp & others think
However, the man who made two failed bids to sign Odemwingie from West Brom, Redknapp was sympathetic.
“I feel sorry for the lad and the way things have turned out. I think he was advised that he should turn up, that the club had made an offer and it was accepted. I think the wires must have got crossed somewhere,” said the QPR manager, who signed on Christopher Samba, Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend on deadline day.
Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand also made comments via his verified Twitter account. He posted: “Anyone know who is looking after Peter Odemwingie??? I hope the West Brom dressing room is a sensitive + forgiving place…”
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, found the scenario “quite strange” and feels Odemwingie may have been misinformed.
“That was quite strange. Sometimes the players are told wrong information. He looked a bit lost there,” he said.
But former Chelsea man, Tony Cascarino did not spare Odemwingie. He described the striker’s attempt to force a move away from West Brom as “a level of stupidity” unimaginable.
“I can’t believe it, what on earth was he doing? I’m astonished someone would do something so daft. In moments of transfer speculation, you speak to friends, family, your agent. I can’t believe not one of them told him not to do that, especially his agent. You do not go down to another club and knock on their door. It’s absolutely mind-blowing that someone would attempt to do such a daft thing.
“He hasn’t thought about it. That is a level of stupidity you just can’t imagine. The (West Brom) fans are going to be furious and now he’s got to go back into a dressing room where players are going to have a lot less respect for him. When you sign a contract, you go on the club’s terms. And trying push it through (this transfer) is the highest level of stupidity I’ve ever heard of,” said Cascarino.
Odemwingie’s future at West Brom
In the last three Premier League seasons, the 31-year-old forward has been among West Brom’s top performers with 30 goals completing 114 key passes. But all that look threatened now after he was sent home from training on Friday after spending just 40 minutes talking to Ashworth.
And like the start of this season, Odemwingie’s future at The Hawthorns looks in doubt again, and certainly it is not the end of this new chapter in his career.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/whatll-happen-to-osaze-this-time/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eaglets-camp-opens-today-in-calabar/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eaglets-camp-opens-today-in-calabar/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:50 +0000 Our Reporter
The National Under-17 team will open their preparatory camp in Calabar today, ahead of the 10th African Under-17 Championship to be hosted in Morocco in April.
The self-styled new Nigeria Golden Eaglets under coach Manu Garba, who qualified for the championship last December after winning their six qualifying matches, have been drawn against two West African rivals, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and 2011 second runner-up, Congo-Brazzaville at the championship to be held between April 13 and 27.
Team secretary Tayo Egbaiyelo, said the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has directed that the 30 invited players as well as the technical and backroom staff should report to the team’s Princeville Hotel Camp in Calabar today.
Already the Golden Eaglets have been drawn in Group B for the 2013 CAF U-17 Championship in Morocco. Other teams in the group include Ghana, Congo and Cote d’ Ivoire.
Eaglets are the team to beat, as they scored a total of 21 goals, and conceded one in their qualifier series.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eaglets-camp-opens-today-in-calabar/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/mikel-awaits-toure/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/mikel-awaits-toure/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:49 +0000 Our Reporter
Super Eagles and Chelsea of England midfield star, John Mikel Obi, was a relieved man on Friday afternoon after continental soccer ruling body, CAF, cleared him morning of the same day for the quarter final duel against the Elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire.
Looking relaxed and in company of roommate, Victor Moses, Mikel said he was hurt when it was reported that he had picked up two yellow cards. “I am the one that is always at the receiving end of hard tackles and I knew that I had only one yellow card but the media was going about it that I have two. I was a little confused but now I’m happy and relieved and ready for the match.
He continued: “I know that Africa wants the best of both countries in the quarterfinal and, personally, I’m looking forward to the midfield battle against Ivorien Yaya Toure; that will be one good spectacle that Africans will like to see and I know that Toure is also relishing it”, he said.
Team Coach, Stephen Keshi said he was a bit alarmed by reports that Nigerians have already written off the Super Eagles in that game against the Ivoriens. “It’s at this point that we need the total support of all Nigerians and I must urge them not to detract from that. Names don’t play football and our players are ready to give their all in the game against Ivory Coast.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/mikel-awaits-toure/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eagles-ready-for-huge-test/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eagles-ready-for-huge-test/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:47 +0000 Our Reporter
Players of the Super Eagles realise that Sunday’s Cup of Nations quarter final duel with the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire is the biggest test of character that any of them will ever go through in a long time to come.
As they trained in Rustenburg on Friday morning, the players whispered to themselves that Sunday’s clash will be like no other. On paper, the Ivorians have better rating as a team and on the balance, as individual players. But so many things have flown from paper through the window at this tournament, reminding everyone at every turn that football is all about current form and who turns up at the party.
There is hardly anything to choose from five previous Cups of Nations clashes between these two West African giants. On their way to lifting their first title, on home soil in 1980, the Eagles led by Christian Chukwu could not break the Ivorian defence in a 0-0 draw in Lagos, and had to battle hard to overcome resilient Egypt in their third game to reach the semi finals.
Ten years later when Algeria hosted, both teams were in the same group. In the opening match, Clemens Westerhorf’s Eagles got pole-axed 5-1, while the Ivorians dismissed a second-string Egyptian team 3-1.
Nigeria won against Egypt 1-0 while the Elephants were bashed 3-0 by Algeria. It came to the crunch in the final group phase match but Nigeria held on to a goal by Rashidi Yekini (of blessed memory) in the second minute to go through to the semi finals.
Four years later, both teams would clash in the semi finals of the 19th edition of the Cup of Nations in Tunisia. In an absorbing, give-and-take game with no let-up and minimal breathing space on a cold evening at Stade El Menzah, the Ivorians went ahead twice but Nigeria replied each time, and the affair had to be settled by penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw, which Nigeria won 4-2.
On another cold evening in the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Alexandria in February 2006, Elephants avenged by pipping the Eagles 1-0 in their semi final clash, the same result when both teams clashed in the group phase at the 26th finals in Ghana in 2008.
Vincent Enyeama, arguably the best goalkeeper in Africa, will stand between the rampant Ivorians and goal and he has sparkling pedigree to do a great job. Nigeria has never lost a Cup of Nations quarter final match with Enyeama in goal.
In 2004, on a tense evening in Monastir, Cameroon went a goal up after Samuel Eto’O rounded Isaac Okoronkwo on a counter-attack, but goals by Jay-Jay Okocha and John Utaka saw Nigeria through to the semi finals.
Two years later, Enyeama was the hero when Nigeria eliminated Cup holders Tunisia on penalty shoot-out on another memorable evening in Port Said. In 2010, Enyeama stood firm against the Zambians in Lubango and kept his nerve to score the kick that took Nigeria to the last four.
Enyeama, whose massive intervention 36 seconds after Victor Moses’ first penalty, kept Nigeria in the good against Ethiopia on Tuesday, is expected to be protected by Nigeria’s record caps’ holder Joseph Yobo, Godfrey Oboabona, Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejile.
With midfield enforcer Fegor Ogude suspended, it could be opportunity for precocious home-boy Reuben Gabriel to confirm his quality at championship level.
Much will be expected of star midfielder Mikel Obi in holding balls and doing the long thrusts, while an attack of Brown Ideye, Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses and Ikechukwu Uche have capacity to spring surprises against the Elephants.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eagles-ready-for-huge-test/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/keshi-to-nigerians-believe-in-us/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/keshi-to-nigerians-believe-in-us/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:42 +0000 Innocent Amomoh
Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi has slammed football fans in Nigeria for underrating the team ahead of the crucial quarter final match against Cote d’ Ivoire on Sunday in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations holding in South Africa.
Addressing the press yesterday at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, the former national team captain said it is a shame that Nigerians do not believe in their team, adding that he has absolute confidence in his squad and that the players have resolved not to allow the development dampen their spirit.
“It is just unfortunate that the country we represent does not even believe in the team campaigning in the Africa Cup of Nations. I feel bad about it and the players are also not happy. But I think it is a shame that this is happening at this crucial stage, but the mood in camp is good, the players are focused, and we are looking forward to the match on Sunday,” Keshi said.
Asked how he intends to approach the more experienced Cote d’Ivoire side, Keshi said his tactics for the crunch tie is exclusive to him and his players and can only be unveiled on the pitch on Sunday.
He said further that though the Ivorians have been together in the last couple of editions of the competition, the Eagles are ready for the challenge.
“I am not quite sure that if you ask the Cote d’Ivoire coach what his tactics and strength of the team is, he will not tell you. So it will be improper to make mine public. We will see it unveiled on Sunday. They are a very experienced side, they have been together for a long time now but that does not count most of the time in football,” he said.
Denying any form of pressure from his employers the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Keshi admitted that the only pressure he has is to achieve his personal targets as a coach.
“There is no pressure whatsoever from the NFF. The only pressure I have now is the Stephen Keshi pressure. I have my personal goals that I want to achieve and if you call that pressure then it is pressure,” he added.
On the readiness of the defence line to curtail the experienced Cote d’Ivoire attack, Keshi said: ” I have a hundred percent confidence in my team. Experience cannot be bought but the defence which includes Omerou and Oboabona have been doing well for their various clubs and I am confident they will do well. No shaking.”
On the absence of suspended combative midfielder, Fengor Ogude Keshi assured that the development will not affect the team as there are players ready to step into his position.
“Agreed Fengor is an important player in the team, but remember we signed 23 players and so there are lots of other players ready to play. That he is not playing against Cote d’Ivoire is part of the game. If he is not playing someone else will play and I am confident they will hold their own. Though we would have loved to have him in the game,” he said.
The Super Eagles set a quarter final fixture against last edition’s finalist Cote d’Ivoire after finishing second in group C of the Nations Cup.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/keshi-to-nigerians-believe-in-us/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/moses-well-do-body-training-for-cote-divoire/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/moses-well-do-body-training-for-cote-divoire/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:34 +0000 Our Reporter
Victor Moses is expecting a tough match between the Super Eagles and the Elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire on Sunday in the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup.
It was Moses’s brace late in the second half that handed Nigeria victory against Ethiopia. In two days’ time, the Super Eagle comes face to face with Salomon Kalou, the player he replaced at Chelsea.
”I watched him (Kalou, ed) play a lot. He’s fast and marks. But we will not focus on him. The most important thing is to play as a team. It will be a tough game Sunday. We will give the best.
”Everyone says that Ivory Coast will win the African Cup, but it was the same prediction last year … For the moment, we focus on ourselves, we will try to make the best match possible. I told you it would be difficult for us, but it will also be difficult for them,” Moses told Football365. Fr .
Moses’s strike partner Emmanuel Emenike has been quoted as saying by local media that he wants to win the golden boot at the end of the tournament. Both players contributed equally to the four goals scored by Nigeria in the group stage.
”I was not aware of these statements. We should not have to think of Golden Shoe or individual awards. We just need to think about scoring goals, to win games and go as far as possible. Everybody can score, even the goalkeeper,” says Moses.
Chelsea teammate John Obi Mikel has been very influential on and off the field for the Nigeria selection at the African Nations Cup.
”He is very important for the whole team, especially for young people. He has a lot of experience. He is widely respected among the other players. But for now, the most important is the match on Sunday. We will do body training and work hard to try to win,” Moses concluded.
22-year-old Victor Moses has notched 4 goals in his last 4 matches for the national team.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/moses-well-do-body-training-for-cote-divoire/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eagles-must-have-self-belief-oliseh/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eagles-must-have-self-belief-oliseh/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:22 +0000 Rasaq Oboirien
Sunday Oliseh, says self-belief on the part of Eagles players can see them overcome the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire in Sunday’s quarter-finals in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg.
Speaking as a guest analyst on a soccer programme, ‘The journey so far,’ the Tunisia 1994 AFCON winner stressed: “It’s a quarter-final, the calculations are over, not a second chance to correct any mistakes, rather it’s now a game of 90minutes that will determine which team goes through or out.
“For me, the Eagles must have self belief going into the game.
“Nigeria does have the chance even though they don’t have stars like the Ivorians.
“If the Elephants win, it’s normal. But if the Eagles win, it’s big news. Looking at the two last meetings between both teams, Ivory Coast has got the edge.
“Let’s not mind their performance in the 2-2 draw with Algeria, that was their second string team.
“The Elephants can play the best of football but a set-piece for Nigeria if converted could change the rhythm of the game.”
For former Bafana-Bafana ace Mark Williams said his worries were that,”the Eagles boast of good players but the problem I have with them is when they attack as they lack the cutting edge.
“I hope they take their chances against the Ivorians come Sunday,” said the South Africa 1996 AFCON winner.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eagles-must-have-self-belief-oliseh/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/nigerias-only-lost-once-before/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/nigerias-only-lost-once-before/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:15 +0000 Our Reporter
The new generation will enter the pitch of the Royal Bafokeng Sports Stadium in Rustenburg on Sunday knowing that Nigeria has only ever lost a Cup of Nations quarter final match once before.
The Africa Cup of Nations started as a three-team tournament in 1957 and 1959, entertained four teams in 1962, welcomed six teams in 1963 and 1965 and became an eight-nation finals in 1968, which format it maintained till 1990.
In 1992, the expansion to 12 teams, with four groups of three teams each, meant there would be quarter final matches. Nigeria finished top of Group A in Dakar and defeated Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) 1-0 in the quarter finals, courtesy a goal by Rashidi Yekini.
Two years later, it was the same 12-team format, and the same Zaire in the quarter finals, and the same Rashidi Yekini to score both goals in a 2-0 win in Tunis. The Cup of Nations became a 16-team finals in 1996 in South Africa, but Nigeria was absent for political reasons and was therefore barred from the 1998 finals in Burkina Faso.
In 2000, as co-host with Ghana, Nigeria finished top of her group in Lagos and then sweated hard to defeat Senegal 2-1 in extra time in the last eight, both goals by Julius Aghahowa.
In 2002, the Eagles pipped Ghana’s Black Stars 1-0 with a goal by midfielder Garba Lawal in Bamako.
Two years later, Jay-Jay Okocha and John Utaka scored as the Eagles prevailed 2-1 over Cup holders Cameroon in Monastir. In 2006, Cup holders Tunisia was to fall 6-5 after penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw in Port Said. Obinna Nsofor scored for Nigeria before Karim Hagui equalised.
In 2010, Nigeria edged Zambia 7-6 on penalties after both teams tied 0-0 in a breathless game in Lubango. It was only in 2008 that Nigeria lost in the quarter finals, when Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s early goal from the spot was cancelled out by strikes from Michael Essien and Junior Agogo in Accra.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/nigerias-only-lost-once-before/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/nff-blasts-report-on-team-abandonment/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/nff-blasts-report-on-team-abandonment/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:14 +0000 Our Reporter
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has described as utterly mischievous, a report in a national newspaper of Friday, 1st February, 2013 saying that its officials have abandoned the Super Eagles by not staying in the team camp at the 29th Africa Cup of Nations.
Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Emeka Inyama, said: “Anyone who has an idea of how things work at major championships knows that only the team (players, technical and backroom staff) are provided for by the organizers in the team camp.
“The report that NFF officials have abandoned the team is mischievous and malicious. The fact that we are not staying in the team camp does not mean we have abandoned any of our resposibilities to the team. The President and members of Executive Committee are responsible and diligent individuals who know why they are in South Africa.
“The NFF President, Chairman of Technical Committee and Director of Technical are always in touch with the team, either physically or on phone. On a number of occasions, the NFF President has gone to the team camp with members of the NFF Executive Committee and legislators.”
“We are not staying in the team camp because we want maximum concentration for the players and their officials but we have not shied away from any responsibility, duty or obligation that we have to the team.
“Nigerians at home and abroad have commended the fact that officials are allowing the team to plot its strategies and tactics without any distraction.
”We are on top of the situation, and we can assure Nigerians that the Super Eagles are in great form to overcome the Elephants on Sunday,” Inyama concluded.
http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/nff-blasts-report-on-team-abandonment/feed/ 0 http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eagles-must-attack-elephants-fish-kuffour/ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/sports/eagles-must-attack-elephants-fish-kuffour/#comments Sat, 02 Feb 2013 00:00:10 +0000 Rasaq Oboirien
AFCON legends, Mark Fish and Sammy Kuffour have advised that the Super Eagles play their game when they lock horns with the Elephants of Ivory Coast.
The former Bafana Bafana defender said: “If Nigeria decides to sit at the defence, then they have done so at their cost.
“From the defence to attack, I don’t think they can match the current Ivorian team, however, if they want to win the game, they must take it to the Elephants as they don’t have anything to lose if they attack rather than park the bus.” Kuffour, an ex-Ghana Black Stars ace shares the same opinion with Fish. “They have players with lots of potential, with the likes of Victor Moses; he’s got the pace that can ruin any defence so also Ahmed Musa too, and he can run with the ball. So, I expect that Nigeria should just play their own game, and please, don’t sit back as they would ship in goals.”