Nwankwo Kanu’s Strike Tops Best Goals Of Arsenal Vs Chelsea

Ahead of the League Cup clash between Chelsea and Arsenal on Wednesday, The Gunners, via their official website, has asked fans to pick their best goal against the London rivals.

Only one Nigerian player namely Nwankwo Kanu has scored against the Blues and on more than one occasion.

The former Nigeria international’s solo effort in the 90th minute in Arsenal’s 3-2 win at Chelsea on October 23, 1999 was the most eye-catching of the three goals he scored that day and it made the shortlist.

Kanu is among the five players nominated alongside Silvinho, Nigel Winterburn, Patrick Vieira and Andre Santos.

Kanu’s goal is topping the poll with 57 percent of the votes cast, ahead of Vieira (20%) and Silvinho (11 %).

Nigerian pair Alex Iwobi and Chuba Akpom trained with the first team on Tuesday, January 9.

 

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NFF To Stop Paying Super Eagles Players Cash

Beginning with next month’s World Cup qualifier, players of the Super Eagles will no longer be paid their bonuses by cash.

The squad members have been ordered to open accounts with a particular local bank, where the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), will pay their bonuses into.

“We have been asked to open foreign currency accounts with a bank where our bonuses will now be paid,” a player informed AfricanFootball.com

The direction is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s new financial policy as it concerns foreign currencies.

Before now, the Eagles and other national teams were paid their bonuses in cash.

Former Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo, flew to Brazil last year during the World Cup with over $3million, to pay the team appearance bonuses.

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AAG: Siasia Wary Of ‘Group Of Death’

National U-23 team coach, Samson Siasia, has admitted Nigeria are in the group of death after they were drawn alongside champions Ghana, Egypt and Senegal in Group B of the men’s football event at the 2015 All Africa Games holding in Brazzaville, Congo in September.

Group A has hosts Congo, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso.

Nigeria have only won the tournament once when they hosted the Games in 1973, while Egypt have been champions twice – in 1987 and 1995. Nigeria overcame Gabon and Zambia to book a place at this edition, while Egypt easily dumped Kenya and Burundi out of the race.

Ghana won it for the first time at the 2011 final in Mozambique when they beat South Africa via penalties. The Black Meteors defeated Mozambique to qualify for Brazzaville.

Senegal, who finished fourth at the 2011 edition after losing to Cameroon in the third-place match, qualified for the current edition by beating Mali on away goals.

“This is a group of death. It is a difficult group. Every team in this group has the potential to win the All Africa Games,” Siasia said.

“Every game in this group will be difficult. But we will approach each one like a final. I can assure you that anyone who makes it out of this group is top favourite to win the gold.”

The Congo team, managed by Frenchman Claude le Roy, are favourites in Group A. They qualified automatically as hosts, but they are also former champions being the first to win the tournament when they hosted 50 years ago.

Les Diables Nors are currently preparing to take on Nigeria in an African Championship qualifier in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Sunday.

Sudan, who are making a first appearance in the history of the eight-team tournament, eliminated Ethiopia and South Africa to qualify, while Zimbabwe edged Cameroon and Burkina Faso surprised Ivory Coast.

The Super Falcons have a relatively easier group in the women’s category as they appear as favourites in Group A, which consists of hosts Congo, Tanzania and Ivory Coast.

Nigeria are two-time champions at this level after winning the maiden edition at Abuja 2003 and in 2007 in Algeria.

Egypt, who are making their debut in the women’s event, will contend with tough oppositions as they face champions Cameroon, South Africa and Ghana in Group B.

The Lionesses of Cameroon and Ghana’s Black Queens were finalists at the last edition, while South Africa were two-time silver medallists.

Cameroon, Ghana and South Africa, are familiar foes after being drawn in the same group during the 9th African Women’s Championship in Namibia in 2014.

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FIFA Ranking: Nigeria Drop To 57th

Nigeria have dropped 14 places to 57th in the FIFA ranking for July released on Thursday.

In June’s ranking, Nigeria improved from 45th to 43rd, but have now taken a slide to 57th, their worst ranking so far this year.

As a result of the slide, the Eagles are now ranked 10th in Africa. Algeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana, ranked 19th, 21st and 25th respectively, are Africa’s top three. Tunisia (32nd), Senegal (39th), Cameroon (42nd), Congo (47th), Cape Verde (52nd) and Egypt (55th) completed Africa’s top 10.

The only match that was used to rank Nigeria for this month was the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Chad in Kaduna, which Nigeria won 2-0. The other teams in Nigeria’s AFCON qualifiers group, Egypt, Tanzania and Chad were ranked 55th, 139th and 173rd respectively.

Despite losing on penalties to Chile in the final of the recently concluded Copa America, Argentina moved up two places to become number one in the world. Germany dropped to second and Belgium slid to third.

Colombia remained in the fourth position; Netherlands moved up one place to fifth; Brazil dropped one place to sixth; and Portugal maintained their seventh position.

Romania moved up four places to eight; England moved up six places to ninth; and Wales shot 14 places up to 10th.

Copa America winners, Chile also moved up eight places to the 11th position.

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Sunshine Stars Now Top Of Nigerian Premier League

Following their 3-1 win over visiting Akwa United, Sunshine Stars have returned to the top of the Nigerian Premier League.

The Akure Gunners were beaten 1-0 by Rangers over the weekend, but their victory on Wednesday, coupled with Wikki Tourists draw at home with Giwa FC, means they now lead the other teams.

Sunshine Stars currently have 29 points from 15 matches, same as Enyimba who beat Kwara United 3-2.

Rangers continued their fine run in the league, with a 2-1 win over champions, Kano Pillars in Enugu.

In other matches, Heartland pipped Ifeanyi Ubah FC 1-0, Abia Warriors won Bayelsa United 3-1 and there were also home wins for Nasarawa United, Shooting Stars and El Kanemi.

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I’m Proud Of Chelsea’s Decision To Sell Cech – Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, has supported Roman Abramovich’s decision, to allow Petr Cech move to Arsenal.

The Czech goalkeeper completed a £10m switch to the Gunners on Monday, despite Mourinho’s desire to keep the 33-year-old at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho has always said that the Russian owner would have the final say and he was overruled after Abramovich gave the green light for the transfer.

“Petr has been a great servant for Chelsea for 11 years and helped this club to win almost everything there is to win,” Mourinho said.

“I always said I wanted him to stay but I understand Petr needed to move on to play first team football every week.

“Sometimes you have to respect the wishes of someone who has earned so much respect with his service and actions for your club. I support the owner’s decision to honour the player in this way.

“It is very rare in football to make a decision like this and for that reason I am proud of my club for making it. There are not many clubs in the world big enough to be able to make that decision”.

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Mba Joins Malatyaspor

Nigerian midfielder Sunday Mba has joined a newly promoted second tier Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor.

Mba, who scored Nigeria’s winning goal in the final match of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, completed the moved from French third division club CA Bastia and was unveiled in Turkey on Tuesday.

The Super Eagles player tweeted photos of his unveiling on Tuesday expressing his delight over the move.

Malatyaspor was promoted from the TFF Second League, which is the third division, to the First League, at the end of last season.

The club, nicknamed Tigers of the East, are based in Malatya in Eastern Anatolia and play at the 15,000 capacity Malatya Inonu Stadium..

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Blatter To Miss Women’s World Cup Final For First Time

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, will not be present at the final of the Women’s World Cup.

According to his US-based lawyer, the 78-year-old will not attend the game because of “personal reasons”.

Blatter resigned last month, despite getting re-elected for a fifth term, as the corruption surrounding the world football body escalated.

It will be the first time Blatter will be absent from the tournament, since he was elected president for the first time in 1998.

“He’s not going to go to the finals in Canada,” said the lawyer, Richard Cullen.

“He has informed the organizers and cited personal reasons”.

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Keshi Left Out By Ivory Coast

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has been left out of the five-man shortlist for the vacant Ivory Coast post, the Ivorien federation has announced.

The Ivory Coast Football Federation on Tuesday listed the coaches being considered to succeed Herve Renard, without the Super Eagles coach as one of them. Keshi was listed in the initial list released about a fortnight ago.

The inclusion of the former Nigeria captain’s name in the first shortlist has not been taken lightly by his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation. He has faced an NFF panel over the allegation that he applied for the Ivorian job while still under contract with the NFF. Keshi has since distanced himself from all that is taking place in Abidjan. He told reporters soon after the disciplinary hearing that the names may have been randomly selected.

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He was said to be one of the 59 coaches who had shown interest in replacing Renard. The NFF officials have stated that he would lose the job with the Eagles if he is found to have applied for the Ivorian position.

Even though Keshi has not been listed in the final-5 list, the position of the Nigerian federation on the matter appears not to have changed.

The NFF president Amaju Pinnick told The PUNCH on Tuesday that he would not comment on the matter.

“Investigation is still ongoing and so I can’t speak on the matter,” he said.

The five men now being considered for the job are Paulo Duarte from Portugal, Polish Henryk Kasperczak and Frenchmen Patrice Neveu, Frédéric Antonetti and Michel Dussuyer.

Of the contenders, Neveu, Duarte, Dussuyer and Kasperczak have all worked in Africa. Antonetti is the only one who has not managed any team on the continent.

Kasperczak coached Ivory Coast to third place at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and has also had spells in charge of Tunisia, Morocco, Mali and Senegal.

Ivory Coast officials outlined the qualities they are looking for in the new coach on their website.

“The criteria required for the duration of the contract are to have highest coaching qualification; a great capacity to adapt, an ability to work in a team, and also speak French,” it read.

In London, The Daily Mail reports that Inter have again expressed an interest in Mikel Obi as back-up in case they fail to sign Felipe Melo from Galatasaray. The Nigerian struggled to make an impact in Jose Mourinho’s first team last season following the arrival of fellow holding midfielder Nemanja Matic. It is believed that Blues boss Mourinho is keen to try and keep Mikel, but knows it will be hard to try and persuade the Nigerian to settle for a place on the bench at Stamford Bridge.

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I Could Have Joined Arsenal Before Now – Cech

Petr Cech has revealed that he almost joined Arsenal in 2002, but the move did not happen because of work permit issues.

The Gunners made the Czech goalkeeper their first summer signing, after they agreed a £10million fee with rivals Chelsea on Monday.

Cech joined the Blues in 2004 from Rennes, but could have been playing in the Premier League before then.

“I didn’t really miss much but all I’ve managed to achieve in the past decade, if I can replicate here will be brilliant,” he said.

Speaking with the club’s official channel, Cech continued: “There was a chance before I went to France that I could sign for Arsenal but I was only 18 or 19 and at that time Czech Republic were not in the European Union.

“You needed a work permit and the conditions were to play 75 per cent of the first-team games for the national team, which at the time was impossible for me to get. In the end I went to France because I couldn’t get a work permit.

“I had a few teams who were interested but Arsenal was one of the main ones. I was so excited because of the Premier League and big clubs but unfortunately it was not the time for me to come.

“It was later with Chelsea, and I’m obviously grateful for that, but you can never prepare the ways in your life and you’ll never know where you’ll end up. So here we are.”

Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three Capital One Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League during his 11 years with Chelsea.

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