NFF Summon Enyeama, Fines Onazi $5,000

The Disciplinary Committee of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has summoned Super Eagles’ goalkeeper and skipper, Vincent Enyeama to appear before it on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015.

The Lille OSC of France goaltender is being invited to explain his unguarded statement against the NFF’s choice of Kaduna for Nigeria’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Chad on Saturday, 13thJune.

The committee, headed by Barrister Chris Green, wrote: “You will recall that you were queried by the Nigeria Football Federation for your uncomplimentary remarks with regards to safety and security in Kaduna State, host of the Nations Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Chad Republic.

“You received the query letter on June 13th, 2015 and refused to reply to the query up till now, which is well over the 48 hours deadline given to you to reply to the query. Consequently, the NFF has referred the matter to the Disciplinary Committee for adjudication.

“You are by this, invited to appear before the Disciplinary Committee of Nigeria Football Federation sitting on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2015 at the Federation’s Secretariat in Abuja. The committee sitting will commence at 11am prompt.”

In a related development, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, who earned a straight red card for an act of retaliation during the said match, has been issued a letter of reprimand, ordered to produce a written apology and fined the sum of $5,000.

In a letter signed by Tunde Aderibigbe on behalf of the General Secretary and dated 19th June, the NFF wrote: “The Board of the Nigeria Football Federation has viewed your behaviour and conduct during the Nigeria/Chad match as tantamount to gross indiscipline and unprofessional, which undermined the discipline of the team in its totality and a breach of ethics for players as well as the Code of Conduct for players and officials.


I’ve Supported Arsenal For 30 Years — Dangote

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has insisted his interest in buying Arsenal is not ‘overnight stuff’ and revealed he has been a fan of the club for more than 30 years thanks to former vice-chairman David Dein.

Dangote, who is the 67th wealthiest person in the world with a fortune of £12billion, has explained his interest in The Gunners by explaining he was first taken to the club’s former Highbury ground by Dein, a close friend and associate.

Dein, a former sugar trader, helped Dangote start his business in 1980. Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc now accounts for 90 per cent of the product sold in Nigeria.

‘I have been a supporter of the team since the Eighties,’ confirmed Dangote after publicly declaring his wish to be the club’s next owner.

‘My love for Arsenal dates back to when I went to watch them play with the-then largest shareholder David Dein. I developed a likeness for the team and I have been a supporter of the team since then. So it is not overnight stuff.’

Using Dein’s name leaves the fascinating prospect of whether the former vice-chairman will return to Arsenal if Dangote becomes the club’s new owner.

Dein was regarded as Mr Arsenal and key to the appointment of Arsene Wenger as manager until he left in 2007 when the board chose to sell to American Stan Kroenke rather than his ally Alisher Usmanov. Kroenke, 67, is now the majority stakeholder at the club with a 67 per cent share.

Dangote believes his background won’t be an obstacle to buying Arsenal.

‘What I always say is that money doesn’t have colour. It doesn’t matter whether you are from Africa or anywhere in the world. The colour of money is the same. Once I put money on the table, they will not think if I am an African.

‘It might be a policy that they don’t want an African to own it, that is another matter altogether, which I don’t really believe.’

Dangote tried to buy a 15 per cent stake in Arsenal in 2010 but claims the price was too high. ‘The people who were interested in were actually trying to go for the kill,’ he said.

‘Obviously I am not going to lose money. Arsenal are doing well but they need another strategic direction. They need more direction than the current ownership who just develop players and sell them.’

Dangote caused international headlines last week when he said in an interview with BBC Hausa that he would be in a position to buy Arsenal because of revenues from a private oil refinery he was building in Nigeria.”


CAF Hands Onazi Ogenyi Two-Game Ban

The Confederation of African Football (CAF), has suspended Super Eagles midfielder Onazi Ogenyi for two games, after his straight red card against Chad last week in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Onazi was dismissed by Nigerien referee Ibrahim Mamane, after the Lazio player shoved a Chadian, following a foul on Odion Ighalo in the penalty area.

CAF has now sent a circular to the Nigeria Football Federation, stating that for the “violent conduct, player No.17 Eddy Ogenyi Onazi was expelled and he is automatically suspended for his next 2 official matches: 39 – Tanzania Vs Nigeria and 66: Nigeria Vs Egypt.”

Nigeria’s next game is away to Tanzania on September 5.

Stephen Keshi’s team will then host Egypt on March 25, 2016.

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“I Cannot Say No To Arsenal” – Thierry Henry Speaks On Managing Former Club

Thierry Henry has once again reiterated his ambition to become Arsenal manager in the future.

The former Gunners striker admitted he would find it hard, to turn down the club where he forged his reputation.

“I don’t know what Arsene wants to do and how long he wants to stay,” he told the Jonathan Ross show – to be broadcast this weekend. “But I just want to be equipped…to be in the position, maybe one day to be a manager.

“Being the manager of Arsenal FC would be a dream. I need to learn first. That is the most important thing.”

When the Frenchman was asked what his response would be, if he was offered the role, he replied: “I could not say ‘no’ to Arsenal. So I would say ‘yes’. It should be great.”

Henry is currently a TV pundit with Sky Sports, after hanging up his boots last year. But the former Barcelona and Juventus man remains keen on coaching.

He said: “When I was playing I was a pain the neck as I was demanding of myself and of others.

“When you are coaching you can’t scream and shout. You don’t want to scare your players.

“I came in the game to perform and to try find out how far could I go. We all have our limits. I do miss the day of a big game though and the feeling you have in your body when you know you have to play a big game.”

Grant To Stay With Ghana

Ghana manager Avram Grant has played down talk linking him with a return to the Premier League, saying he is happy with his current job.

The former Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham boss is fresh from leading Ghana to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and has been linked with the vacant Aston Villa post following the sacking of Paul Lambert on Wednesday night.

However, even though noted Villa fan Prince William is apparently keen for Grant to take charge at Villa Park, the 60-year-old says he is a not a contender.

“I feel lucky because, through football, I have been to so many places,” Grant told Sky Sports News HQ.

“Aston Villa is a great club, with great fans and it is an honour to have my name mentioned with them, but I want to continue with Ghana for the next two years, until the end of my contract. I enjoy managing Ghana very much.

“I met Prince William and he asked me ‘why don’t you come to Aston Villa?’. I said ‘when you become the chairman, I will come’.

“As long as my name is mentioned, I feel good with this, but not more than that. I want to continue with Ghana.”

Ghana came agonisingly close to winning the Africa Cup of Nations but, after the final against Ivory Coast finished 0-0, they lost a dramatic penalty shoot-out 9-8.

“It was a great experience,” said the former Chelsea boss. “Great people, very passionate about football. High quality players, many of whom are playing here in the Premier League. I enjoyed it very much.

“Ghana have not won the cup since 1982 and no one expected us to reach the final, because it is a completely new team.”

West Brom Rule Out Loan Deal For Ideye

West Brom are looking to sell Brown Ideye and not allow the Nigerian striker a loan exit, Birmingham Mail reports.

The financial structure of any deal should allow the Baggies to not lose face on a player who has spectacularly misfired since his summer switch from Dynamo Kiev.

An outlay of £8.8million may at first glance suggest Albion will have to take a huge loss on a player who has scored one Premier League goal – which hit the back of his head when he was standing on the goalline and facing the other way.

But the deal involved a number of add-ons which Albion will look to pass on to any new suitors.

German side Hamburg have been strongly linked and appear to be keen. Ideye’s representatives have been busy finding a new club on the continent and a move to the Bundesliga would appear to suit all parties.

Tony Pulis wants to bring in a new target man with Liverpool’s Rickie Lambert fancied.

Albion are currently finalising the paperwork to allow Georgios Samaras to complete his move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal.

Silvestre Varela and Sebastian Blanco are set to leave for Palma and San Lorenzo.

Further exits are planned with Cristian Gamboa and Jason Davidson likely to leave before the end of the window which has Pulis keen to bring in a full-back.

Swansea’s Neil Taylor is a target whilst reports in Italy have suggested Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso could be on his way back to the Premier League.

ONIGBINDE: I Was Misquoted On Keshi’s Sack

Former Super Eagles Coach Adegboye Onigbinde has put record straight as regards the controversy surrounding the retention of coach Stephen Keshi as the Super Eagles handler.

Onigbide was recently quoted as saying that Keshi should quit his decision to fight for retention of his  coaching job and look for a job in another African country.

But the Modakeke, Osun State High Chief has told Sportinglife that he did not actually ask Keshi to forget about coaching the Eagles but advised him to study the situation on ground very well before jumping into renewing his appointment with the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF).

“Firstly I will tell you sincerely as a very close friend that I was misquoted by the said reporter that wrote that story in the first place. When I heard that President Goodluck Jonathan had ordered that Keshi should be retained as Eagles’ coach, I sent him a text message to advise him on the issue.

“I sent a text message to him to thank Mr. President for the gesture and politely beg the President on why he shouldn’t retain his job with the Eagles.

“To me it would be very difficult for Keshi to succeed on the job since the NFF has once sacked him before President Jonathan’s order. Keshi would still need to work with the present NFF administration that first sacked him and the relationship to me has already been soured. So, this is what I told him as a concerned colleague in the coaching business not that I told him to quit for failing as a coach.

“As regards the Super Eagles ouster for the 2015 African Cup of Nations, Onigbide said Keshi should not be singled out as the major culprit. He said that the Big Boss should not take the blame alone and the blame should also go to the NFF.

“I know Keshi very well. He has his good and otherwise attributes as a coach. But it is wrong for anybody to put the blame on Keshi. It should be on our football administrative set up. The whole set up is wrong and faulty”, Onigbibnde blasted.

Chelsea Hopeful Of Mikel Return Against Maribor

Chelsea are hopeful Mikel Obi will recover from a knee problem in time for Wednesday’s Champions League game against Maribor.

The Nigerian midfielder was unavailable for Saturday’s derby victory against QPR but boss Jose Mourinho believes Mikel could be included in the squad for the trip to Slovenia.

Mikel was injured in the Blues Capital One Cup game against Shrewsbury last week in which they won 2-1.

“We had some good performances; Zouma, Ake, Christensen – and Mikel in difficult circumstances. He (Mikel) gave everything in that game and he had a problem with his knee,” Mourinho said on the club’s official website.

The Portuguese said he was hopeful the Nigerian would be available to boost the squad in their crucial encounter tomorrow.

“I hope so (that Mikel will be fit). I’m not sure, but I do hope so,” said Mourinho, who has also warned his side against complacency ahead of this week’s Group G match.

Mikel, 27, has found his first-team opportunities limited, largely because of Nemanja Matic’s outstanding displays.

He has not started a Premier League match this season and his only start of the campaign so far came in the Capital One Cup win at home to Bolton in September.

Ramires, meanwhile, could feature in the Maribor game after overcoming a recent muscle injury. The Brazilian came on as a late substitute against QPR.

Mikel will also be in a race to be fit ahead of Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against South Africa and Congo next week.


Arsenal Set To Hand Walcott New Contract

Theo Walcott is on course to sign a second new contract in two years with Arsenal.

The club have opened talks with the forward, who made his first appearance in 10 months last Saturday, in the 3-0 win over Burnley.

Walcott will enter the final year of his current deal at the end of this season and the Gunners are keen to avoid that scenario and have opened talks over an extension.

“We are starting to sit down with him. He has one and a half years to go in December. It is never an easy job with him,” Wenger said.

“It should be his best years from now because he is 25, so hopefully we can profit from that.

“He is a unique player, a player who has been here a long time and who gives us something different. He has been tremendous for the last few seasons. To have him back can only be a bonus for me.”

Enyeama: I’m Ready For Bosnia Bombardment

Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has said that he expects a heavy bombardment from Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday and he will be up to the task.

The 31-year-old Lille shot stopper pulled off a game-defining save in the first half to ensure Nigeria drew 0-0 with Iran in their opening game at the World Cup on Monday.

And he said he expects to do a lot more against debutants Bosnia, who are widely regarded as “a team of strikers” led by Manchester City star Edin Dzeko.

Enyeama has proved his class in Europe, but he faces a stern test against the likes of Dzeko, who is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 35 goals from 63 games.

Other proven goal scorers for Bosnia are Vedad Ibisevic, the VfB Stuttgart forward, who scored the consolation goal in a 2-1 loss to Argentina to become first Bosnian to score at the World Cup.

Hoffeinhem captain Sejad Salihovic is a free kick specialist having scored three of his four international goals from free kicks.

Izet Hajrovic from Galatasaray and Edin Visca of Istanbul BB have also weighed in with their own fair share of goals.

Enyeama said, “I was on holiday for most part of the game against Iran, but it would definitely be different against Bosnia, but I’m ready.

“I know they have a more vibrant attack (than Iran) and won’t sit back like Iran did against us. They will come at us and just like us, they need the game to forge ahead.

“A goalkeeper can always keep his team in a game and that is what I will do against Bosnia.

”I am looking forward to this game.”