Enyeama, Other Super Eagles Players Get $130,000 Each

Super-Eagles-players trainingNigeria’s number one goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and a few other players in the Super Eagles squad, were paid about $130,000 (N21m) each, as appearance fees after the 2014 World Cup.

An official told AfricanFootball: “It was not a flat rate, but some of the players like Enyeama, who were involved in both the qualifiers as well as the World Cup in Brazil got as much as $130,000.

This amount is reportedly said to be different from the match bonus and daily allowances they received. Officials of the team also received $25,000.

However, the money sharing did not come without squabbles, as there were disagreements over if the players that qualified the country for the tournament should get anything.

“There was a big issue among the senior players whether those who were part of the qualifiers should also get something,” an official said.

“At the end of the day, Joseph Yobo prevailed that they also have to be included. So, even some players like John Utaka & Raheem Lawal, who played just a couple of qualifiers, will also get something,”

Now I See ’94 Eagles In 2014 Team – Keshi

keshi manNigeria coach Stephen Keshi says he is gaining increased confidence as the World Cup draws closer. The Super Eagles manager told reporters in Lagos on Monday that the kind of team spirit in the 2014 squad is making the collective work easier and clearly reminding him of the atmosphere around the 1994 team who have been adjudged as the best set ever to have played for Nigeria.

Keshi said, “I am beginning to see a good sign; everything is beginning to fall in place. It is good that everybody is coming together for the sake of Nigeria. There are elements of the 1994 team in my current team.”

Keshi who was the captain of the ’94 squad said it was the teamwork that helped the squad, and he is now counting on teamwork to help the 2014 squad. The current squad have yet to command the same kind of following and respect worldwide as most of the players are not regulars with their clubs, with some in less-fancied European teams.

The coach, who was in Lagos to collect the Nigeria Coach of the Year (2013) award plaque from Matchmakers Consult, could not be specific on the fitness of the players.

“I know mentally they are ready, but I need to see them again on the field because we have not seen them since we played against Mexico. My goal is to bring joy to Nigerians and to do that we need to work harder.”

He however expressed hope that the players would be fit when they assemble from Monday for the friendly match against Scotland. Keshi dismissed the several reports which alleged that some players listed in the 30-man provisional list were injured. Second-choice goalkeeper Austin Ejide was mentioned but has since denied nursing any injury. Keshi said he had spoken at length with the players and had checked on them to ascertain that none of them was injured. Ejide’s physical state was one of the matters raised by the Nigeria Football Federation members when they first met with Keshi on the list.

The Eagles coach said his concern in Brazil was to treat every game as very important rather than expend all the energy on Argentina, given the concerns of many Nigerians on the South American team which parade some of the best strikers in world, including Lionel Messi.

He said, “My focus is not on Argentina, we have to play Iran and Bosnia first before looking at Argentina.”

World Cup Play-Offs: “No Special Bonus For Super Eagles” – NFF

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has confirmed that the players of the national team will not receive any special bonus in the two-legged World Cup play-off against Ethiopia.

Aminu Maigari, president of the NFF, told SuperSport that the players will be paid the “usual $5,000″ win bonus for the two matches.

“The players will receive the usual $5,000 if they beat Ethiopia this month. There has been no change in the bonus structure for now,” he said.

“There are no issues at all. We have been in contact with the players and coaches and no one has any problem with what we pay as bonus.

“The players were paid $5,000 after the last World Cup qualifying game against Malawi in Calabar and no one complained.

“It’s about honour, patriotism and the collective zeal to see that Nigeria’s flag is hoisted at the gathering of elite football nations in Brazil next year.

“Money is the last thing on anyone’s mind right now because they are top professionals who know what it means to represent their country.”

Don’t Mind Malawi Mind Games, Commissioner Tells Keshi

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi2_0Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi appeared to have been boxed into a corner by his Malawian counter, Tom Saintfiet in their war of words ahead of the September 7 World Cup qualifier at the U.J Esuene Stadium.

The Belgian raised the stake yesterday when he accused Keshi of racism and has threated to report the former Super Eagles captain to FIFA. But Cross River commissioner for sports, Mr. Patrick Ugbe has told Keshi and his assistants to concentrate on their preparations and avoid falling for the mind games sparked off by Saintfiet.

“Keshi should let Saintfiet do all the talking. He should just put it in mind that the Malawi coach is trying to wind him up.

“The best thing is to keep quiet and concentrate on preparations. Keshi’s response should be on the pitch,” said Ugbe.

He added that everything has been put in place to make the Eagles comfortable in Calabar adding that the Cross River government will not offer any special incentives to the team to beat Malawi.

Meanwhile top shots of the Nigeria football federation have feigned ignorance of reported threated by Saintfiet to report Keshi to FIFA. The Belgian-born coach alleged that Keshi called him a “white dude”and he has instructed his lawyers to file a complaint to the world soccer governing body.”

“I am not aware of any story about Keshi and Saintfiet. And so I have no comments,” said NFF technical committee chairman, Barister Chris Green.

Another officicial who was contracted on phone retorted that he was having a head-ache and he need rest, therefore he cannot make any comment on the matter.

Broke NFF Cancels Eagles’ Camp In Abuja, Orders Team Reduced To 23 Players

keshi1• Directive would affect our programme, Keshi laments

CITING lack of funds to camp the 42 players invited to the Super Eagles’ camp in Abuja for the Nigeria versus Malawi World Cup qualifier, as well as, the preparation for the African Nations Championship (CHAN), the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday ordered Coach Stephen Keshi to reduce the list of players for both the Brazil 2014 qualifier and the international friendly match against Burkina Faso to only 23 players.

He was also ordered to concentrate only on the match against the Flames of Malawi for now.

The NFF also cancelled the proposed camping of the team at the Abuja Bolton Hotel camp, ordering that the players should fly straight to the Metropolitan Hotel in camp on Sunday, September 1, where they are expected to train for six days before the Malawi match, which comes up on September 7 at the U. J Esuene Stadium.

Keshi on Tuesday listed 42 players, including 24 home-based and 18 foreign-based players, who were instructed to report at the team’s camp in Abuja on September 1.

His argument was that after the World Cup qualifier and the friendly against Burkina Faso, the home-based players would immediately begin preparation for the CHAN slated for South Africa next year.

But the NFF, through a statement credited to its technical committee member, Paul Bassey, said “we have decided that for now, the home based players should be dropped. We want him to concentrate on the World Cup qualifying match at the moment. So we have demanded that he send to us a list of 23 players that will prosecute the World Cup qualifier for now.

“Whether they are home or foreign based, we want him to harmonise the list and send to us. We cannot have that number of home based players for now because the CHAN is still months away. Let us face the World Cup qualifying match against Malawi, which is the most important for now. After that we can now look at the CHAN preparations.”

Also in an statement from the NFF, the Chairman of NFF Technical Committee, Chris Green noted that the federation has decided to approach the matches one after the other, stressing that winning the World Cup qualifier against Malawi should be the major task before the NFF and the Super Eagles for now.

“We must be very pragmatic and take it one step at a time. The 2014 FIFA World Cup ticket is important to Nigeria and Nigerians. Yes, we have qualified for the African Nations Championship for the first time ever, and we very much appreciate it.

“But there are three very crucial 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches that we must prosecute successfully to qualify for Brazil before we can start the build-up to the African Nations Championship. Our smart money must be on focusing hard, and without any distraction, at the World Cup ticket,” he said.

Reacting to the NFF’s stance yesterday, Keshi said the directive could actually negatively affect the team’s preparations for both the World Cup qualifier against Malawi and the international friendly against Burkina Faso.

Speaking in a telephone interview from Benin, Keshi said the cancellation of the teams proposed Abuja camping would certainly disrupt his training programme for the World Cup qualifier, saying if he had his way, he would prefer to keep his 42-man squad because the players have been integral to his programme, which entails starting training first with the invited home-based players before the arrival of foreign-based stars ahead of any major encounter.

He noted that he carefully compiled the list, bearing in mind the crucial nature of the FIFA World Cup qualifier and international friendly against Malawi and Burkina Faso in Calabar and Kaduna respectively,

He said, “I don’t really have any plans of trimming down my team list because to me it is not over-bloated. Such has been our style. We usually start with the camping of the home-based players one week ahead of the arrival of the professionals.

“The procedure has always been to start drilling the invited home-based players before picking the best out of them to join the professionals. Such has been our tactical approach to the matches, which we have even gotten used to for some time now. I can’t understand why they are telling me to trim down the list.

“I don’t know what might be their reasons, but if it is true that it has to do with lack of fund, I have no choice than to understand with the federation. They are right because they have said it repeatedly that there is no money. We should not forget that they need money to pay for the hotel bills for our camping in Abuja,” he noted.

Eagles Battle Bafana Bafana Without Mikel

mikelSOCCER fans looking forward to seeing Chelsea star, John Obi Mikel, in Wednesday’s international friendly game against South Africa will have to make do without the midfielder as he has withdrawn from the match following some health concerns. But all the other stars invited for the game, tagged, Mandela Challenge, are available and ready to prove Nigeria’s superiority over the South Africans.

Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi announced after the team’s training session on Monday that Mikel has withdrawn from the game due to a stomach upset he picked up while on tour with his EPL side.

According to Super Eagles Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, Chelsea doctors wrote to the NFF asking that the player be excused for health reasons. Keshi obliged and said yesterday morning in Durban that he would not want to push Mikel too much because of the September 7 World Cup qualifier against Malawi in Calabar.

Although Alaiya did not state, whom Keshi has picked to play Mikel’s role in the game, he revealed that all the other 19 players are already in Durban for the game, including Mikel’s Chelsea teammate, Victor Moses.

Keshi also on behalf of the team prayed for the soul of his late national teammate, Samson Sochukwuma Okwaraji, who died on August 12, 1989 during a World Cup qualifying game against Angola in Lagos, Alaiya said.

He disclosed that the weather in Durban has been playing games with the Eagles, saying,  “in the mornings, its bright and warm, but by evening time it drops very low to about 18 degrees. But the players are used to such weather and don’t see it as a hindrance to their game against Bafana Bafana.”

Meanwhile, South African Coach, Gordon Igesund, warned Keshi that his wards were battle ready for the African champions when he exchanged warm pleasantries with the Nigerian gaffer at the Southern Sun Hotel, where the Bafana Bafana are camped.

Igesund is not alone in his optimism, as many South Africans believe they are eager to end Nigeria’s dominance over their teams at all levels, saying there could be no better time than now that the Super Eagles are African champions.

19 Years After, Eguavoen Still Feels The Pain Of Eagles’ USA ’94 Loss To Italy

eguaveonAUSTIN Eguavoen was an integral part of the Super Eagles team that won Nigeria’s second African Nations Cup trophy at the Tunisia 1994 edition of the competition.

He was also there when the Super Eagles dazzled the world at the U.S.A 1994 World Cup, beating such countries as Bulgaria, which went ahead to play in the semi-final, and Greece. But he is still pained by the manner Nigeria lost their second round game to Italy despite leading in the game up till the dying moments.

The Super Eagles former defender on Monday revisited the 1994 World Cup and how the team lost an opportunity to win or move close to winning the Mundial due to inexperience.

Eguaveon, who led a team of the 1994 Super Eagles squad to a meeting with the Minister of Sports and Chairman of the NSC, Bolaji Abdulahi, in Abuja, said a famous victory over Italy in the second round would have propelled the team to beat other countries in line to winning the World Cup for Africa for the first time.

He still regrets that the Azzuri recovered with two minutes of play left to break Nigeria’s hearts, with Roberto Baggio scoring an extra-time penalty goal to secure a 2-1 victory.

The then Eagles stand-in captain, who is currently the chief coach of Nigeria National League side, COD of Lagos, conceded the foul that was ruled a penalty infraction for Italy’s equaliser.

He recalls that Nigeria had the most balanced team at U.S.A ‘94, but failed to handle the tempo because it was the first time the players were appearing at the World Cup.

‘’Our loss to Italy in 1994 had nothing to do with a bonus dispute. It was caused by our lack of experience. We would have gone far and even won the World Cup if we had some experience.

“Then we had high calibre players like Finidi George, Jay Jay Okocha, Emmanuel Amunike and Uche Okechukwu,’’ Eguavoen reminisced.

The Enyimba of Aba former coach also talked on the call for a code of conduct for national team players, saying it was necessary for team discipline.

He, however, pleaded that the details of the code of conduct should not be made a media issue, saying the document would make the players more responsible for their action when on national duty.

Eguavoen said the code of conduct issue should not be overheated to affect the team’s preparation for the last World Cup qualifying match against the flames Malawi, next month in Calabar.

Enyeama Now Lille’s Number 1

enyimaNigeria’s Vincent Enyeama is now the be first choice goalkeeper at Lille for the 2013/14 season after a year-long loan deal at Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.

The Nigeria goalkeeper has been rewarded with a starting place in the French club by his coach following his year-long loan in Israel.

30-year-old Enyeama left Lille last season after being unable to get consistent play time at the then French champions as he was second choice to Mickael Landreau.

However, L’Equipe reports that Coach Rene Girard will now make the Nigerian his first choice in goal with the new season set to commence, ahead of Steeve Elana who took charge after Landreau’s departure in December 2012.

Enyeama, who had been linked with a move to Spain, will look to stay at the club as he hopes to keep his place in the Nigeria squad leading to next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

– See more at: http://leadership.ng/news/010813/enyeama-now-lille-s-number-1#sthash.IDTpAByY.dpuf

Yobo Always In Eagles Plan, Says Keshi

yoboSuper Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, has debunked claims making the rounds that he has foreclosed the issue of team skipper, Joseph Tambarin Yobo, returning to the team, insisting that Yobo will sooner than later be back in the squad.
Super Eagles Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, quotes the coach as saying he never spoke to any media organization regarding the return to the national team or otherwise of Yobo in Abidjan during the Eagles CHAN qualifier against the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire.
“He is like a younger brother to me and I want the best for him but there seems to be a desperate bid to create a war between me and my captain and I will always reject that because he remains one of Nigeria’s big football players and we cannot rush him out just like that”, Keshi said
The Eagles boss declared that there are issues he is always misquoted out of context about. “When I speak about the NFF, it’s convenient for people to misquote me, to create crisis between me and my employers but I had never had any problem with them and they have said so.
“The Aminu Maigari led NFF board has been more than supportive of the team we have on ground and nobody should say otherwise just to create sensation. There are channels of communications in the NFF and the Super Eagles and if information do not come though those channels they should be disregarded”.

I’m happy we qualified for 2014 CHAN, says Keshi

keshi1Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi has blamed the 0-2 loss in the second leg qualifier for Africa Nations Cup Championship (CHAN) to lack of composure of the players.

In spite of the loss, Super Eagles however qualified on 4-3 goals aggregate.

The team had gone into the second leg match with a 4-1 advantage, having outclassed the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire on June 6 in Kaduna.

Keshi said in Abidjan shortly after the match that the game, though an interesting one, took Eagles about 25 minutes to get composure.

“ I must say that it was a good game. We played an Ivorian side that is quite good, my team was a little jittery at the beginning.’’

An elated Keshi added that CHAN would provide good exposure for the team: “I am sure that my team will garner more experience by the time they play in South Africa.’’

The Ivorian Coach, Saraka Nobert, said at the post-match news conference that his team did well.

“It was not a bad play at all, we tried so hard to get a third goal but the chances were not there, I think my team did not play badly.’’

Zougoula Ahmed scored the two goals in the sixth minute before converting a penalty in 26th minute of the match played at the Robert Champoux Stadium, Macory, Abidjan.

The home-based Eagles will be playing in the championship for the first time since the start of the competition in 2009.

The 3rd edition of CHAN was originally scheduled for Libya but will now hold in South Africa.

The three un-replied goals would have robbed the Eagles of the opportunity to play in the tournament.

Mike Umeh, Vice President of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) said that he was impressed with the result.

“It means we are going to South Africa. It will be a good exposure for our team. The result of this match is a good one for us.’’