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Complete Sports Nigeria

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Updated: 3 hours 35 min ago

Superstars' Odyssey Of Missing The World Cup, Champions League!

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 17:52
With the 2014 soccer World Cup coming up and most teams losing their key players to injuries, one could only imagine what it feels like to miss the biggest football festival. Many a time, I wonder which really is the most  painful to miss: not participating in the Champions League or missing out on the FIFA World Cup?

The UEFA Champions League,to most soccer players, is the fiesta of soccer! You don’t love the round leather game and want to miss the pomp and ceremony characterized with the UEFA Champions League. You are either not fully informed of what the feeling is or must be from
another planet.

The champion’s league is played every year and keenly contested by top teams in each league in Europe. The buildup moments to each match is pulsating. From the Champions League anthem to the very edgy video clip of the trademark sponsor Heineken.

I believe Heineken makes drinking so elitist and attractive, you forget its alcohol and rated 18. The feeling of goose bumps when the Champions League anthem is played is mutual among soccer enthusiast.

The World Cup is the peak of soccer, played every four years. By all standards it’s the biggest football carnival (if such expressions exist) every player wants to feature in before finally hanging their boots.

Most of the best players who have ever kicked the round leather game understand it’s a sign of honour, and prestige. The feeling is a patriotic one, It adds to a player's bragging right. However, we all learn lessons when the best players miss out from the world cup.

Below are some lessons we pick along the way and what they mean to us;

Ryan Giggs:
Giggs is a legend to the  people of Manchester United. Though he never played in the World Cup, he practically won all the trophies, including the Champions League with Manchester United.  Giggs, hails from wales and it hasn’t been easy for wales qualifying for the World Cup. It did not deter Giggs name to be heard among  soccer lovers.
Lesson: Never let your location or place of birth stop the world from experiencing your gift or talent.

George Weah:
Weah  is the only African soccer player  as at 2014 who has won the prestigious  world footballer of the year. During his active years, he did everything to be at the World Cup. At most times,  he  sponsored the Liberian national team ( who went through a civil war  in better part of Weah's playing career or just coming out of it).  Weah's last shot was 2010 qualifier which he  lost to Sierra Leone.

Lesson: A tree doesn’t make a forest. When you are a standout, it takes more to convince people  to stand out like you. If no one steps up to your plate, always remember “the journey sometimes is the destination, not the destination the journey”.George weah is legendry and his missing the world cup doesn’t make him less  an iconic  player.

Zlatan Ibramovic:
Zlatan is a small god to the people of Sweden and his current club PSG (Paris Saint German). His talent and on the pitch moves would always leave you smile at odd times,  with people wondering what on earth are the trickeries.

Zlatan has  got a huge ego and gives no apologies. His goals are trademark. When Sweden met Portugal during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, it was obvious the world cup ticket was between Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan.
Lesson: Even the most stylish miss big events like the World Cup. Keep making waves where you are even when you miss the big offers.

Victor Valdes:
FC Barcelona's victor Valdes  is technically out of the champions league and the world cup. I can only imagine the pain of victor. Such is soccer, one day you are hale and hearty with amazing dreams and the other days you rue your loss and only then do you just keep wishing.
Victor announced his exit from his club at the end of the season. His injury rules him out for possibly 7(seven) calendar month.

Lesson:
Since injuries are likely part of the deal, I would simply say you plan for the unexpected. we call it worse case scenario.  I believe sometimes it’s great to leave your lips sealed until you have the decision up to you. I think I understand why most players keep denying transfer deals until the last minutes victors case is a classic.

What football lessons have you learnt from big stars missing the World Cup? Make your list, let’s learn and share in your lessons.

Namaste.
Charles Umeh is a student of life, life coach and strategist who makes impact through his writings and speaking engagements. Twitter @Charismacharles
Categories: Sport

OSAZE: I WILL BE USEFUL IN BRAZIL

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 16:45
--Stoke Striker Osaze Odemwingie still believes despite
his long absence from the Eagles set-up, he will be useful to the team if recalled

Why did you join Stoke City? And how come you’re scoring more there than at Cardiff?

I knew it was the right place for me. Last summer, they really wanted me and were close to getting me. Mark Hughes is a good manager, and one that I’ve known for a while. A few of my friends played for him at Fulham and they spoke well about him. I thought the physical part of Stoke’s game only creates chances for me. You have players here who can shield the ball and drop it off for me to do what I can do with it, which helps because I can easily find myself in a shooting position. They have good players who can pass the ball as well.

There is a bit more quality here than at Cardiff, and that’s why I’ve been a bit more effective than in the previous six months. At Cardiff, I didn’t find myself in front of goal as often as I would wish. I don’t remember myself really missing chances for Cardiff; I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m here - now I find myself in front of goal or in shooting areas.

What’s your partnership with Peter Crouch like? Have you seen his dance moves yet?

His dance moves [laughs], I had seen them even before I arrived. Every now and then we have some jokes in the dressing room about it, but he is a great guy on and off the pitch and a big professional. He’s focused and very serious in every training session. He’s a concentrated guy and is a great example for young guys to follow.Having Peter Crouch up there, you can link up really well on the floor and also gives the option sometimes when the pressure is on. You can knock the ball in the air and he will win those battles. He gets you scoring goals. He is a big part of the past couple of months’ success. His creativity, ability to shield the ball and drop it off is great. He also scores, and that’s why he is our top goalscorer at the moment with 10.

What’s Mark Hughes like to work under? What kind of things does he try and drill into the players?

He has a great scoring record. For that to happen you have to be a top professional and be demanding of yourself. He admires personality. When we have possession of the ball he asks you to be brave, to show personality. He wants you to try things and he encourages beautiful football. Look at his time at Manchester City - he brought in [Carlos] Tevez, Robinho and so on. You can tell he likes exciting players. At the same time, he is a British coach; he demands that you fight for the ball, and that can only bring out the best in a player. The atmosphere at the training ground is relaxed; he is not a manager who shouts, he gets across what he wants done in a clear manner. The demand is still there - when he sees the fun is getting too much he knows when to switch things.

You’ll play away to both of your previous two clubs, West Brom and Cardiff, before the end of the season; if you had to pick one to score against, which would it be?

That’s a very hard question. What I’m thinking about is my goalscoring record - it can be against anyone. If I can score against both clubs, it’s nothing personal. I have a job to do. I have to remain professional for Stoke City. It’s an emotional one - I can’t just say I will be happy to score against one or the other or both.

What happened at West Brom?

I have no hard feelings towards anyone at West Brom - I’m on good terms with most people there. People on the outside don’t know a lot of the things that happened in the West Brom dressing room - in reality, they have zero accusations towards me. They cannot really accuse me of a single thing in the dressing room or in the club. The only specific thing people mention is the unauthorised interview outside of Loftus Road. Unauthorised? The club knew where I was, they knew everything, but it’s an incident I don’t want to talk about. I was even trying to protect the image of West Brom. The people in the football family know everything. I had five offers in the summer from managers who did their homework. Not all the clubs wanted to do their business in public, especially after the QPR incident. There was a lot of interest in me but not everybody had the patience to deal with West Brom.

You haven’t played for Nigeria since 2012 - have you thought about one last crack at international football this summer?

Of course, I’m available [smiles]. I’m getting very close to the end, but I’m not there yet [laughs]. I have more years in me for the Premier League and the quality is still there.The question was never whether I wanted to play. Whenever invitations came, I answered the call and I happily accepted them. In Nigeria, we say “e get as e bi”, meaning ‘that has to do with the situation.’

The approach was made and the coach and I have been talking for a few months now. In the end, you can’t make all decisions when you’re angry. I have let go of things from the past. It’s not a do-or-die matter. I’m taking things really easy - being a father and expecting a second son as well, things are different.

So how do you rate your chances of sneaking into Nigeria’s World Cup squad for Brazil?

It’s not a question of whether I believe I will strengthen the team, I will be a useful player for the team, and I want to be there. It’s a team that has been doing well over the past year, but every team needs depth. The World Cup is about 23 players, not just 11. The matches come every three or four days, there can be injuries and other things. I am 100% sure I would be a great addition to our national team in the World Cup. I’m in good form physically and psychologically.

If there are any issues, I am ready to sit down and talk about them and iron things out.

 
Categories: Sport

Shorunmu: FIFA Ranking'll Boost Eagles Confidence

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 16:31
--Ex-international charges players to do more

Super Eagles assistant Coach Ike Shorunmu has told Complete Sports that the current rating of the senior national team by the world football governing body, FIFA will be a factor that will motivate the players to give their best at the World Cup in Brazil.

The Super Eagles who are the current African champions after winning the African Cup of Nations in South Africa moved from 47th position in the world to 45th and Shorunmu believes that it was a good rating for the team.

“I think it is a good development and that is one of the things we need at this time to boost the players confidence ahead of the FIFA World Cup and by the time we go into camping, they will see the reason why they have to do more but I think it was a good news to every member of the team”, says the former 3SC of Ibadan goalkeeper.

“But, the truth is that we still need to work really hard because going to the World Cup to do well mean the players and the coaches must do a lot more. My prayer is for the players to be in good condition during the tournament in Brazil.

Nigeria will play Argentina, Iran and Bosnia Herzegovina at the World Cup in Brazil and Shorunmu is confident that the players will do their best to qualify from the first round.

“Definitely, we are not going to underrate any team at the World Cup and I am confident that the players will do their best to qualify from the first round.
 
 
Categories: Sport

Osagie Rescues Israeli Club

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 16:18
--Ex Enyimba striker scores five goals in 12 matches

Former Enyimba International striker, Junior Osagie turned the messaiah for Israel second division side, Hapoel Jerusalem after scoring five goals in 12 matches to help the club retain its second division spot.

Osagie, a former Enugu Rangers forward and one time super Eagles invitee went on a three months loan at the club after brief spells at Sharks and Warri Wolves in the domestic scene.

The power shooting ex-Igbino Babes of Benin striker who also had spells at Club Africain of Tunisia is back in the country while anticipating fresh moves to either America, Belgium or Cyprus.

"It was a short deal I had at Hapoel Jerusalem, they were in second division and on the verge of relegation before I got there but thank God they are now out of relegation", Osagie said.

"It was just for three months, we played 12 games and I scored five goals. I don't think I'll be with them again in the coming season because there's no money there and there're even talks the President wants to sell the club.

"Right now my manager, Mr Aaron, an American-Israeli, is working out fresh deals for me and there are interests from Cyprus, America and Belgium.

"Nothing is settled for now but I must say it was a good experience I had out there in Israel", Osagie said.
Categories: Sport

Costa Cleared To Face Chelsea!

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 16:12
Diego Costa’s participation against Chelsea in the Champions League was hanging in the balance after he was stretchered off with a horror injury in Sunday night’s victory over Getafe – but thankfully for Atletico Madrid, his manager has cleared him to face the Blues.

The hitman, who earlier missed a penalty after some unorthodox supporter tactics, eventually scored by sliding in a cross late on, but clattered into the post on the follow through.

Costa was left with a deep gash on his leg and had to be carried off the field, but manager Diego Simeone insists there’s no keeping his ‘tiger’ down.

‘Costa is fine, he is happy,’ said Simeone after the match. ‘He made a great effort throughout. One more cut does not do anything to this tiger.’

Press officer Jose Luis Pasques wrote on Twitter: ‘Relax everyone. It’s all OK. Just need to fix the post.’
 
Categories: Sport

Wenger To Arsenal Players: Go Forth And Conquer!

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 15:54
--Urges his players to approach run-in without fear

Arsene Wenger has challenged Arsenal to build on their FA Cup semi-final penalty triumph by winning all of their remaining five games.

The Gunners will host West Ham tonight looking to move themselves back above Everton following what was a nerve-shredding encounter with Wigan at Wembley, where they were just seven minutes from what would have been a catastrophic defeat for Wenger's beleaguered squad.

Wenger, though, insists all thoughts of the return trip to the national stadium on May 17must now be put aside to secure another shot at elite European football again next season

"When you are in a semi-final and you win, it releases a little bit of pressure on the team on that front, but we want to bounce back in the Premier League," said  Wenger, who has several players carrying minor fitness problems ahead of Tuesday night. "Therefore we want to finish strong, we have a battle with Everton and of  course it's now down to consistency in our final games.

"It (five victories) is the target. Do you need it? Nobody knows, but the target is of course to win every game." Wenger added: "We just want to not imagine the  consequences of not doing it, what you want is just to focus on doing it. "That is where we have the focus, the quality of the spirit, we have the desire and we are  slowly getting our players back, so the squad is not (so) depleted any more.

"I believe that they (Everton) have difficult games and we have difficult games, but we want to focus now on what we know we can do. "We have a more complete squad and we want to win our games, no matter what Everton does. We want to finish in a strong way. "We can finish the season well - we can finish in the top four, we can win the FA Cup - so it's down to how united we will be until the end of the season, and focused together."


 
Categories: Sport

Scotland Vs Nigeria: Fans To Pay N6,750, N10,800

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 15:44
Travelling fans for the Super Eagles international friendly clash against Scotland at Craven Cottage on Wednesday 28th May will have to pay at least £25 (N6,750) to watch the match.

The expensive ticket will cost £40 (N10,800) with the other price bands set at £30,(N8,100) for the J Haynes stands, £35 (N9,450) as Gordon Strachan's side look to extend their unbeaten run to six matches as they face the reigning African champions who have qualified for their fifth FIFA World Cup finals tournament.

Scotland last met Nigeria at Pittodrie, Aberdeen, in 2002, when the Super Eagles came from behind to win 2-1.

The Scots have been drawn against Germany, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Georgia and Gibraltar in UEFA Euro 2016 Group D and their coach believes the match against Nigeria presents another opportunity to test themselves against quality opposition before the group opener against Germany in September.


 
Categories: Sport

Ejide Tips Mikel's Chelsea For UCL Win

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 15:44
--Says it’ll boost Eagles ahead Brazil 2014 World Cup

Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel goalkeeper, Austin Ejide has wished John Obi Mikel success in their UEFA Champions League campaign saying he would be delighted if Mikel and Chelsea go all the way to lift the European most prized club side honour.

“I know the semi finals of the championship will be tough with all four qualifiers potential champions”, Ejide said when Complete Sports called him up after UEFA conducted the semi final draws last Friday with Mikel’s Chelsea drawn against Atletico Madrid in one of the semi final pairings.

“But were it to be in my hands, I would give it to Chelsea, they have a strong squad and of course my brother and Super Eagles teammate is in the team.

“A win for them over Atletico and even in the final of the championship will be good for him as a player and for us (Super Eagles) going into the World Cup in Brazil”, the former Bastia of France goaltender stressed.

Bayern Munich will trade tackles with Real Madrid in the other semi final fixture slated for next week.
 
Categories: Sport

Siasia: Respect Keshi's Stand On Osaze, Ike Uche

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 15:44
By Richard Jideaka, Abuja:

Former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has said that any attempt to force invitation of players on Stephen Keshi will not augur well for the country at the World Cup in Brazil.

Reacting to the clamour for the inclusion of in-form Osaze Odemwingie and Ikechukwu Uche in the Super Eagles World Cup team, Siasia urged for caution saying time is too short to manage players who are not disciplined.

"If Keshi says he does not need these two players who are doing well in their respective clubs in Europe, we should respect his stand and don't try to force them on him. He does not need any distraction at this point in time.

"Having worked with Osaze I know he is not an easy player to manage so Keshi should be left to decide. Ike Uche is a good guy but since Keshi insists he does not need him for the world cup, so be it," Siasia stated.

He said the time left for preparing for the World Cup is too short to manage players with negative attitude and build a team that will do well at the mundial adding that at this point all hands must be on deck to ensure a good outing.
 
Categories: Sport

Efe Sodje: Eagles Need Yobo In Brazil

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 15:44
Bandana-tying former Super Eagles defender ,Efetobore Sodje says Norwich City loan star,Joseph Yobo deserves a place in Nigeria's team to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.  A former Nigeria Football Federation technical director,Kasimawo Laloko had argued that Yobo has outlived his usefulness in the team and should thus not be considered for a place in the Super Eagles team to Brazil. 'I strongly believe Yobo still has a lot to offer the Eagles,"starts Sodje who played for Nigeria at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations and the  2002 FIFA  World Cup.

'Apart from his experience of playing at two World Cups which will be invaluable to the team,Yobo is also playing regularly in one of the toughest leagues in the world. He is playing against some of the guys he will face in Brazil at the World Cup. You can't buy that in the market,"he said. Sodje who is now with  Macclesfield Town  in the English League Two division both as a player and an assistant manager  warns Nigerians  not to confuse the Africa Cup of Nations with the World Cup.

'The FIFA World Cup is a bigger competition than the Nations Cup and it is a stage where you must bring your best to compete. I strongly think coach Stephen Keshi should also reconsider some of the experienced players playing regularly in their various clubs. He needs a right mixture of experience and youth in Brazil.". Sodje reveals that Yobo has been rock solid for Norwich since his loan move from Fenerbahce in January. He says the Super Eagles captain  has accounted for two of the three clean sheets Norwich have  kept this year including the 0-0 draw against Manchester City in February. He was voted the man of the match in the game.   


 
Categories: Sport

Emenike Rejects Zenit Rumours

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 15:43
Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike has laughed off media reports linking him with a move to Russian side Zenit St Petersburg despite new coach Andre Villas-Boas making him his top of his transfer target in this summer.

The Nigerian striker, who is currently recuperating from an injury which kept him out of Fenerbahce's 4 -1 drubbing of MP Antalyaspor last Sunday, called the report a joke.

"That's funny and I do not know what to say," he was quoted in the Russian media.

The former Spartak Moscow forward, who is rated as a 21 million euro transfer prospect, scored 23 goals in 50 appearances and provided eight assists in three seasons for the Spartans in Russia before he rejoined Fenerbache at the start of this season.

He has scored 12 goals in 24 starts for league leaders Fenerbache in the Turkish Super Lig this season.



 
Categories: Sport

Supporters Club Target N800m For W/Cup

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 11:49
President of Nigeria Supporters Club, Dr Rafiu Ladipo says the club needs nothing less than N800m to fly 800 members to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup billed to hold in summer.

Speaking to Complete Sports yesterday, the dark complexioned business tycoon said the money will include internal transportation while in Brazil, accommodation and feeding as they have already written to some companies for financial partnership and sponsorship.

According to Ladipo who just returned from Brazil where he went to make arrngement for his members, efforts are being made through their marketers First Sportsentertainment Nigeria Limited owned by veteran sports journalist, Effiong Nyong to hold dinners in Lagos state and Abuja which will be used to raise funds for the supporters to travel to Brazil to cheer the Super Eagles at the World Cup.

“We are determined to go to Brazil to support the Super Eagles and in doing that, we need some money running to about N800m for 800 members and we are making efforts to appeal to companies to partner us by being part of our sponsors. Presently, we have Globacom who has been supporting us for many years now but we need more so that we can achieve our aim of going in Brazil,” says Ladipo.

Ladipo however thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for the N50m support given to the club recently.

“I want to thank the president for the support he has given to us and I am hoping that our amiable state governors will also emulate him by supporting us to the World Cup. We have also planned to organize two dinners in Lagos and Abuja as a way of raising fund the one for Lagos will be held in the next two weeks.


Categories: Sport

3SC Mull Over MFM Defeat

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 01:01
It was all pains and lamentations among officials and players of Shooting Stars Sports Club, 3SC after the Oluyole Warriors over the weekend by Mountain of Fire and Miracles, MFM FC in a Nigeria National League week 10 game at Agege Stadium.

Olatunbosun's brace in 9th and 13th minutes handed the home side a deserved 2-0 lead but Sylvanus Ebiake reduced the tally after converting a 34th minute penalty for 3SC.

But Olaitan Olukokun had more than glorious opportunity to draw the visitors level early after the restart but dragged his right footed effort wide with an empty post.

In a half dominated by the visitors, lame finishing by the strikers left the final scorelineat 2-1 much to the consternation of the Oluyole Warriors.

"Its sad to lose a game like this, we created chances but could not put them away", lamented Dimeji Lawal..

"We came here with victory in mind but luck was not on our side," rued the Team Manager and former international, Dimeji Lawal.

Shooting would however have their technical crew to blame for leaving unfit defender Izuchukwu Joseph on the pitch for 9 minutes until wild protests by their fans.

Goalkeeper Abiodun Akande was the hero of the game as he denied smooth playing MFM no fewer than seven scoring chances including three one-on-one situations.
Categories: Sport

Sunshine Gun Down Wolves In Five Goal Thriller

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 00:59
--Enyimba pip leaders, Akwa United as Pillars tear FC Taraba apart in Jalingo

Kingsley Eduwo's added time goal secured all three points for Sunshine Stars in a dramatic five goals thriller in a Glo Premier League week 6 clash at Akure Township Stadium.

Former Enyimba forward, Josiah Maduabuchi handed Warri Wolves an early lead, scoring just three minutes after kick off.

After the stunner, Eduwo drew the home side back into the game in the second half but it was the visitors who took  over the initiative with Michael Egbetta restoring the Seasiders lead before being sent off in the 83rd minute.

Dele Olorundare scored his second goal of the season when he equalized for Sunshine Stars in the 85th minute after heading home a cross from the left flank.

However, Eduwo grabbed his second on the night in the 95th minute to ensure Warri Wolves did not share the spoils as they did last season after a 1-1 draw.

In Kano, defending champions, Kano Pillars defeated FC Taraba 3-1 with goals from Ezekiel Mba (25min), Gambo Mohammed (53min) and Eneji Otekpa (78 min).

Toochukwu Esobe scored FC Taraba's goal two minutes before the half hour mark.

Enyimba International came back to winning ways with a 1-0 defeat of leaders, Akwa United with the lone goal coming from the boot of Abdulrahman Bashir 10 minutes after the start.

But the defeat did not in any way harm Akwa United's top spot on the log following Lobi Stars, Crown, Taraba and Sharks in the weekend games.

Rangers picked a valuable point against Dolphins in a goalless draw on Saturday  while Heartland earned their first point on the road with a 1-1 draw at Kaduna United.

Togolese striker, Badarou drew level for the Naze Millionaires after Isah Aminu had give the Ben Duamlong charges the lead.

Abia Warriors drew goaless at Giwa while Gombe drowned Sharks 1-0 at Panthamin Stadium after Haruna Babalo converted a 76th minute penalty just as Bayelsa United became the only team to win away from home in the week following a 2-0 win at Nembe City in Omoku.Peter Ebomowe opened scoring in the 68 minute for the Richard Bubagha side.
 
Categories: Sport

Onazi, Musa, Utaka Are Eagles Star Of The Week

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 00:00
--Ogbeche, Promise also on Target; Mikel, Moses make cameo appearance in EPL
Success debuts in Granada's win over Barcelona

ENGLAND
Osaze Odemwingie (Stoke City),Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi (Newcastle United): Super Eagles forward Osaze odemwingie played for 87 minutes for Stoke City who boosted their hopes of a top-10 finish with a 1-0 victory over Shola Ameobi's Newcastle at the Britannia Stadium. Odemwingie who has scored five goals in ten starts for the Potter since joining from Cardiff City had a chance to score when he was well found by Arnautovic but he miscued his shot horribly. Ameobi who hasn't scored in 22 EPL games. His younger sibling has 11 games to his credit.

Joseph Yobo (Norwich City): Super Eagles skipper Joseph Yobo was missing in action for Norwich in their 1-0 loss away to Fulham at Craven Cottage. Norwich have now lost their past seven away fixtures, arguably had the better chances in a pulsating contest at Craven Cottage but the visitors lacked incision in the final third.  Yobo has made eight start since joining the Yellow Canaries from Fenerbache.

Victor Anichebe (Westbromwich Albion): Nigerian forward Victor Anichebe was an unusd substitute for Westbrom who threw away a three-goal lead as Christian Eriksen's late strike saw Tottenham secure a Barclays Premier League point at The Hawthorns. The Eagles striker who has three goals to his credit to his name has chalked up .... games for the Baggies.

John Mikel Obi (Chelsea): Super Eagles midfielder, John Mikel Obi replaced match winner Demba Ba in the 78th minutes in Sunday's nervy win away to Swansea on the bench at the Liberty stadium. Mikel who has made 22 EPL appearances and has notched in one goal for the Blues was yellow carded in the 85th minute.

Victor Moses (Liverpool): Super Eagles winger Victor Moses replaced Raheem Sterling in the 87th minute as Liverpool moved a step closer to a first league title in 24 years with a thrilling 3-2 win over championship rivals Manchester City at Anfield. It was his 17th game of the season for the Reds in the EPL.

Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough): Super Eagles defender Kenneth Omeruo missed Middlesbrough 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor. Omeruo who looks to extend his stay at the Valley has made eight start for Middlesbrough.

Sone Aluko (Hull City): Nigerian winger Sone Aluko replaced George Boyd at half time as Hull City reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history after a thrilling 5-3 win over Sheffield United at Wembley.

ITALY

Nnamdi Oduamadi (Varese): In form Super Eagles winger Nnamdi Oduamadi made his tenth start for Varese in their lone goal defeat at home to Bari on Saturday. The Nigerian winger who has scored four goals since returning to the club.

Obinna Nsofor (Chievo Verona): Super Eagles winger Obinna Nsofor replaced Cyril Thereau in the 60th minute as Alberto Paloschi netted a hat-trick for Chievo to give their Serie A survival hopes a big boost on Sunday afternoon with a 4-2 win at Livorno. Nsofor has chalked up eight appearances in the Serie A with no goal to his credit.

Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio): Super Eagles midfielder Ogenyi Onazi  played the entire duration on Sunday and scored his first goal of the season for 10-man Lazio who lost 4-2 to Napoli at the San Paolo stadium.

Onazi has made 27 apperances in the Serie A this season and has been yellow carded four times.

Joel Chukwuma Obi (Parma): Nigerian midfielder Joel Obi was an unused substitute for Parma who has to settle for a 1-1 draw at struggling Bologna.

SCOTLAND

Efe Ambrose (Celtic): Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose helped Celtic show why they are Scottish Premiership champions with a comfortable 2-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice. Ambrose has played all games for the Hoops in the SPL this term.

SPAIN

Ikechukwu Uche (Villareal): Nigerian forward Ikechukwu Uche missed his side's lone goal victory as Jeremy Perbet headed a winner deep in stoppage-time to sink Levante and keep alive Villarreal's hopes of securing automatic qualification for the Europa League. Uche has scored 12 goals in 26 La liga games.

Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis): Super Eagles midfielder Nosa Igiebor watched from the bench for 90 minutes as Real Betis sunk deeper into the Primera Division relegation mire on Sunday with a cruel 2-0 defeat against fierce rivals Sevilla, the hosts unable to recover after Juan Carlos' harsh first-half red card. Igiebor has scored once in 11 games for Betis. His last game was against Athletic Club in February.

Ramon Azeez (Almeria): One cap Super Eagles midfielder Ramon Azeez was benched for the entire duration ofAlmeria's 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid. Azeez has played 25 La Liga games and has notched in one goal.

Odion Ighalo, Isaac Success (Granada): Former Golden Eaglets striker Isaac Sucess made his La Liga debut for Granada who stunned Barcelona 1-0 at home to deal a significant blow to the Catalans' title hopes in Spain. His compatriots Odion Ighalo was benched for the entire duration of the encounter.

FRANCE

Vincent Enyeama (Lille): Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama kept his 20th clean sheet of the season in goal for Lille as they kept a firm grip on third place in Ligue 1 and left Valenciennes in a parlous state after Divock Origi's second-half strike earned a 1-0 home win. Enyeama has played all 33 games for his side and has conceded 20 goals.
Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco): Nigerian defender Elderson Echiejile missed Monaco's 1-0 victory over Stade Rennes on Saturday night.  He has three Ligue 1 games to his credit.

HOLLAND

Bartholomew Ogbeche (Cambuur Leeuwarden): Nigerian forward Bartholomew Ogbeche scored his second goal of the season for his side who edged out Vitesse Arnhem in a seven thriller at the  Cambuur stadium. It was his eight game of the Eredivise season.

GERMANY

Chinedu Obasi (Schalke 04): Nigerian international Chinedu Obasi replaced Maximilian Meyer in the 72nd minute in Schalke's 2-0 win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt at the Veltins-Arena. It was his Obasi 11th start in the Bundesliga for the Royal Blues albeit scoring twice.
Anthony Ujah (FC Cologne): Nigerian international Anthony Ujah came off the substitute's bench to replace Patrick Helmes in Cologne's 2-2 draw away to Union Berlin. He has scored eight goals this season in 28 appearances for Cologne.

TURKEY

Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor): Nigerian defender Godfrey Oboabona played his 15th game of the season for Rizespor who leaped out of the relegation zone with a 1-1 draw away to Kayserispor on Saturday. He has scored one goal thus far.

John Utaka (Sivasspor): Nigerian striker John Utaka scored his sixth goal of the season for Sivasspor in their 2-1 win over Galatasaray on Saturday. He was replaced by Hakan Arslan in the stoppage time of the encounter in his 18th start of the campaign.

Michael Eneramo, Joseph Akpala (Karabukspor): Nigerian striker Michael Eneramo saw 90 minutes of action as Karabukspor lost 2-0 to Akhisar Belediyespor on Saturday.The burly forward has four goals in 12 appearances while his compatriot Akpala who wasn't dressed for the clash has the same tally of goal in 11 appearances.

Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbache); Isaac Promise (Antalyaspor): Nigerian striker Isaac Promise scored his second goal of the season for Antalyaspor who lost 4-1 to Fenerbache on Sunday. It was his 16th game of the season. Emenike who missed the encounter due to injury has scored 12 goals in 24 starts this season.

Taye Taiwo (Bursaspor): Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo returned to Bursaspor starting line inSaturday's 1-1 draw away to Kasimpasa at the Recep Tayyip Erdogan stadium. It was his 25th start albeit scoring two goals for his 11th placed team in the Super Lig 1 side.

UKRAINE

Brown Ideye, Haruna Lukman (Dynamo Kiev): Nigerian duo of Brown Ideye, Haruna Lukman played as substitutes in Dynamo Kiev's 2-2 draw away to Karpaty last Friday. While Haruna replaced Denis Garmash in the 78th minute for his 17th game, Ideye replaced Sergey Sidorchuk in the 93rd minute for his 13th appearance of the season.

Babatunde Michael (Volyn): Nigerian winger Babatunde Michael played the entire duration of his side's lone goal defeat to Illichivets last Friday. The Nigerian international who was yellow carded in the 87th minute of the clash has scored twice in 16 appearances.

Russia

Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow): Super Eagles winger Ahmed Musa was the match winner for CSKA Moscow who pipped Ural by a lone goal on Saturday. The former VVV Venlo forward has played 25 games and has scored seven times.

Fegor Ogude (Amkar Perm): Nigerian midfielder Fegor Ogude didn't feature for Amkar Perm who drew goalless away to Tom' Tomsk on Saturday. The former Vålerenga player has scored three times in five starts for his seventh placed team.

PORTUGAL

John Ogu (Academy de Coimbra): Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu was on the bench for 90 minutes as Academica de Coimbra were forced to a 1-1 draw against visiting Vitoria Setubal. Ogu has seen action seven times and is yet to score this season.

Femi Balogun, Christian Obodo (Olhanense): Former Super Eagles midfielder Christian Obodo featured from start to finish as Olhanense defeated home side Rio Ave 2-1. The game was his ninth but has not found the back of the net yet. His Nigerian team-mate Femi Balogun however was an unused substitute.

NORWAY

Fred Friday (Lillestrom) Osita Chikere (Viking): Nigerian duo of Fred Friday and Osita Chikere were on the substitute bench for Lillesttrom and Viking respectively as Viking won 1-0 away. Both players are yet to taste action in the current campaign.

Ugonna Anyaora (Haugesund):Nigerian midfielder Ugonna Anyaora was on the bench for 90 minutes in his team's 1-1 draw against visitors Valerenga. Anyaora only has one game under his belt so far.

John Chibuike (Rosenborg) Chukwuma Akabueze (Odd): Nigerian midfielder John Chibuike was on for his third straight game but was replaced by Mikkel Diskerud as early as the 50th minute in Rosenborg 2-0 home win against Odd. His Nigerian counterpart and former Super Eagles forward Chukwuma Akabueze replaced Havard Storbaek in the 65th minute but was yellow-carded in the 65th minute. It was Akabueze's third league appearance for Odd.

BELGIUM

Imoh Ezekiel (Standard Liege) Kim Ojo (Genk): One-cap Super Eagles attacker Imoh Ezekiel was on from the beginning but came off in the 65th minute for Belgian Ibrahima Cisse as Standard Liege were held to a 2-2 draw by Genk in the Play-offs. The former 36 Lion striker has 10 goals in 33 appearance. His Nigerian counterpart Kim Ojo was not listed for the encounter.

GREECE

Abduljeleel Ajagun (Panathinaikos): Former Flying Eagles skipper Abduljeleel Ajagun featured for Panathinaikos from the start but was substituted for Vasileios Angelopoulos in the 77th minute as Panathinaikos were defeated 3-1 at Xanthi. Ajagun who has played 22 times, has scored four goals.   

Ayodele Adeleye (Ergotelis): Nigerian defender Ayodele Adeleye was on the starting line-up as Ergotelis beat visiting Kalloni 3-0. The game was Adeleye's eight for Ergotelis since joining them from Anzhi in January.

DENMARK

Fanendo Adi (Copenhagen): Nigerian attacker Fanendo Adi was left on the bench for 90 minute but his team still went on to pip visiting AGF 1-0. Adi has appeared eight times, getting on the score sheet three times this term.

HUNGARY

 George Ikenne (Honved): Nigerian midfielder George Ikenne was not called upon as his team Honved lost 2-0 away to Szombathelyi. Ikenne has featured in 20 league games without scoring.
 
Categories: Sport

Avram Grant Tips Eagles For W/Cup Q-Finals

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 23:07
By Johnny Edward:

Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant has tipped Nigeria to qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Cup if their mental strength is excellent, reports Completesportsnigeria.com

The Isreali soccer tactician also predicted a successful outing for the five African teams at this year’s Fifa World Cup.

Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and Algeria will hoist Africa’s flag when the competition begins on June 12.

And according to the former Israel national team manager, the African teams possess a strong mental strength to surpass their previous records in the quadrennial football showpiece.

"Nigeria might even go further than the quarter-finals stage if their mental strength is excellent. It will be a good testimony for African football,” Grant told Cafonline.com.

“I certainly believe African teams will excel at this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

“One advantage that the African teams have in Brazil is that it is going to be warm. European teams have never won the World Cup in South America, so it will be a great opportunity for the African teams to do well because of the circumstances they have to play in.

"An African team will be champions of the world one day. I even don’t understand why Africa can’t win the World Cup because when compared to other countries, Africa has got excellent talents.”

He further said the predicament African teams face at the football showpiece is their lack of strong mental strength.

“The only problem I have seen with African teams is the fact that they lose games they can win in crucial moments.

“However, this can be improved because the problem is lack of a strong mental strength but it can be fixed.

"When Italy won the World Cup in 2006, they had no good talented players more than Africa with all due respect.

“At that time, Italy was not better than the leading countries in Africa but they have something that is lacking here in Africa and it's more to do with the mental strength and this can be taught by employing the best people to teach it,” Grant concluded.



 
Categories: Sport

Onazi Dedicates Goal To Abuja Bomb Victims

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 18:47
By Johnny Edward:

Nigerian midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has dedicated the goal he scored in Sunday's 4-2 defeat to Napoli to the victims of an explosion in his native Nigeria.

The blasts occurred Monday morning at a bus stop near the country’s capital, Abuja, reportedly killing dozens of people and the 21-year-old who has emerged as one of the most exciting young players in Serie A, prayed that God strengthens the familes of the deceased.

“I dedicate my goal to the victims of the explosion, that happened this morning,” Onazi wrote on his official Twitter account.

“I hope by the grace of God the families have the strength needed to manage everything.”

The Nigeria international who is expectd to make his World Cup debut in Brazil this summer has featured 27 times in the Serie A this term for the Biancoleste.

A small, agile but hard-working player, Onazi is a true box-to-box midfielder with an eye for a goal, and Baldini is confident Tottenham could get him for about £8million in the summer.

Lazio are already resigned to losing their man – and will now hope for a bidding way to break out between Liverpool and Tottenham.
 
Categories: Sport

Terry: Chelsea'll Aim At Winning Remaining Games

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 18:04
Chelsea captain John Terry is backing his side for the Barclay Premier League title next month.

The Blues on Sunday defeated Swansea 1-0, thanks to a Demba Ba strike midway through the second half to maintain their push for the title, still two points behind league leaders; Liverpool, who edged a 3-2 win over Manchester City at Anfield during the 25th Anniversary of the Hilsborough disaster.

There was Nigerian interests in both crucial games on Sunday. While Mikel played for only 11 minutes after coming off the bench in place of goalscorer, Ba in the 79th minute of the game which was his 22nd league game of the season in which he has now bagged two yellow cards after Sunday's game, Victor Moses replaced Liverpool's match winner; Phillipe Coutinho with just one minute to go in his 17th league game.

John Terry however sees Moses' Liverpool side(where he is on a season-long loan from Chelsea) and Manchester City as title favourites who have more pressure with less than a month to the end of the season.

"Our win over Swansea feels like a bigger win because of the earlier result," Daily Star quotes the now retired England international.

"We've won our game and the pressure is still on the teams above and below us," Terry insists.

Meanwhile the club's goalkeeper Petr Cech expects the title race to go down to the last day of the campaign.

"We are in a situation where if we win all of our games we might have a chance.

"We will concentrate on ourselves and we know if we win our four games we might have a chance. If we don't, it will become more difficult because time is running out.

"For the neutral fans I think this is best thing that could happen in the Premier League because it will be really tight until the last game."

 
Categories: Sport

NFF Plan More Test Games For F/Eagles

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 16:39
General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Musa Amadu has disclosed that the Flying Eagles will get more top-grade friendly games like those organised against Morocco recently.

“We plan to get more test matches for the Flying Eagles before their African Youth Championship qualifier early next month,” Amadu announced.

“Like always, we want all our teams to be best prepared for the challenges and that is why all the national teams have been engaged in one friendly or the other lately.”

Flying Eagles coach Manu Garba has already commended the NFF for organising the two games against Morocco’s U-20 team last week.

The Flying Eagles were forced to a 2-2 draw in the first match in Rabat last Wednesday and were again held to a 1-1 draw in the second game two days later.

He said the matches have given him a better idea of what to expect at the U-20 level, which is a lot higher than the U-17 level.

He further said he would wish for more such top friendly games for his team.

The Flying Eagles will face the winners of the match between Kenya and Tanzania next month in continuation of the qualifying series for the 2015 AYC to be staged by Senegal in March.

Kenya and Tanzania played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg and the return leg in Tanzania will be in a fortnight.







 
Categories: Sport

Ashley Cole Tipped For Automatic England Selection

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 16:19
Southampton left-back Luke Shaw insists fellow defender Ashley Cole has nothing to prove as the competition for places in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad intensifies.

The 18-year-old made his England debut against Denmark in March after an impressive Premier League campaign with Southampton.

With Cole, Shaw and Leighton Baines all earning international honours at left-back, it appears to be a three-way fight for an expected two places in Hodgson’s squad.

However, as the Premier League run-in gathers pace, Shaw insists the Chelsea full-back is in prime position to travel to Brazil and admits he has learned plenty from studying Cole’s game.

“Ashley has nothing to prove,” he told The Sun. “He has won 107 caps for his country; everyone knows what he can do.

“When I went to Stamford Bridge I used to watch him closely because I play in his position.

“There is no question he has been the world’s best left-back for the last 10 years - and still is.

“People talk about his lack of starts at Chelsea this season - but, in my view, when Roy makes his decision on who to take to the World Cup that will not come into his thinking.”

Despite enjoying the taste of international football, Shaw remains focused on Southampton’s Premier League campaign and refuses to get carried away.

“That is still a long way off,” he admitted. “We have five games left in the league - and I can only concentrate on that.

“Of course, all the players who have featured for England know the World Cup is close - but you cannot let it get into your head now.”

 
Categories: Sport

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