Sanusi denies speaking on FIFA sanction

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The General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi has categorically denied telling any media organization that he was aware of defender Abdullahi Shehu’s ineligibility for the Algeria/Nigeria 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Constantine last month.

“I am shocked to be so copiously quoted in a national newspaper of Friday, 15th December 2017. The reporter even said I was aware of the player’s ineligibility among so many other things. I am disgusted because I did not say what the reporter attributed to me.

“The reporter called me and I told him that a panel has been set up to look into the entire matter of the negligence, recommend appropriate sanctions and make other recommendations that would forestall such an occurrence in the future.”

 The NFF chief operating officer insisted that he was too experienced an administrator to make statements on an issue for which an inquiry had been instituted.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick on Wednesday set up a four-man committee headed by Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi (NFF 1st Vice President) to thoroughly investigate the matter and submit a report, alongside their recommendations, within two weeks.

“I earnestly appeal to all Football Stakeholders, including the media, to allow the committee to do its work without making insinuations or dwelling negatively on the subject,” Sanusi added. Shehu-Abdullahi

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Uruguay 2018: Flamingoes scrape through to final round

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Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingoes scraped through to the final round of the African qualification series for the 6th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup on Saturday, but only on the away goal rule after tying 1-1 with Ethiopia on aggregate.

The saving grace was the away goal in the 1-1 draw in Addis Ababa in the first leg a forthnight earlier, as the Flamingoes were downright disappointing even with Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu and NFF President Amaju Pinnick seated in the VIP box.

There was no discernible pattern to the game of Bala Nikyu’s girls, and their output cried for an overhaul ahead of the final round of the series against the Cameroon U17 girls in seven weeks’ time.

Even when they managed to get into the opponents’ six-yard-box, they contrived to let the visitors off the hook. Substitute Abibat Abdulgodir was the only one who had an idea of the urgency of the day, but her deliveries from the right were wasted one after the other.

“There is a big difference between the U20 girls that we have become used to here in Benin and these U17 girls. I believe that the team will become much better with good coaching before the next round of matches,” Deputy Governor Shaibu told the media at the end.

NFF President Pinnick was glad the Flamingoes got through to the second round: “The coaches have a lot of work to do. Now that the team is in the final round, and they have some time to work on the squad, I believe they will do what is necessary to turn the team around. We use this opportunity to appreciate the Edo State Government for their tremendous support for all our women teams.”

Chairman of the NFF Women’s Football Committee, Hon. Ayo Omidiran insisted the team is work-in-progress: “The coaches have some weeks at hand to do proper work with the girls and bring in others who can help the squad. The performance today was not gratifying. But I plead with all Nigerians to continue to support all our women teams, including the U17 girls.”

North West, South East clash in NFF/Zenith Bank U15 final

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A week of exciting youth football in the ancient city of Kano will witness the grand finale in Lagos on Tuesday with the U15 final of the NFF/Zenith Bank Future Eagles Championship at the Agege Stadium.

Tuesday will be exactly a week on one year that the finals of the inaugural edition of the competition (U13 and U15) took place at the Onikan Stadium, with South West emerging champions in the U15 category with a 2-0 defeat of South East, while South East defeated South South 4-2 in the final of the U13 category.

This year, an enterprising North Central squad overcame equally ambitious South West team 4-2 on penalties in Kano to emerge champions of the U13 category.

North West and South East take to the Agege Stadium turf on Tuesday afternoon for the intermediate honours, with last year’s runners-up South East determined to take the step up to the champions’ podium this time.

Following last year’s inaugural competition that took place in Ijebu-Ode and Lagos, NFF Technical Director, Mr. Bitrus Bewarang told thenff.com: “I am delighted with the entire good job done by the NFF Youth Football Committee, headed by the NFF 1st Vice President, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi. I saw excellent football by young, talented and ambitious kids. On the evidence of what I saw in Ijebu-Ode and Lagos, I believe that in the nearest future, we would be making use of very young players, in the mould of Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi, for the Super Eagles.”

The former Super Eagles’ Assistant Coach also hailed competition sponsors Zenith Bank International PLC, assuring the bank that its name would be etched in gold once the prodigies start making waves in the NPFL, Super Eagles and top Leagues overseas.

“The bank has put its money in the right place, and I am using this opportunity to call on other big players in Corporate Nigeria to embrace sports, because by embracing sports, they are assuring the future of the youth.

“Certainly, the NFF/Zenith Bank Future Eagles Championship is a welcome development. I want to implore the bank not to rest on its oars, but rather guarantee that the competition has come to stay as an annual carnival for the young and determined boys from the grassroots.”

Zenith Bank’s chieftains are enamoured at the essence and glamour of the competition, and will again storm the Agege Stadium in full force on Tuesday.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick, 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi (who is the Chairman of the NFF Youth Football Committee), a number of NFF Executive Committee members, NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, some top officials of the Lagos State Government, a couple of NFF Management officials, as well as members of the NFF Youth Football Committee will also be in attendance.

RESULTS (U13)

South South 3 North East 0 (W/O)

North Central 2 North West 1

North East 0 South West 3 (W/O)

North West 3 South East 0 (W/O)

South West 0 South South 0

South East 0 North Central 3 (W/O)

South West 2 North West 1

North Central 2 South South 1

 

FINAL

South West 2 North Central 4 (after penalties)

 

RESULTS (U15)

North East 2 South South 3

South West 0 South East 2

South South 2 North West 4

South East 4 North Central 0

North West 1 North East 0

North Central 1 South West 3

North West 4 South West 3

South East 4 South South 1

 FINAL

North West Vs South East 

Community Shield: Arsenal aim to claim more silverware against Blues.

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By ‘Segun Jawolusi

The Premier League champions Chelsea and FA Cup holders Arsenal will kick off the 2017/18 football campaign in England this weekend in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

Arsene Wenger’s men got the better of the Antonio Comte run away league champions last time out as Arsenal secured a 2-1 victory over Chelsea back in May to lift the FA Cup for the third time in four years.

The Blues eased to a comfortable 3-0 win in a pre-season friendly in China last month but the Community Shield game will be a far more competitive match for the two side than what we saw in the Far East.

Of the two London rivals, Comte’s side is the heavy favourites to win the match on Sunday. The Blues saw the Gunners drifting far behind with 18 points as they cruised to the Premier League throne. Also, Conte has conducted some excellent business in the transfer market this summer.

Real Madrid’s Spanish striker Alvaro Morata has arrived in a club record deal while Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger have also strengthen what was already a very strong squad so Chelsea are going to be a force once again this season.

Arsene Wenger has also been active in the market after smashing their transfer record to sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon and the Gunner’s boss snapping-up left-back Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer.

In ending last season, Wenger couldn’t have been happier defeating the Premier League champions in the FA Cup final as it became their saving grace of a much disappointed season and will be aiming to claim more silverware against the Blues.

Both team are expected to go into the game sticking with the 3-2-4-1 formation which hugely paid dividends for the sides last season.

Arsenal Team News

New signings Sead Kolasinac and Lacazette could make their competitive debut for the Gunners on Sunday while the match may come too soon for Alexis Sanchez who just resumed training after being handed an extended break following his participation in the Confederation Cup for Chile.

Shkodran Mustafi remains a doubt, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are expected to be fit for the match after their injury scare while Francis Coquelin is out.

Chelsea Team News

Antonio Conte will be without two forwards; Eden Hazard due to his ankle injury and Pedro who suffered multiple facial fractures in the recent 3-0 win over Arsenal. Summer arrival Tiemoue Bakayoko will not feature in the match as he continues to recover from a knee injury while Alvaro Morata is available to start. Victor Moses is also available despite his red card in the FA Cup final as this game is seen more like a friendly.

Arsenal Predicted XI;

Petr Cech; Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Sead Kolasinac; Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck

Chelsea Predicted XI;

Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Gary Cahill; Victor Moses, N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Michy Batshuayi, Alvaro Morata

Charity Shield: Dream Arsenal Squad

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The Charity Shield marks the beginning of the new football season in England and Premier League champions, Chelsea will square up with the FA Cup champions, Arsenal in what could be termed as a grudge match with the Blues looking to avenge the 2-1 defeat in the final of the FA Cup at the closing stage of last season.

Since then both team have reinforce their squad with Arsenal bringing in Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette while the Chelsea squad has been bolstered with Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Willy Caballero.

Both team met during the pre seasons in the Far east and the Blues ran out with a 3-0 victory.

However, the Gunners will be looking forward to prove a point that the FA Cup final result is not a fluke and that they can still stand toe to toe with the best.

Players like Alexis Sanchez, Shkordan Mustafi, Rob Holding are first team players but are not likely to be available for this encounter as a result of their off season tournament activities for their various countries.

But Arsenal still has a squad capable of getting the better off the Antonio Comte’s side and kick off the season in a frenzy mood by winning the Community Shield.

Looking at the present Arsenal squad, Footy Onside is thus putting forward a squad believe to be the strongest for the encounter at Wembley Stadium.

Sticking to the 3-2-4-1 formation which enabled the Gunner to finished strongly last season, the Gunners should have:

GK     –     Petr Cech

D        –     Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal

WD    –     Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac

M        –     Granit Khaka, Aaron Ramsey, Mezut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette

S          –     Olivier Giroud

http://www.footyformation.com/team/embed/slug/r9d

David to attend Leadership Legacy event in Amsterdam

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Ruthdavid 2017july

Head of Women’s Football Unit of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ruth David, is among a select group of upcoming women football administrators in the universe invited by FIFA to attend this weekend’s opening ceremony of the UEFA Women European Championship in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

World football ruling body, FIFA, has called up graduates of two editions of its Female Leadership Development Programme, to be joined by graduates of four editions of the UEFA version of the course for the special event.

David was part of the 35 women football administrators worldwide selected for the FIFA Female Leadership Development Programme, and attended modules at the Home of FIFA, Zurich, Switzerland last year.

The FLDP is part of FIFA’s portfolio of women’s football development programmes for the period 2015-2018. Launched in 2015 to ensure that there are female role models and women at decision –making levels in football, the FLDP aims to identify, support and develop strong female leaders in sport, while advocating for women to access senior decision –making positions globally.

“This will be a great opportunity to not just expand your knowledge and network, but support FIFA in building the legacy of the leadership programme. The event will also offer a great platform to showcase some of the success stories, and facilitate your possibilities to cooperate with representatives from other Member Associations,” Arijana Demirovic, Coordinator of Women’s Football Development in FIFA’s Women’s Football Division, wrote about this weekend’s event in Amsterdam.

At the first seminar held by David in Abuja last year, FIFA’s Head of Professional Football, Mr. James Johnson delivered a paper on ‘The Concept of FIFA Female Leadership Development Programme,’ while David herself spoke on ‘Reasons for the FIFA Female Leadership Development Programme’. Professor (Mrs) Funke Suleiman, of the Department of Physical and Health Education, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria spoke on ‘Education As a Tool For Enhancing the Career of Female Football Players in Nigeria,’ while Chief (Mrs) Dilichukwu Onyedinma, a former Member of the NFF Executive Committee and currently Director of Sports, Federal Capital Territory, delivered a paper on ‘Education for Character Moulding Among Female Football Players in Nigeria.’

At the second seminar, former NFF Board Member and now ranking Member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ayo Omidiran and Director of Federations and Elite Athletes department of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mrs Hauwa Kulu-Akinyemi were among those who delivered papers.

Pinnick inaugurates AITEO Cup Committee

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Aiteocup Committee

NFF President Amaju Pinnick on Monday inaugurated the committee that will organize the first edition of the AITEO Cup Competition (formerly Federation Cup) for men and women.

While inaugurating the 11-member Committee, headed by NFF 1st Vice President/Chairman of Organising Committee, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, Pinnick insisted that the Committee’s membership was strategically drawn based on the core services of the two competitions.

NFF 2nd VP/LMC chairman Shehu Dikko is vice chairman, with NFF Executive Committee members Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, Sharif Rabiu Inuwa and Ms Aisha Falode as members. NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi is the Secretary.

Other members are Mr. Andrew Onyearu (Group Executive Director/Chief Legal Counsel of AITEO), Mr. Ndiana-Abasi Matthew (Senior Manager, Corporate Communications of AITEO) and Barr. A. U. Mustapha (SAN).

The NFF President charged the Committee to be fully focused on delivering a competition that the Nigerian Football fraternity and sponsors AITEO would be proud of.

Responding, Barr. Akinwunmi promised that his team would move swiftly to draw up a revised calendar for this year’s competition, and also insist on the very best values in all areas of the organization while working to bring new glory to the oldest football competition in Nigeria.

Pinnick restates NFF commitment to improving refereeing

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Fifama elitegroup

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has again re-affirmed total commitment of the present NFF administration to the improvement of refereeing in Nigeria.

The NFF supremo, who is also Member of the CAF Executive Committee and Member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, restated his administration’s resolve to tackling one of the big issues of Nigerian Football at the opening ceremony of this year’s FIFA Member Association (MA) Elite Programme for Nigerian referees, assessors and physical fitness trainers in Abuja on Monday.

“Refereeing is a critical aspect of the game of football. In fact, it is a major issue in the game. You would recall that at the advent of our administration, referees were the first set of people we sent on capacity building programme. Since then, our determination to improve refereeing in Nigerian Football has never waned, and going forward, we are fully committed to ensuring that we achieve wholesale improvement in all aspects of officiating.

“I want to appreciate the instructors sent by FIFA (Felix Tangawarima and Tracey Lovell) and I believe our referees stand to gain so much knowledge from this year’s programme.”

Tangawarima, a former FIFA referee from Zimbabwe, now a referees’ instructor, praised the leadership of NFF for the presence of most of its Executive Committee members at the ceremony, saying that in his years of working on referee development programmes, he has never seen such robust top-echelon support for a refereeing course. “The words of the NFF President, who also has foothold in CAF and FIFA, are also very reassuring, and I challenge you all to justify the confidence the NFF leadership has reposed in you by committing to integrity and excellence.”

Also present at the opening ceremony, inside the Kalem Suites, Abuja were NFF vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, Executive Committee members Ahmed Yusuf Fresh (Chairman, NFF Referees Committee), Sharif Rabiu Inuwa (vice chairman, Referees Committee), Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, Aisha Falode, Mohammed Alkali and Babagana Kalli, NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, NFF Director of Technical Bitrus Bewarang, NRA President Tade Azeez, former NRA President Ahmed Maude, other members of the NFF Referees Committee and some members of the NFF Congress.

NFF shocked about Ikeme diagnosis, prays for Eagles goalie

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carl ikeme

The Nigeria Football Federation has expressed shock and dismay at news on Thursday evening that Super Eagles’ number one goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, had been diagnosed with acute leukemia.

A stunned NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, was lost for words after the sad news broke in the international media. “What? This is very, very sad. Carl Ikeme diagnosed with acute leukemia? This is harsh.”

Sanusi stated that the NFF and the Nigerian Football family would rally round the energetic shot –stopper in his difficult period.

“Our thoughts are with Carl at this difficult period. The NFF and the football fraternity in Nigeria are taken aback by this sad development, knowing how strong Carl has been in goal for Nigeria since he made his debut in 2015.

“We have been told that he will start chemotherapy immediately. We want him to stay strong and remain the self –assured man that he has always been, and we will continue to pray for him and wish him the best with regards to the treatment,” Sanusi said.

Ikeme has always shown ability, agility and high level of confidence between the sticks for Nigeria, since taking up the number one goalie’s responsibilities following the sudden retirement of three –time World Cup star Vincent Enyeama from international football in October 2015.

He was in goal for the Super Eagles over two legs of the 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary round against Swaziland, as well as the 2-1 defeat of Zambia in Ndola at the beginning of the group phase of the 2018 FIFA World Cup race. He was also in action against Tanzania and Egypt in 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches, and in friendly games against Mali and Luxembourg in Europe last year summer.