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The Super Eagles’ of Nigeria’s convincing win in the last African Cup of Nations qualifying match away to Seychelles and another win against Liberia in an international friendly days last early the month has pushed Nigeria from 49th position which they formerly occupied to the 48th position following the latest FIFA ranking as released by the World Football body on Thursday.

The upward movement which coincided with the elective congress of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) also held Thursday now sees Nigeria progress in both Africa and the World.

Although Nigeria won its two international matches against Seychelles and Liberia in the month of September under review, the country was not ranked among the top earners on the continent despite an increase from in points from 1410 to 1415 to gain a spot.

Interestingly, it was Kenya that won the biggest earner of points in Africa who secured a useful lone goal win against Ghana in the last qualifying match and clinched 22 points although in 107 positions on the global ranking.

Also, Nigeria improved its ranking on the continent to fifth position as against 7th the last time out. Meanwhile, Tunisia moved up one place to 23rd in the world to become the top-ranked African nation, as Senegal dropped one spot to 25th in the world and 2nd in Africa.

DR Congo and Morocco followed in third and fourth spots before Nigeria, while Cameroon, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Egypt complete the top 10 in the continent.

On the global scene, Belgium has moved to the top of the rankings alongside World Cup winners France and that will be the first time two teams will share the top spot.

Roberto Martinez’s side, who finished third in Russia, has moved up one place to top the ranking for the first time since 2015.

Belgium beat Iceland in the Nations League and Scotland in a friendly earlier this month, while France beat the Netherlands, but drew 0-0 with Germany in the Nations League.

The Golden Eaglets Beat Ghana To Qualify For 2019 U-17 African Cup Of Nations

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The golden eaglets of Nigeria trashed the black starlets of Ghana 4-2 on a penalty kick to qualify for 2019 U-17 African cup of nations that is set to take place in Tanzania. The match resorted to penalty kick after a 1-1- full time draw. The Ghanaians loosed three of their penalty kicks whereas the Golden eaglet scored two of their three penalty kicks.

The Black Starlets took the lead in the 54th minutes but the golden eaglets equalized with a brilliant strike from Akinwumi Amoo.

All efforts of the two teams to take the lead before the end of the 90 minutes proves abortive. And for the remaining minutes played at the Stade General Seyni Kountche, Niamey no goals were scored as the match dragged into a penalty shootout.

All except Amoo scored found target while the Ghanaians were only lucky once.

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In the third place match played earlier in the day, Niger Republic beat Cote d’Ivoire 2-0 at Seyni Kountche.

With this Garba’s side, join hosts Tanzania, Morocco, Cameroon, Uganda, and Angola to determine the top four teams that will qualify for the 2019 Fifa U17 World Cup in Peru.

Top Four Super Eagles Players to Watchout in This Weekend’s Premier League

After the international week, of which so many star players represented their various countries well. Nigeria did well by defeating Seychelles 3 goals to nil in the African cup of nations qualifier match, and Liberia 2-1 in a friendly match. However, all the players have returned to their clubs as actions resume this weekend.

Some of the super eagle’s star players playing in the premier league are set to showcase their talent this weekend. These players are highlighted below:

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)
: Ndidi continued to prove his mettle as one of the best Nigerian midfielders currently in the game as he helped Nigeria triumph over continental foes, Seychelles and Liberia during the international break.
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As one of the key cog in the wheels for Claude Puel’s team, he will yet be relied upon to help lead them past next league foes in the shape of Bournemouth who they face at the Vitality Stadium.

Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City): The Foxes will be looking to bounce back from the narrow 2-1 defeat to Liverpool and Iheanacho could be called upon to lead the charge for goals.
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The striker was involved as Nigeria saw off their opponents and will be keen to add to his one goal tally from his five games for the club this term.

Jordon Ibe (Bournemouth): Long touted as the next best thing to emerge from the minor reaches of English football, the ex-Liverpool starlet is expected to have a very fruitful season with the Cherries.
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Having shown glimpses of his endearing potentials in games versus Everton and Chelsea in the league, Leicester City, perhaps are an opposition of a quality below gear for the 22-year-old to take charge of.

Alex Iwobi (Arsenal): Arsenal travels to the Tyneside this weekend to take on Newcastle in a game which the Super Eagles starlet is expected to be part of.

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The 22-year-old pulled out of the national team squad for the recent Seychelles/Liberia games due to injury but have resumed training with the Gunners ahead of the Magpies game.

With a goal and an assist to his name in just two games this term, manager, Unai Emery could yet call on the services of one of his most decisive players for this one.

Victory As Super Eagles Smash Seychelles 3-0

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The super eagles of Nigeria crush the pirates of Seychelles in their home ground with 3 goals to nil to secure 3 points in the Group E of African cup of Nations qualifier. The three goals that gave the super eagles the deserved victory were scored by Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem and Odion Ighalo.

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The spectacular winger, Ahmed Musa put in the first goal in the 16th minute of the match, with a beautiful and powerful left-footed strike which came back off the post and goalkeeper Dave Mussard, before settling in the back of the net.

Nigeria possessed the football with beautiful and complete passes despite the bad condition of the pitch. The Midfield and defense were all composed and well organized.

Nigeria doubled their advantage in the 34th minute when Awaziem tucked in from close range for his first international goal after a Kelechi Iheanacho free-kick rebounded into his path.

Samuel Kalu who has been an outstanding player in this particular match caused a lot of havoc in Seychelles defense with his impressive footwork and pace long before he earned a penalty just before the hour after being clipped by Collins Esther.

Odion Ighalo converted the penalty in the 57th-minute as Nigeria extended their comfortable lead.

The home side did rattle Nigeria late on, Perry Monnaie capitalizing on a momentary loss of concentration from Kenneth Omeruo, but his attempted chip over Francis Uzoho narrowly missed the target.

Next up for Nigeria in Group E is a home fixture against Libya on 10 October, while Seychelles are away to South Africa on the same day.

What do you think will be the outcome of these matches?

 

Super Eagle’s Players Commence Training In Seychelles

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria have started their training sessions in preparation for the African Cup of Nations qualifier match against Seychelles on 8th of September. A larger percentage of the players arrived Savoy Hotel Resort in Victoria on the 5th of the month. While others are preparing to come back from their various clubs. The team engaged in a Foot-Volleyball training in the late hour of the day.

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Eighteen players arrived the super eagle’s camp early, these players are Henry Onyekuru, Francis Uzoho, Kenneth Omeruo, Semiu Ajayi, Wilfred Ndidi, Samuel Kalu, Chidozie Awaziem, Kelechi Iheanacho, Bryan Idowu, Kelechi Nwakali, Joel Obi, Simeon Nwankwo, Ahmed Musa, Ogenyi Onazi, Odion Ighalo, Jamilu Collins, Oghenekaro Etebo and Leon Balogun. Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi are already on their way, while other players are expected to join the camp latest on the 6th of the month.

Some players will not be able to participate in this qualifier match due to the injuries they’ve sustained in their various clubs. Captain of the team, John Mikel Obi opted out the team due to fitness concern before the squad list for the game was released. The trio of William Troost-Ekong, Alex Iwobi, and Ola Aina have all been ruled out of the game as a result of injuries.

Another player who is not available for Gernot Rohr is Victor Moses who retired from international duties after the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

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Super Eagles look forward to getting three points against the Pirates on Saturday to get their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign back on track after losing their first game 2-0 at home to South Africa in June 2017.

What could be the possible outcome of this match?

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The Nigerian Professional Football league was brought to an early conclusion on the 31st of August after playing 24 matches. The decision was made due to the crisis lingering in the Nigerian sport’s administrative board. Failure to end the league on time implies that Nigeria will not participate in next year’s continental competitions. The League which was set to resume on 18th of July after the long world cup break was placed on indefinite suspension because of the adverse circumstances of football in the country.

Even though the NPFL teams agreed on this decision, there have been mixed feelings and reactions from different angles regarding the hope of those clubs occupying the bottom four of the table. To this effect, the League Management Company decided not to relegate any of the teams occupying the bottom four on the table. Therefore, teams concerned such as FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Sunshine Stars, Yobe Desert stars and Heartland FC will still participate in the 2018/2019 season.

Highlighted below is the excerpt of the conclusion reached by LMC and NPFL

  • Upon consideration of different options (5 possible options were presented), it was unanimously agreed by the 20 NPFL Clubs, that the 2017/2018 season of the NPFL is deemed concluded and the team at the top of the standings – Lobi Stars shall be the representative in the CAF Champions League for 2019 Session starting Nov 2018 to May 2019.
  • No team shall be relegated from the NPFL for 2018 Season.
  • Four Teams shall be promoted to the NPFL from the Nigeria National League (NNL) from the ongoing 2018 season to compete in the 2018/2019 NPFL season.
  • The 2018/2019 NPFL season will commence in November 2018 with a total of 24 participating teams, which shall be divided into two groups of 12 teams each. The 2018/2019 Season commencing November 2018 will be played on 22 Match days ending with a Playoff to determine the Winner by May 2019.
  • Three teams from each group (a total of six) will be relegated from the NPFL after the conclusion of the 2018/2019 season, while two teams will be promoted to the NPFL from the NNL 2019 Season. This will allow the NPFL to revert to its normal structure of 20 teams as from the 2019/2020 season.
  • The NFF has also endorsed for the 2019 AITEO CUP to commence from September 2018 to end October 14, 2018. The NPFL Teams would be seeded for the CUP competition and the Winner to represent Nigeria in the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup starting November 2019.
    That the above decisions were reached on the basis of Rule B15.23 of the Framework and Rules of the NPFL, which states that:
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    The above decisions are with the approval of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

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However, Lobi star who occupied the first position on the table with 43 points was declared the league winner. The Makurdi-based club certainly deserved the victory after playing winning 13 games out of the total 24 matches played. They’ve surely secured a spot in next year’s CAF champions’ league.

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Enyimba of Aba defeated CARA Brazzaville in their last group stage match on the 29th of August to qualify for the quarter-final of the CAF confederation cup. The people elephants defeated the visitors 1-0 at Aba stadium courtesy of a late finish from Wasiu Alalade. The forward was substituted into the match in the 83rd minute to give his team the deserved victory.

The visitors missed a lot of clear opportunities in the first half of the game and some resolute defending by the host denied them of goals. The home side dominated the second half of the match with excellent team play, but all their efforts couldn’t produce a goal for them.

Wasiu Alalade availed himself of the late opportunity he had by scoring the winning goal. However, despite the visitor’s loss, they qualified for the quarter-final of the competition.

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The Enyimba FC top Group C with 12 points, they are immediately followed by CARA Brazzaville who occupied the second position on the table with 9 points. In the third and fourth positions are Williamsville AC and Djoliba AC respectively.

The president of Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick commended praised Enyimba FC for their victory. In his words, he said:

“I commend the spirit of Enyimba FC, the way they approached the game and their determination not to give up even after being unable to make hay from several opportunities. They gave joy to the government and the good people of Abia State in particular, and football enthusiasts in Nigeria as a whole, and they deserve our applause.

“They showed through their approach, and on the evidence of their win in Bamako on Match-day 5, that they are capable of going all the way. I urge them to take each match in the knockout stages one after the other, and go all the way to make Nigeria proud.”

Enyimba FC will face Rwanda’s Rayon Sports in their quarter-final match.

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In preparation for the African Nations Cup qualifier match which is set to take place between Nigeria and Seychelles on the 7th of September in Victoria, the head coach of the Super Eagles Gernot Rohr has released 24-man list. He released the list on Friday, 24th of August in Lagos. In an interview with the press, he affirmed that the 24 players present on the list is enough to give Nigeria the required victory.

The just-released 24-man list includes seven forwards, eight defenders, six midfielders, and three goalkeepers. The names of the players and their positions are listed below.

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and Francis Uzoho

Defenders: Ola Aina, William Troost-Ekong, Chidozie Awaziem, Leon Balogun, Jamiu Collins, Kenneth Omeruo, Bryan Idowu, and Semiu Ajayi

Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi, Joel Obi, John Ogu, Oghenekaro Etebo, and Kelechi Nwakali.

Forward: Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo, Simeon Nwankwo, Alex Iwobi, Henry Onyekuru, Samuel Kalu, and Kelechi Iheanacho

These players are required to land in Seychelles latest by 3rd of September from their various clubs. Having lost the first match against South Africa, Nigeria is expected to win this particular match if they really want to qualify for 2019 African nation’s cup. However, the vice president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is confident that Nigeria will qualify for this edition of the competition. In his words, he said:

“Having not qualified in the previous two editions, all the attention of the federation is toward our qualifying for 2019 edition in Cameroon.

“We have put all the distraction of the crisis in the federation behind us, which was part of the reasons we failed to qualify for the last editions.

“Our focus now is the qualification for the tournament and both the technical crew and the players are ready,”

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The Enyimba football club of Aba has shown their true color by getting an away win against Djoliba. The victory gave Enyimba the hope of reaching the knock-out stage after rising to the second place in the group with 9 points.

They currently share the same number of points with the group leader CARA Brazzaville, while Williamsville AC occupied the third position with 7 points and Djoliba in the fourth position with 4 points. The last encounter between Enyimba and Djoliba was on the 6th of May this year, where Enyinma won them 2 goals to nil.

The people elephants got their first away win of the year with a first-half goal from Farouk Mohammed. All the effort of the opponent to equalize the goal was futile.

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Wasiu Alalade who is the main striker of the team was very happy for his side’s 1-0 victory against Djoliba at Keita stadium and He has promised that the team would step-up their next home match against CARA Brazzaville on the 28th of August. In his words, He said:

“I’m very delighted with our victory and pleased our mission was accomplished,” Alalade told Goal.

“We had to motivate ourselves because we knew what is at stake. As players, this game is very important to us and part of our life. I think our prayers and dedication really helped us a lot.

“As usual the management and government encouraged us that we can do it. I must admit that they [Djoliba] are good as well and are the oldest club in Mali but you know in game of football is either about winning, draw or lose.

“Certainly, one thing must happen, but to me, the better side won the game and we don’t have anything on our mind than to defeat them [CARA Brazzaville] in Nigeria. We can assure everyone that we going to win.”

Who could be the outcome when they lock head with CARA Brazzaville?

 

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The falconets of Nigeria are currently making the nation and the entire continent proud by getting to the quarter-final stage of the women U-20 world cup hosted by France. Nigeria is the only African country left in the tournament when her counterpart from Ghana earned 3 points and could not qualify from Group A.

Falconets drew their last group stage game against China, to make it through. Linyan Zhang had to put the Chinese ahead with a brilliant goal in the 41st minutes.

All the attempt made by the Falconets to pull a goal proves abortive as the Chinese were playing more of tactical and defensive football. At the start of the second half, the falconets increased the tempo of the game and mounted more pressure on the defensive line of the Chinese, but the opponents remained unshaken.

Nigeria’s defensive player led by number 15 Jersey Sunday Opeyemi was awe-inspiring as she stood against China getting their important winner. She had a goal-line clearance in the 93rd minute which propelled a counterattack by the Falconets team where Anam Imo gave a fantastic pass to Rasheedat Ajibade to get the equalizer.

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The equalizer came at the late minute when all hopes of advancing to the next stage seem to be lost. Although the two teams both have the same points, the Falconets qualified based on Goal Aggregate (GA). Nigeria advance into the quarterfinals to play Spain on Aug. 16 by 3: 00 pm Nigerian time for a place in the semi-finals.

So what are your predictions in their next encounter against Spain?