Monday, May 31, 2010

Nigeria's Offical World Cup Squad

Nigeria have named fit-again Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi in their final 23-man squad for the World Cup, while they will not take a chance on Real Zaragoza striker Ikechukwu Uche.

Nice defender Onyekachi Apam, who has been nursing a knee problem, was also axed from the party.

Top team official, Emmanuel Attah, confirmed the final squad for the World Cup.

Mikel is recuperating from a knee surgery and only joined up with the rest of the squad Friday morning after he was certified fit by doctors of his London club.

Ikechukwu Uche was joint top scorer in the qualifiers with four goals but has been out of action for seven months following a major knee injury.

The other dropped players are Peter Utaka, Victor Anichebe, Bassey Akpan, Terna Suswan and Brown Ideye.

Nigeria coach, Lars Lagerback, said after his team’s 1-1 draw with Colombia in London on Sunday that Mikel was left out of the World Cup warm-up match so as not to put pressure on his injury.

However, he said Mikel will star in the Super Eagles next test game against fellow World Cup finalists North Korea on June 6 in Johannesburg.

AS Monaco midfielder Lukman Haruna was rewarded for his enterprise and equalising goal against Colombia with a spot in the final party. He will thus feature in three World Cups – FIFA Under-17 World Cup, FIFA Under-20 World Cup and now the senior World Cup.

Lagerback made public his final squad after a meeting with NFF top shots led by president Sani Lulu during which he defended his selection.

The final full squad:

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv/ISR), Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda/ISR), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva/ISR)

Defenders: Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille/FRA), Elderson Echiejile (Rennes/FRA), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Joseph Yobo (Everton/ENG), Daniel Shittu (Bolton Wanderers/ENG), Ayodele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam/NED), Rabiu Afolabi (SV Salzburg/AUS)

Midfielders: Kalu Uche (Almeria/SPA), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham/ENG), Mikel Obi (Chelsea/ENG), Sani Kaita (Alaniya/RUS), Haruna Lukman (AS Monaco/FRA), Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev/UKR)

Strikers: Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton/ENG), Chinedu Obasi (TSG Hoffenheim/GER), Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka (Portsmouth/ENG), Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg/GER), Obinna Nsofor (Malaga/SPA), Osaze Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Van Gaal rejects Nigeria

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has ruled himself out of the Nigeria job, saying he would see out his two-year contract with German club Bayern Munich.
It means that the former Barcelona coach, who joined Munich on July 1, 2009, will not be available until 2011.

Van Gaal was one of six candidates shortlisted by the Nigeria Football Federation after a meeting last Friday which ended with Shuaibu Amodu being demoted to coach a team of locally-based players.

But the Dutchman, who has been linked with the Nigeria job since 2005, says he is unavailable at this time.

"I have a contract and I'll respect it. It's not the first time that Nigeria show interest in me, but Bayern Munich represents a great challenge. I think that Bayern will be my last club, after that I'll go to Portugal and there I'll wait a nice offer to guide a great national team," van Gaal said.

The Bayern coach is one of two high profile candidates shortlisted for the post. The other, current Russia coach Guus Hiddink, is also expected to rule himself out of the running in the coming days.

However, one high-profile name who was not shortlisted, but who is believed to be keen on the Nigeria post is Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trappatoni.

The Italian is said to have a clause in his contract that allows him to walk away from the Republic job anytime until March 10.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Nigeria boss Amodu sacked

Nigeria have sacked coach Shaibu Amodu despite the team's third-place finish at this year's Africa Cup of Nations.

It is the second time the 51-year-old has been removed from his post ahead of a World Cup finals tournament.

The decision was taken after a late-night meeting of the Nigerian Football Federation in Abuja.

Dutchman Guus Hiddink, currently Russia's coach, is among those on a shortlist of preferred candidates to replace Amodu.

Earlier this week, Egypt coach Hassan Shehata claimed he had been approached by Nigeria to lead them at the World Cup later this year, while Zambia boss Herve Renard says he has been approached by several other African teams.

Amodu was in his fourth stint as national coach, having also managed Nigeria from 1994-95, 1998-99 and 2001-02.

He was also fired ahead of the 2002 World Cup finals after Nigeria again finished third at the African Nations Cup.

He returned to the role in 2008 having ended a spell as manager of Nigerian Premier League side Sharks FC three years earlier.

The Super Eagles boss was under intense pressure going into the African Cup of Nations in Angola, with calls from several quarters for him to be fired.

Despite guiding Nigeria to the semi-finals the team's style of play, his tactics and key decision-making were all questioned during the tournament.

The Super Eagles lost 1-0 to Ghana in the final four but beat Algeria by the same scoreline to secure third place.

The NFF must now move swiftly to recruit a new coach with the World Cup finals in South Africa just over four months away.

Nigeria are in Group B along with Argentina, Greece and South Korea, with their opening match against the Argentines on 12 June in Johannesburg.

NFF media officer Idah Peterside said: "The technical committee of the federation has been mandated to have a new man in place by the end of the month."

Other names in the frame are thought to include former England caretaker manager Peter Taylor, Bruno Metsu, who coached Senegal to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, and Ratomir Dujkovic, Ghana's coach at the last World Cup in Germany.

Amodu, meanwhile, has been given the task of overseeing Nigeria's home-based players for the new African Nations Champions tournament, a competition for players who play their club football in Africa.

Peterside added: "He will be in charge of talent identification and finding players for the future."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Giresse: Nigerians Are Impatient

Former French great Alain Giresse has slammed calls for the removal of Nigeria Head Coach, Shaibu Amodu by highly –placed Nigerians, saying the calls are ill –motivated.

“I used to be interested in the Nigeria job, I think six years ago or so. But not any longer. I don’t know what is going on. How can someone qualify his country for the World Cup and then, because he lost a match, everyone is saying they should sack him.

“Please allow the guy to do his work. Nobody is perfect, but if someone can qualify his country for the World Cup, then he deserves some respect. I even heard that it is the second time he has qualified Nigeria for the World Cup. That is huge.

“Sincerely, I don’t want a job like that; I prefer the peace. But let me say that Nigerians should leave the Coach alone. Let him do his work and he can get good results for your country”.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Martins inline for Nigeria start

Obafemi Martins is in the frame to start Wednesday’s Group C clash between the Super Eagles and the Mambas of Mozambique in Lubango.
The former Newcastle FC of England star returned to the African finals after dashing off to the UK for a court appearance and has since been showing good form at training for the two–time African champions.
Nigeria nned to get a result from Wednesday’s meeting with the southern Africans at the Tundavala Stadium to be sure of a slot in the tournament’s last eight. With the competition being governed by the head-to-head rule, it means Nigeria can no longer finish at the head of the table.
Egypt, on six points, play Benin Republic in Benguela knowing they are confirmed Group C winners as victory for Nigeria over Mozambique can only take the Eagles to six points but having lost to Egypt, are worse off on head-to-head.
It was raining heavily in Lubango on Tuesday afternoon but the wet conditions did not stop the Nigerians hitting the Tundavala Stadium for their last training session in the evening.
Toothache–disturbed midfielder Dickson Etuhu is now much better after his troubles were sorted out and will also be looking forward to a place in the starting line–up, while fellow midfielder Yusuf Ayila is also out of the sick room.

Nigeria Ready To Overcome Crisis Of Confidence

World Cup-bound Nigeria were thrashed 3-1 in their opening match against African champions Egypt and were lucky to scrape to a 1-0 win over unfancied Benin thanks to a penalty.

But Nigeria are now ready to live up to their billing as one of the front runners for the title.
“Having lost to Egypt we had to expect there was a crisis of confidence in our camp and we had to be careful in our game against Benin. Even when we were up against them, we were not confident but at least we got our points,” coach Shaibu Amodu said.

Striker Peter Odemwingie pointed out that Nigeria had a habit of starting slowly in tournament before adding: “Every game we play we get better.

“We have the quality players to go to the final. If we play to our potential, we believe we can win the cup.”
A draw against Mozambique in their last Group C game in Lubango on Wednesday would carry them into the knockout phase.

Amodu has been without striker Obafemi Martins, who is recovering from surgery on a shin injury, and will also probably have to cope without captain Joseph Yobo, who injured a hamstring on Saturday in the win against Benin.
Despite his injury woes, Amodu reminded the depth of talent he had at his disposal.

“I have made the point before that all of the 23 squad members are capable of playing in this tournament. We have enough in reserve,” Amodu told reporters.

Nigeria last won the Nations Cup in 1994. They have reached the semi-finals four of the last five tournaments.

Eagles Arrive Lubango Without Yobo

The Nigeria national team, Super Eagles arrived in Lubango just after noon on Monday and immediately moved to their Hotel Serra da Chela ahead of Wednesday´s Group C game against the Mambas of Mozambique.

However, team stand-in Captain Joseph Yobo, who was injured in Saturday´s narrow win over Benin Republic, was left behind in Benguela as medics continue the search for a place where he could do a proper scan of the hamstring trouble.

Physiotherapist Ekundayo Ogunwale is with the Everton FC of England ace defender as the Nigeria Football Federation is determined to take care of the player.

The Super Eagles will train at the Tundavala Stadium by 5pm on Monday evening, as they get set to pick the three points against Mozambique that will guarantee them a place in the quarter finals.

Champions Egypt head Group C with six maximum points from two games, followed by Nigeria with three while Mozambique and Benin Republic prop the table with one point each.