Eagles beat Libya, soar to four points

AudioAge – Abuja, Nigeria – 20 January 2018 – Nigeria threw one leg into the quarterfinals of the ongoing 5th African Nations Championship in Libya after Sunday Faleye’s 79th minute goal separated them from 2014 champions Libya in Tangiers.

Both teams fought a fierce and tactical battle on the turf of the Stade Ibn Batouta, but Nigeria, bronze medallists at the 2014 finals in South Africa, created more chances but just could not put them away, as happened against Rwanda in their opening match at the same venue on Monday.

There were very few notable moments in the first half, with both teams tackling each other hard at the vital areas, and the Eagles, who needed a win more having drawn their opener against the Amavubi, showing greater zest.

But the first remarkable moment only came in the 55th minute, when Faleye, operating from the left wing, sent an inviting cross into the vital area, but Emeka Ogbuh’s header did not trouble Libya’s goaltender.

Six minutes later, Mustapha Ibrahim came in for the battling but largely ineffective Anthony Okpotu, and Ekundayo Ojo also for Ifeanyi Ifeanyi 14 minutes later.

In the 79th minute, Faleye slammed home from an Osas Okoro’s corner kick, taking the Super Eagles to four points and ahead of the Libyans.

Faleye was good for a brace only three minutes later, as Nigeria broke down the middle, but substitute Ibrahim’s pass was cut out by the Libyan defense.

The Eagles will now head to the city of Agadir, where they play debutantes Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday.

Nigeria Football Federation


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

AudioAge – Abuja, Nigeria – 17 December 2017 – 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.

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

South West 2 North Central 4 (after penalties)

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

North West Vs South East



Falconets brush aside Morocco, to face South Africa

AudioAge – Abuja, Nigeria – 18 November 2017 – Three goals scored from counter –attacking positions steered the Nigeria U20 girls, Falconets, to a 5-1 trouncing of their visiting Moroccan counterparts at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Saturday evening.

A 45 –minute rainstorm swept through the stadium and environs just before kick –off, necessitating a delay that actually led to a meeting in which the Match Commissioner, Soudatou Djallo-Kalkaba from Cameroon had ruled that the match would be played on Sunday. However, a dramatic change in weather led to a change of heart, and the match began 83 minutes behind schedule.

In the event, the Faconets started like a house on fire, with Rasheedat Ajibade, Anam Imo and Monday Gift combining brilliantly. One of those moves saw Ajibade finishing off with a simple tap –in after Gift’s cross from the left after five minutes.

Nine minutes later, Gift herselt was not to be denied, holding off Esaadia El Barrah to slot past goalkeeper Houda Benazid for Nigeria’s second.

The Moroccans were not deterred. The brilliant Fatima Tagnaout gave them hope when her free –kick from the right was helped into Nigeria’s net by goalkeeper Onyinyechukwu Okeke with 10 minutes left in the first period. This goal heartened the Moroccans as they ran all over the turf looking for an equalizer.

In the second period, the Falconets had missed a hatful of chances before substitute Charity Reuben heaved the ball over a defender and rammed the ball into the net in the 77th minute. Just as the fourth official showed three minutes time –added on in the second half, Ajibade latched onto the ball and beat the Moroccan defence for pace before slotting past Benazid. A minute later, she combined with Reuben on another counter –attack, passing to the latter to push into an empty net for Nigeria’s fifth.

The Falconets will now clash with their South African counterparts in the final round of the African qualifiers. The South Africans hammered Burundi 5-0 for a 5-2 aggregate. South Africa will host the first leg on 13th January 2018.

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)


World Cup Qualification: Rohr hands big kudos to NFF

  • Brian Idowu joins team

AudioAge – Abuja, Nigeria – 13 November 2017 – Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr is full of encomiums for the Nigeria Football Federation for the “professional and committed manner” it handled the Super Eagles’ 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Not only were the three-time African champions unbeaten in what was styled ‘Group of Death’, the Eagles picked the ultimate prize in that group with a game to spare, becoming Africa’s first candidate for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia in the process.

The man that led the team to achieving this feat believes the professional approach to the team’s preparations by the NFF for all the six qualifiers played a pivotal role in the team’s success.

“For sure, we must commend the NFF for the role they played right from that game in Ndola against Zambia to last Friday’s game in Constantine, Algeria.

“Apart from putting together excellent arrangements for our games at home, they ensured we travelled in comfort to all our away games and the fact that our away travels were always direct on chartered flights made sure we had very good recovery period between games. This also helped to manage the few days we usually have because of the congested and very small number of the FIFA international days,” Rohr said.

Nigeria won four games and drew two to finish top of the eminent pile with 14 points, six ahead of second-placed Zambia. In both drawn games away from home, they were pegged back by late penalties to the hosts in dying minutes, underlying the Super Eagles’ praiseworthy performance throughout the campaign.

This, the Franco-German tactician believes, was down to paying attention to little details.

“From the time the draw was made for the group series of the qualifiers, we know that in a difficult group like the one we were in, the difference between success and failure could be down to little things that most people would take for granted, but I am happy that the NFF were very professional, passionate and committed to the cause. Their great planning and arrangements made the players to focus on the football only, so we got the best out of them.

“Now we cannot rest on our oars because there is a bigger challenge ahead of us. We have to prepare better and focus even more as we get set for the World Cup next year,” Rohr concluded

Meanwhile, Russia –based Bryan Idowu on Saturday night joined up with the rest of the squad after they arrived in Krasnodar, Russia. He told thenff.com: “It’s a big privilege for him to be part of this great squad. I will definitely give my best in order to remain a part of this team.

“It’s a big honor for me to be called into the Super Eagles. I will give this opportunity my very best shot so I can stay here for a long time. I believe this team will put smiles on the faces of Nigerians at the World Cup next year,” he added.

The Nigeria Football Federation


AITEO Cup: NFF reads riot act to match officials

AudioAge – Abuja, Nigeria – 14 August 2017 – The Nigeria Football Federation has sent out a strong warning to all officials who would be assigned for matches of the 2017 AITEO Cup competition starting on Wednesday 16 August 2017 to perform creditably or have their names permanently struck off the list of arbiters in the country.

Speaking after his committee’s meeting in Abuja on Monday, Chairman of the NFF Referees Committee, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh told thenff.com that any referee found wanting would not only be thrown out of the vocation but could also face prosecution.

“The NFF Referees Committee has decided to go tough on erring referees. For several years, we worked very hard to try and get sponsors for the oldest football competition in this country, but could not for one reason or the other. Now that we have one in AITEO, we will do everything humanly possible to guard that relationship jealously.

“Any referee found to be involved in any shenanigan, or deemed to be outright incompetent or mischievous, will be summarily dealt with. We are tired of complaints about referees. We are ready to throw out as many as are found culpable, and will be ready to have only few competent and self –respecting persons take charge of matches,” Fresh stated on Monday. 

The NFF Executive Committee member also informed thenff.com that only Nigeria’s FIFA –badged (international) and elite referees would be handed shifts in the AITEO Cup competition beginning from Wednesday.

“Only the FIFA referees and elite referees would be involved. No National League or Nationwide League officials. We want the best arbiters available to take care of the matches and give credibility to the competition. 

“The glamour of this much –loved competition must return in full force and in even greater glory.”

Meanwhile, the Organizing Committee of the AITEO Cup has empathized with players and officials of Akwa United FC of Uyo, who were involved in a road mishap on the Umuahia-Enugu road on Monday, on their way to Hadejia for a Round of 64 clash with Halfa FC of Jigawa.

“We want to sympathize with the Akwa United delegation involved in the mishap on their way to Jigawa State. As a result of this, we have resolved to move their match against Halfa FC to Thursday,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, who is also secretary of the Committee, told thenff.com.

Also on Monday, the organizers moved the clash between Bayelsa United FC and FC Zamfara, earlier slated for Port Harcourt, to Nembe Stadium, just as the match between Ngwa FC of Ebonyi and FC Galadima of Kebbi will now hold at the Abakaliki Township Stadium. Organizers passed the two stadia fit to host the matches, which will come up on Wednesday.

The clash between Yobe Desert Stars and Kano Pillars will now take place in Damaturu on Thursday, 24th August.

Nigeria Football Federation