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Super Eagles need Home Based Players, not Peseiro’s Sack – Ekpo

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Ex-international, Friday Ekpo, says sacking Super Eagles Head Coach, José Peseiro, is not as crucial as adding fresh home based and foreign professionals to key departments of the team.

Ekpo said this in an interview on Tuesday in Lagos, against the backdrop of Super Eagles unimpressive performance in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

Reports says that Super Eagles drew 1-1 in Uyo on matchday one against Lesotho, a team that has never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations.

A few days later, the Super Eagles were held to another 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe in Rwanda to bag only two points from their first two games.

The Portuguese has been under immense criticism after guiding the three-time African champions to two disappointing results in November.

Ekpo, the Former Super Eagles midfielder, appealed to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) not to heed the call by football enthusiasts to sack the coach.

“I’m not calling for Jose’s head like most people are, sacking him will be counterproductive at this point in time. These results can be reversed in subsequent matches.

“My only concern is that we shouldn’t have only foreign based players in the team, because selecting his team for matches will be tough.

“No foreign based player would like to leave their clubs just for them to come and seat on the bench, we’ve done it in the past and it worked, we can do that again,” he said.

Peseiro is set to submit a 55-man provisional list ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Dec.14.

Reports says that participating countries can name a maximum 27 players in their squad for the 2023 AFCON finals as against the usual 23. The final roaster is expected to be submitted by Jan. 3, 2024.

Ekpo, a member of the 1992 African Cup of Nation squad, says that the victory of Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON was sealed by a home based player at the time, Sunday Mba.

“Sunday Mba was a Warrior Wolves of Asaba player. Late Stephen Keshi did that, and the result was glaring. Moreover, this is the only way we can truly develop our domestic league.

“We all want results but it’s important we pay attention to history and learn from it,” he said. (NAN)

SPORTS

Sunday Dare, Obaseki, Runsewe, Others Get Recognition at 4th Sportsville Awards

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Mr Godwin Obaseki
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The Immediate past Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, and Sen. Orji Kalu, on Friday got  awarded for their contributions to sports development in Nigeria.

Reports says that the awardees were honoured at the fourth Sportsville Special Recognition Awards,  at the Eko Club, Surulere, Lagos.

Other eminent sports personalities were also rewarded for their various contributions to the growth of sports in the country.

Dare got awarded as ‘Sports Administrator of the Year’, while Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo was honoured for providing a state-of-the-art sporting complex, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, in Benin City.

Kalu and Olusegun Runsewe, President of Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), got special recognition awards respectively.

Others are Chairman of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), Mr Gbenga Elegbeleye; Victor Ochei, former Delta commissioner for sports;  Chief Solomon Ogba, and Igoche Mark.

Also on the award list is Eddington Kuejubola, a one time coordinator of the Super Eagles; as well as  ace sports journalist and FIFA recognised World Cup attendee, Mr Kunle Solaja, who both got special recognition awards.

Sam Ochebo, President of Handball Federation, got an award for his landmark achievements in development of handball in Nigeria.

The long list of awardees also has Hajiya Zainab Saleh, for pioneering the promotion of women in Karate in Nigeria, while Mrs Hauwa-Kulu Akinyemi, a retired director, got recognised for her prowess in sports administration at the Federal Ministry of Sports.

Uyi Akpata, President of Nigeria Cricket Federation, got  an award for championing the growth of Cricket in Nigeria, while Francis Orbih, President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Jenkins Alumona and  Chikelue Iloenyosi also got rewarded for  efforts in their various fields.

Oladimeji Oshode was awarded ‘Media Officer of the Year’.

A post humous award was given to Late Sebastian Brodricks.

Speaking on the event, it’s Chairman and Head of Local Organising Committee, Segun Odegbami, said that the award has made significant development in recognising those that have made sports great in Nigeria.

“This is an opportunity today to recall bits and pieces of our history, particularly the most successful sides.

“Those that received the honours are the ones who have made significant contributions to sports development in Nigeria either in corporate organisations or individual.

“This is a good opportunity for us to recall that history, those who have performed excellently, so I am delighted to be part of this history.

“The award that I also received was a big surprise for me, though not as a footballer, or journalist, but as a chairman of the event,” he said.

In his response, Dare said that he foresees a great future for Nigerian sports given the foundation he had laid while he was the minister.

Also, Akpata said that he would continue to lay solid foundation for cricket in Nigeria. (NAN)

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SPORTS

NFF Seeks Increased Corporate Organisations  Funding of Nigerian Football

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has called on corporate organisations to increase support to the federation to help develop football in the country.

The NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau made the call when MTN Nigeria hosted the Super Eagles on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that Super Eagles finished as runner up to the host country, Ivory Coast at the just concluded 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d`Ivoire.

Gusau said without finance the team would not have achieved what it achieved in the tournament.

“All of us today would have loved to be celebrating here with the trophy but unfortunately God knows why.

“We thank God at least as we heard from the captain this is the beginning of the new dawn as far as Nigerian football is concerned.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank MTN for their support and I hope that other corporate organisations will come up to see how they can support us the most.

“Without finances we cannot achieve what we have been able to achieve, so we need more corporate organisations to support us to build on what we have so far built,” he said.

The Chairman MTN Board of Directors, Prof. Ernest Ndukwe, said that  MTN’s support for  the Eagles was  its own way of giving back to the society.

“This is because MTN is a sport loving organisation. Over the years, we have always wanted to support the Super Eagles in various ways. MTN is fully committed to continuing the Super Eagles.

“We are building a nation where sports have a great role to play as a unifying force. So if we support sports, we are actually promoting unity among Nigerians,” he said.

The MTN’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Karl Toriola on his part appreciated the emotional commitment of the players to succeed.

“What I liked about this team which we haven’t seen in other teams of other nations was the visible emotional commitment to succeed.

“Unfortunately we didn’t bring the cup home but that is always going to be difficult when you are playing against your host country.

“You guys have shown your complete commitment through your leadership, and we are extremely proud of you supporting the Nigerian football federation and the super eagles,” he said

Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, thanked everyone that supported the team all through their preparations and the tournament proper.

“To the NFF I thank you, MTN I thank you, Nigerians I thank you for all the support,”he said

The Assistant Captain of the Super Eagles, Troost Ekong who spoke on behalf of the team, said this was the beginning of a new era.

“Thank you NFF, thank you MTN, thank you Nigerians, thank you our fans. We have given everything we have and have made everyone proud.

“We will be better in the future. Because this is not the end but the beginning of something new and we are hoping for the best,”he said.

Mrs Ifueko Okauru, Board Member, MTN Nigeria and former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said MTN supported all gender, age brackets, abled and disabled persons in the society.

“MTN supports all genders and all of us able and disabled, young and old. Whatever is needed to support MTN is here to support.

“Sports development is more than just what corporate organisations do; it needs significant funding and it also needs passion to ensure that this is done and done excellently.

“I must say though we all love sports, the fans are a major part of sports development.

“The economic condition of the fans is very important to ensure that as a corporate organization, we drive sports development by encouraging fans development and developing businesses around sports to grow sports,” he said. (NAN)

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SPORTS

Côte d’Ivoire wins African Cup of Nations after Defeating Nigeria.

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THE host, Elephants Of Ivory Coast beat Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 to win the Africa Cup of Nations 2023.

It’s was all Ivory Coast but they weren’t able to make their possession count and Nigeria strike with their first serious attempt in the 38th minute.

A corner is only half cleared to William Troost-Ekong who powers a header into the net.

The centre-back and captain Troost-Ekong has scored three goals at this year’s Afcon.

That’s one more than he managed during his whole 68 appearances in three seasons at Watford.

Ivory Coast got a deserved equaliser in the 62nd minute, as poor marking allows Franck Kessie to head his country back with a fine corner from Gradel.

Kessie was about eight yards out but he was totally unmarked.

The host took the lead in the 81st-Minute, the roof came off as Sebastien Haller sticks out a leg to turn Simon Adingra’s cross past Super Eagles keeper, Nwabali.

The Super Eagles have lost more Afcon finals than they have won.

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