Archive for February, 2014

Nigeria’s World Cup plans progressing nicely | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, February 28th, 2014

As we enter 2014, and draw ever closer to the FIFA World Cup, the Super Eagles’ are readying themselves for what will be one of the most important sporting events of their careers. Those who support this team, like Tunde Folawiyo, may know that travel and accommodation arrangements have been made, and a few days ago, Adamu Emozozo¬† – the Eagles’ new ambassador – publically pledged his support for the team.

Emozozo expressed his confidence in the players’ abilities, and stated that he would ensure that the embassy would not interfere with the NFF’s decisions regarding any administrative or technical issues which might arise before or during the team’s time in Brazil. Responding to Emozozo’s words, Aminu Maigari, the NFF’s chairman, stated that he and his colleagues were looking forward to working alongside the ambassador.

Whilst theTunde Folawiyo NFF appear to be very well organised in regards to the logistics, there are still many questions surrounding how the team will actually fare at this tournament. Judging by his recent conversations with the press, Stephen Keshi, the team’s coach, is well aware of just how crucial the next five months will be for the team, and has been going to great lengths to physically and mentally prepare the players for the tournament.

His overall outlook appears to be quite optimistic; he has stated that he sees no reason why they should not reach the semi-finals. He has also said that he intends to make sure all of the chosen players remain in the best possible condition in the run up to their first World Cup match, adding that he would be using the players’ performances at CHAN to determine which ones he should include in the final squad in June. As a fan of this team, Tunde Folawiyo is probably quite eager to find out which players have been chosen.

Keshi has yet to provide supporters with any clues as to whom he might select; however, sports commentators have speculated that Shola Ameobi and Sone Aluko are potential candidates. Keshi has made no secret of his admiration for Ameobi’s skills on the pitch, and despite the controversy surrounding this player’s absence from the CHAN tournament, it is possible that the striker’s impressive performance during the recent match against Italy may renew the coach’s faith in him. Aluko has also been absent from the Eagles’ training sessions and matches, due to a persistent problem with his Achilles tendon, but many people still believe that he has a chance of being in the final squad, provided he regains his previous levels of fitness.

Super Eagles victorious over Mozambique | Tunde Folawiyo

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Super Eagles’ supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo will probably be aware of how well the team have performed over the past year. Given how successful 2013 was for the Super Eagles, it’s safe to say that their fans’ expectations were high when the team entered the CHAN (African Nations Championship) tournament. Unfortunately, Nigeria got off to a poor start, with Mali defeating them in thTunde Folawiyoeir first match.

The Super Eagles’ coach Stephen Keshi, was quick to address the issues which led to this loss, ensuring that only the best players were included in the line-up for their next match against Mozambique. Whilst he expressed disappointment that both Benjamin Francis and Ikenna Hillary Paul would not be able play in this game, due to their recently-acquired injuries, he immediately selected a number of highly capable replacements, including Abdullahi Shehu, and Kano Pillars.

Despite his lacklustre performance in the Mali match, Chigozie Agbim was also kept on by the coach. This was a decision which was questioned by many commentators; however, clearly, Keshi chose well; Nigeria performed better than they have in several months, finishing with a final result of 4-2. Goals from the likes of Barnabas Imenger, Ifeanyi Ede and Rabiu Ali all contributed to this outstanding win.

The game did not begin well for Nigeria however, with Dario Khan providing their opponents with the first goal of the match, just 10 minutes into the first half. It probably came as quite a relief to fans like Tunde Folawiyo, when the Eagles managed to level the score seconds later, following a close range shot by Ede. Shortly after this, Rabiu Ali gave Nigeria the lead, after he kicked the ball into the net from 20 yards.

But the Eagles’ allowed these early successes to go their heads, and their complacency resulted in Alberto Diogo equalising in the 20th minute. No further goals were scored during the first-half, despite several efforts being made by both sides. After the interval, Nigeria’s lead was restored by Ali in the 54th minute.

Not long after this, Keshi brought on the substitute Imenger; this proved to be a wise decision, as the forward gave the team the winning goal in the 88th minute; swiftly bypassing Mozambique’s defence, Imenger accepted a pass from Kwambe, and with a quick kick, the ball went soaring into the net. This was a much-needed victory for Keshi and his team, with the former having expressed frustration at their most recent loss against Mali.