Archive for March, 2014

Nigeria World Cup arrangements almost complete | Tunde Folawiyo

Monday, March 31st, 2014

The World Cup is just three months away, and the Super Eagles are now nearing the end of their preparatory work for the tournament. The travel arrangements have been made, friendly matches have been scheduled, and the CAF (Confederation of African Football) has pledged to support the team throughout the event. Confirmation of this support was made following a meeting which the CAF had in Cairo earlier this month; a statement released by the organisation noted that it would be covering the costs of the teams’ accommodation throughout the World Cup.

Tunde Folawiyo

With the financial aspects of the trip now dealt with, the biggest question is – who will Keshi select for the final squad? As a fan of the Super Eagles, this is something which Tunde Folawiyo is probably quite curious about. Up until recently, Keshi has been less than forthcoming about who he wants on the squad, but in a recent interview, he did admit to having had a number of discussions with Imoh Ezekiel, the striker for Standard Liege, about the possibility of him representing Nigeria at the World Cup. Keshi stated that he had been in ‘constant contact’ with the player, and that Ezekiel had promised that he would make himself available for the World Cup.

Whilst the manager has begun to open up about this subject, he has not yet spoken about which goalkeeper he will choose. Fans of the Super Eagles, including Tunde Folawiyo, might be aware that Vincent Enyeama has been Keshi’s preferred keeper for quite some time, having made regular appearances on the pitch for Nigeria over the past twelve years.

But some have speculated that Enyeama is no longer the manager’s top choice, and that Austin Ejide might be in the running for the World Cup squad. Ejide performed well at the team’s matches against Cape Verde and Venezuela, and Keshi has spoken positively about his goalkeeping skills in the past.

With the exception of the squad selection, most of the larger issues relating to the World Cup have been addressed. Now, Keshi and the rest of the management staff are focusing on the finer points of the tournament, and are collaborating with Adidas, to ensure that the players look their best when they step out onto the pitch in June.

This month, the team were informed that they will be given brand new kits for their matches in Brazil; a representative from Adidas, their apparel sponsor, stated that the new uniform would feature a lighter green base, with dark green pinstripes. Adidas have imprinted their own iconic white stripes on to the sleeves, and have added the word ‘Nigeria’ onto the back of the shirt.

Keshi and Nigerian President discuss results of CHAN | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Fans of the Super Eagles experienced mixed emotions after the team won the bronze medal at CHAN. Some were thrilled with the results, whilst others felt that the players could have done better. Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian President, seemed to be pleased with Tunde Folawiyothe Eagles’ performance at CHAN, rewarding the players with a prize of N31 million after the tournament. Speaking in Abuja, at a dinner which he hosted for the team, he said he had been particularly amazed at how well they had played in their match against Morocco, which resulted in a 4-3 victory.

Keshi, the Super Eagles’ manager, also said that he was delighted with how the Eagles had done. In a press conference, he expressed his gratitude to the Nigeria Football Federation, who had supported him and the team throughout the tournament, and praised the players, whom he said had followed his instructions well, and performed admirably on the pitch. He went on to say that the team were now beginning to better understand his strategies, adding that they had shown a great deal of ‘mental strength’ during their final match against Zimbabwe.

Super Eagles supporters, such as Tunde Folawiyo, might be surprised to learn that Keshi was not disappointed that they had not won the gold; the manager explained that his primary concern throughout the tournament was to determine which players were good enough for the World Cup squad. He then said that he would be taking the same approach to the upcoming friendly against Mexico – rather than worrying too much about the outcome of the match, he would be focusing on which individual players perform best.

With regards to which players he may choose, or exclude from the World Cup squad, the jury is still out. However, a number of sports commentators have suggested that Ugonna Uzochukwu has a good chance of being selected. Supporters like Tunde Folawiyo will probably know that, despite the fact that many people expressed misgivings about his presence on the team early on in the tournament, Uzochukwu performed outstandingly well, giving the Eagles their first goal in their match against Morocco.

Rabiu Ali is another player whom commentators believe might make it to Brazil this year; his consistently reliable performance in midfield, coupled with his ability to create goal scoring opportunities for others, have played a significant role in the Eagles’ success in CHAN.

Jay-Jay Okocha & The Nigerian National Football Team | Tunde Folawiyo

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The Nigerian national football team – nicknamed the “Super Eagles” – continue to serve Nigeria as a respected organisation with millions of loyal fans, including those such as Nigerian native Tunde Folawiyo and others throughout various African nations. Since the team’s founding in 1945, the Super Eagles have accomplished various fetes of significance, further cementing their spot as one of Africa’s most proud teams.

Throughout its rich history as a franchise, the Super Eagles have housed many athletes of incredible talent, each possessing expert skill and a passion for the game. Among these are Taye Taiwo, famed throughout football for his powerful long-range shooting and free kicks and Rashidi Yekin who was awarded the title of African Footballer of the Year in 1993.

One of the most revered players in Super Eagles history is Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha. Born in Enugu, Enugu State on 14 August 1973, Okocha remains one of Africa’s most famed footballers. A midfielder highly-recognised for his skill, technique and overall athleticism, Okocha has long served as one of the Super Eagle’s most prominent players, garnering the respect of millions of Super Eagles fans. Like many other football stars, his passion for football began as a young boy. Joining the Enugu Rangers in 1990, Okocha displayed various triumphs on tTunde Folawiyohe field, demonstrating a superior skill for the game.

Okocha made his official debut for Nigeria in their 2–1 1994 FIFA World Cup where he assisted the team in 4–1 win which led to qualification to their first World Cup. Okocha’s first tournament as captain of the Super Eagles came in the 2002 World Cup co-hosted by Korea and Japan. Scoring four goals in the quarter finals, Okocha led the Super Eagles team to third place at the 2004 African Nations Cup in Tunisia and was awarded Player of the tournament and joint Golden boot winner.

After more than a decade of service to the Super Eagles, Okocha announced that he would retire from the international scene after the Cup of Nations in Egypt. He then played in his final international appearance in a 2–1 victory in a third place playoff against Senegal in 2007 where he was honoured with a standing ovation nearly 60,000 fans in attendance. Named among the top 125 living footballers by Pelé in March 2004, Okocha remains a source of inspiration for millions of football fans throughout Nigeria and beyond such as Tunde Folawiyo and those with a passion for African sports.

The Pride of the Nigerian National Football Team | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, March 21st, 2014

With a rich team history dating back to 1949, the Nigeria National Football Team, – nicknamed the Super Eagles – are the 3-time Africa Cup of Nations champions, honours demonstrating the team’s vast talents in the sport of football. Inspiring millions of fans such as Tunde Folawiyo, the Super Eagles have housed some of Africa’s greatest athletes. Among their many revered accomplishments, the Super Eagles once ranked 5th in the FIFA World Rankings in 1994 – the highest ranking in history for an African football team – solidifying the team’s significant role in the world of African sports.

Tunde FolawiyoControlled by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the Nigerian National Football Team has accomplished great fetes in their 70-year team history. These various honours include, most notably, a gold medal win in the 2nd All-Africa games. The Super Eagles, formally nicknamed the Green Eagles, have twice qualified for the FIFA World Cup round of 16 and have appeared in five of the past six World Cups. With this, they became the first African football team to win gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, before going on to win the Silver Medal in Beijing.

Throughout their accomplished history in the world of football, the Super Eagles have served as home to some of football’s most respected athletic talents including Kanu Nwankwo, who – as a striker – remains one of Africa’s most decorated footballers. Kanu Nwankwo is one of few footballers to win the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal. As a two-time African Footballer of the year, Nwankwo served his team from 1994 until 2010, concluding his international career following the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. His time as captain of the Super Eagles is forever embedded in the team’s history. Amidst his athletic accomplishments with the Super Eagles, Kanu Nwankwo was diagnosed with a serious heart defect and underwent heart surgery in November of 1996. Known throughout Africa for his philanthropic work, Kanu Nwankwo founded the Kanu Heart Foundation, an organisation that helps predominantly young African children who suffer heart defects and whose work was expanded to provide aid for homeless children in 2008. He, along with other revered Nigerian players such as Patrick Olusegun Odegbami and Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha will forever be cemented in the team’s history as some of the greatest players to wear the green jersey. Through the support of fans like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout the continent and beyond, the Super Eagles will continue to showcase their immense talent to the masses.

The Accomplishments of Segun Odegbami | Tunde Folawiyo

Monday, March 17th, 2014

With a rich team history spanning over 70 years, Nigeria’s football team holds a vibrant, loyal fan base of millions, including Nigerian Tunde Folawiyo. Controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation, the Nigerian national football team (NFF) – nicknamed the Super Eagles – has won many distinctions in their history as a franchise. The team currently ranks 37th in the FIFA World Cup Rankings – a greatly significant accomplishment for an African sports team. The Super Eagles won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, a title they’ve won 3 times in their history, demonstrating the team’s immense talent on the field.

Tunde FolawiyoThe Nigerian national football team became the first African football team to win gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, an accomplishment of vast significance for African sports. Twice qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Round of 16, the team later went on to win a Silver Medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 after suffering a 0-1 defeat against Argentina. The Super Eagles won a gold medal in the 2nd All-Africa games and later went on to win third place in the 1976 and 1978 African Cup of Nations.

The Nigerian National Football team has been home to players of immense talent in the sport of football. Patrick Olusegun Odegbami, often shortened to Segun Odegbami was born August 27, 1952, in Abeokuta. Brought up in the northern city of Jos, Plateau State guided Nigeria to its first Africa Cup of Nations title at the 1980 tournament. Famed for his skill on the ball, speed and precision of his crosses from the right wing, Ogedbami earned the nickname “Mathematical”, partly because he attended The Polytechnic – Nigeria’s premier technical institution – and graduated with a degree in Engineering. His last game was the 1984 African Champions Cup final defeat to Zamalek of Egypt. Throughout his career, Segun Odegbami exuded tremendous skill on the field, assisting in the team in many honours. Years after his retirement, Segun Odegbami played a charity game with the much loved Zebrudaya and donated his entire winnings to The Little Saints’ Orphanage on the Strong Tower Mission, further exemplifying the character and integrity of some of the team’s most respected players. With their long-standing devotion and success throughout their history as a team, the Super Eagles have forever impacted the world of African sports. As they embark on a new year of play, the Super Eagles continue to inspire millions of fans throughout the world, including native Nigerian Tunde Folawiyo.

Nigeria lose to Ghana in penalty playoff | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Shortly before their recent semi-final match against Ghana, the Super Eagles were promised a payout of $100,000 – in addition to the NFF’s match win bonuses – if they defeated their opponents. The same offer had been made before the Eagle’s clash with Morocco last month, and seemed to work well, as the former emerged victorious, with a final result of 4-3. But this time, the monetary incentTunde Folawiyoive simply wasn’t enough; Ghana managed to beat Nigeria 4-1, following a round of penalties taken at the end of extra time. This probably came as quite a shock to fans of the team, like Tunde Folawiyo, as the Eagles have performed consistently well for the past year or so.

During the opening minutes of the match, Nigeria appeared to be the superior side, retaining possession of the ball and attacking with great skill.  However, throughout the rest of the game, neither team managed to gain the upper hand. Ghana came close to scoring in the 10th minute, when Attobrah attempted to kick the ball in from the corner, but the Eagles were quick to defend themselves; in the end, his efforts proved fruitless. Just a couple of minutes later, Ibrahim almost provided Nigeria with the lead, but his shot was just wide of the net.

Ghana was dealt a blow in the 64th minute, when the referee decided to send off Adusei, following his second bookable offence. This left the team with just 10 players, and provided Nigeria with a clear advantage; but whilst the Eagles made several valiant attempts, they were unable to overcome Ghana’s strong defence and as the whistle blew, the score remained 0-0.  During extra time, Afful nearly gave the Black Stars a goal, but his efforts were thwarted by Agbim. Nigeria were given a similar scoring opportunity during the 118th minute, but Imenger failed to convert – by the end of extra time, neither team had managed to score, and the match went into penalties.

Kwambe, the Eagles’ defender, delivered a powerful kick, but the ball never reached the net, as the Black Star’s keeper, Adams, performed a skilful save. Uzochukwu’s endeavour was equally unsuccessful. Ghana’s chosen players,  Ainooson, Anobaah, Akuffo and Attobrah, each scored one goal, and in doing so, dashed Nigeria’s hopes of winning the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) – a fact which is likely to disappoint Tunde Folawiyo, and other supporters. Following this loss, the Eagles must now battle against Zimbabwe for the tournament’s bronze medal.

Super Eagles awarded bronze medal at CHAN | Tunde Folawiyo

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Fans of the Super Eagles, such as Tunde Folawiyo, were most likely disappointed with the team’s recent failure to triumph over Ghana; the loss eliminated Nigeria as potential winners of the Championship of African Nations (CHAN). However, following this defeat, they managed to claim the bronze medal, by beating Zimbabwe in a match held at Cape Town Stadium. Whilst supporters were understTunde Folawiyoandably despondent after learning that the Eagles would not be crowned champions of this tournament, the team’s victory over the Warriors has no doubt lifted their spirits, and given them hope that Nigeria will still perform well at the World Cup.

The playoff, which resulted in a final tally of 1-0, was an entertaining one, with both sides playing skilfully. Just five minutes in, Ibrahim had an opportunity to give the Eagles the lead, but Zimbabwe’s defenders obstructed his path, and no goal was scored. Moments later, the Warriors were given their own chance, when Mahachi took advantage of a counter attack, gained possession of the ball and made his way towards the post; however, there were no players inside the penalty area to convert.

Following this, Zimbabwe lost one of its key players, the midfielder Masimba Mambare, after he was dealt a red card for having struck Chigozie Agbim in the shoulder. This meant that the Warriors were forced to play with just 10 men for more than 70 minutes of the match. Although this should have made things easier for the Eagles, they struggled to push past Zimbabwe’s defence, and both Imenger and Obiozor failed in their attempts to score during the first half.

After the interval, Benjamin Francis suffered an injury which left him unable to participate; Keshi selected Ejike Uzoenyi as his replacement. This proved to be a wise decision, as Uzoenyi played an important role in dismantling the Warriors’ defence line throughout the remainder of the game. Even with the winger’s help however, no goals were scored for the next half hour, and the likelihood of the match ending in a draw appeared to be quite high.

Kwambe’s free kick in the 64th minute seemed as if it might break the deadlock, but the ball ended up just wide of the post. However, with just five minutes left on the clock, Nigeria’s fate was sealed, when Uzoenyi swept past Zimbabwe’s defence and kicked the ball to Obiozor, who promptly headed it into the net. Tunde Folawiyo, and other Eagles supporters were no doubt relieved and delighted by this goal, which left the Nigerian team with the bronze medal.

Keshi discusses squad selection for the World Cup | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, March 7th, 2014

When asked how he thinks the Super Eagles will fare at the World Cup this year, Stephen Keshi simply stated that although he has high hopes for the team, and is optimistic about their chances of reaching the semi-finals, he intends to take it one step at a time, and for now, is only concerned with ensuring that they get past the group stage.

MTunde Folawiyoany Super Eagles’ supporters, including Tunde Folawiyo, are probably beginning to wonder which players Keshi will choose for the World Cup. Whilst the coach has refused to provide any names as of yet, he has said that he will be limiting the total number of people on the squad; in a recent interview, he explained that bringing 40 men to Brazil was unnecessary, and would only serve to distract the team.

Keshi also noted that he had been monitoring the performances of his players throughout the African Nations Cup, and would be basing his final selections on how well each person played during the tournament. He remarked that he had been very impressed by how hard they had worked over the past six weeks, and that this would make it all the more difficult to choose the right members for the squad.

In a separate interview in Cape Town, just after Nigeria’s victory over Zimbabwe, Keshi stated that he would only pick a maximum of four people from the Super Eagles to join them for the World Cup, adding that those who are selected must demonstrate self-discipline, dedication and respect. He then went on to thank the Sports Ministry and the Nigeria Football Federation for their support throughout the Championship of African Nations (CHAN), and expressed his gratitude to the technical crew and backroom staff, who had worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of each match.

Although, for the most part, Keshi has remained tight-lipped about the players he intends to choose, he has publically stated that he is considering the Villareal striker, Ikechukwu Uche, for his squad. This should come as no surprise to fans such as Tunde Folawiyo, who are familiar with the Super Eagles’ previous matches, as Uche has played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s past successes, having been a part of the squad for both the 2008 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. In addition to this, he has also done well whilst playing for Villareal – during his 19 appearances for the Spanish team, he scored a total of 12 goals. Keshi has admitted that he has been following Uche’s career closely, and would be giving the striker the opportunity to try out for the squad when the time comes.

Super Eagles triumph in match against Bafana Bafana | Tunde Folawiyo

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

The Super Eagles emerged as victors in their recent match against Bafana Bafana, finishing with a score of 3-1. For those who, like Tunde Folawiyo, have supported Nigeria for some time, this win should come as no surprise; these two teams have played against each other eight times over the past 22 years, but Bafana Bafana have only managed to defeat the Eagles on one occasion – the Nelson Mandela Challenge of 2004.

Prior to the match, Gordon Igesund, the South African team’s coach, made several changes to the team, replacing Thato Mokeke and Buhle Mkhwanazi with Tebogo Langerman and Tefu Mashamaite, and Itumeleng Khune with Moeneeb Josephs. The match itself was a tense one, with both teams having players – Solomon Kwambwe and Vuyo Mere – sent off.

Tunde FolawiyoThe lead was taken by the Eagles 22 minutes in, when Uzoenyi decided to show off his technical ability by taking a pass from Ede and immediately sweeping it into the net. Just ten minutes after this, they scored a second time, via a free kick taken by Ede. At half-time, Igesund attempted to improve the situation by making further substitutions, replacing Vilakazi with Chabangu.

His efforts were to no avail however, with the Eagles’ tripling their advantage in the 63rd minute, thanks to some skillful footwork  by Uzoenyi. This third goal seemed to energise Bafana Bafana, and although at this point, it was clear who would win the match, they made an impressive effort to reduce the deficit, with Park successfully slotting the ball in a few minutes before the final whistle. His opportunity came about via a penalty, which was awarded after the midfielder Mashego took a tumble, because of an error made by Uzochukwu.

Whilst Tunde Folawiyo and other Eagles’ fans were most likely thrilled by the team’s amazing performance, South African supporters will undoubtedly be very disappointed by the result. This loss spells the end of the road for Bafana Bafana in the CHAN tournament; following their draw against Mali, they needed to win this match in order to qualify for the next round.

In an interview afterwards, Gordon Igesund was diplomatic about the team’s defeat, stating that the Eagles’ victory was ‘well deserved’ and that there were no excuses for how poorly his team had played. He added that Nigeria were clearly faster and physically stronger, and that they had, quite rightly, taken full advantage of the mistakes made by the South Africans.