Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Brother and Sister Playing For Nigeria

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

The Nigerian football team has a long and proud history. The men’s team has produced some sensational talents since its inception including such world stars as Kanu and JayJay Okocha. But now the “Super Eagles”, as the Nigerian team have been named by their fans, have something else to celebrate and be proud of – the national women’s team has been reaching new heights as a competitive force on the international scene. Furthermore, what links this proud family in more ways than one are Bright and Courtney Dike, both fierce supporters of the national game in Nigeria,  both playing professionally, both representing their country at international level, and what’s more, both brother and sister.

Tunde FolawiyoKnown as “The Falconets”, Nigeria’s under 20′s all-female team achieved a magnificent milestone in reaching the 2014 Under 20′s World Cup Final after beating North Korea 6-2 in their semi-final match. It was there that Courtney Dike graced the world stage at its highest level in front of a packed crowd in Canada. Having the entire country behind the Nigerian team might have been enough to put pressure on the players, but playing in front of a brother who has also played for Nigeria equally could have been nerve-wracking. Her brother, Bright Dike, plays in Canada and has done for most of his career. Since 2012, he has had two capped appearances and a goal to his name, but there was no sibling rivalry on display during the cup final, and no visible nerves on the pitch. Bright Dike turned up to cheer on his sister, hoping that she and the rest of the under 20′s Nigerian team could defeat a resolute Germany side, as did ordinary Nigerian football fans such as Tunde Folawiyo.

Unfortunately it was not to be, and Nigeria was defeated by Germany, losing to a 98th minute goal in extra time from the opposition’s Petermann. Despite this, Bright Dike feels that the achievement of reaching a World Cup final and matching one of the world’s most famous footballing nations shows how much the game has grown in Nigeria, and how much there is to look forward to over the next few years for fans of the Falconets. It appears that this has been embraced by the fan-base, as interest in Nigeria’s national men’s and women’s teams continues to grow, illustrated by the volume of online activity on social media and other websites as fans post videos about their homeland and football, such as those seen on Tunde Folawiyo’s Youtube channel.

For an African nation to reach such heady heights, and show the skill and determination to compete with the best, is something which many will feel all fans of African football can be proud of. For Courtney Dike and the other Falconets it is just the beginning, and in the years to come they will have a great chance to better their runner-up position in 2014 in future competitions if they build on this positive experience.

The Greatest Nigerian Footballer of All Time

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Nigeria has produced a number of world class footballers who have all shone on the international stage by representing the national team. Also known as the “Super Eagles”, the Nigerian national team has continued to be one of the most successful African teams in both the African Cups of Nations and at the World Cup which is held every four years. With such an embarrassment of riches at their disposal, and aTunde Folawiyo long illustrious footballing pedigree, fans such as Nigerian football enthusiast Tunde Folawiyo and others continue to debate over who is the greatest Nigerian footballer of all time.

Regardless of the opinion held by different fans, many tend to mention the same names: Nwankwo Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha, Rashidi Yekini, Taribo West, and Segun Odegbami to name but a few. All of these players, and several others who are often thrown into the mix, have all represented the Nigerian national team many times, showing their world class skills off to the footballing world. Deciding which player deserves to be crowned “the greatest” is one which continues to be fiercely contested by football enthusiasts.

Perhaps the most famous player amongst them is certainly Nwankwo Kanu. Playing for Arsenal in the most competitive football environment in the world, the English Premiere League, Kanu established himself as a firm fan favourite at the London club and an integral part of the successes which that particular Arsenal vintage achieved.  Following on from winning the Dutch league and Champions League with Ajax, Kanu secured two back to back titles for Arsenal, cementing his reputation as a Nigerian great.

Other players such as Segun Odegbami also achieved much, establishing a reputation as a wonderful talent. With 46 caps and 23 goals for the Nigerian national team, he became a firm fan favourite by being a member of the first ever Super Eagles team to win the Africa Cup of Nations in 1980. That win symbolised the true beginning of Nigeria as an international force to be reckoned with, and acted as the foundation for the country’s later successes.

It appears that Nigeria has such a long and important history of producing world class talent that it is almost impossible to choose one player as “the best”. Football fans, such as Tunde Folawiyo, continue to support the team and its future players regardless of who is deemed most talented, while being committed towards other African sporting initiatives such as those seen at the Polo International Tournament. This all-encompassing support of Nigerian sport is perhaps the biggest asset which the game of football has in the country.

In their more recent achievements, including winning the 2013 African Cup of Nations, the most recent crop of players may one day enter onto the lists of Nigerian fans’ favourites. This passion for supporting home grown talent is sure to fuel the continued production of world class footballers and other athletes, making it even more difficult to select one “best” footballer in the future—a problem which Nigerian football fans will welcome.

Will Keshi leave the Super Eagles?

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoFor his efforts in leading the Super Eagles to the final 16 of this year’s World Cup, Stephen Keshi earned a sum of $300,000. In addition to this, the team’s victory over Bosnia earned the coach another $40,000. However, whilst helping the players to reach this stage of the tournament was certainly a great achievement, Keshi’s critics contend that he did not do his job as well as he should have, thereby implying that perhaps this large payment was not deserved.

In a recent report, a sports commentator argued that there were obvious weaknesses within the squad, which could have been addressed through the inclusion of players such as Reuben Gabriel. It was also asserted that there were several team members who should not have made the squad, including John Obi Mikel.

Those who support the Eagles, like Tunde Folawiyo, may know that Chief Michael Ajayi had much to say on this subject as well; in a press conference in Lagos, the retired referee criticised Keshi for selecting what he described as a ‘structurally defective’ group of players. He said that, when one looked closely at who had been chosen for the squad, it was clear that they could not possibly make it past the round of 16.

Shortly after Nigeria was eliminated from the World Cup, rumours began to fly regarding Keshi’s future with the Super Eagles. It was suggested that he would almost certainly be leaving, and that SAFA (the South African Football Association) were going to offer him the job of head coach of Bafana Bafana. However, whilst SAFA did acknowledge that Keshi was in the running for this position, they later announced that they would be hiring Ephraim Masaba instead.

In light of this information, fans such as Tunde Folawiyo are no doubt wondering what Keshi’s next move will be. The coach has admitted that he would be very happy to remain in his current role, provided there were some improvements to his contractual conditions, as there have been some issues regarding delays with his salary in the past. Immediately after the World Cup, the NFF refused to comment on the matter; however, they have since released a statement, explaining that they are now in talks with Keshi, and are hoping to extend his contract, although they cannot guarantee that this will happen.

The above-mentioned Eagles’ supporter Folawiyo is a well-known entrepreneur. If you would like to learn more about him, read the Frontiers success story on Tunde Folawiyo.

Changes in store for the Super Eagles after World Cup elimination

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Nigeria have been eliminated from the World Cup, following their defeat at the hands of France. This news has no doubt disappointed many fans, including Tunde Folawiyo. The Super Eagles got off to a good start, managing to defend themselves with ease up until the interval; however, during the second half of the match, their opponents suddenly came back to life, taking the lead at 79 minutes, when Vincent Enyeama failed to block a header by Paul Pogba. Shortly after this, Nigeria’s fate was sealed by their own captain, Joseph Yobo, who accidentally scored an own goal.

Tunde FolawiyoThe match was somewhat controversial, as commentators noted that the referee made a number of errors in judgement. Some argued that he should have sent off Blaise Matuidi, after his unnecessarily aggressive challenge on the midfielder Ogenyi Onazi led to the player being carried off the field in a stretcher. It was also pointed out that Olivier Giroud should have received a harsher punishment for having intentionally elbowed John Obi Mikel. Keshi criticised the referee, and even went so far as to accuse him of being biased. He explained that whilst mistakes were bound to happen, the referee’s decisions were ‘questionable’.

In addition to delivering a scathing review of the referee, Keshi was also said to have announced that he would be stepping down as manager of the team. However, just two days after the media reported that he had resigned, Keshi released a statement denying this. He explained that he whilst he would probably be leaving, he was not choosing to do so, and was only moving on because his contract had not been renewed by the NFF.

The aforementioned Joseph Yobo also released a statement, announcing his retirement from international football. This should come as no surprise to Tunde Folawiyo or other Eagles’ fans, given Yobo’s unfortunate own goal. However, with the exception of his most recent match, Yobo has served the team well over the years, and will be remembered best for having been the first ever Eagles player to participate in 100 matches internationally. Yobo described his decision to leave as ‘bittersweet’, noting that whilst he will be sad to say goodbye, he is looking forward to focusing more on his family.

A look at the Super Eagles’ progress at the World Cup

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoSupporters of the Super Eagles, like Tunde Folawiyo, were no doubt relieved and delighted by  their victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina last week. Peter Odemwingie was responsible for the goal which ended the team’s nine year spell of World Cup matches in which they failed to win. The game finished with a score of 1-0, which led to Bosnia being eliminated from the tournament.

Nigeria were given other opportunities to score, but their efforts proved fruitless, with a free kick taken seven minutes into the match failing to reach the net, and Onazi’s long-range attempts continually saved by Begovic. Commentators noted that, following Nigeria’s draw with Iran, Bosnia possibly made the mistake of underestimating the Eagles’ abilities. Their lacklustre performance during this first match, coupled with the absence of some of their star players, such as Sunday Mba, may have led their opponents to conclude that Nigeria simply weren’t up to the task – an error in judgement which  could very well have been the cause of Bosnia’s defeat.

After the match, Odemwingie spoke of his team’s success, noting that the result is likely to have silenced their detractors. He added that it had been difficult for the Eagles to earn their three points, but that they were thrilled to have made such a comeback, following their somewhat disappointing performance against Iran.  Nigeria’s coach, Keshi, also spoke of the victory, saying that he was thrilled with the ‘fighting spirit’ which his team had demonstrated, but was not surprised by how well they had done, as he had always been confident that they would reach the round of 16.

However, regardless of how far the Eagles go in this tournament, Keshi will be leaving them after it ends. Fans of the Eagles, like Tunde Folawiyo, are doubtless saddened by this news. It has been reported that Keshi will be transferring to the South Africa Soccer Federation immediately after the World Cup finishes, in order to manage Bafana Bafana for the next two years. This development follows the news that South Africa fired the team’s previous coach, Gordon Igesund, after they drew in the match against Australia last month. According to recent news reports, the South African club has been impressed by how Keshi has managed the Eagles, and are hoping he will be able to improve Bafana Bafana.

Tunde Folawiyo | Nigeria Football President Confident in Team’s World Cup Hopes

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoAs the Super Eagles embark on their World Cup journey, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reassured millions of fans that the team will indeed impress as the Fifa tournament kicks in Brazil. Aminu Maigari, the federation’s president, has reiterated his confidence in the team despite their failure to triumph during their past five friendlies against teams like Mexico, Italy, Greece, Scotland and the United States. Hopeful Super Eagles fans like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout Nigeria may highly anticipate the team’s upcoming matches.

Aminu Maigari, the federation’s president, stated their confidence in Nigeria’s men’s team. Despite their failure to triumph over their past five international friendlies against Mexico, Italy, Scotland, Greece and the U.S.,  the Super Eagles are said to be ready ahead of their first World Cup match against Iran during 16 June. Maigari has spoken of his belief that the warm-up matches taught the team many lessons as he assures Nigerians that the team won’t disappoint fans in Brazil. Optimistic of the boys’ chances at victory, Maigari has spoken with Nigeria’s head coach, who apparently shares the same sentiment. According to him, viewing successful trainings during the USA has further solidified his faith in the team.

The Super Eagles have their work cut out for them as they enter the World Cup this June. They sit in Group F with former champions Argentina, Iran and Bosnia-Herzergovina. Both spirits and tensions are high for Super Eagles fans who rely heavily on the team for entertainment. Tunde Folawiyo and other fans throughout Africa and beyond may be pleased with the president’s confidence. Whilst a few friendly match losses do not predict a World Cup failure, the reaffirmations are undoubtedly music to Nigeria’s ears.

Nigeria’s football team has exhibited much pride throughout its history. During 1994, the team was ranked 5th on FIFA’s world ranking, the greatest ranking for an African team. As the reigning Cup of Nations champions, the team hopes to continue its record of triumphs. The team has won the tournament a total of three times, reaching FIFA’s World Cup rounds of 16 two times. Qualifying for five of FIFA’s last six Cup tournaments, the team is continues to forge a great impact on the field and in the world of African sports as a whole. Tunde Folawiyo and other fans throughout Africa may regard the proud history of the Super Eagles as a great motivator for World Cup victory.

Tunde Folawiyo | Super Eagles Confident As Draw Reveals Bafana Match

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Nigeria’s national football team, the Super Eagles, are displaying great confidence as news of the next Africa Nations Cup draw spreads. The 2015 tournament qualifiers will see the team face-off against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and Sudan, among others. As they have exhibited an extraordinary amount of talent in recent years, the Super Eagles remain high in the rankings for the Group A matches.

Loyal Super Eagles fans like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout Nigeria and Africa may be eager to witness the team’s much-anticipated contests ahead of this year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Tunde Folawiyo

The Super Eagles’ confidence level is not without foundation. There is much proof of their success of late, and as they embark on the next Nations Cup journey, they will be pitted against other Group A teams like Sudan. As the champions of the Nations Cup last year, Nigeria can approach the forthcoming tournament with strong confidence, especially with Bafana’s gradual slip down the ranks of the continental stage. The team’s record against Nigeria is unfortunate, to say the least.

Bafana’s reintroduction onto an international stage in 1992 began the start of a 1-6 record against Nigeria. But the team’s coach, Gordon Igesund, is optimistic about the coming fixture, calling the match a “fair draw”. The coach’s contract expires in July, leaving players and fans alike wondering whether it will be renewed. The South African Football Association has yet to give any indication, and the coach himself is staying quiet about what may happen in the coming months.

Bafana’s campaign begins in September with a trip to the east to compete against Sudan. Like Bafana, the Nile Crocodiles have won the Nations Cup championship once. They also failed to qualify for 2013’s Nations Cup in South Africa. Withstanding a disappointing qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup, the team is still under the control of coach Mohammed Abdallah.

While Sudan’s record lacks consistency, Igesund’s squad must not underestimate their East African opponent. Bafana’s final Group A match will be against Namibia, Libya, Rwanda or Congo. Libya seem to promise the greatest likelihood of advancement, as they took home last year’s Africa Nations Championship under coach Javier Clemente. They also exhibited impressive skill during their qualifying campaign for 2014’s World Cup, where they triumphed over Togo and Cameroon before finishing second in their group.

As the Super Eagles embark on their World Cup and Nations Cup journeys, the hopes of fans like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others remain high.

Tunde Folawiyo | Echiejile and Nigerian Squad Pleased with Odemwingie’s Return

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Left-back Elderson Echiejile is one of the many players and fans expressing delight over Osaze Odemwingie’s return to Nigeria’s national team. In a statement, Echiejile noted the experience and quality Odemwingie he is sure to bring to the field. The striker is just one of a 30-player provisional list recently released by team coach Stephen Keshi ahead of this summer’s World Cup tournament. Many throughout the country of Nigeria hold a great devotion to the team’s football success. Tunde Folawiyo and millions of other Nigerian football fans may be excited by the outstanding talent Odemwingie is expected to bring to the field.

Tunde FolawiyoWhilst Odemwingie’s place on the Nigerian national team is solidified, others like IK Uche and Brown Ideye were left behind. Though both players were part of Nigeria’s gold-winning Africa Cup of Nations team in 2013, they faced great competition. Echiejile, who previously made a shocking move to team Monaco, disclosed that he is unworried his play time with Ligue 1 side having an effect on his World Cup prospects.

Raised in Russia and Nigeria, Odemwingie began his Nigerian football career with Bendel Insurance. He then entered European football and spent season with Belgian side La Louviere before a move to Lille. Scoring 26 goals for the team, Odemwingie caught the attention of Lokomotiv Moscow, who paid £10 million to acquire his services during July 2007. With 23 goals over a period of three-and-a-half years for the team, he made the move to West Bromwich Albion during August of 2010. After a successful bout with the team that included 30 Premier League Goals, he was awarded the Premier League’s Player of the Month three times before being traded to Cardiff City for £2.25 million in 2003. After six months with Cardiff he joined Stroke City in an exchange with Kenwyne Jones during January 2014. Whilst his career has seen many transfers, his devotion to the country of Nigeria ever remained. African citizens such as Tunde Folawiyo may regard him as one of the most talented player in years.

Throughout its history as one of Africa’s most popular sports teams, the Nigerian National team continues to inspire legions of fans throughout the continent and all over the world. Nigerian citizens such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others may be excited by the news of Odemwingie’s return to the team ahead of the World Cup this summer. With the football hopes of a nation resting upon their shoulders, Odemwingie and the hopeful Nigerian squad are ready for battle.

Tunde Folawiyo | Super Eagles Chosen as United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The United Nations has selected the Super Eagles to serve as its goodwill ambassadors during the 2014’s FIFA World Cup, set to take place between June 12 – July 13 in Brazil. The continent of Africa has long been plagued with high incidences of AIDS throughout, with significant numbers of citizens succumbing to the disease each year. Through this partnership and the continued support of Tunde Folawiyo and billions of others throughout the globe, the devastating effects of AIDS may one day be but a distant memory.

Djibril Diallo, a Special Advisor for the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), released a statement at a news conference announcing a lunch of the organisations “Protect the Goal Initiative.” Seeking to utilize the power of sports and the building excitement surrounding the 2014 World Cup, the project is also committed to promoting an AIDS-free era for future generations.  hopes to achieve these goals through implementing a zero discrimination, zero infection and zero AIDS related death for others.

Diallo cited the Eagles’ pedigree in the sport and Nigeria’s political and economic influence on the continent as reason for the choice. He also spoke of the United Nations’ commitment to focusing on using the AIDS and HIV as a tool in targeting the Millennium Development Goals. Tunde FolawiyoWhilst the initiative was aimed at the World Cup’s 32 qualified teams, Diallo noted Nigeria as its primary focus. The campaign began on March 5 during a friendly game in South Africa with President Jacob Zuma lending his signature to the ball.

The campaign is expected to reach Mexico and Chile during the period between May 25 and June 5 before its departure for Brazil for a World Launch on June 9. Each stop will see the Head of State join forces with the national team to promote a heightened awareness of the UN’s goal.

According to Professor John Idoko, a group of 14 countries around the globe are today responsible for 60% of HIV cases, with 10 out of the 14 within Africa’s borders. As football attracts an enormous fellowship in Nigeria, the United Nations is determined to utilize the sport in raising awareness. Through this joint effort, the impact of AIDS may one day be reduced. Citizens of Nigeria including Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others may find the news of the Super Eagles ambassadorship as a positive step forward in the fight against HIV and AIDS throughout the continent.

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.