Odemwingie Future with Super Eagles Uncertain

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoNow that the Super Eagles’ World Cup venture has come to an end, the future of one of the team’s most beloved players remains uncertain. Peter Odemwingie has stated he is currently unsure of a future with Nigeria upon an early exit at this year’s World Cup. The forward secured the team’s only win with a goal against Bosnia-Herzegovina, demonstrating his great talents on the field. Tunde Folawiyo and millions of Super Eagles fans throughout Africa and beyond may be saddened to see the skilled player part ways with the Nigerian squad as his contributions have proved vastly significant in the recent success of the team.

Whilst the Nigerian squad indeed looked promising ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, advancing past the first round, the team sadly came up short –  Stephen Keshi’s team failed to triumph over France during the last16 knockout period, putting an end to Nigeria’s World Cup hopes. Whilst his future remains uncertain, ‘Osaze’ regards wearing the green jersey as one of the proudest accomplishments of his career. ‘Osaze’ made his Super Eagles debut during 2002, where he has since represented the team more than 60 times, twice at the World Cup and through four Cups of Nations included. He was also part of the team that went on to win a silver medal during the Olympics of 2008.

The Stoke City footballer was raised in both Nigeria and Russia, beginning his professional career in Nigeria’s Premiere League. The forward went on to play European football for La Louviere of Belgium, where he played three seasons ahead of a move to Lille. He scored an impressive 26 goals for the team, prompting Moscow’s Lokomotiv to extend an offer of £10 million in exchange for his services during July of 2007. Scoring 23 times for the team, during a three-and-a-half year period, ‘Osaze’ moved to West Bromwich Albion during August of 2010. Thirty Premiere League points later, he was awarded among the Premiere League’s Players of the Month three times. Later, he was acquired by Cardiff City during August of 2013 before ultimately joining the Stoke City team in exchange for Kenwyne Jones during January of 2014.

As one of Africa’s most popular soccer stars, Odemwingie’s fate will undoubtedly be a topic of conversation for Super Eagles fans across Africa and beyond. His contributions to Stoke City and the Nigerian national team alike may continue to regard him as an inspiration to African citizens like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others around the world.

South Africa Approaches Nigeria’s Former Coach

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoAs the Super Eagles of Nigeria recover from a short-lived World Cup venture, rumours of Coach Stephen Keshi’s fate with the team continue to swirl. Nigeria’s head coach has announced South Africa as one of the countries who have approached him to manage their teams upon the conclusion of the Super Eagles World Cup trek. Now that that time has come, fans of the Super Eagles may await news of the coach’s future with breath that is baited. Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others with a passion for Nigerian football may find the coming months to prove significant to the club’s future.

South Africa is seeking new leadership upon its national team’s failure to qualify for participation in the 2014 World Cup. With Gordon Igesund’s contract set to expire in July, the head coach position is up for grabs, prompting the interest in Keshi. Whilst South Africa carries the largest league revenue of any team in the continent, Bafana Bafana has won Africa’s CON only once, also failing to regularly qualify for World Cup treks.

Dubbed “Big Boss” by fans, Keshi has captained the Super Eagles for over a decade. Throughout his playing career, he lent his talents to Nigeria, Belgium, Ivory Coast and France. During 2002, he served as assistant coach for the national team, the same year the team was a World Cup qualifier. He later serves as coach for Togolese’s national team, assisting them to qualify before being let go just before their World Cup venture began. He went on to manage Mali’s team before taking over as head coach for the Super Eagles during 2012. He led them to a Cup of Nations victory last year.

South Africa’s Football Association recently stated that no coach had yet been appointed, also mentioning a July decision. Spokesman Dominic Chimhavi declined to further comment.

According to a list provided by the spokesman, a number of prominent coaches are interested in South Africa’s vacancy. The list includes Manchester United’s recently sacked coach David Moyes and Iran’s current coach, Carlos Queiroz, along with Keshi. France’s former captain Marcel Desailly sits on the list, as well, as do Chelsea’s Jimmy Hasselbaink and former Chelsea coach Avram Grant. French Coach Herve Renard, Italy’s Giovanni Trapattoni and the Netherlands’ Patrick Kluivert are all other names competing for the coveted title of South Africa’s head coach. Tunde Folawiyo and millions of devoted Nigeria fans may wish to hold on to Keshi, given the Super Eagles’ great success in recent seasons. Regardless of South Africa’s decision, Keshi’s contributions to Nigeria are undisputable.

Nigeria Coach Keshi Resigns Following World Cup Exit

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoSuper Eagles’ Coach Stephen Keshi has resigned, prompting speculation of a move to South Africa where Coach Gordon Igesund is nearing a contract expiration. It has recently been reported that Keshi leads a short list of prospective replacements. Whilst the seasoned coach has led the Super Eagles to success since his start with the club in 2011, South Africa’s poor recent history may benefit from an experienced manager with a reputation like that of Keshi’s. Given the Nigerian team’s triumphs in recent seasons, loyal Super Eagles fans like Tunde Folawiyo and others throughout Africa and beyond may be saddened to see the coach depart Nigeria.

Keshi’s decision came after the beloved Super Eagles’ failure to advance past the first round in the World Cup, following a disappointing 2-0 loss to France. In spite of the rumours, the NFF has chosen to remain tight-lipped about the departure. As a new free agent, Keshi has been quoted referencing his family and fresh challenges awaiting him. Dennis Mumble, South Africa’s CEO, has been unavailable for comment regarding the Keshi resignation.

Since his start with the team in 2011, Keshi has led Nigeria to a Cup of Nations championship and a World Cup qualification, demonstrating his coaching capabilities. First reports of a South African switch emerged during World Cup stage matches. Whilst it was rumored that Keshi would agree to a two-year period with Safa, the team dismissed these rumors in a statement, announcing club leaders would have reached a decision by mid-July.

Keshi was appointed Nigeria’s coach during 2011, kicking off a successful leadership of one of Africa’s most popular sports teams. He led the team to victory at Africa’s national Cup last year, also helping the Super Eagles secure a World Cup qualification. Whilst the group stage match portion of the World Cup was riddled with rumors of a two-year agreement with Safa, the team later issued a statement dismissing any such deal with Nigeria’s coach. A long list of popular coaches are said to stand under consideration to replace Igesund upon his contract expiration, with Dick Advocaat, Frank Rijkaard and Carlos Queiroz most prominent amongst them. European coaches Bernd Schuster and Juande Ramos are also rumored to be considered as Ramos has chosen against renewing his current contract with Ukraine’s Dnipro. Super Eagles fans like Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout Africa and beyond may eagerly await news of a Keshi move to Safa.

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.

Super Eagles may be getting new coach

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

After losing their match against France, the Super Eagles were eliminated from the World Cup; this development has no doubt disappointed fans of the team, such as Tunde Folawiyo. It has also given rise to some criticism of the players’ performances, and there have been suggestions that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the current squad. However, Christian Chukwu, who once served as the coach of the Eagles, has said that such drastic measures are unnecessary.

Tunde FolawiyoIn an interview with the press, he argued that the team had actually done quite well at the tournament, and that it was simply bad fortune, rather than a lack of skill, which led to their defeat. He did however, admit that some of the players’ needed further training.  Ejike Asiegbu, the Nigerian actor, also had his say regarding the Eagles’ elimination; he described it as a ‘wake-up call’, but added that Keshi could create a stronger team, if given the opportunity to do so.

He went on to say that the Nigerian Football Association should extend the coach’s contract, as Keshi’s management of the team has already resulted in a vast improvement in its skill level. Whether or not the NFA will heed Asiegbu’s advice remains to be seen. Keshi himself has publically stated that he would be quite happy to remain in his current role, if the NFA wanted him too. Speaking to a journalist in Abuja, he explained that he believed the Super Eagles could become an incredible team over the next couple of years, if provided with the right guidance.

Despite Keshi’s obvious attachment to the Eagles, it looks as though he will be moving on. This will no doubt sadden Eagles’ supporters like Tunde Folawiyo. Although news of his possible departure only broke a few days ago, reports indicate that there are several people already vying for his position. Rumour has it that the Argentine coach Rodolfo Zapata may be a potential candidate.

Many spectators noticed Nigeria’s lack of technical finesse during the World Cup, and this is something which Zapata has been encouraging the team to work on for several months now. His astute observations of the player’s weaknesses suggest that he may be a wise choice. An NFA official refused to comment on whether or not they were considering Zapata for the position, explaining that they could not disclose this information before Keshi officially resigns.

Tunde Folawiyo | Turkish Team Konyaspor Eyes Obafemi Martins

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoNigerian footballer Obafemi Martins has been mentioned in the Turkish media once more, in light of a possible transfer toward Turkish team Konyaspor. The Seattle Sounders player has played an impressive season whilst in the U.S., having scored eight goals for the team. Now, as Konyaspor is said to be eyeing Martins, it remains to be seen whether the player will join the 11th place team in the Turkish SuperLig. Three other Turkish teams, Rizespor, Genclerbirligi and Galatasaray have all previously expressed interest in the 29-year-old. Tunde Folawiyo and other football fans throughout Nigeria may be inspired by the rise of Obafemi Martins as he remains a powerful tool in the Nigerian team’s quest for victory.

Martins is also a valued member of Nigeria’s national team. Known for his great speed, he has played for several top-division clubs throughout Europe. Upon leaving his home country for Italy at the age of 16, he kicked off his veteran career during 2002 for Inter Milan of Italian Serie A before transferring to Newcastle, a Premier League English club during 2006. He then moved to Wolfsburg, Germany’s Bundesliga club during 2009. After joining Rubin Kazan, a Premier League in Russia during July of 2010, he was loaned to Birmingham City during January of 2011.

In regards to club football, the player won the Serie A title, a Super Cup and an Italian Cup, all whilst with Inter. He scored a winning goal with Birmingham during 2011’s League Cup Final. His European football career saw bouts with Inter, Wolfsburg and Newcastle, where he won the Intertoto Cup. During the 2004-2005 Serie A season, he had his highest scoring season with 11 goals and 17 during the 2006-2007 English Premier League’s. Internationally, Martin has played for Nigeria’s squad during Africa’s Nations Cup during 2006 and 2008, as well as 2010. He also played in FIFA’s World Cup during 2010.

Martins comes from a family of footballers as two of his brothers played professionally. Oladipupo Martins, his older brother, played for Partizan, Reggiana, and Innsbruck. He retired in 2009.

As the Nigerian National Team battles for the World Cup title once more, Nigerian football fans are surely anticipating the fate of its valued players. Obafemi Martins continues to serve Nigeria as a gifted footballer of immense talent. Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout Nigerian and the remainder of Africa may regard the player as one of the most talented in the continent.

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 | Are the Super Eagles ready for the World Cup?

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Following four long years, the Super Eagles will soon be on their way to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup. However, opinions are divided regarding whether or not they are in fact properly prepared for this monumental tournament. As a fan of the team, Tunde Folawiyo might know that the Nigeria Football Supporters Club seems to be quite confident; in a recent press conference, a representative stated that they were certain that the team would reach the semi-finals.

Tunde FolawiyoAmodu Shuaibu, the Nigeria Football Federation’s Technical Director, appears to be equally convinced of the Eagles’ ability to defeat their opponents, and vehemently defended them, after one journalist implied that they would not be up to scratch in time for their first FIFA game. Speaking at an event in Abuja, he praised Keshi and the team for their preparatory work, adding that the friendly matches which have been played over the past few recent months have provided the players with ample opportunity to ready themselves for the upcoming tournament. He finished by saying that he believes the Eagles are ‘doing everything right’.

Other sports commentators are more interested in what Keshi’s tactical approach will be, and of course, who he will select for the squad. Regarding the former, some have speculated that the coach will use the same 4-4-1-1 approach that he favoured during their match against Mexico. It has been argued that this would be a particularly suitable choice when the Eagles play Argentina and Bosnia, both of whom are strong attackers, but are somewhat lacking in their defensive line. The central-field positioning would enable the players to prevent their opponents from entering the forward and midfield spaces.

As for the squad selection process – a subject which most supporters, including Tunde Folawiyo, are probably very curious about – Keshi has yet to reveal his list, but has said that both supporters and the media are likely to be surprised by his choices. He explained that he has been carefully monitoring Nigerian players – both those playing in their home country and abroad – and that he will publicise the names of the selected men in the very near future. Originally, his list contained 38 players; however, this number has since been narrowed down to 30. Currently, the NFF are reviewing Keshi’s choices; after they have given their seal of approval, the list will be submitted to FIFA.

Nigeria Football Federation Clarifies Foreign Coach for World Cup Rumours

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Amid speculation regarding the Super Eagles choice of coach for the club’s World Cup appearance, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has announced it will not engage the services of a foreign football coach for the nation’s senior male team. The news comes ahead of the forthcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Fans of the Super Eagles, including Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others, may find comfort in the clarification.

Tunde FolawiyoSpeaking at the Federation’s media briefing in Abuja yesterday, Emeka Inyama, the Chairman, NFF Media and Publicity Committee, gave the assurance. Whilst speculation centred around the prospect of a foreign manager for the Super Eagles may be ongoing, Inyama noted the NFF’s confidence in Stephen Keshi, pledging support for the coach.

“I want to use this medium to clarify the issue once and for all, that we do not have plans as a Federation to hire any other coach for the World Cup. We do not have any plans whatsoever to bring any foreign assistant to work with Keshi,” he said.

Though the Federation’s plans to stick with Keshi have now been clarified, the NFF Executive Board member has acknowledged previous concerns between the Federation, the Super Eagles and their head coach.

“It seems as if there is war. It seems as if the country is going to break into two. But honestly, I want to assure you today that there is peace. There is no tension.”

Founded in 1949, the Nigerian National Football team have overcome various obstacles throughout their history as a club. Controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation, the Super Eagles 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 also 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. They won the Africa Cup of Nations title in 2013, one they’ve won 3 times in their history, further demonstrating the team’s enormous talent on the field. Through decades of triumphs and disappointments, the Super Eagles continue to inspire citizens of Africa as the sport of football remains a passion of many throughout the continent. Fans such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others may approach this summer’s World Cup in Brazil with high hopes of a Super Eagles success story.