How will Nigeria fare at the World Cup?

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Tunde FolawiyoWith the World Cup upon us, fans of Nigeria’s Super Eagles like Tunde Folawiyo are no doubt wondering how well the team will perform at the tournament. A number of players and NFF officials have voiced their opinions on the subject; Vincent Enyeama, the Eagles’ goalkeeper, is optimistic about their chances, and has publically stated that he believes they will reach the semi-finals. However, he was quick to add that he and his teammates will be taking it step by step, and for now will only be focusing on reaching the second round.

Like Enyeama, Victor Moses is hoping that Nigeria will secure a spot at the semi-finals. Moses, who currently serves as a winger for Chelsea, is cautiously optimistic about the team’s ability to get ahead at the tournament, although he noted that this could only be achieved if they are willing to listen to the advice of their coach, Stephen Keshi. He finished by saying that there is a great deal of camaraderie between the players, and that this will be helpful when it comes to attempting to realise their ambitions at the event.

Gustavo Dzugala, who was recently appointed as Nigeria’s Argentina Ambassador, refused to comment on which team would emerge as the ultimate winner of the tournament; however, he did name Nigeria and Argentina as favourites in Group F. He predicted that these two clubs would manage to defeat Iran and Bosnia.

In terms of individual players, Peter Osaze Odemwingie has been named as someone who is likely to outshine his teammates at the tournament. Emmanuel Babayaro, who once served as Nigeria’s goalkeeper, noted that Odemwingie has a number of qualities that will help the Eagles to succeed in Brazil. He described the forward as dedicated, experienced and confident.

Odemwingie’s recall to the squad after a two-year absence is likely to have come as a surprise to Tunde Folawiyo, and other Eagles supporters. The forward has clashed not only with Keshi, but also with other Eagles coaches over the years. However, Odemwingie seems eager to put these tiffs behind him, and has spoken on Twitter of how happy he is to be back with the team. While some remain sceptical of Odemwingie’s humble words, and have argued that he is merely putting on a front in order to get a place in the World Cup squad, there’s no denying that he will be a valuable asset on the pitch.

The Nigerian National Team Takes Flight

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Known as “The Super Eagles”, the Nigerian football team has been one of Africa’s most successful over the past few decades. With a rich history of world class footballers, such as Patrick “Segun” Odegbemi, JayJay Okocha, and Kanu Nwankwo, combined with a number of exciting young players on the horizon, the impact which the Nigerian team has had on football in Africa and beyond should continue for many years to come.

Formed in 1949, the Nigerian football team had already been in existence unofficially since the 1930s. The development of the game in Nigeria finally bore fruit in 1976 and 1978[2] when the national team finished third out of all teams competing in the renowned African Cup of Nations. In 1980 the Nigerian national football team which was comprised of such legendary players as Tunji Banjo, Christian Chukwu, and Muda Lawal, went on to win the competition out right, cementing themselves in football history.

Tunde FolawiyoThese successes were added to in 1994 when the team first reached the World Cup. The Super Eagles made an explosive immediate impact on the international game immediately, by topping their initial group which included well-known and established international football teams such as Argentina, Bulgaria, and Greece. They went on to the next round where they led a famous Italian side by 1-0 until the last two minutes of the game when Roberto Baggio scored a goal to take the game to extra time, scoring another via a penalty kick during extra time which ended Nigeria’s excellent and impressive run in the competition that year. This accomplishment was equalled in the next World Cup in 1998 when the team reached the second round of the competition, doing the same again in 2014. In the years between, the Nigerian national football team also qualified for the 2002 and 2010 World Cup competitions, further solidifying their reputation as a successful and admired international football team.

Building on the achievements of previous players, Nigeria continues to produce young footballers ready to make their mark on the international stage. In 2014 the Nigerian under 17s team won the FIFA World Cup for their age category for a staggering 4th time. Their coach, Many Garba, continues to develop these players attracting attention from some of the world’s most prestigious football clubs including Arsenal. This most recent victory, which took place over a highly skilled Mexico team, is the latest example of why the Nigerian football team will continue to contribute to the football community in a positive way, as it has done over the past few decades.

With a number of high profile supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo (for more information read this blog article on Tunde Folawiyo), the Nigerian football team will continue its high profile work as one of Africa’s most successful footballing nations.

Are the Super Eagles ready to face their Group-A AFCON opponents?

Friday, September 26th, 2014

With the first of their AFCON qualifying matches looming, the Super Eagles are now working hard to ready themselves for this event. Nigeria have been named as the favourites to win in Group A; however, many say that the Eagles should not underestimate the abilities of their opponents, as to do so could deal a fatal blow to their progress in this important tournament.

Rwanda, whom the Eagles are due to play in Group-A, have been doing well under the guidance of their new manager, Stephen Constantine. Their recent victory over Libya, the 2014 CHAN champions, serves as a testament to how far they have come over the past few months. Coupled with their impressive performance against Congo this month, there is little doubt that they are now capable of giving Nigeria a run for their money. Tunde Folawiyo, and other Eagles’ fans, are probably not too concerned however, given that Nigeria defeated Rwanda quite easily at the 2014 AFCON tournament, finishing with a result of 2-0.

Tunde FolawiyoNigeria will also have to face Sudan and South Africa. The latter are due to play the Eagles at the Cape Town Stadium on the 10th of September. Danny Jordan, the president of the SA Football Association, acknowledged that playing against the reigning AFCON champions at such a huge stadium would be a daunting task for Bafana Bafana. He added that for Shakes Masaba, who has just joined the club as head coach, this would be an especially gruelling experience.

Whilst there is no question that Nigeria have a tough road ahead of them, Olakunle Fayiga, a sports journalist, believes that with Keshi at the helm, they will have little difficulty in retaining their title. Discussing the coach’s many achievements during the past three years – from helping them to win CHAN in 2013, to leading them to their best World Cup performance in almost two decades in 2014 – Fayiga praised the dedication and discipline which Keshi has instilled into the team during his time as coach.

The journalist noted that, due to the respect which Keshi commands, there are now no longer any issues with players failing to honour call-ups, or showing up late to training camps. Fayiga finished by describing the Nigerian as being superior, in terms of his coaching skills, even to Clemens Westerhof, a man widely considered to be the greatest coach the Eagles has ever had. This is a bold statement, but it is one which many fans, including Tunde Folawiyo, might agree with.

As an Eagles supporter, Folawiyo likes to use social media to keep up to date with events in the world of football. To read about his thoughts on this subject, follow Tunde Folawiyo on Twitter.

The Super Eagles step up to defend The Africa Cup

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Nigeria’s quest to defend their crown will begin in September with the qualifier for the Morocco 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. With Super Eagles fans such as Tunde Folawiyo on the edge of their seats, the fixtures have now been revealed:

6th September 2014              Nigeria v Rwanda

10th September 2014           South Africa v Nigeria

11th October 2014                Sudan v Nigeria

15th October 2014                Nigeria v Sudan

15th November 2014            Rwanda v Nigeria

19th November 2014            Nigeria v South Africa

Rwanda

The Super Eagles’ first fixture will be against the Amavubi of Rwanda at a venue yet to be named. Under new coach Stephen Constantine, Rwanda have made impressive progress, eliminating Libya 3-0 on aggregate in the first qualifying round. Basking in confidence after their 2-0 win against Congo, they will surely be looking to add Nigeria to their list of wins.

South Africa

South Africa is rated as the weakest contender of the three, but with Serero’s flashes of brilliance and a few other good players amongst their ranks, Nigeria should be confident but never complacent.

Sudan

Sudan, under coach Mohammed Abdallah Mazdah, will be giving their all to qualify after bitterly missing out to Ethiopia in 2013.
Tunde Folawiyo
The Africa Cup of Nations will be held from 17th January to 8th February 2015, with Morocco hosting the tournament for a second time. After a persuasive 1-0 victory against Burkina Faso in South Africa in 2013, the Super Eagles will be giving their all to hold onto the title.

Emmanuel Emenike was a major contributor to the Super Eagles’ 2013 Africa Cup of Nations success, scoring a free kick from an astounding 30 yards and three other goals in the tournament, earning him a place in the team of African Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament and the Pepsi Tournament Top Scorer accolade.  Mba gave another impressive performance in the final, breaking the team out of deadlock against Burkina Faso just before the whistle. Once they had broken into the lead, the Nigerian team were unstoppable, running rings around their opponents, earning them a place at the Confederation Cup in Brazil.

The burning question of Super Eagles supporters like Tunde Folawiyo is whether the team can hold onto the top spot this year in Morocco and lift the Africa Cup again. To discover more about this Super Eagles enthusiast and award winning African businessman, visit the Tunde Folawiyo profile page.

Keshi’s return signals beginning of AFCON preparations

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Eagles supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo will probably be relieved to learn that the NFF (Nigerian Football Federation) is now close to establishing the terms of a new contract with Stephen Keshi, which will result in the coach returning to his former role as the Super Eagles coach. Keshi was appointed to this position in late 2011; since then, he has helped the team to achieve some outstanding results at both CHAN and AFCON.

Tunde Folawiyo However, after guiding the Eagles to the final 16 at the 2014 World Cup, his contract with the NFF was allowed to expire, and it seemed as though he would be forced to bid farewell to the team which he had been coaching for close to three years. Both the Sports Ministry and the NFF were initially reluctant to renew his contract, perhaps due in part to Keshi’s insistence on better terms. However, recent reports indicate that the coach and the NFF have been able to compromise and reach an agreement which suits both parties.

Despite the fact that the salary offered is less than what the coach had originally asked for, he is believed to be willing to accept it, and stay with the team for at least another three years. In a press conference, Keshi explained that overall, he was pleased with the improvements to his contract, adding that he is now ‘ready to serve’, and is looking forward to finishing what he started.

With this matter now settled, Eagles’ fans like Tunde Folawiyo are no doubt eager to see the team begin their preparations for AFCON. Tijani Babangida, a former winger for Nigeria, has advised Keshi and the players to concentrate all of their efforts on readying themselves for this tournament. With less than a month to go until they meet Rwanda for the qualifying match, the pressure is on.

Babangida has said that whilst the Super Eagles are unarguably a strong team, and have the ability to defeat their opponents in upcoming games, they will not do so unless they train intensively over the next few weeks. He noted that the first match of any major tournament is always important, and cautioned the Eagles against taking their game against Rwanda too lightly.

Whilst Folawiyo takes an interest in the world of football, he also has many other passions; for instance, he is fascinated by the lives of important, inspirational figures. To find out more about his thoughts on this subject, read the influential icons blog of Tunde Folawiyo.

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 | 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.

Tunde Folawiyo | Nwankwo Kanu: A Nigerian Football Legend

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

As Nigeria’s national football team embarks on yet another World Cup venture, players of the past and their contributions to the team remain fresh in the minds of fans and players alike. Since its founding, the team has long been home to a number of incredible athletes. Nwankwo Kanu remains one of the most famed athletes in African sports for his accomplishments on the field. Fans of the Super Eagles, Tunde Folawiyo such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout the country of Nigeria and beyond may have witnessed the outstanding displays of talent seen while Kanu navigated the green.

Born 1 August 1976 in Owerri, Nigeria, Nwankwo Kanu embarked on his football career at Nigeria’s Federation Works ahead of transferring to Iwuanyanwu Nationale. Following an impressive performance at U-17 World Championship, he signed with AFC Ajax during 1993. Scoring 25 goals over 54 appearances with the club, he was a sub in the team’s Champions League final win in 1995. During 1996, Internazionale acquired Kanu for the sum of $4.7 million. He served as captain of Nigeria’s team at the Olympics, leading them to a gold medal victory. He scored two goals during the semifinals, overturning Brazil’s 2-3 into a 4-3 victory for Nigeria during extra time. Accomplishments such as these have permanently cemented Kanu into African football history. That year, he was also awarded as Africa’s Footballer of the Year, demonstrating his immense talent in the sport.

While his contributions to the sport of football in Nigeria are of significant note, so are his philanthropic efforts. Upon being diagnosed with a heart defect that required surgery, Kanu founded the Kanu Heart Foundation, which aids African children currently suffering from heart defects, though the foundation’s efforts have since expanded to providing homes for homeless children throughout the continent.

Since its establishment, the Nigerian football team has long hosted players whose reputations far surpass those of their accomplishments on the field. As the African continent continues to face its struggles, the sport of football brings joy to countless individuals hoping to escape the realities of the poverty and disease that plague many citizens throughout its borders. As the team prepares for its World Cup appearance this summer, fans of the team, including Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others across the globe, may continue to be inspired by the tremendous talent that has once navigated the football fields of Nigeria.

Super Eagles draw in match against Mexico | Tunde Folawiyo

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Nigeria’s friendly against Mexico at the Georgia Dome was a highly anticipated match, which ended with a draw of 0-0. The Super Eagles appeared to be the superior Tunde Folawiyoteam at first glance, getting off to a strong start when Ahmed Musa was afforded a free kick just three minutes into the match. However, Musa failed to score, and this, coupled with Victor Moses’ penalty claim being denied five minutes later, probably dampened the hopes of the Eagles’ fans like Tunde Folawiyo.

Another attempt was made by Emmanuel Emenike a few minutes later, but Ochoa, Mexico’s goalkeeper, managed to catch the ball at the last second. Not long after this, the Mexican also successfully thwarted Ogenyi Onazi’s shot.

The flurry of attacks by the Super Eagles only seemed to spur on their opponents, and as the first half progressed, Mexico began to gain the upper hand, retaining possession of the ball and taking one shot after another at Nigeria’s net. The Eagles’ keeper Enyeama performed a number of skilful saves however, thus ensuring that despite their best efforts, Mexico did not take the lead.

They did however come very close to scoring in the 23rd minute, when Hector Herrara delivered a powerful shot; unfortunately for Mexican fans, the angle of Herrara’s kick was not quite straight, and it went just over the net. Minutes later, Rafael Marquez made a similar attempt, but Enyeama once again came to the Eagles’ rescue, diving to the corner just before the ball made contact with the goal. Towards the end of the first half, Musa was given an opportunity to score, but whilst he did slip past Mexico’s defenders, he couldn’t manage to get the ball beyond Ochoa’s reach.

During the interval, Keshi chose to make a number of substitutions, and as the second half commenced, Leon Balogun, Ramon Azeez and Austin Ejide all made their way onto the pitch. But these changes had little effect on the match; although Azeez did make a valiant effort to score during the 67th minute, his shot went just wide of the net.

The match ended with neither side having scored; whilst some Eagles’ supporters, such as Tunde Folawiyo, may have been disappointed by this result, Austin Egueavon, the team’s former coach, described the team’s performance as ‘impressive’, although he did criticise the players who had been unsuccessful in their attempts to convert their scoring opportunities. He attributed these failures to a lack of support in midfield.

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.