Nigeria Football Federation Rues Missing Carton Of Super Falcons

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The Nigeria Football Federation has lamented the loss of a whole carton of White jerseys of the Senior Women National Team. Super Falcons, on transit as the team travelled to Equatorial Guinea for the 8th African Women Championship finals.

Speaking in Bata on Monday, after the Falcons’ deserved 2-1 defeat of the Lionesses of Cameroon at the Nkoantoma Stadium, NFF’s Director of Competitions, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi said the non-arrival of the carton added to the depression of Nigerian team officials at African women football’s flagship tournament.

“We arrived in Malabo to poor treatment, had to found a way to connect to Bata, were rushed into a low-quality hotel and then discovered, after changing hotel, that a whole carton of white jerseys meant for the team had got missing on transit.

“It was a demoralizing situation and we just had to find a way to keep it away from the players until after the match against Cameroon. Thank God, the girls went out to secure victory “Since arriving in Equatorial Guinea, we have had to face a litany of troubles, but the Nigerian spirit doesn’t die and that is why the team is determined more than ever to crush every opposition on the way to retaining the title,” Sanusi concluded.

The Falcons scored first through midfielder Onyinyechi Ohadugha before the Cameroonians equalized through a controversial penalty kick.

Perpetua Nkwocha, four-time African Woman Player of the Year and top scorer at the last edition of the competition in South Africa two years ago, had the last laugh with a spectacular diving header in the 89th minute that sealed the three points for the Cup holders

Culled From Naij

Keshi Opens Door For Martins, Others

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has said he will pick several players who are yet to feature for his team for a friendly against Venezuela.

Next week, the Eagles coach is also expected to make public his list of call-ups for the game billed for Miami, USA.

The match will be played on November 14 and forms part of Nigeria’s build-up to the 2013 AFCON, where they are drawn alongside defending champions Zambia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

Keshi said, “I have plans to invite some new legs for the Venezuela friendly. They may not be new to Nigerians but I say they are new because it would be the first time they would be playing under me.”

The former Eagles captain, who was not willing to give away some of the names, added,”Like I have said every Nigeria player will have his chance.”

However, top officials of the football house have revealed that “Keshi is looking at ways of strengthening his team and plans to bring in players like Obafemi Martins, Onyekachi Apam, Joseph Akpala and Peter Utaka.”

Keshi will now set his pre-AFCON training camp in Faro, Portugal, after his choice of Zimbabwe was overruled for lack of facilities.

Culled From: Vanguard

Ogba, Ndanusa Commend Presidential Sports Retreat

Minister-of-Sports-Mallam-Bolaji-AbdullahiVarious sports stakeholders have commended President Goodluck Jonathan for hosting the sports sector retreat, with the highest level of government participation in Nigeria, noting that this will mark a new dawn for sports development in Nigeria.

The retreat, which held last week, had in attendance the President, Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Sports Minister Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Minister of Finance Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and virtually all members of the Federal Executive Council. Captains of industries, sports professionals and enthusiasts were also well represented at the summit, which sought ways to build enduring systems and ensure sustainable sporting success for Nigeria.

The President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Solomon Ogba said, “The high level of government presence underscored the fact that the country is now ready to give sports the kind of attention it deserves.”

Ogba said the high-level private sector participation at the retreat also pleased him, stating that the partnership between the government and private sector in sports was unbeatable. “Sports is a vehicle to change lives and if well harnessed it can even change perception about the government,” he said.

For Sani Ndanusa, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, sports is now getting the kind of political backing enthusiasts had craved for a long time.

“It is the first time we are seeing this kind of expression of political will to move our sports forward. I was also happy that for the first time sports was discussed as an economic issue just like power and infrastructure,” Ndanusa said.

He also commended the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, for his leadership and sincerity of purpose. “I am sure the minister will make great impact because of his sincerity and desire to work with everyone to achieve success. The usual acrimony in the sector is now absent and this a very good sign,” he said.

Culled From: The Punch

Racism: FA Probes Ref Over Abuse Of Mikel

John-Mikel-Obi-360x270The English Football Association has launched an investigation after Chelsea accused referee Mark Clattenburg of using “inappropriate language” towards two of their players in Sunday’s defeat by Manchester United.

“The FA has begun an investigation relating to allegations made following Sunday’s fixture at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester United,” it said on its website on Monday.

Leaders Chelsea made an official complaint against Clattenburg, who sent off two home players — Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres — in the highly-charged 3-2 Stamford Bridge defeat.

The club did not name the players he is alleged to have used inappropriate language towards or of what nature the remarks were, but a spokesman refused to deny that Nigerian Mikel Obi had visited the referee’s room and demanded for an apology after the game. It was learnt that his refusal to apologise to Mikel and Chelsea that made the club to launch official complaint to the FA.

Mikel was booked for dissent during the second half.

It is also believed that the second player is Juan Mata whom the referee allegedly called Spanish t***t.

The club spokesman told reporters, “We have lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate with regards to inappropriate language used by the referee and directed at two of our players in two separate incidents.

“The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association. We will make no further comment at this time.”

A highly rated Nigerian referee Gabriel Adigwe who reviewed the incident on SuperSport said specifically on the Fernando Torres incident that Clattenburg error could have happened to many other referees given the way it happened.

“He had a choice to issue a card for simulating or award a free kick. He took the first option based on he perceived from his position even though it turned out to be wrong because replays have proven that there was actually contact,” he said.

The affair is likely to plunge English soccer, which is only just recovering from one damaging scandal surrounding Chelsea after captain John Terry’s ban for racism, straight back into a new crisis involving the European champions.

It was also announced on Monday that FIFA referee Clattenburg would not be officiating at any Premier League matches this weekend.

“Mark Clattenburg is one of the elite referees in world football and, in these circumstances, the intense level of scrutiny would detract from the match and be unfair to the clubs and the supporters of both sides,” said a statement from the Professional Game Match Officials Board, which manages top English referees.

A number of Monday’s British newspapers simply had the headline “Accused” on their back pages.

The Guardian had a banner headline “Ref in Chelsea race row” while the Daily Mail proclaimed “Ref Race Row” although those allegations have not been substantiated.

Chelsea are currently without skipper Terry, who has served two games of a four-match domestic ban for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last year.

That case has blighted English soccer for a year after the former England player was also ordered to appear in court accused of a racially aggravated public order offence, of which he was acquitted.

The FA, however, using different standards of proof to guide its charge, found him guilty and fined him 220,000 pounds ($354,200) as well as banning him. Terry decided not to appeal.

The Durham-born referee was put in charge of the League Cup final in February and the Olympic final between Brazil and Mexico in August. Clattenburg is one of the FIFA candidates to referee at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Former Premier League official Graham Poll has suggested Chelsea’s complaint could hinge on evidence from Clattenburg’s assistants and the fourth official.

Linesmen Michael McDonough and Simon Long and fourth official Michael Jones may have heard conversations between Clattenburg and the players because all four officials wear microphones and ear pieces that allow them to hear what each other is saying during the game.

“A referee’s microphone is on open. Everything he says is heard by (his or her) assistants,” Poll told BBC Radio 5 live.

“So if Mark said something, the assistants would have heard it.”

Clattenburg, no stranger to controversy, was criticised by Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo for “ruining” the match.

While Ivanovic could have few complaints after accidentally impeding Ashley Young when the winger was through on goal, the decision to show Torres a second yellow for diving sparked outrage on and off the pitch as he appeared to be clipped.

“We must be disappointed that key decisions were wrong,” Di Matteo told reporters.

“At 2-2, we looked like the team that was going to win the game. It was a good game between good teams and the official ruined it. Key decisions have to be right and you don’t want the referees to have such a big influence.

“I think it’s obvious in the eyes of everybody that the second yellow for Fernando was wrong. It was a foul for us and probably he should have booked their player.

“Their winning goal was an offside goal. It’s a shame a game like that had to be decided by officials in that manner. Surely when he sees it, he will realise that he made big mistakes.”

Torres’ Spanish compatriot Juan Mata, who brought Chelsea back into the game at 2-1 with a stunning free kick, said Torres’s dismissal was “incomprehensible”.

“But I prefer to focus on the positives from the game – we competed against a great opponent and responded well to falling behind,” he added.

An investigation is also being carried by the Metropolitan Police into how a Stamford Bridge steward was injured following Hernandez’s winner. Objects were also seen to be thrown on to the pitch from the stands during the fractious match.

Despite trailing 2-0 and clawing their way back to 2-2, Sunday’s defeat was Chelsea’s first in the Premier League this season but they remained top of the table on 22 points from their opening nine games – one point clear of Manchester United and champions Manchester City.

Culled From: The Punch

I Deserve Top Ranking, Says Serena

Serena-TeamEven though she won four big titles during the year, Serena Williams will still end 2012 ranked number three behind Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.

After backing up her victories at Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open with the WTA Championships title on Sunday, Williams concurred with Sharapova and world number eight Li Na that she is in fact the world’s top female tennis player.

“I think it’s a true statement, without trying to sound full of myself or anything,” Williams told reporters after overcoming Russian Sharapova 6-4 6-3 in the final of the season-ending tournament.

“I always said that if I’m playing well and I’m doing everything right it’s really difficult to beat me. I still believe that.”

Williams beat Sharapova each of the three times they met this year and also won all five of her matches against number one Azarenka of Belarus.

The American has ended the year with a 58-4 record and won seven titles but did not compete at two WTA mandatory events at Indian Wells and Beijing. Had she played the events she may have ended the year at number one.

“It’s surprising to win two grand slams, the Olympics, Madrid and the Championships and to be number three,” said Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

“If there is a bug somewhere, someone has to find it.”

Williams said that her 2012 season comes a close second to her 2002 season, when she won three grand slam titles.

“I have to say number two only because I didn’t win the Australian Open and French Open,” she said.

“I faltered in the French and fell in the first round. I beat my record for 2002 match wise. But it’s close. It’s neck and neck.”

Mouratoglou believes that if she stays healthy, the 31-year-old American can win many more majors.

Williams herself said it was possible she can again achieve what she did in 2002-2003, winning four straight majors, which she nicknamed the “Serena Slam”.

Culled From: The Punch

Barca, Madrid stars dominate Ballon D’Or list

fifaFive Barclays Premier League players have been shortlisted for this year’s FIFA Ballon D’Or award – though only one Englishman made the cut.

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Yaya Toure are joined by England’s Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie of Manchester United on the 23-man list for the prestigious honour.

Didier Drogba, who won the European Cup with Chelsea before moving to Shanghai Shenhua in China, is also nominated.

But Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate the list, with no fewer than eleven players shortlisted.

Inevitably, this includes the winner from the previous three years, Lionel Messi, who has already had cause to celebrate this week.

The Barcelona man picked up the Golden Boot award on Monday, in recognition for scoring the most goals in Europe’s domestic leagues last season.

Messi, 25, set a Spanish league record by scoring 50 goals in 2011/12, beating Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo by four goals.

Ronaldo is in the Ballon D’Or list, along with teammates Karim Benzema, Iker Casillas, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso.

Barcelona are represented by Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Xavi Hernandez.

Messi dedicated his latest accolade to his teammates, saying “It is a prize for scoring goals, but without my teammates I couldn’t have scored them.”

Completing the Ballon D’Or shortlist for this year are goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus, Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint-Germain, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich, Neymar of Santos and Andrea Pirlo of Juventus.

National team coaches and captain, as well as selected journalists, will now cast their votes with a final shortlist of three unveiled on November 29.

The winner will be announced at the FIFA Gala in Zurich on January 7 next year.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Man City gaffer Roberto Mancini feature on the 10-strong FIFA Coach of the Year shortlist.

Culled from The Punch

CAN 2013 EAGLES SELECTION Keshi yet to speak to me-OBAFEMI MARTINS

OBAFEMI MARTINS has told his Spanish La Liga club, Levante that Coach Stephen Keshi is yet to speak with him on his possible return for the Super Eagles ahead of the CAN 2013 which begins this January in South Africa.

Obagol who has been a sensation since is arrival to Spain from Russia’s Rubin Kazan, gave the hint after he helped his team secure the 3points scoring a brace against Odion Ighalo’s Granada on Sunday.

Martins said: “I have not spoken with the national team coach as regards the selection.

“But if they call me I will honour it, as my thoughts now are playing with Levante “.

Recall, Martins last played for Nigeria which came third at the CAN 2010 in Angola. The player, has so far scored four La Liga goals.

Called from The NATION

KESHI TO NIGERIANS: EXPECT NEW PLAYERS FOR VENEZUELA FRIENDLY

stephen keshiNIGERIA coach Stephen Keshi has said he will pick several players who are yet to feature for his team for a friendly against Venezuela.

Next week, the Eagles coach is also expected to make public his list of call-ups for the game billed for Miami, USA.

The match will be played on November 14 and forms part of Nigeria’s build-up to the 2013 AFCON, where they are drawn alongside defending champions Zambia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

Keshi said, “I have plans to invite some new legs for the Venezuela friendly. They may not be new to Nigerians but I say they are new because it would be the first time they would be playing under me.”

The former Eagles captain, who was not willing to give away some of the names, added,”Like I have said every Nigeria player will have his chance.”

However, top officials of the football house have revealed to MTNFootball.com that “Keshi is looking at ways of strengthening his team and plans to bring in players like Obafemi Martins, Onyekachi Apam, Joseph Akpala and Peter Utaka.”

Keshi will now set his pre-AFCON training camp in Faro, Portugal, after his choice of Zimbabwe was overruled for lack of facilities.

“People Who Criticise Ronaldo Are Jealous Of Him” – Gullit

RonaldoFormer Holland international, Ruud Gullit, says people who criticise Cristiano Ronaldo, are simply jealous of the Portuguese. The Real Madrid forward, is usually subjected to hostile reception from away fans and is sometimes targeted by opponents.

But Gullit says he admires the player and was full of praises for the 27-year-old.

“I think Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon. The same thing happens to him as it did to [David] Beckham; people criticise them because they are envious that they’re very good-looking,” Gullit told ESPN.

“For me, he’s the ideal player. He’s fast, tall, is good with his head, is technically good, shoots penalties, takes good free kicks and he’s a leader.

“I think that Real Madrid love having Cristiano Ronaldo as a player.”

In 14 appearance, Ronaldo has already scored 18 times for Real Madrid.

Culled from NaiJ

Mikel Obi Allegedly Suffered Racial Abuse From Mark Clattenburg

mikelMore controversies are still arising from the feisty clash between Chelsea and Manchester United, that was played at Stamford Bridge.

Referee for the game, Mark Clattenburg, sent off Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres and also allowed Chicharito’s winner, which was scored from an offside position to stand.

By 8pm last night, the West London club, lodged an official complaint against Clattenburg, for using inappropriate language to two of their players.

“We have a lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate with regards to inappropriate language used by the referee and directed at two of our players in two separate incidents during today’s match,” a Chelsea spokesman said. “The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association. We will make no further comment at this time.”

Although the club did not reveal the identities of the players, a report in the UK Guardian claims the players were John Mikel Obi and Juan Mata. It is understood the Nigerian international, stormed into Clattenburg’s room after the game, to demand for an apology.

“They did not reveal the identity of the players, although one of them is understood to have been the Nigeria international Mikel John Obi, a player that Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, felt had been lucky to avoid a red card from Clattenburg, in a game in which two Chelsea players, Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres, did receive them,” David Hytner wrote.

The Professional Game Match Officials, in a statement, confirmed that “is aware of the allegations and they are being treated with the utmost seriousness. Mark will co-operate fully and welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established. No further comment will be made until matter has been properly investigated.”

Culled from NaiJ

FA Begins Investigation Into Clattenburg Allegations

The Premier League’s governing body has announced it’s intention to look further into a complaint by Chelsea that the referee used inappropriate language towards players
29 Oct 2012 15:02:00

The Football Association has announced an investigation into a complaint made by Chelsea that referee Mark Clattenburg used inappropriate language towards two of their players during their 3-2 defeat against Manchester United on Sunday.

Clattenburg – who was given the full backing of Prospect, the referees’ union, on Monday morning – is thought to have made comments to Juan Mata and John Obi Mikel.

The comments are described as containing “inappropriate language” which was interpreted by the players in question as being racist.

More to follow…

Source: GOAL.COM