FIFA Confirms Super Eagles As Youngest Squad During 2018 W/Cup Qualifiers

The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) says Nigeria paraded the youngest players during the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

This was announced on FIFA’s official website on Tuesday by a Switzerland-based independent study Centre International d’Étude du Sport (CIES) in it’s issue number 30 of Observatory Monthly Report.

The CIES Football Observatory is a research group founded in 1995 by FIFA in partnership with the canton and town of Neuchâtel in Switzerland.

World Cup champions Germany emerged as the second country that had the youngest squad, while England were third.

A statement on FIFA’s website reads: “The CIES Football Observatory and FIFA have joined forces to analyse the profiles of the players who were fielded by the 32 qualified teams on the road to Russia. The analysis highlights the diversity of the squads in terms of both age and height, as well as the importance of migration with almost two thirds of players currently playing for clubs outside of the association they represent.

“While Nigeria fielded the youngest players (with an average age of 24.9 years) in the qualifiers, followed by title-holders Germany (25.7) and by U-17 and U-20 world champions England (25.9), at the opposite end of the spectrum were two newcomers Panama (29.4 years) and Iceland (29.0), as well as 2014 FIFA World Cup quarter-finalists Costa Rica (29.0).

“There were also considerable differences among the teams in terms of the average height of players. At one extreme, seven associations fielded players with an average height of less than 180cm: Peru, Argentina and Uruguay (CONMEBOL), Saudi Arabia and Japan (AFC), Mexico (CONCACAF), and Spain (UEFA). At the other extreme, the average height of the players fielded by four European nations – Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Serbia – was at least 185cm.

“The study also revealed that about 9% of players were born outside of the association they represent. Only seven of the 32 teams did not field any players born abroad. The number of footballers playing for clubs outside of the association they represent also revealed the importance of migration in football. In total, 64.6% of footballers play abroad: from 0% for England and Saudi Arabia, to 100% for Croatia, Sweden and Iceland.”

The Super Eagles who are in Pot 4, will know their group stage opponents when the draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup holds on Friday, December 1st, in Russia.

Super Eagles – The Black Man’s Burden, Responsibility And Hope By Segun Odegbami

I am not racist in any form or shape. There isn’t even an atom of it in my DNA.

Unfortunately, I also now understand clearly that as a black man I belong to a specie that has probably always been relegated by some deep-rooted cultural design to the lowest rung of the world’s systems.

After decades of varied personal experiences, including travelling the world and seeing how other races react to the black person, I have come to the rather unfortunate independent conclusion that the black person is not the most loved specie on earth. And that’s putting it mildly.

Looking through the archives of history the real situation would most likely be that he has never been considered at par with the rest of humanity. Think sincerely and shed your own tears!

In my limited experience also I have observed the futility, in a lot of ways, of his struggle to earn respect and to be treated as an equal by other races. His potentials have never been enough in win that struggle. Rather his best accomplishments and contributions (even in providing the essential manpower for the development of other cultures and civilisations) have been treated and credited in isolation, and have never rubbed off on the entire race, or even a geographical region.

So, no black country on earth has managed to shake off the subtle linkage between skin colour and their physical underdevelopment of the environment. For Nigeria, the country with the largest black population on earth, this is a huge burden to carry.

Even black Americans, with all their giant strides and contributions in building the most advanced civilization in the history of the world, they still carry a weighty load of the skin colour and their black African roots within their adopted country, the United States of America.

Of all human activities sports have proven to be the most level of all playing ‘fields’. They have, through the years and through struggles also, provided the greatest opportunities and platforms through which the mental yoke of inequality that can be thrown out the window.

Testing the limits of physical human capacity, skills and endurance destroys genetic divides and differences, and takes sports competition amongst all of mankind beyond the myopic limits of superficial superiority.

Competition, therefore, in the presence of the largest global audience between persons carrying the independent banners of their countries defined only by physical geography, provides an excellent get-out-of jail card for the black person’s mental and physical yoke.

That’s what the FIFA World Cup and, to a lesser emotional extent, the Olympic games provide.

Sports are one veritable tool that the black person must explore and exploit for his emancipation. That’s why as the Super Eagles of Nigeria go to Russia next summer they carry on their shoulder not just the responsibility of one country, but of all blacks in the world.

Unfortunately, unofficially, the World Cup, with its global prestige, and its power to impact the human psyche, is a project that is not originally scripted for a black African country to win!

Before this past week, Nigeria (and Senegal, the second country from black Africa in the World Cup) would only have been just another country at the football fiesta expected to fill the quota of racial representation, add some colour and cultural spectacle to the event with their singing, drumming and dancing supporters in the terraces, provide easy points for the more ‘powerful’ football nations, and quietly disappear and be forgotten when the serious battles for the most coveted sports trophy on earth begin from the second round.

No, it has never been a serious consideration outside Africa that a black African country will win the World Cup. Never! That has always been the unscripted plot. And it was going to be so again in Russia next summer until this past week!

When it happened at the Olympic games in 1996 it was an accident that was taken and treated in isolation and quickly rested before it develops into a trend. Nigeria, naively, did not advance the impact of that monumental achievement beyond the euphoria of the Gold medal and use it, as Muhammed Ali did after the 1964 Olympics, to fight for human equality.

The West simply swallowed their pride and allowed Nigeria, the black man’s most powerful representative on earth, to return to his old ways of bad governments, endemic corruption, low-level development, endless internal political crisis, poverty mentality and materialistic propensities driven by adopted foreign standards, cultures and values.

Another opportunity now beckons. This time it comes in the aftermath of a simple friendly match.

This past week, Nigeria took on Argentina in what was expected to be a routine match, with Argentina giving Nigeria some lessons on the modern game of football. The world did not pay much attention until the news broke of the most unlikely of results, a deserved masterful display by the Africans, and the defeat of one of the teams being tipped to win the 2018 World Cup.

The result of that small match has ignited new tensions in the world of football. Suddenly, Nigeria is been scrutinized by the rest of the world. The country has been thrown into the deep end of a situation it was definitely unprepared for. The country must embrace the new challenge this will definitely thrust upon her and convert it to strength required to steer through the turbulence and rapids of the World Cup.

With that victory over Argentina Nigeria must wake up to the reality of the burden it carries, to the responsibility it has to much more than its 180 million people, and to the hope of all black people on earth. Winning the World Cup is not as remote as it has always been plotted to be. It may indeed be within touching distance.

Undoubtedly, winning the World Cup will be a most effective tool to advance the continuing struggle for the emancipation of the black person on earth.

For the Super Eagles, therefore, the 2018 World Cup is a burden, a responsibility and hope for the black race!

‘I Wont Forget Players Who Won World Cup Ticket’ – Rohr

The Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has indicated on building a squad for next year’s World Cup, he will give priority to players who won the group B qualification ticket.

However, the German-born coach stated that he wouldn’t also ignore Nigerian players who are doing well with their clubs and could fit in into areas of the team that need fortification. “The players who qualified us for the World Cup, I don’t forget them,

” Rohr said. “Maintaining exactly the same team (for the World Cup) will be difficult as the team will keep changing because of injuries and some of the players not playing regularly at their clubs.

“We will continue to follow these players, but perhaps we will need in one, two positions better players, possibly a better team.”

Some of the players who featured prominently in the highly successful qualification campaign include John Obi Mikel, Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses, Moses Simon, Ogenyi Onazi, Wilfred Ndidi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Shehu Abdullahi. Youngsters like Henry Onyekuru have proved to be too hot to ignore, even as Rohr is under pressure to recall senior players like Vincent Enyeama and Obafemi Martins.

Lionel Messi Withdraws From WCQ Friendly With Nigeria

The Barcelona, and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi steps down and will not be on parade at the Krasnodar Stadium, Krasnodar, venue of the pre-World Cup friendly between Argentina and Nigeria on Tuesday, November 14.

According to news report, the manager of the two-time world champions Jorge Sampaoli has opted not to field his skipper against the Super Eagles.

And it has been suggested that the striker will only feature against World Cup hosts Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow on November 11.

This same scenario happened in the Albiceleste’s last international friendlies against Brazil (June 9) and Singapore (June 13), when Messi went the distance against the Seleção but was omitted from the match day squad against the Asians.

Across all levels, Lionel Messi has faced the Nigerian national teams five times in the past and has scored six goals, including four against the Super Eagles.

Meanwhile, VfB Stuttgart left-back Emiliano Insúa was handed a late call-up by manager Sampaoli on Tuesday, as replacement for the injured AC Milan star Lucas Biglia, who suffers from an inflammation in the patellar tendon of his left knee.

Eagles Star, Abdullahi Charged For Misconduct

Shehu Abdullahi, Super Eagles right full-back has been suspended for two games and also fined for an undisclosed amount of money for violent conduct according to a statement by the Cyprus Football Association yesterday.

He put up a sterling performance and also provided the pass to Alex Iwobi that gave Nigeria the lone goal victory over the Chipolopolo of Zambia in their World Cup qualifier. He was eventually named the man of the match played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.

According to Africanfootball.com, the CUP Athletic Judge, Aristotle Vryonidis, announced the penalty after reviewing the case involving Shehu Abdullahi, as he is suspended for two games.
“Complaint of the referee Leontios Trattou’s against Shehu Abdullahi footballer of Anorthosis Famagusta expelled for violent behavior.

In the 36th minute, he went to Apollon’s bench to get the ball and did not give it to the player, so the footballer moves with his foot to beat them. He tried to kick them.

’Then the footballers of Apollon’s bench moved backward to avoid the kick. This resulted in the red card being accepted directly in the CYTA A Championship match,” the FA said in the release.

Revealed – Hierarchy, Names Of Rohr’s Six Assistants Including Brazilian Tactician

Players of the Super Eagles of Nigeria are presently been handled by six coaches lead by Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr who also doubles as the senior coach among the six.

Rohr also brought three assistants who are to assist him in various capacity while the Nigeria Football Federation ( NFF) employed three others as part of the technical crew of the team.

Frenchman Luc Royer who has worked with Rohr in several places is the first assistant while Brazilian tactician Everson Ferreira acts as the second technical assistant to Rohr.

Salisu Yusuf lead the coaches appointed by the NFF, and he is saddled with the responsibility of monitoring Nigeria Professional Football League players and also the B team of the Super Eagles.

Name                        Position

Gernot Rohr ‎               Technical Adviser

Salisu Yusuf                 Head Coach

Jean Luc Royer             Technical Assistant

Everson Ferreira           Technical Assistant II

Nabil Trabelsi                Video Analyst

Imama Amapakabo       Assistant Coach

Alloysius Agu               Goalkeeper Trainer

 

 

Source: Own Goal Nigeria

Nigeria to Play Argentina in November

Three-time African champions Nigeria and two–time world champions Argentina will square up in a high–profile international friendly in the Russian city of Krasnodar on Tuesday, 14th November 2017. Venue is the Krasnodar Arena Stadium.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, at the weekend said that nearly all arrangements have been concluded, subject to approval by world football ruling body, FIFA and agreeable flight arrangements.

“We have had long and fruitful talks, and we can say that we have an agreement. We await the approval by FIFA and also, we have to agree on the flight arrangements that would be comfortable for the players and crew.

“The match will come up on 14th November, four days after the Super Eagles’ final 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match away to Algeria. We had offers from teams like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Morocco but we have opted for the Argentines,” Sanusi said.

The Eagles take on Algeria’s Fennecs in what is no more than an academic exercise, at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui in Constantine on Friday, 10th November.

Nigeria and Argentina played two high–profile friendly matches in 2011, the first in Abuja in June ending 4-1 in favour of the Super Eagles.

The Albiceleste trumped the second encounter 3-1 in Dhaka, Bangladesh three months later.

NFF’s FIFA Match Agent Jairo Pachon of Eurodata Sport, who also organized the friendly matches with the Argentines in 2011, said, “We are very pleased to be able to deliver such a high –profile game to celebrate the Super Eagles’ 2018 World Cup qualification.

“It was a lot of work over the past week but we are happy this has become reality. We will, in due course, reveal the Nigerian sponsor of the match who will have the match rights in Nigeria.”

While Argentina qualified for Russia on the final day of the South American qualification campaign, the Super Eagles have reached Russia with a match to spare.

Nigeria have had to confront Argentina in four of its previous five FIFA World Cup appearances, starting with a 1-2 defeat in Boston, USA in the African team’s debut in 1994. Argentina won another group phase clash 1-0 in Ibaraki, Japan in 2002, won a similar encounter by the same margin in Johannesburg, South Africa eight years later and then edged the Eagles 3-2 in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2014.

Other famous encounters between both nations include two final matches of the Olympic Men’s Football Tournament – Nigeria edging it in 1996 in America and the Argies winning by the odd goal in China 12 years later.

Argentina will take on World Cup hosts Russia in a friendly on 10th November while the Eagles are playing the Fennecs in Constantine.

NFF

NFF Chairman Considering Two Friendlies For Super Eagles After Algeria Win

The Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has gathered with his crew to begin its yearly general assembly in Jos tomorrow and is considering reported overtures from two unnamed countries for friendly matches with the Super Eagles immediately after next month’s Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria.

The Nigerian team has been contacted by England over a friendly game with the team to help both nations prepare for the World Cup in Russia next year. But Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, dismissed the report, affirming, however, there were plans for a friend with a yet to be determined country after the game with Algeria next month.

“We cannot talk about playing England now when the draw for the World Cup has not been made. We can only talk about teams when we know our group opponents at the World Cup. But there is a game lined up for the Eagles immediately after the qualifier in Algeria,” Ibitoye said.

An NFF official, who pleaded anonymity, however, told The Guardian that the Federation actually has two friendly opportunities for the Eagles, which would be discussed at the meeting in Jos.

“The matches are just for Coach Rohr to look at some of the players who have not featured in competitive games for the team. “Rohr wants to look at as many players as possible before deciding those that will make his squad when the actual preparation for the World Cup begins next year,” the source said.

The NFF in a statement yesterday said the general assembly brings together the kernel of Nigeria’s football family, including Chairmen and Secretaries of the Football Associations of all 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Chairmen and Secretaries of the various Leagues, Referees Association, Coaches Association and the Players’ Union, the members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management, and stakeholders of the game invited for the purpose.

Items on the agenda include presentation of the Consolidated and Revised Balance Sheet and Profit-and-Loss Statement, presentation of the Financial Statement for approval, presentation of the 2018 Budget for approval, votes on proposals for amendments to the Statutes, the regulations governing the application of the Statutes and the standing orders of the General Assembly, as well as discussion of any further items proposed by the Members or by the Executive Committee.

During the business of the assembly proper, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, will present his address, encapsulating activities within the football sector since the last assembly and the Federation’s plans for the year 2018, while General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, will also present the activity report.

“I Would Love To Play Against The Eagles In Russia 2018” – Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi the Barcelona superstar has reportedly picked a match against the Super Eagles of Nigeria as one of his favourites in the 2018 World Cup.

Messi who was superb in Argentina’s win against Ecuador which gave the South Americans the World Cup ticket was said to be looking forward to his country to face Nigeria in Russia.

He picked up an interest in the super Eagles play and would like to play a match with the Nigerian team.

Messi was reported according to National Helm that a game against Nigeria was among his favourites games.

Gernot Expresses Pleasure Working With Eagles

Gernot Rohr, a Franco-German tactician, has expressed pleasure working with the Super Eagles, following the three-time African champions qualification for Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup on Saturday.

Nigeria became the first African country to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after defeating Chipolopolo of Zambia on Saturday in Uyo.

Super Eagles re-enacted the feat of the Super Eagles’ class of 1997 that qualified for the France’98 World Cup with a match to spare.

Rohr, in a statement by Ademola Olajire, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)’s spokesman on Tuesday, said that he was happy working with the team.

Rohr said, “I am very excited to be working with this team, a blend of the experienced and the young and ambitious ones.

“They are a delight to be with at all times, and I believe we are on to great things.

“At the beginning of the qualifying series, many people said we were going to be chased out.

“We sat down together and we promised ourselves that we would go all out and get the ticket.”

The 64-year-old coach, who has employed 15 months ago, led the team to a 1- 0 defeat of Tanzania in Uyo in September 2016; 2-1 defeat of Zambia in Ndola in October 2016.

Also, at the start of the 2018 World Cup race, the coach led the team to a 3-1 defeat of Algeria in Uyo in November 2016; a 3-0 defeat of Togo in a friendly match in Paris in June 2017.

His victories also include a 4-0 bashing of Cameroon in Uyo in September 2017 and a 1- 0 defeat of Zambia in Uyo in October 2017, which guaranteed the World Cup ticket.

The only loss was against the South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in Uyo, at the start of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June 2017.

Rohr said, “The match was a big wake-up call for us. Now that we have the World Cup ticket, we will go all out for the AFCON ticket and get it.

“When you have a team that has so much self-belief, a lot of things are possible.

“Age is, but a number. I feel young and able and willing to go on working with this group.’’

FIFA, CAF Investigate Nigeria, Zambia 2018 World Cup Qualifier

FIFA and Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) have launched an investigation into the behaviour of the Copper Bullets fans during Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Zambia on Saturday evening, reports ghanasoccernet.com.

Photographs show the Zambia fans displaying a banner,’H.E. E.C. LUNGU GOD BLESS YOU’ in the stands at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, in support of ‘unpopular’ Zambian president, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

FIFA does not allow political messages during games, which means that Zambia could be fined by football’s governing body as a result at the end of the inquiry.

“However, keeping in mind that the rules need to be applied in a neutral and fair manner across FIFA’s 211 member associations, the display, among others, of any political or religious symbol is strictly prohibited.

“In the stadium and on the pitch, there is only room for sport, nothing else,’’ chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Claudio Sulser was quoted as saying by Zambian Observer.

It is claimed that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) were not aware of the behaviour of the Zambian fans in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles’ Manager, Gernot Rohr has revealed that Alex Iwobi was the only player he introduced against Zambia ‎in a bid to change tactics in the 1-0 win.

Rohr, who made two other substitutions, admitted the other changes were made due to injuries to the players who started the game, but that of Iwobi was planned before the game.

Iwobi who scored the winning goal for Nigeria replaced Moses Simon, and according to Rohr, he was lucky to have tucked home the winner 16 minutes from full time.

Rohr said, “Onazi had an injury. He started the game very well. He had an injury, which looks like a hamstring. It’s not easy as we had to make two changes due to injuries and only one tactical change but they did well.

“We were very lucky that the player (Iwobi) who came in ‎got the goal for us. But I believe starting with Simon Moses and bringing in Alex Iwobi when he was brought on was not so easy for us… but we knew he could make the difference.”

 

 

Source: The Guardian