Pharaohs Beatable In Egypt – Ighalo

Watford striker Odion Ighalo has said he believes Nigeria could still get the victory they desperately need against Egypt on Tuesday to stay on course for next year’s AFCON in Gabon. Nigeria failed to beat visiting Egypt in Friday’s must-win match in Kaduna and now travel to Alexandria on Tuesday for the reverse fixture against the seven-time African champions.

The Super Eagles thus remain two points behind group leaders Egypt after three rounds of matches in the qualifying tournament with only the overall group winners assured automatic qualification to Gabon 2017.

“Egypt got a draw in Nigeria and I believe we can still go over there to win,” declared Ighalo, who was kept quiet by the Egyptian defence on Friday for the duration of the game.

“It was disappointing that we did not concentrate till the last minute and that they didn’t give us the fair play, but we can still win on Tuesday.”

Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi said the target remains a win in Egypt. “We need the three points in Egypt. It will be a tough task, but we are very capable,” said the South Africa-based shot stopper.

“We will fight to get the victory in Egypt,” added defiant Gent forward Moses Simon, who started the game on Friday ahead of Chelsea loanee Victor Moses.

Super Eagles Held Back By Pharaohs

Nigeria’s chances of qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana suffered a massive setback Friday when they failed to beat Egypt in a must-win game in Kaduna.

The Super Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw by Egypt, who thus stay on top of group G with seven points and host Nigeria in a reverse fixture in Alexandria on Tuesday.

Nigeria have five points with Tanzania on four points.

Oghenekaro Etebo put Nigeria ahead on the hour, when he scrambled home off a rebound after Kelechi Iheanacho’s sizzler came off the post.

However, in stoppage time, Mohammed Salah broke an offside trap by the home team to draw Egypt level.

Nigeria bossed ball possession after a bright start to the game, but Egypt threatened on the counter.

Super Eagles goalkeeper Carl Ikeme pulled off the first big save of the day when he put out his foot to block a goal-bound effort by Ahmed Hassan ‘Kouka’ after 18 minutes.

Egypt goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawi was also at his best in the closing moments of the game when he turned away a low, goal-bound shot by Kelechi Iheanacho in the 45th minute.

In first half stoppage time, subdued Odion Ighalo failed to direct his shot from inside the box with the Egypt defence at his mercy.

Nigeria continued to attack after the interval with coach Samson Siasia giving Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi his first official game for the Eagles.

Super Eagles Players Get Outstanding Bonuses Today

Members of the Super Eagles squad, will today be paid their bonuses for a 2018 World Cup qualifying game against Swaziland.

Nigeria won the game 2-0, but the players are yet to receive their $5,000-a-man bonus since November.

The payment was delayed, after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), ordered the players to open foreign currency accounts, to which the monies will be transfered into.

Most of the players rejected the plan, causing a delay.

However, NFF officials have arrived in Kaduna, to ensure the payments are made before Friday’s crucial AFCON 2017 qualifier against Egypt.

Super Eagles Get New Captain In John Obi Mikel

Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi, has been announced as the new captain of the Super Eagles.

The news was broken by Ahmed Musa, who was the skipper until today. The CSKA Moscow winger replaced Vincent Enyeama, after the goalkeeper announced his retirement from international football.

“I want to announce now that from today, John Obi Mikel is our new captain,” Musa said at the Eagles’ press conference, ahead of Friday’s AFCON 2017 qualifier against Egypt.
Musa was flanked by interim manager, Samson Siasia and Mikel Obi during his announcement.

Eagles Struggling In Kaduna Heat – Siasia

Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has admitted the hot weather in Kaduna is affecting some of his players, but praised the commitment of the team ahead of Friday’s AFCON showdown against Egypt.

Siasia took his first training at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna Tuesday evening for the double-header AFCON qualifiers with the first leg slated for Kaduna on Friday, before the return leg is played on Tuesday in Alexandria.

“You could still figure out that some of them were fighting to survive the not-too-friendly weather despite being cooler than the Abuja weather,” Siasia said.

“But I am happy with the commitment level of the players. You could see that they really want to fight for their fatherland and they tried to put in all they have in the training.”

Kick-off of the match has now been moved by an hour to 5pm local time.

The coach also confirmed that Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi, who suffered from food poisoning in camp in Abuja, has recovered fully and will be involved in today’s training in Kaduna.
“Alex had a light training with the team’s physiotherapist and he moved well on the pitch. He is okay and would be involved in today’s only training session,” Siasia disclosed.

Iwobi, Onazi, Akpeyi Join Super Eagles Training In Kaduna

Ill Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi and latest arrivals Ogenyi Onazi and Daniel Akpeyi were part of the Super Eagles first training in Kaduna on Tuesday evening ahead of Friday’s must-win AFCON qualifier against Egypt.

Iwobi, who was hospitalised overnight in Abuja after he suffered food poisoning after team dinner on Monday, trained alone with the Eagles physiotherapist.

Earlier today, he missed the team’s first training in Abuja on account of the food poisoning.

However, Lazio midfielder Onazi and South Africa-based Akpeyi were fully involved in Tuesday evening training which was mainly tactical.

A total of 21 players trained in Kaduna with Monaco defender Elderson Echiejile becoming the last player to join camp after arriving today. The team is scheduled to train only once tomorrow, and the session kicks off at 4pm.

Iwobi’ Father Affirms Son’s Choice Of Nigeria Over England

The father of Arsenal youngster Alex iwobi has said he not only hopes his son establishes himself with Nigeria, but goes on to the captain the country’s team, just as his uncle the legendary Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha did.

The younger Iwobi played 11 times for several age-group England teams before he changed his international allegiance to his father’s country of birth last year.

He has already won two caps for the Super Eagles, but both were in friendly matches.

And after crowning his first Premier League start for Arsenal with a goal in a 2-0 win at Everton at the weekend, he was favourably in line for his first official game for the three-time African champions, but this may now have to wait after he suffered food poisoning at the team’s dinner on Monday.

“Alex is fully committed to Nigeria and I hope he goes on not only to establish himself in the team, but also goes on to captain the country,” said Chuka Iwobi, a London-based lawyer.

“He has shown character, keeps working hard and above all, he is humble and listens and learns from both his manager Arsene Wenger and the senior players at Arsenal.

“He is only starting out in his career and he knows he has a lot he needs to do to improve on his game.”

Iwobi senior is equally delighted that ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha has been an adviser for Alex.

“You cannot have a better adviser than ‘Jay Jay’ in your corner,” said the man, who is married to the sister of the former PSG, Hull City and Bolton Wanderers.

Last Saturday was a red letter day in the house of the Iwobis – Alex scored in his first Premier League start for ’The Gunners’.

“It was magical,” described the proud father.

“We all watched the game at home, my wife and his 15-year-old sister and when he scored, we all shouted and danced in joy even though I don’t consider myself a great dancer.

“Probably, my only regret was that I was not at the game. Wenger only announces his team two hours to a game, so you are never sure who will start or not.

“I am at all Arsenal home games because we live in London. But if I knew he would start, I would have been in the stadium in Liverpool to cheer him.”

Iwobi senior himself was a decent player in his days but he never got to play for Nigeria.

He was an attacking midfielder who featured for the University of Nigeria (UNN) football team as well as the now defunct Vasco da gama of Enugu. He was nicknamed “Mehalla” after an Egyptian club who dumped the great Enugu Rangers out of a continental competition in the 80s.

Who is a better player, father or son?

“I would say that already at his age he is a better player and he has got everything to be much, much better,” the older Iwobi is not ashamed to concede.

Egypt Coach Labels Super Eagles Favorites

Assistant coach of Egypt’s national team, Osama Nabih has identified three factors that could derail his side’s chances of positing creditable results against Nigeria in this month’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying matches.

Three-time champions, Nigeria will face Egypt in the first of two 2017 Afcon qualifiers at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on March 25 with the return fixture coming up four later at the Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

Nabih says Nigeria are favourites for three reasons.

“The first difficulty is Nigeria is a big name in the African continent, despite failing to reach the last edition of the Africa Cup.

“Nigeria is coached by Samson Siasia who reached the Olympic Games (winning a Silver medal) first with the U-23 team.

“Moreover, Nigeria have 22-foreign based players alongside well prepared ones in the domestic Nigerian league. So Siasia possess all the tools that lead to success.

“Despite the difficulty of the Nigeria game, we are working to improve our chance of qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in the coming Nigeria game,” Nabih told Egyptian media outfit, www.nilesports.com.

Egypt is leading Group G with six points, two ahead of second-placed Nigeria.

Only the group winners are guaranteed automatic qualification for the 2017 Afcon.

Leon Balogun Could Feature In Egypt Second Leg – NFF

Injury-hit Germany-based defender Leon Balogun could still play a role in an AFCON double-header against Egypt according to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

According to the NFF, Balogun, who is nursing hamstring complaint, is being programmed for the return leg in Alexandria on Tuesday next week.

Balogun’s Bundesliga club Mainz 05 announced the defender’s injury, adding he will be out for some time.

In the meantime, England –based goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, defenders Efe Ambrose and Abdullahi Shehu, midfielders Kelechi Iheanacho and Azubuike Okechukwu and forwards Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon, Victor Moses and Fanendo Adi were being expected to land in Abuja on Monday night.

South Africa –based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defenders Stanley Amuzie and Elderson Echiejile and midfielder Ogenyi Onazi would arrive in Lagos on Monday night and travel to Abuja by first flight on Tuesday.

Arsenal prodigy Alex Iwobi was the first overseas –based player to arrive in the Super Eagles’ camp in Abuja, on Sunday, before Turkey–based Umar Aminu and Godfrey Oboabona, and John Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Aaron Samuel.

The Super Eagles will arrive in the city of Kaduna, venue of Friday’s against the Pharaohs of Egypt, on Tuesday.

Minister To Attend Oliseh Hearing

It has been confirmed that Nigerian sports minister Solomon Dalung will be present when the country’s former coach Sunday Oliseh appears before the House of Representatives sports committee in Abuja on Thursday.

Oliseh is expected to give his own version to why he suddenly quit his post with just a month to crucial AFCON qualifiers against Egypt.

“The sports minister has insisted he be part of the committee’s hearing and so he will be in attendance on Thursday,” a sports ministry official informed.

The sports minister ordered Oliseh not to be sacked when Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick presented a recommendation of the technical committee that the coach be fired.

The NFF have maintained this briefing is a major distraction as the Super Eagles are preparing for must-win AFCON qualifiers against Egypt.

Odemwingie Joins Bristol City On Loan

Peter Odemwingie has joined English Championship side, Bristol City, on loan for the rest of the season.

The 34-year-old failed to pin down a regular spot at Stoke City and will be hoping the move revives his career.

Odemwingie moved to the Britannia in January 2014, but missed most of the 2014/2015 season because of a knee ligament injury.

Although he signed a new one-year deal with Stoke, the Nigerian striker has not scored in eight appearances this season.

“I’m looking forward to working with him,” Bristol head coach, Lee Johnson, told club website.

“I’m delighted we’ve been able to bring someone of Peter’s quality in; he’ll provide us with experience and hopefully goals in one form or another.”

Bristol City are currently 20th in the English Championship, with 37 points from 36 games