Mikel: Russia 2018 Ticket Is Dream Come True

Captain Mikel John Obi has reiterated his boundless joy at the Super Eagles’ qualification for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals.

“This is really a dream come true. The team and myself, we worked very hard for this believing we could do it, and we are over the moon that our aspiration has been met.

“I want to commend everyone who has been involved in this: the players, the coaches, the backroom staff, the NFF. It was not easy but we knew from the beginning that we would have to fight hard for every point and we did.”

The former Chelsea FC of England midfielder could have been going to his fourth World Cup finals, if Nigeria had not narrowly (head-to-head principle) missed the 2006 finals in Germany and he had not been injured just before the 2010 finals in South Africa.

“There is nothing one can do about that; everything comes in God’s time. I am grateful to God for this ticket and we will go to Russia and give our very best.”



Source: Nigeria Football Association

Ideye Talks Tough Ahead Of World Cup Qualifiers

Brown Ideye already sounds ready to go up against Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia ahead of the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualification scheduled to start in October this year.

The Olympiakos forward calmly explained that it was always expected that the final round of World Cup qualification in Africa would pitch some of the powerhouses on the continent in the same pool as Nigeria have now found themselves in Group B.

The 27-year-old made it clear that Nigeria’s Super Eagles cannot afford to “cut corners” this time against very sturdy opponents in Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.

The former West Bromwich Albion striker, however, believes that Nigeria can qualify from their group provided they “win matches” and “play well”.

“At this stage of football, tough groups like the type we have found ourselves are to be expected. To get to the World Cup, we cannot cut corners or relax or take things for granted. The World Cup is the biggest football stage where you meet the best of the best, so getting there will be tough.

“Now, we have to be prepared to work hard. If we work hard together as a team we will win matches and if we win our games we will qualify. The media have to be involved in this as well. They (media) have a huge role to play in motivating and psyching our team to do well. Everything is in our hands, we must plan well and ensure our house is in order. I believe we will qualify,” he said.

Ideye and his Nigeria teammates will begin their quest for a World Cup away to Zambia in Ndola on October 3 this year and end their qualification games at Algeria in Blida on November 6, 2017.

Nigeria Likely To Miss Out, As FIFA Announces Top Seeds For Africa’s World Cup Qualifiers

World football governing body FIFA will next month announce the top five seeds for the African zone of the 2018 World Cup qualifying tournament with Nigeria most likely to miss out.

FIFA will announce the top seeds between June 8 and 10 ahead of the main draw on June 24 in Cairo, Egypt.

The qualifiers to be played on a league basis of 20 teams divided into five groups will begin in October with the winners of the five groups qualifying for Russia 2018.

Experts say the current FIFA rankings will be one of the yardsticks to be used and this will most certainly work against Nigeria, who are now a disappointing 14th ranked team in Africa and are not likely to achieve any remarkable jump by the June rankings.

Africa’s top five ranked teams by this month are Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana , Senegal and Egypt in that order.

Previous World Cup records will also be taken into consideration and this could well help Nigeria’s cause after they reached the Round of 16 in Brazil two years ago.

With the seedings, Africa’s top teams will avoid themselves on the road to the next World Cup in Russia.

FIFA Investigates Beckenbauer Over 2006 World Cup

The FIFA Ethics Committee said on Tuesday it has opened an investigation against six men led by German icon Franz Beckenbauer in connection with the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

A statement said the investigatory chamber is probing organising committee chief Beckenbauer, former German football federation (DFB) presidents Wolfgang Niersbach and Theo Zwanziger, and three other former high-ranking DFB officials: Horst R Schmidt, Stefan Hans and Helmut Sandrock.

FIFA said it is investigating `in the context of the 2006 World Cup host selection and its associated funding’ after studying the final report of external law firm Freshfields which was published on March 4.

“In the cases of Niersbach and Sandrock, the investigatory chamber will investigate a possible failure to report a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

It could constitute a breach of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art.15 (Loyalty), art. 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperating and reporting) and art. 19 (Conflicts of interest) of the FCE.

“In the cases of Mr Beckenbauer, Dr Zwanziger, Mr Schmidt and Mr Hans, the investigatory chamber will investigate possible undue payments and contracts to gain an advantage in the 2006.

“The World Cup host selection and the associated funding, could constitute a breach of arts 13, 15, 18 and 19 as well as art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) and art. 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

The Freshfields reports said it found no evidence of vote-buying when Germany was awarded the tournament, but revealed unclear payments, including from an account held by Beckenbauer.

The probe centred on a payment of 6.7 million euros (7.3 million dollars) from German tournament organisers via FIFA to Louis-Dreyfus in 2005.

The money was deliberately declared as a payment for a World Cup cultural event which never took place, according to Freshfield.

Beckenbauer is a former FIFA executive member and received a warning and fine recently for not cooperating with an ethics committee probe on the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Niersbach resigned as DFB president in November over the affair but remains on the executive committees of FIFA and the European body UEFA.

Qualifying For World Cup Will Be Difficult – Odegbami

Former Nigeria international Segun Odegbami says the Super Eagles must go through a difficult  World Cup qualification process to secure a spot at Russia 2018.

Sunday Oliseh’s men face Egypt in a make or break African Cup of Nations qualifier double-header before continuing their qualification process for the World Cup later in the year.

According to the former Eagles striker, the country does not possess the quality that can make the qualification process an easy task.

“Nigeria does not have the players,” Odegbami told the media. “Just a few are emerging that starts to give us hope. I think we might still qualify for Afcon.

“To qualify for the World Cup is going to be extremely difficult this time. And if we do, we will be very lucky. That is my own view.

“I think within the next three to four years then we might have a proper Super Eagles if we do things right. If we look into our domestic league, develop it properly, arrange for our players or support them so that they can go to the right environment, for training.

“Give them all the motivation they need, take care of them and