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Nigerian Football

Lagos State bids for National Stadium, Surulere

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The Lagos State Government has expressed interest in the renovation of the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos. According to Nneka ikem-Anibeze, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Sports, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode made the state’s intent known when he paid a condolence and courtesy visit on the Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung at his residence in Abuja at the weekend.

“I will like to bring the National stadium to life. The last time a game was played at the National Stadium was in 2005. There is also the employment aspect of football and hosting of matches at the stadium. That includes the jerseys, branding, mama put, the sign writers, the supporters, merchandising, and so on. We want to bring back the football culture of Lagos state to the National Stadium after its renovation” Governor Ambode said.

Barrister Dalung thanked the Governor for his visit and praised Lagos state for its successful hosting of the 2nd Lagos City Marathon.  He called on the state government to add more entertainment and culture to the event in subsequent editions to get more youths involved in the marathon and to ensure that Nigerians benefit more from the whooping prize money .

On the renovation of the National Stadium by the Lagos state government, the minister said he will go through their proposal and work on it.

“It is only fair that we hand over the stadium to Lagos state for renovation since we’ve given to Enugu, Bauchi and Kaduna states.

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“We were trying to drive a concession but Lagos state’s interest in the National Stadium is what we call an overriding interest which is based on equity. If Gov Ambode is interested in the National Stadium then the concession process is already abated” Dalung said.

The Minister noted that Nigerian football and its followership started going down when the National Stadium in Surulere ceased to host local and international matches.

“No matter how strong your home team is, if you don’t have a common ground where your teams play their big games, the environment counts a lot. Football has so many interests and since we lost the National Stadium Lagos, football started going down.”

Governor Ambode has since invited the Minister for a joint working visit of the National Stadium with the Lagos state government to ascertain the level of decadence and to hold talks on the evaluation and the next line of action to take.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

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New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

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