Connect with us

Nigerian Football

NFF Happy With Uyo Stadium Pitch

Published

on

It is exactly 60 days to Nigeria’s duel with South Africa in the qualifying series for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations this Thursday. An NFF inspection team on Tuesday visited the Godswill Akpabio, Uyo venue of the match.

According to a media release from the Communication Department of the NFF, the delegation headed by Barrister Chris Green has expressed satisfaction with the current state of the playing turf. Nigeria last featured at the continental premier competition four years ago.

Green, alongside NFF Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme on Tuesday inspected the magnificent facility, nicknamed ‘Nest of Champions’ and which hosted the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the Super Eagles and Tanzania in September 2016, as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying battle between the Eagles and the Fennecs of Algeria five months ago.

“We are delighted with the state of the playing turf and other facilities at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium,” Green told thenff.com. “I can tell you that the pitch is just as it was when the Super Eagles played Algeria in the World Cup qualifier in November last year.

“The fact that Julius Berger has also started some work on the turf is even more re-assuring. They are adding manure, and afterwards will do cutting and rolling, and they have the benefit of the weather at this period. By the time we host South Africa on 10th June, the pitch will be one of the very best anywhere in Africa.”

Advertisement

Tuesday’s visit to the capital of Akwa Ibom State was to ascertain the condition of the playing pitch and indeed other facilities at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, as well as the level of commitment of the State Government to hosting the big match.

After the inspection, the team reported: “Every inch of the field is covered by grass and the grass is lush green. Julius Berger (the company that built the stadium) has commenced work on the field for the purpose of bringing it to the best standard possible. Every other facility is in good condition.

“The condition of the field, as it is now, is good enough for matches to be played on it. The Akwa Ibom State Government has continued to show desire and commitment to hosting the match.”

However, in order to maintain the lush –green state of the pitch, the inspection team has advised that no activity be carried out on it until ongoing work is completed and the 2019 Cup of Nations qualifier between the Eagles and the Bafana Bafana is played.

The ‘Nest of Champions’ will also play host to the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches between the Super Eagles and Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions (August 2017) and between the Super Eagles and the Chipolopolo of Zambia (October 2017).

Advertisement

Also present during the inspection were Sir Monday Ebong Uko (State Commissioner for Youth and Sports), Akan Okon (State Commissioner for Special Duties),  Aniedi Dickson (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports), Emmanuel Iba (Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Football Association),  Paul Bassey (Chairman of Akwa United Football Club/SSA to Governor on Sports), Victor Owokwure (the Stadium Manager), representatives of Akwa Ibom State Sports Council and representatives of Julius Berger construction company.

 

 

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Nigerian Football

Nigeria face tough defence as Burkina Faso lie in wait at U17 WAFU B AFCON qualifiers

Published

on

Defending champions Nigeria have been handed a difficult path to the 2025 U17 Africa Cup of Nations finals after being drawn in the same group as Burkina Faso for next month’s WAFU B qualifying tournament in Ghana.

The Golden Eaglets, who won the last edition of the regional championship in 2022, will also face Togo and Niger in Group B of the competition which runs from 15-28 May.

Hosts Ghana find themselves in Group A alongside Cote d’Ivoire and Benin in a tough-looking section of the competition to be played in Accra.

The draw was conducted by 1970s Ivorian football legends Kobenan Kouman and Die Foneye at the Ivorian FA headquarters in Abidjan on Friday.

Nigeria claimed their WAFU B U17 AFCON title by defeating Burkina Faso 2-1 in the regional final in Ghana two years ago.

Advertisement

However, they will need to overcome some familiar foes if they are to defend their crown and with the Burkina Faso finishing third at the last TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations, some exciting matches are expected.

Arch-rivals Nigeria and Ghana are among the two favourites and could meet in the final in Accra on 28 May, should they top their respective groups and make it through the semi-finals.

Ghana also have pedigree at this level, having the World Cup in 1991 and 1995 as they bid to reach the U17 AFCON finals on home soil.

The top two teams from the WAFU B tournament will qualify for next year’s  U17 Africa Cup of Nations.

Groups:

Advertisement

Group A: Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin

Group B: Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Togo, Niger.

Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

Former Nigeria international, Onye recommends  Amuneke-Siasia combo for Super Eagles

Published

on

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Kingsley Onye, the left sided defender who was a member of the first Flying Eagles side to have a podium finish at the U-20 World Cup has suggested the employment of Emmanuel Amuneke as the coach of the Super Eagles.

He wants him to be assisted by Samson Siasia when the ban on the latter lapses in August. Alternatively, Onye pointed to Sylvanus Okpala as alternative to Siasia.

The Super Eagles are in dare need for a head coach as the clock ticks down to the Match day 4 and 5 of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in which the team is trailing at the third position.

The two matches in early June are crucial for the Super Eagles to bounce back into reckoning as the team can not afford to drop any of the available six points in the duels with South Africa at home and away to Benin.

Advertisement

From this Monday, it is 41 days to the potentially challenging tie with South Africa, but the Nigerian national  team has been without a coach since the expiration of the contract of Portugal’s Jose Peseiro shortly after the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire.

Without mincing words, Onye remarked: Emmanuel Amuneke is the right man for the job of the coach of Super Eagles. He has been there before.

“He tasted it and had been fantastic with the Nigeria youth team, the U-17 by assisting Manu Garba to win the U17 World Cup in 2013 and as head coach, led the Golden Eaglets to win the cup again in 2015.”

Onye who played for the Enugu Rangers in Nigeria before venturing to the UK but had his career scuppered by freak injury  pointed out that the solution to Super Eagles’ technical deficiency is the appointment of an indigenous coach and that Amuneke is the man.

In buttressing his assertion, he declared: “As a senior team coach, Amuneke qualified a long standing absentee team, Tanzania  for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Advertisement

“His record as a player is also very impressive. He played and won with the Super Eagles, the AFCON 1994. He played at the Olympic Games and was also the first Nigerian to score two goals at the World Cup.

“He has played at the African Games and also for top clubs in the continent as he was a member of the Egyptian giants, Zamalek. In Europe, he played for Sporting Clube de Portugal and then Barcelona before injury ended his playing career.”

Onye also looked at the personality of Amuneke in recommending him for the Super Eagles job.

His record as a player is also very impressive. He played and won with the Super Eagles, the AFCON 1994. He played at the Olympic Games and was also the first Nigerian to score two goals at the World Cup.

He has played at the African Games and also for top clubs in the continent as he was a member of the Egyptian giants, Zamalek. In Europe, he played for Sporting Clube de Portugal and then Barcelona before injury ended his playing career.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Nigerian Football

GTI enlarges coast…spreads from League fund-raising to Federation Cup

Published

on

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Strategic partners of the Nigeria Football Federation, GTI Asset Management and Trust Ltd has expanded their scope of operations from fund sourcing for the Nigeria Premier League to adding the responsibility of getting the national cup competition back into its glamorous days.

The MD of the company, Abubakar Lawal at the unveiling a revamped Federation Cup which has been renamed President Federation Cup remarked that his company decided to take a bold step to support the national cup.

“I am the happiest man today, he said in the opening remark of the rebranding of the national cup through signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Sports and the NFF.

“Our company is also strategically involved in ensuring that the President Federation Cup is given necessary attention to thrive using The Nigeria Football Fund (TNFF) as our vehicle to actualise this dream.

Advertisement

“Therefore, it is our vision that the oldest domestic football event becomes one of the best organised football events in the world in no distant future.”

Continue Reading

Most Viewed