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Nigerian Football

Nigeria: El Classico Turned Bloody At Viewing Centre

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Barely three days after tragedy befell a public viewing centre in Calabar, South East Nigeria, another calamity resulted in another football viewing centre in Abakaliki,  the capital town of Ebonyi State in eastern Nigeria,

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, dare-devil cultists, in an American-styled Hollywood movie fashion, on Sunday night, stormed the centre during the telecast of Spanish League’s El Classico match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona El-Classico.

One of the victims was critically wounded. The sportsvillagesquare.com gathered that the viewing centre is located at Onuebonyi area of the town. The attackers reportedly stormed the centre about 7.30 p.m., midway into the match’s first half and sat down like other viewers enthralled by the captivating encounter.

Thereafter, they struck leading to severe injuries to a second-year student of the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.

Another witness and the viewing Centre Operator, John Otubo, noted that the attackers were magnanimous for reducing the impact of their attack considering the number of arms they brandished.

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“I watched them brandish two short guns, axes and knives as they simply went for their target, dragged him out and started using the weapons on him.

“No one can explain why they did not shoot him as they concentrated on him without attacking any other person or shooting sporadically to elicit stray-bullet incidences,’’ he said.

Otubo, however, said that several viewers were injured during the ensuing stampede while they scampered for safety as the viewing was abruptly halted.

“Pandemonium set forth as viewers ran in different directions and with the centre having only one entrance, most viewers pulled down the zincs used as makeshift walls at the centre.

“Several viewers were injured in the process, including those who were trampled upon during the stampede as the attackers felt their prey was dead and hurriedly left the scene.

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“I and other sympathisers met him motionless and in his pool of blood with the severe cuts on different parts of his body inflicted by the attackers.

“We immediately took him to a hospital which I cannot disclose presently as doctors said his condition was critical,’’ he said.

He said that he was undecided whether to report the matter to the police, adding that he would suspend viewing activities temporarily.

Mark Onu, National President of Akubaraoha Youth Assembly gave cultists in the state an immediate ultimatum to cease their nefarious activities or face dire consequences.

Onu, who is also the governor’s Senior Technical Assistant on Youth Mobilisation and Empowerment, urged youths to collaborate with security agencies in the state to fish out cultists wherever they reside or operate.

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“We will not allow any person or groups to disrupt the prevailing peace in the state which is being complemented by the governor’s developmental strides in all sectors,’’ he said.

According to NAN reports, the town has witnessed renewed cult activities involving three cult groups in Ebonyi State University which resulted in the confirmed death of a final year student, Theophilus Onele.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Jude Madu who is the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, said on Monday that he had not received the report of the incident but that manhunt on cultists had been intensified.

“The command arrests suspected cultists terrorising the town on daily basis and after our investigations, they are duly prosecuted to deter others.

“We will continue to appeal to the government, parents, religious bodies and youths among other stakeholders to intensify their campaign against cultism to make the society safe and habitable for all,’’ he said.

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Sources within EBSU and the town disclosed that there had been several cult-related killings in and around the town which had not been made public by the police

 

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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Nigerian Football

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

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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.

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“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.”

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Ikenne’s Beyond Limit Football Academy top goal chart as NNL releases vital statistics

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The secretariat of the Nigeria National League has released the match statistics of the four conferences of the 2024 season.

With 198 matches so far played in Conferences A and B, 426 goals were scored, with 125 home wins and 26  away wins, representing 63.1%, & 26% respectively. There were 47 draw matches, representing 23.7% of matches. 299 home goals were scored, and 127 home goals.

Beyond Limit FC scored the highest goals  of 33 goals, with Stormers FC and Ekiti United conceeding the least goals  of 28 goals. Tradesafe and Solution FC scored the least numbers of goals of 11 goals and Osun conceded the least numbers of goals of 8.

In group C & D, 209 goals have been scored in the 106 so far played, with 70 home wins and 14 won away  representing 66. 3% and 13.1% respectively.

 Teams drew 31 matches representing 29.2% of the matches played. Wikki Tourists scored the highest numbers of goals, with 23 goals, while EFCC FC conceded the least numbers of goals. They conceded 18 goals. Nasarawa United’s 8 goals conceded  made them the team that conceded the lowest numbers of goals, while ABS scored the least number of goals of 5 goals.

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