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Nigerian Football

NIGERIA: No more Journeyman, vows Eguavoen

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BY WALE AJAYI.

 

Former Super Eagles’ player and later coach, Austin Eguavoen who was on Tuesday unveiled as new manager of relegation threatened Sunshine Stars, has vowed to remain on the job rather than quit as he did before to other Nigerian clubs.

He was unveiled along with former national team goalkeeper who also had been goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu. Both were part of a four-man technical crew put together to save the Akure club. They are not just to steer the club out of relegation waters, the management wants the quartet put Sunshine Stars among genuine contenders for the Federation Cup, Nigeria’s national tournament and the oldest competition in the country.

Eguavoen as new technical adviser of the club is one N1 million monthly package, the same salary of his immediate predecessor, Kayode Olujohungbe.

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Chairman of the three-man Interim committee set up recently by Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to rescue the sinking club, Gbenga Elegbeleye expressed confidence in the abilities of both Eguavoen and Shorunmu, to improve the fortunes of the club.

“We have a mandate to do what is best for this club. Our committee is worried with the dwindling fortune of a club we all call the pride of Ondo state.

“His Excellency, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, in setting up this committee, charged us, to turn around many things that have gone wrong in the last few years. We are to ensure that sunshine stars does not go on relegation and the only way we can achieve that is by getting two of the best coaches currently, in the job, to come and help us make this dream a reality.

“After finishing second to Atletico Madrid at the LA LIGA future champions competition in South Africa last month, a few PSL clubs wanted Eguavoen to take up a coaching job in the South African premier soccer league but he turned them down because of the relationship we have built over the years.

“We are confident therefore that with his wealth of experience, he can take Sunshine stars out of the relegation waters”, Elegbeleye, a former Director General at the now scrapped National Sports Commission remarked.

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Eguavoen, a former Enyimba, COD and Gombe United coach, will take charge of the Sunshine Stars till the end of the current football season with the option of an extension and improved deal, based on performance.

“I am a coach who believes in my ability.  I would not have accepted this job if I was not sure that I have what it takes to succeed on it.

“I walked out of COD and Gombe United but I want to make a promise here today, that I will not walk out of Sunshine Stars,

“ I want to implore everyone of you, the players, the fans and the management to give my technical crew your maximum support because that is the only way we can make any headway in the long run Eguavoen said”

Sunshine stars currently sits on eighteenth spot in the twenty teams log and must win at least ten of their last nineteen premier league matches to stand any chance of surviving the drop.

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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

Osimhen’s outburst was a moment of madness, says Amaju

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Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President and a  FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has expressed shock at last month’s outburst by Super Eagles’ striker, Victor Osimhen against Finidi George.

“It is very unfortunate”, Amaju Pinnick remarked on an Arise Television programme. The former NFF president said he had put a call to Osimhen who was very remorseful while the telephone conversation lasted.

  “I told him he has to apologise, and I am sure he will if he has not yet done so.” Amaju remarked that he could not comprehend what went wrong as Osimhen was the most cool-headed player in the national team.

He went on to remark that Finidi George was not a personality to be disregarded like that. He has won virtually every honour available during his playing days and was a member of the Super Eagles at their peak when Nigeria ranked fifth in the world.

“I believe players should learn to respect their coaches”, said the former NFF boss.

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I prefer a foreign coach for the Super Eagles, says Amaju

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Nigeria’s FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has told the world that he has always been an advocate of foreign coaches for the Super Eagles. He spoke on Arise Television while fielding questions with Reuben Abati, Rufai Oseni and Ayo Mairo-Ese. 

His reason for being averse to indigenous  coaches stemmed from lack of respect for them by the players.

“Yes, the Nigerian coaches have the requisite knowledge and the technical ability, but modern football is beyond that in managing players.

“Will the national team players respect the coach? The sad thing is that they don’t”, said Amaju Pinnick.

 He however revealed that he supported the appointment of Finidi George owing to the circumstances that the NFF found itself after the exit of Jose Peseiro.

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 The NFF, he revealed, had no money to hire a foreign coach. The body therefore went for the most available option, Finidi to ensure a smooth transition.

 “Finidi was part of the coaching crew of Peseiro and it was therefore logical to ask him to continue.

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Nigerian Football

NFF to train referees on VAR

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Application of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR)  may soon be introduced into Nigeria’s domestic football competitions.

This is deduced from the statement of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Ibrahim Gusau while addressing the annual general meeting of the Nigeria Premier League.

He also disclosed plans by the federation to train Nigerian referees on the application Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Gusau revealed that  NFF had already secured the communication gadget that the referees will use during matches.

“We have to train the personnel that will manage the VAR now. We have selected some of the referees that we are to start training.

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It is not a training of one day, one month or two months; it is a training that will take a little bit of time. After the training they have to go on practical training on the VAR system by going out while some matches are ongoing to see how they can manage it. But when we are sure we have the personnel that can manage it in the next one or two years, we will start to see how we can use VAR in our system,” Gusau said.

He also said that the federation intends to make the league attractive by discouraging Nigerian players from joining other lesser glamourous African clubs without established football pedigree.

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