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Nigerian Football

NFF Thanks Aiteo as 27 Coaches Get Paid

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The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has handed big kudos to its Official Optimum Partner, Aiteo Group, following the payment of the first batch of monies meant for the payment of salaries of Coaches of the National Teams in the N2.5billion, five-year partnership agreement with the foremost energy solution company.

The NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, who is also Chairman of the NFF Sponsorship, Marketing and Television Advisory Committee, told thenff.com on Tuesday that from the first tranche of payment received from the energy solution company, about N100million has been used to offset all outstanding salaries of 27 coaches in all, including a number that had been owed for services rendered during the tenure of previous administrations.

The salaries of the Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Mr. Gernot Rohr, have also been settled up-to-date from the forex component of the transaction with Aiteo.

All the payments were made direct to the accounts of the beneficiaries through NFF’s Financial Consultants (Financial Derivatives Company), appointed to manage the funds from the sponsors upon verification of the processes by NFF external auditors, PWC and payment instructions from the NFF secretariat.

“We are very happy to announce that we have been able to pay a total of 27 coaches all the monies they were being owed, including some who worked with previous NFF Boards in what we termed ‘legacy payments’.

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“It is our joy that the coaches can finally smile to the bank. A labourer deserves his wages, and that is why the present NFF administration worked assiduously hard to ensure the realization of this partnership. The NFF is grateful to Aiteo Group for this breakthrough in making our coaches happy.”

Following the signing of the partnership agreement on 26th April 2017, the NFF put in place a small panel headed by the Chairman of Technical and Development Committee, Barr. Chris Green to scrutinize and harmonize the claims of the coaches and arrive at the actual amounts owed each person.

A total of 27 coaches turned up for the two –day exercise at the NFF Secretariat, Abuja, and the payments began immediately after.

“The list cuts across all the national teams – from the coaches of the Super Eagles to the coaches of the Beach Soccer national team. Our joy is that each and every one of them who turned for the exercise is quite happy now,” Dikko affirmed.

Beneficiary coaches are: Salisu Yusuf, Alloy Agu, Fatai Amoo, David Ngodigha, Ann Chiejine, Bala Mohammed, Kabiru Baleria, Emeka Amadi, Peter Dedevbo, Toyin Ayinla, Wemimo Oni, Auwal Bashir, Manu Garba, Bala Nikyu, Lateef Yusuf, Nduka Ugbade, Jolomi Atunne Alli, Ernest Salolomo, Queen Dolyn Akpan, Adamu Audu Ejo, Godwin Okon, Justin Madugu, Gidado Usman, Florence Omagbemi, Perpetua Nkwocha, Emmanuel Amuneke, Christopher Danjuma

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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

Manu Garba, U17 World Cup winner, returns as Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach

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The Board of Nigeria Football Federation has appointed former U17 World Cup winner Manu Garba as Head Coach of the Nigeria U17 boys, Golden Eaglets.

Garba had, in the same role, led the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U17 World Cup for Nigeria in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 – Nigeria’s fourth triumph at that stage.

Garba’s world-conquering squad in 2013 included Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Isaac Success, Musa Mohammed, Chidiebere Nwakali and goalkeeper Dele Alampasu.

The squad, which finished as runners-up at the African U17 Championship in Morocco after a penalty shootout defeat by Cote d’Ivoire, defeated Mexico 6-1 in their opening game, drew 3-3 with Sweden and hammered Iraq 5-0. In the Round of 16, they ran Iran ragged 4-1, dispatched Uruguay 2-0 in the quarter-finals and trounced Sweden 3-0 in the semi-finals, before they dislodged Mexico by the same margin in the final to lift the trophy.

The former Nigeria international will now immediately resume the role and take charge of the team’s preparations for next month’s WAFU B U17 Championship, taking place in Ghana.

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Nigerian Football

Kano Pillars on  the verge of relegation again?

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BY NURA GARBA SABONSARA

As the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) 2023/2024 season enters the home stretch, Kano Pillars find themselves in a precarious situation, despite being in the 8th on the league table.

They have 41 points in a close-packed league in which no situation below the top eight can be regarded as safe now.

On the surface, the eighth position occupied by Kano Pillars might seem a decent position, but beneath lies a series of crises that is threatening the club’s stability.

Kano Pillars, a team deeply entrenched in the hearts of the people of Kano, holds a unique status in Nigerian football. Yet, recent events have cast doubts on their future in the league.

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Despite a promising start to the season where they occupied the third position, the team has encountered a harsh reality check.

For the first time in its history since establishment in 1990, Kano Pillars faced back-to-back home losses in a single season, a stunning defeat against Abia Warriors followed by a recent upset against Shooting Stars of Ibadan on Monday, 8th April, 2024.

These losses, coupled with a humiliating 5-0 defeat by Enyimba, paint a troubling picture.

While some attribute these setbacks to the challenges of Ramadan fasting affecting the players, others argue that this explanation falls short because the team has been playing in this situation for many years.

Why now?. The root of Pillars’ problems lies deeper, starting from the inability to secure key signings and a lack of strong financial backing.

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Recruitment primarily from local talent pools received mixed reactions.

While some praised the emphasis on nurturing grassroots talent, others feared the consequences of inexperience, a concern that seems to be materializing now.

Moreover, the team’s financial woes, compounded by fines imposed due to fan misconduct, further exacerbate the situation.

Similarly, some close government allies and individuals are forcing the technical crew to recruit their players irrespective of whether they are competent or not, a development that has angered many fans of the club.

Many players seem motivated solely by personal career advancement rather than team success, raising questions about commitment and morale.

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Additionally, scheduling matches during Ramadan, though a long standing practice, has never before yielded such dismal results.

With relegation looming just eight points away, urgent action is imperative.

The government, alongside club officials, must step in decisively to address these issues. Ignoring the plight of Kano Pillars risks tarnishing the state’s football legacy irreparably.

In conclusion, Kano Pillars stand at a critical juncture. Without swift intervention and a concerted effort to rectify underlying problems, the club faces the grim prospect of relegation once again.

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Nigerian Football

Shooting Stars rally from behind to clinch a rare victory in Kano

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Shooting Stars continue to press for the top three slot in the Nigeria Premier League as they clinched a rare 2-1  victory in Kano on Monday evening.

Before now, they have always been battered with basketful of goals in their away duels with Kano Pillars.

In some instances, the score lines were as wide as 6-0. But on Monday, Shooting Stars continued their chase of the frontrunners. It initially looked a continuation of the past when in the opening two minutes, Shooting Stars were already a goal down.

Rabiu Ali shot the hosts ahead and held on till half time. Three minutes into the second half, Taiye Murtala levelled up for Shooting Stars before serial scorer, Christian Pyagbara scored the winner in the fourth minute of the added time.

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