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Nigerian Football

Sunshine Stars’ Woes Compounded

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Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs have been reminded by the League Management Company (LMC) that breaches of the NPFL Framework and Rules will be met with appropriate sanctions to sustain the gains of the reforms to reposition club football in the country.

The caution is coming on the heels of a ruling following further breach of the order to play behind closed door by Sunshine Stars that has subsequently been ordered to play its home matches at the Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu Ode while its goalkeeper, David Ariyo bagged a 12-match suspension.

These decisions including a total fine of N1million for various other rule breaches by the club were reached by the LMC in review of events of Match Day 23 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in Akure.

In a bold move to enforce regulations and come down hard on unruliness of players, club officials and violent fans, the LMC ruled that “in view of the breach of the ‘closed door’ order, and upon consideration of the provisions of Rule B4.7 (Overriding considerations and general public interest), an order is hereby made moving Sunshine Stars to the Otunba Dipo Dina, Stadium, Ijebu-Ode for its home matches henceforth and until further notice”.

The matches will be played under closed doors until the LMC is satisfied that the club can guaranty security at its games and also control the unruly supporters.

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The LMC reiterated that Sunshine Stars must be seen to have complied with earlier orders for the Club’s home matches to be played behind closed doors and the requirement for revised and satisfactory safety and security measures to be put in place before the Akure Township Stadium is re-admitted to host NPFL matches.

The LMC further warned the club that should there be similar breaches or disturbances, the suspended three point deduction will be implemented.

Sunshine Stars were also charged for breaches of Rule C9 and C1.2.1.6 while goalkeeper, Ariyo was charged for assault on an assistant referee contrary to Rule C11 of the NPFL Framework and Rules.

In the summary jurisdiction notice issued the club, the LMC charged “You are in breach of Rule C9 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League, in that on Wednesday, 7th June, 2017, in the course of your Match Day 23 Fixture: Sunshine Stars FC vs. Plateau United FC, you failed to control your players when they accosted the Assistant Referee and assaulted him”.

The second charge against Sunshine Stars read, “You are in breach of Rule C1.2.1.6 of the Framework and Rules of the Nigeria Professional Football League, in that on Wednesday, 7th June, 2017, in the course of your Match Day 23 Fixture: Sunshine Stars FC vs. Plateau United FC, you breached the order that your match be played behind closed doors when some spectators entered the stadium and also harassed match officials”.

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For failure to control the players in breach of Rule C9, the club was fined N750, 000 while another fine of N250, 000 was imposed on the club as compensation to the assaulted Assistant Referee pursuant Rule C12 and this will be in addition to payment of any additional certified medical expenses incurred by the Referee.

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

A three-horse race for two continental ticket is set up after Enugu Rangers league win

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Enugu Rangers have broken loose from the pack as title contenders – Remo Stars, Enyimba and Shooting Stars all blew their chances in the penultimate match days as all lost with identical scorelines of 2-1 in their respective away games.

  The title is gone, now resting in Enugu who are having their second league celebrations in over 30 years. They win the jackpot N150 million prize for their title.

  But the battle is not over for the initial aspiring trio. At best they have the second CAF Champions League ticket to battle for. One of the three will win that on the last match day. The second placed team gets the CAF Champions League slot while the third gets the Confederation Cup ticket.

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Coincidentally, the trio will be at their familiar home ground. As it is, second placed Remo Stars are at advantage to pick a ticket if they can pick a point from their home game with Katsina United. It will be their third consecutive adventure in the continent.

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 The fierce battle will therefore be between third placed Enyimba and fourth placed Shooting Stars.  Both badly need a win to get either the Champions League ticket or that of the Confederation Cup.

  However, Plateau United are lurking and an away win by the Jos team in Aba will not only upset Enyimba, it could land the Plateau United a continental ticket should Shooting Stars lose or draw with Sporting Lagos.

On the other side of the divide, the battle to escape the drop has taken a dramatic twist. As the Sunday matches were on, Sporting Lagos initially thought they had escaped the drop.

 But a turnaround by Bayelsa United who came from behind to beat Shooting Stars change the weather condition for the worst for the Lagos sides.

  They now face an herculean task next weekend in their duel with continental ticket chasing Shooting Stars. The confirmed teams for relegation are Gombe United and Heartland.

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Nigerian Football

Enugu Rangers are Nigerian champions!

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Enugu Rangers re-enacted their glorious old days and now the new Nigerian champions after defeating Bendel Insurance 2-0 and Remo Stars losing 2-1 to Sunshine Stars.

 The trio of Remo Stars, Shooting Stars and Enyimba who were on the heels of Enugu Rangers all lost their away games with 2-1 scorelines.

With the result, Enugu Rangers attained an unassailable lead with just one match day to end the Nigerian league season. Despite their pedigree in Nigerian football, this is just their second title since the Nigerian top league changed status to professionalism in 1990.

  Rangers, who are the only Nigerian club never to be relegated since the Nigerian national league began in 1972 won their only professional league title in 2016.

 In the pre-professional football era, they were Nigerian champions in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1981 and 1982.

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This time,  Remo Stars who who have delayed Enugu Rangers’ coronation lost  in a western derby, but retained their second position when Shooting Stars conceded  late goals to Bayelsa United and lost 2-1 after leading 1-0 for the greater part of the match. They dropped to the fourth position giving Enyimba a respite.

 Shooting Stars who got rejuvenated midway in the season can still hold on to their continental ambition when they host relegation-escapee, Sporting Lagos on the last match day.

  Rangers have a dead rubber away duel to Gombe United whose visa to the lower NNL has been issue. They possibly hold the record for the worst goal difference in the Nigerian league as they have a deficit of 56 goals.

 Results

  • Sunshine Stars 2-1 Remo Stars
  • Sporting Lagos 2-1 Enyimba
  • Bayelsa United 2-1 Shooting Stars
  • Enugu Rangers 2-0 Bendel Insurance
  • Abia Warriors 2-0 Akwa United
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Nigerian Football

Behold, Finidi George’s resignation letter and why he quit the job

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The decision of the Nigeria Football Federation to engage a foreign technical adviser is the main reason why Finidi George resigned from his appointment as the head coach of the Super Eagles.

This is contained in the letter of resignation which copy Sports Village Square has. In the letter dated June 14, 2024 and addressed to the NFF President, Finidi wrote:

 “I am writing to inform you of my decision to step down as the head coach of the Super Eagles, Nigeria’s men senior team. This decision is in light of recent decision to effect changes in the team’s rechnical crew.

  “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you, the entire leadership of the federation, the sports ministry and the people of Nigeria for the opportunity to serve as the head coach of the Super Eagles.

“Although, our recent results in the qualifying matches were not as desired, I remained committed to getting our World Cup qualification campaign back on track.

“However, with the recent changes to the technical crew, I believe it is time to vacate my position.

“Please be assured of my continued support for the team, and I wish us all the best for the future.”

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