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Nigerian Football

Hammer Falls on Clubs, Players in Bet9ja League

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Bet9ja Nigeria National League campaigners, Yobe Desert Stars, Osun United and UNICEM Rovers of Calabar will play their next three home matches in the league under strict closed doors for assaults on match officials and crowd encroachment.

The Bet9ja National League is the second tier of club football in Nigeria.

The three teams are also to pay fines for various degrees of offences and violation of the league’s rule book.

Official report indicted UNICEM Rovers of Calabar for assault on match officials that handled their match day nineteen encounter with Warri Wolves at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar.

The officials received bodily harm of different proportion following the attack by the supporters of the UNICEM Rovers during and after the match.

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UNICEM are to also pay N1, 000,000.00 (one million naira) for violating Article 27 on misconduct and N750, 000.00 (Seven hundred and Fifty thousand naira) for the treatment of the match officials.

Jimmy Okotu Assistant secretary of UNICEM Rovers has been handed an indefinite suspension and is to stay away from all NNL matches pending a scheduled compliance with the unit in the NNL.

Another official, Ushie was charged for complicit act that led to the heartless beating of the Match officials while Okotu reportedly slapped the centre referee and led a group of fans of UNICEM Rovers to assault the match officials.

UNICEM Rovers are also to pay N137, 500 being the estimated cost of items reportedly damaged and lost by the match officials in the process of assault on them.

The sum of N1, 887, 500.00 (One million, eight hundred and eighty seven thousand, five hundred, is to be paid to the league body by UNICEM Rovers for violations of rules and regulations.

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Yobe Desert Stars of Damaturu  aside playing their next three home matches without their fans are to also pay the sum of N2, 000.000.00 ( Two million naira) for assault on match officials and encroachment, for contravening other sections of the league rules in their match day sixteen with Abuja based FRSC at the August 27 Stadium in Damaturu.

It was also reported that Supporters of Yobe encroached into the field of play descending on the match officials and throwing various objects at them, and equally stated that the fans of Yobe celebrated the only goal of the game on the pitch while holding the Game up.

The report further stated that Yobe fans prevented match officials from entering the dressing room at half time.

In the summary jurisdiction Osun United, UNICEM Rovers and Yobe Desert Stars have been given one week by the NNL management to identify and produce the assailants.

Osun United duo of Victor Okeji and Obasi Chigozie summarily has been placed on a year ban for assaulting the centre referee after their match day nineteen (19) at the Osun Township Stadium, Oshogbo.

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Osun United are to equally pay the sum of N1million for assault on the referees in accordance with article 26 and 27 of the League rules.

Official report confirms that supporters of Osun United ran into the field and assaulted the match officials.

The officials were held hostage for over twenty minutes in the field of play before entering the dressing room

The football associations in Cross River, Osun and Yobe States were charged by the NNL to face its responsibilities squarely.

Victor Okeji and Obasi Chigozie are mandated to appear before the Compliance Unit of the NNL on Monday.

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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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Nigerian Football

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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