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Nigerian Football

A South West Derby of Contrasting Fortunes

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BY OLADIMEJI OSHODE.

 

It is another South West derby as MFM of Lagos makes a short trip of about 60 km to Sagamu to face home side, Remo Stars on Sunday. Both have contrasting aim at the encounter, Bottom placed Remo Star will be struggling to navigate the difficulty murky waters of relegation while MFM will be aiming at consolidating the possibility of taking a ticket for continental outings next season, if not aiming at the league title itself.

MFM struggled to beat Katsina United last Monday in match that was shifted from Sunday owing to disruption by rain. In the end, the 3-2 win was a relief. Great thanks to , Onuwa Chukwuka strike that helped  fired the ‘Olukoya Boys’ back to the second  position on the log after Destiny Ashadi and Obinna Eleje cancelled two first half goals from Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun.

For Remo Stars that same week, Nyima Nwagua and Sikiru Jamal gave the Kano Pillars the maximum points in Match Day 31 of the NPFL. Pillars won 2-0 at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Sunday.

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No doubt, Remo Stars have a mountain to climb even at home on Sunday. First, they will have to provide antidotes to the possible poisoned arrows of the dreaded MFM triple ‘O’ of Olatubosun Sikiru, Odey Stephen and Onuwa Chukwuka.

But the Remo Stars duo of Obi Ekene and Osas Okunuoghae will be up to the task. In the reverse fixture, the Olukoya Boys secured the bragging right over the Sky Blue Stars after Stephen Odey’s spot kick proved the difference at the Agege Stadium in Match Day 12 of the league.

Remo Stars’ defender, Onuoha Chukwujekwu vowed to be up to the task. “It’s going to be a delightful contest between two sides who play ‘tiki taka’ football in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the fans will have no other choice than to enjoy total football on Sunday.

“They are fighting to stamp their feet to play in the continent next season, they are second on the log now and they play a kind of football that attract fans to the stadium, likewise ours but our position on the log isn’t showing our worth.”

“We are not happy with our current position but we will still show the world we aren’t meant for 20th and our display against MFM FC would speak for us.

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“The coach always tells us to play for our career because the future is quite important to us and we would play to interpret all what the coach has taught during training sessions.”

 

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

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

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New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

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