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Nigerian Football

NFF Issues First Clubs’ Ban in 72 Years of National Competition

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA

Kogi United and Zamfara United have entered the black book as the first clubs in 72 years to be banned from making entry into the national football competition in Nigeria.
Both are barred from the next two editions of the Nigerian national football competitions now renamed AITEO Cup.
Zamfara United failed to honour their scheduled Round of 64 match with Bales United and did not provide any reason for the ‘no-show’
Kogi was found guilty of disrupting the Round of 64 match it played as hosts with Rangers International.
At the time of disruption in the 75th minute, Kogi United were leading 2-1 when the referee awarded a penalty kick to Rangers.
According to the report of the AITEO Committee which sat on Thursday, the Chairman of Kogi United, Abdul Sule, rushed to the table of the fourth official and banged on it twice, protesting against the penalty decision.
“Instigated by the action of the club chairman, the leader of the Kogi United Supporters’ Club, identified as Maikudi Kanin-Bala, led a group of Kogi United supporters, who invaded the field of play, chased the referee, assaulted and attacked him, before he was eventually rescued and taken to a nearby police station”, read the AITEO Committee report.
The committee ruled that Kogi United breached Rule 3.11.1 of the competition. Consequently, “Kogi United shall forfeit the match to Rangers International and is consequently eliminated from the Competition.
Furthermore, Kogi United is banned from the next two (2018 and 2019) editions of the Competition”, ruled the committee which also fined the club the sum of one million Naira.
“In addition, Kogi United shall pay the sum of two hundred and fifty Naira only as compensation to the referee for assault; as well as the costs of any certified medical bills”.
Other punishments dished out are stated thus:
• For the failure to provide and or ensure adequate security, in breach of Rule 3.2.1 of the Competition Rules.
• The Kogi State Football Association shall pay a fine of Two Hundred and Fifty Naira only.
• The Kogi State Football Association shall be suspended from hosting any match in the on-going competition. This sanction is however suspended and will take effect in the event that the Kogi State Football Association is found to be in further breach of Rule 3.2.1.
• For inciting supporters of the club to commit acts of violence and or breach of the Rules of the Competition, pursuant to Rule 6.2.1, the Chairman of Kogi United, Abdul Sule, is banned from all match venues and all activities of the Competition for the remainder of the current edition of the Competition.
• For leading and participating in the acts of encroachment, assault on the Referee and consequential disruption of the match, the Head of Kogi United Supporters’ Club, Maikudi Kanin-Bala is banned from all football-related activities forthwith and for the next two seasons i.e. until the end of the 2019 Season.’

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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