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Nigeria’s Omagbemi Among FIFA Best Women’s Coaches

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Florence Omagbemi, a pioneer member of the Nigerian women’s football team which made an international debut in a 5-1 defeat of Ghana on February 16, 1991, has become the first Nigerian to be nominated for the annual FIFA best football personality awards.
Omagbemi who coached the Nigerian Super Falcons to a record 10th win of the African Women’s Championship last December in Cameroon has been shortlisted among 10 best FIFA Women’s football coaches .
The final award of the best of the 10 nominees will be made in London on October 23 at the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony.
Two panels of renowned experts from across the six confederations will decide the final choice. Nigeria’s former captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha is among those who will decide in the men’s football categories.
The women’s awards take into account the period between 20 November 2016 and 6 August 2017. The contenders for the Best FIFA Women’s Coach are:

Florence OMAGBEMI

NIGERIA
Following a distinguished playing career during which she featured in four FIFA Women’s World Cups and graced the Olympic Women’s Football Tournament, former midfielder Omagbemi moved into coaching to continue her personal quest to further the game’s development in Africa.
After cutting her teeth with the Nigeria Football Federation as an assistant coach at youth level, she subsequently took the reins of the senior national team. Last year, Omagbemi led the Super Falcons to their eighth CAF Africa Women’s Cup of Nations title.
Having lifted the trophy four times during her playing days, this also made her just the second woman, after Eucharia Uche, to win the competition as both a player and a coach. This achievement earned her plaudits aplenty; indeed, she was the sole female nominee for CAF’s 2016 African Coach of the Year award.

Olivier ECHOUAFNI

FRANCE
Appointed coach of France’s women’s team after their disappointing Women’s Olympic Football campaign at Rio 2016, Olivier Echouafni quickly got his demoralised side back on track.
Putting fresh emphasis on hard work and humility, two of his most cherished values, the new man in charge oversaw a string of encouraging results. That included victory in March this year at the SheBelieves Cup – a friendly tournament featuring four of the top five teams in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Echouafni and his players rebuilt confidence over a ten-month unbeaten run before being brought back down to earth at UEFA Women’s EURO 2017, losing in the quarter-finals to England to add a somewhat sour closing note to an otherwise positive year.

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Emma HAYES

ENGLAND
A well-travelled coach who has spent a large part of her career in the USA, Emma Hayes is now back home in London at Chelsea Ladies, and 2017 has proven to be her most fruitful year yet as coach of the Blues.
The FA Women’s Super League’s Spring Series, an interim tournament designed to bridge the gap between a shift in calendar for the women’s game in England, saw Chelsea emerge victorious thanks to a mean defence and a potent strike force.
In an eight-game league, goal difference proved pivotal, and thanks to six clean sheets in those eight games, and notching a remarkable average of four goals per game, Chelsea’s vastly superior goal difference saw them clinch the title over Manchester City Women.

Ralf KELLERMANN

GERMANY
Ralf Kellermann has been an undisputed figurehead of German women’s football coaching for many years. In almost a decade of managing Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg between 2008 and 2017, he transformed them from footballing minnows into one of the strongest teams in Europe.
The 2014 FIFA Women’s World Coach of the Year stepped down this summer to concentrate on his new role as the club’s sporting director, but not before leading the She-Wolves to another German championship and DFB Women’s Cup double.

Xavier LLORENS

SPAIN
Xavi Llorens ended an 11-year stint in the Barcelona women’s dugout by winning the Copa de la Reina and taking the club to the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the very first time. Though the Liga crown evaded his side’s grasp, their title tussle with eventual champions Atletico Madrid went to the final day.
As he himself has said, however, his greatest achievement was not winning titles but overseeing the transition of the women’s team from an amateur to a professional set-up in 2015. And in championing the development of women’s football at Barcelona, Llorens also upheld the club’s ongoing commitment to a possession-based passing game.

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Nils NIELSEN

DENMARK
In charge of Denmark’s women’s team since 2013, Nils Nielsen made up for the disappointment of missing the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 with a superlative campaign at the recent continental finals.
The Greenland-born coach steered his side to UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 with an impressive qualifying record, and he promptly took them all the way to the final in the Netherlands before the hosts triumphed 4-2 in the decider.
The highlight of that historic run was a quarter-final victory against Germany, a feat no team had achieved in any of the six previous editions.
Denmark caught the eye with a 4-4-2 formation built on a highly experienced rearguard – his defensive quartet boasting over 350 caps between them – while explosive duo Pernille Harder and Nadia Nadim provided the firepower further forward. That approach has now made Denmark a force to be reckoned with in the women’s game.

Gerard PRECHEUR

FRANCE
Lyon coach Gerard Precheur was always going to have a tough time matching his achievements of 2015/16, a treble-winning season that yielded trophies in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, French league and French Cup.
Nevertheless, he rose to the challenge. Les Fenottes defended their French crown with an eight-point gap over second-placed Montpellier and won the two knockout competitions with final wins against Paris Saint-Germain, both times edging dramatic penalty shootouts.
Each of those triumphs carried the stamp of the talented, ambitious and demanding coach at the helm. “A fan,” in his own words, “of possession-based football and through balls beyond defences,” Precheur is now free to implement his philosophy with a new set of players. He stepped down from his Lyon role in June 2017, but not before ensuring his status as a true club legend.

Dominik THALHAMMER

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AUSTRIA
Dominik Thalhammer caused a sensation with Austria at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 in the Netherlands. While simply qualifying for their first-ever Women’s EURO was a triumph, the Alpine republic continued their remarkable rise in the tournament itself, winning their group ahead of title favourites France and only exiting the competition after a penalty shootout with Denmark in the last four.
Former Regionalliga player Thalhammer spent many years overseeing the men’s youth ranks at Admira Wacker Modling, where he became the youngest head coach in the Austrian top flight at the age of 33 in 2004. He has been in charge of the Austria women’s national team since 2011.

Sarina WIEGMAN

NETHERLANDS
Sarina Wiegman led the Netherlands to the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 title on home soil. The hosts’ brand of attacking football brought an end to Germany’s run of six successive European trophies.
“It’s great that a team other than Germany have become European champions,” said Wiegman after the final. “It shows that the level of women’s football is much higher now.”
After studying in the USA, the former midfielder spent around a decade playing in the Dutch top flight, where she won two league titles and one domestic Cup. Wiegman was capped 104 times by the Netherlands before finding employment as a youth coach with the KNVB.
She went on to win the championship and national cup with two different Dutch sides as head coach before returning to the KNVB, where she served as a scout and assistant coach to the women’s national team. She has been in charge of the Oranje Leeuwinnen since 2015.

HWANG Yongbong

KOREA DPR
Renowned for being a tough taskmaster, the 48-year-old tactician boasts a wealth of impressive experience with the Korea DPR youth ranks. Following a runners-up finish at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012, Hwang famously told FIFA.com that “failure is the mother of success”. He duly kept plugging away and after guiding the U-20s to the semi-finals at Canada 2014, he got his reward at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016, where his team claimed glory in some style. In addition to tactical nous, Hwang prides himself on instilling great mental strength and versatility in his charges, enabling them to adapt to any scenario that a match throws at them.

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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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Amokachi, Adebayor and Amanda Dlamini confirmed for CAF African Schools Championship Finals

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African football legends, Emmanuel Adebayor, Daniel Amokachi and Amanda Dlamini are some of the top names that have been confirmed for the Continental Finals of the CAF African Schools Football Championship 2024 scheduled in Zanzibar between 21 – 24 May 2024.

The CAF African Schools Football Championship is the school’s competition that includes over 44 African countries with over 800 000 participants of Boys and Girls under the age of 15.

This is the second edition of the competition that is not only focused on Football but also on a number of programmes including Young Referee’s Programme, Young Reporter Programme and Safeguarding. 

Adebayor, CAF Player of the Year in 2008, represented Togo at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for their only appearance at the tournament. Ex-striker for Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and others, the Togolese star has had a successful career, earning over 85 caps with Les Eperviers.

Nigerian football star Amokachi played 42 international matches for the Super Eagles. He participated in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and was part of the team that won the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic Games in 1996.

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Former Banyana Banyana (South Africa) captain Dlamini played in two TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations competitions where they finished third and second in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She is one of the few footballers, both in the men’s and women’s national teams to reach 100 caps.

Dlamini recently made history when she became the first female to be part of the world commentary feed at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Also on the list are local stars Abdi Kassim Sadalla, former Tanzanian National Team Captain, and Hilda Masanche, Head coach of the Tanzania U17 Women’s National Team.

The Legends will feature in various activities to promote and support football development among African youth.

The finals will bring together talented young players from across the continent, providing them a platform to showcase their skills and passion for the game.

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-CAF

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International Football

Nigeria’s Nnadozie, Malawi striker, Chawinga scoop top awards in France

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Malawi striker Tabitha Chawinga and Chiamaka Nnadozie of Nigeria have been named the best player and best goalkeeper respectively in the French women’s league.

Chawinga wasted no time in making an impact upon her arrival in France after joining Paris Saint-Germain from Inter Milan in less than one year.

 The Malawi captain joined PSG in the summer of 2023 and has quickly showcased her talent, resulting in the top award on Monday night.

She played 25 matches, scoring 18 goals and providing 10 assists while donning the iconic red and blue jersey.

As a semifinalist in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, PSG’s number 22 became the first Malawian to score a goal in a European competition.

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Meanwhile, Nnadozie has had an exceptional season with Paris FC which had led to dethrone Christiane Endlerthe – long standing best goalkeeper in the French women’s top-flight.

The Nigerian goalkeeper boasts 10 clean sheets in 28 appearances in the French league.

For the first time in her career, Nnadozie has been recognized in this category, ending the dominance of Endler, who was named the best goalkeeper in the French league from 2019 to 2023.

Chawinga and Nnadozie’s achievements highlight the growing influence of African players abroad as their performances will pave the way for future generations of footballers from the continent to shine on the global stage.

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What a twist of fate! Before now, Morocco and Algeria were  allies

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When FIFA Suspended Morocco for Supporting Algeria’s Independence

Despite Morocco’s historical solidarity with Algeria, the regime continues to politicize sporting events in search of opportunities to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity.

Algeria continues to push with its obsessive tendency to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity despite the country’s long-standing solidarity with its National Liberation Front (FLN) in international sporting events.

Last week, the Algerian regime confiscated the jerseys of a Moroccan club RS Berkane ahead of a CAF Confederation match in Algeria due to the fact that they featured a full map of Morocco.

The decision drew outrage from Moroccans and international observers who decried Algeria’s politicizing of sporting events and its constant search for opportunities to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity.

On Saturday, Algerian journalist and political analyst, Oualid Kebir, took to social media exposing the regime’s disregard for Morocco’s historical support for the Algerian FLN in international sporting events.

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Kebir highlighted Morocco’s “heroic” and “strong supportive stances” during Algerian’s challenging times during French occupation. “Morocco’s historical and heroic stance at that time is added to the honorable and strong supportive stances at that time towards Algeria,” the post read. 

Kebir’s statement referred to Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) organizing a match in 1958 against the FLN team despite the fact that the team was not recognized by FIFA. The team consisted then of French Muslim (Algerian) players who had been suspended by the French Football Federation.

FIFA’s justification at the time for punishing Morocco was due to the licensing of the FRMF clubs to play against the FLN team. 

“Today, the military regime disguises ingratitude and compels Algerian clubs and sports teams to refuse to play and confront their Moroccan counterparts who display the map of Morocco on their jerseys!” Kebir wrote, decrying Algeria’s ungratefulness to Morocco’s historical support.

“This is the reward for standing with us during difficult times?!” he stressed.

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Attached to the post was the official document from FIFA outlining its decision to revoke the affiliation of the FRMF due to Morocco’s authorization of its clubs to play matches against the Algerian national team, despite FIFA’s objections. 

Algeria’s blatant attacks on Morocco’s sovereignty have especially peaked over the past days with the country staunchly attempting to politicize yet another sporting event.

One such event occurred during the Arab Championship this week, where the Algerian U-17 national handball team withdrew in protest of Morocco’s jersey featuring a full map of Morocco that includes its southern provinces. 

After the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced RS Berkane to be the winner of the Sunday match, Algeria relentlessly appealed the decision, losing the appeal in the process.

However, the regime announced that they would take their case to a higher court, alleging that the jerseys include a political symbol.

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In January 2023, Algeria orchestrated a similar attack on Morocco through the African Nations Championship (CHAN). During the tournament, the Algerian regime denied the Moroccan team the right to participate and defend their title, while using the tournament’s opening ceremony as a political platform to express support for the Polisario Front. 

-Morocco World News

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