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When the October 2017 FIFA ranking is released on Monday, Nigeria will be ranked number 41 in the world and fifth in Africa, Sports Village Square has calculated.

The October ranking is crucial as it will be exclusively used for the final draw of the World Cup which will hold on December 1 at State Kremlin Palace in Moscow Russia.

As at the moment, with the inclusion of Russia which even though will be 63rd in global ranking, but will be moved forward among the top eight seeds at the World Cup Draw, Nigeria will be number 19 in ranking among the 23 already qualified teams.


The situation will definitely change when some of the expected nine qualifiers are added next month. Of the nine expected World Cup teams, four are expected from Europe as eight will be drawn into straight knockout fixture on Tuesday.

Of the eight European teams struggling for qualification, Nigeria will be ahead of on Greece in the FIFA ranking to be released on Monday.

The effect of this is that Nigeria will be pushed three or four steps down the ranking ladder by the time the four new European qualifiers emerge.

The other seven European aspirants that are ahead in ranking to Nigeria are Switzerland (to rank 11), Italy (15), Denmark (16), Croatia (19), Northern Ireland (23), Sweden (25) and Ireland (26).

From the current 19th ranking among the World Cup qualifiers which will certainly go to 23 or 24 when four more qualifiers emerge from Europe, further threat to Nigeria’s position also come from Africa where either Tunisia (to be ranked 28th on Monday) or Congo DR (to  be FIFA ranked as 35) will emerge from Group A.


Senegal which is set to pick the Africa Group D ticket will also be ranked 32 on Monday thus also pushing Nigeria down in World Cup Draw ranking.

Qualification of either Morocco or Cote d’Ivoire will not affect Nigeria’s position in the overall ranking of qualified teams.

As it is, based on the 23 qualifiers so far, Nigeria will temporarily be in Pot 3, but Pot 4 is the ultimate destination.

Only the Pot 1 is completely established and not open to changes. Those to be there are hosts, Russia, defending champions, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France.

Teams in the same pot will not meet in the group stage of the World Cup.


The Pot 2 potentially has England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Iceland, Costa Rica and Egypt. Changes are expected in this pot as Switzerland,  Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Ireland are potential entrants who are currently involved in European play offs.

They will know their opponents on Tuesday when a play off draw will be made at the FIFA headquarters.

Most likely to be in the Pot 4 when all the 32 teams must have emerged next month are: Nigeria, Iran, Serbia, Japan, Panama, Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia.

Significantly, of the 23 teams already assured of a place in the 2018 World Cup, the host country, Russia is the least ranked.





1st. Germany

2nd. Brazil

3rd. Portugal


4th. Argentina

5th. Belgium

6th. Poland

7th. France

8th. Spain


12th. England

13th. Colombia

17th. Mexico

18th. Uruguay

21st. Iceland


22nd. Costa Rica

31st. Egypt

34th Iran

38th. Serbia

41st. Nigeria


44th. Japan

49th. Panama

60th. South Korea

61st. Saudi Arabia

63rd. Russia


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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International Football

Grudgingly, Eto’o accepts new Cameroon coach Brys, but fails to attend ceremony



Cameroon’s new coach Marc Brys penned a contract on Monday but the Belgian’s appointment by the government remains contentious as the football federation did not attend the signing ceremony.

Brys has been handed a 2-1/2-year contract by Cameroon’s sports ministry but the federation (FECAFOOT) was conspicuous by its absence at the event in Yaounde.

Last week, FECAFOOT criticised the unilateral decision of sports minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombito to appoint the 61-year-old Brys, who has no prior experience as a national team coach and has not previously worked on the African continent.

FECAFOOT president Samuel Eto’o issued a statement on Monday, excusing himself from the unveiling event.

“We thank you for inviting us to the ceremony. Following this, we inform you of the fact that we received the letter two hours before the said ceremony,” wrote Eto’o.


“Unfortunately, we are busy organising the funeral of our late Dad, and for this reason we will not be able to attend presence at the ceremony.”

His father’s funeral is to be held at the weekend.

Eto’o balked at Brys’ appointment and is now in a deepening standoff with the minister.

In Cameroon, the government has long paid the salary of the national team coach and therefore held powerful sway over FECAFOOT’s affairs, even if such state interference is frowned upon by world football’s governing body FIFA.

Any heightened dispute risks a potential ban from international competition for Cameroon, one of the heavyweights of African football.


FECAFOOT held an emergency meeting on Saturday and asked Eto’o to propose an alternative coach for the national team.

Earlier on the weekend, the minister had defended the appointment, saying he had acted in accordance with national and international regulations.

In a letter to FECAFOOT, Kombi said his ministry’s appointment of coaching staff “in no way affects the autonomy of FECAFOOT and does not violate any of the ‘supranational regulations”.

He said FECAFOOT had suggested three candidates to the ministry but their salary demands ranged between 1.5 million euros and 2.5 million euros ($1.63 million and $2.71 million) per year.

“These are excessive amounts never paid to any coach in the history of the Indomitable Lions,” Kombi said.



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International Football

Cameroon FA to propose national coach after emergency meeting –



BREAKING! Turmoil In Cameroon Federation Over Naming Of New National Coach Brys -

Cameroon’s football federation (FECAFOOT) held an emergency meeting on Saturday and asked its president to propose an alternative coach for the national team, deepening a standoff with the sports ministry.

FECAFOOT on Wednesday accused the ministry of unilaterally appointing Belgian Marc Brys as coach and other staff to manage the Indomitable Lions, who are five-times African champions.

The dispute risks a potential ban from international competition as world soccer’s governing body FIFA has strict rules against government interference in national federations.

In a statement, FECAFOOT said its emergency committee had met on Saturday and unanimously confirmed that the federation had not been involved in the appointments in alleged contravention of regulations.

As a result, it asked its president Samuel Eto’o to propose a national coach and other management staff for the national side within 72 hours.


Responding to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the ministry said the result of the FECAFOOT meeting was “an appeal. It is not yet a decision.”

On Friday, Sports Minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombi wrote to FECAFOOT to defend the coaching appointments, which he said were in accordance with national and international rules.

In a letter seen by Reuters, Kombi said the ministry’s move “in no way affects the autonomy of FECAFOOT and does not violate any of the ‘supranational regulations’.”

A spokesperson for the ministry confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

Kombi’s letter also said the salaries requested by three candidates earlier proposed by the federation for the position of coach ranged between 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) and 2.5 million euros per year.


“These are excessive amounts never paid to any coach in the history of the Indomitable Lions,” Kombi said.

FECAFOOT did not respond to a request for comment on the letter.





BREAKING! Turmoil in Cameroon federation over naming of new national coach Brys.

Soccer Cameroon appoint Brys as new head coach


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International Football

National team and club-mate Owolabi commiserates with grief-stricken Odegbami –



National team and club-mate Owolabi commiserates with grief-stricken Odegbami -

Powerful left-wing back in his playing days, Felix Owolabi has expressed great grief over the loss of a son of former teammate, Segun Odegbami.

Both Felix Owolabi and Odegbami share common traits as the earliest tertiary institution footballers featuring for clubs and the national team.

While Odegbami was a mechanical engineering student at The Ibadan Polytechnic, Owolabi was an undergraduate at the University of Lagos.

Both were players of the then rampaging IICC Shooting Stars and the Africa Cup of Nations winning team of 1980. The crucial goals that won the cup for Nigeria were scored by the duo.

While Owolabi’s goal against Morocco sent Nigeria to the Africa Cup of Nations final match for the first time, Odegbami’s two goals in the final against Algeria put a stamp of definity to Nigeria’s victory before another club-mate Muda Lawal put in the third.


“We have come a long way”, remarked Owolabi in a message to the Sports Village Square  Thursday morning.

“I have just arrived from Morocco on a national assignment trying to adjust and deal with the extreme and gruelling hot weather here in Nigeria when I got the sad news of the sudden death of the son of my dear brother and senior colleague Dr Olusegun Odegbami.


“Hearing the death of Oluwagbeminiyi Omo Odegbami,  I paused for a moment and did not know what to say.

“All the media both print and electronics carried it as a breaking news.


“And that was when it dawned on me that I had to call ‘Big Sheg’ as he is fondly called by me.

“His authoritative confirmation about it dealt a blow on me and put me total darkness.What would have happened to this our vibrant and such an enterprising Oluwagbeminiyi?

“Why would death be so so wicked to suddenly take this gentleman away from us without notice. Going on a journey that he will need not to look at anybody, an eternal journey till Christ come.

“My heart and  that of my entire family are with you and the rest of the family”, remarked Owolabi.

“It is well. I pray that God grant him eternal rest. I pray also that the almighty God grant you the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Today the death of Oluwagbeminiyi has made me to believe and conclude that death is real and it is universal





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