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Nigerian Football

WORLD CUP PRIZE MONEY RISES BY 12% TO $400M

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BY BOLAJI OKUNOLA.

Super Eagles and the other 31 teams that will feature at Russia 2018 World Cup have a pot of US$400 million in prize money to be share. This is the high point of the FIFA Council meeting held in Kolkata, India on Friday.

The $400 million represents a 12 per cent increase from that of Brazil 2014 World Cup. The prize money at stake for the 32 teams at Brazil 2014 was US$358 million.

The winners, Germany got US$35 million while Argentina as the runners-up pocketed US$25 million.

The countries that crashed out at the group stage received US$8 million each. The Super Eagles and the other teams that crashed out at the Round of 16 got $9 million each. The prize money for the 28 teams that got eliminated before the semi finals at Brazil 2014 was the same as those of South Africa 2010.

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Quarterfinalists got $14 million. FIFA has not yet come out on how the pot of $400 million will be shared by the 32 teams.

The FIFA council also approved a decision to enhance the bidding regulations for the 2026 World Cup and appointed members of the bid evaluation task force.

Dates for several upcoming FIFA tournaments, including next year’s Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, were also confirmed.

The 2018 Club World Cup will run from Dec 12 to 22, while the Women’s World Cup in 2019 is scheduled to start on June 7 with the final to take place on July 7.

 

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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

Remo Stars add fuel to the fire as title chase turns East – West battle

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Added time-goal specialists, Remo Stars pulled off one of their now familiar traits, chalking up a valuable point as Skipper Nduka Junior scored in the 90+4 minute to scuttle an impending victory by Doma United on Wednesday evening.

When all-hope seemed over, Remo Stars had scored hope-reviving goals as they did against Lobi Stars, Insurance and a host of others in the Nigeria Premier League.

Getting a valuable point take them from fifth position to fourth their haul to 50, just a point below that of second and third placed Enyimba and Lobi Stars respectively.

The 1-1 scoreline also changed the complexion of the league table as their South West rivals were pushed down from their initial fourth position.

As it is, the struggle for the title is taking regional colouration as the top two- Enugu Rangers and Enyimba are from the South East while fourth and fifth – Remo Stars and Shooting Stars are from the South West.

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Lobi Stars from the middle belt, stand in-between the South East and South West in the power struggle.

 Remo Stars at the fourth position however still have an outstanding home game against Rivers United and that could still change the positions of the top six teams when the match is played.

Attention will now shift to match-day 31 as the league embarks on its home stretch.

 On Friday, relegation-bound Heartland will be hosting rejuvenated Shooting Stars who have suddenly discovered they could return to continental competition next seasons after 25 years.

They have lately been having unbeaten runs. On Saturday, Kwara United will host desperate Akwa United who are struggling to avoid dropping into the lower league.

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On the same day, Abia Warriors will be at home against Bayelsa United.

  On Sunday seven matches are on the card. They are:

Kano Pillars v. Gombe United

Katsina United v. Sporting Lagos

Lobi Stars v. Bendel Insurance

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Niger Tornadoes v Doma United

Plateau United v. Remo Stars

Rivers United v. Enugu Rangers

Sunshine Stars v. Enyimba

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Rangers tenaciously hold on at Nigeria League top position

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Enugu Rangers are holding on firmly at the top of the Nigeria Premier League after getting a hard 3-2 victory over visiting Abia Warriors.

The win consolidated their top position as the 2016 Nigerian champions now have 54 points, three points ahead their oriental brothers, Enyimba who are currently second on the log.

But the keen battle this season sees Lobi Stars who lost 2-0 to a rejuvenated Shooting Stars in Ibadan.

 The victory has seen the Shooting Stars climbing up steadily and now placing fourth on the log. But their fellow western rivals may bounce back into reckoning and could leapfrog into second position if they obtain full points in their away duel on Wednesday with Doma United.

Just as the battle at the top is tough, so also it is at the backwaters. Probably Gombe United are the first confirmed for relegation. Heartland, Akwa United, Rivers United and borderline candidate, Sunshine Stars are in fierce battle.

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Rivers United however still have six outstanding matches and could still leapfrog into safety zone. But Akwa United continued to their struggle to swim out of the relegation zone as they hammered Niger Tornadoes 4-1.

Tuesday results

Shooting Stars 2-0 Lobi Stars

Sporting Lagos 1-0 Sunshine Stars

Rivers United 3-1 Plateau United

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Gombe United 1-2 Kwara United

Enyimba 1-0 Heartland

Enugu Rangers 3-2 Abia Warriors

Bendel Insurance 2-1 Kano Pillars

Bayelsa United 1-1 Katsina United

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Akwa United 4-1 Niger United

Wednesday Fixture

Doma United v Remo Stars

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Manu Garba, U17 World Cup winner, returns as Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach

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The Board of Nigeria Football Federation has appointed former U17 World Cup winner Manu Garba as Head Coach of the Nigeria U17 boys, Golden Eaglets.

Garba had, in the same role, led the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U17 World Cup for Nigeria in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 – Nigeria’s fourth triumph at that stage.

Garba’s world-conquering squad in 2013 included Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Isaac Success, Musa Mohammed, Chidiebere Nwakali and goalkeeper Dele Alampasu.

The squad, which finished as runners-up at the African U17 Championship in Morocco after a penalty shootout defeat by Cote d’Ivoire, defeated Mexico 6-1 in their opening game, drew 3-3 with Sweden and hammered Iraq 5-0. In the Round of 16, they ran Iran ragged 4-1, dispatched Uruguay 2-0 in the quarter-finals and trounced Sweden 3-0 in the semi-finals, before they dislodged Mexico by the same margin in the final to lift the trophy.

The former Nigeria international will now immediately resume the role and take charge of the team’s preparations for next month’s WAFU B U17 Championship, taking place in Ghana.

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