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Nigerian Football

NFF UNVEILS DENNERBY AS FALCONS’ COACH

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday unveiled Thomas Dennerby of Sweden as the new head coach of the Nigerian national women Super Falcons.

Dennerby is a former coach of the national women team of Sweden. According to a media release from the media department of the NFF,

“Tuesday’s public presentation of the renowned tactician sits comfortably with the pledge by the Pinnick administration to put in place machinery for very robust and meaningful development of women football in Nigeria, and for the Falcons to challenge for laurels at global championships”.

Dennerby won 34 caps for Swedish junior teams between 1975 and 1981 and coached the Swedish Women’s Senior Team between 2005 and 2012, during which the team played at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and the 2007 and 2011 FIFA World Cup finals, winning bronze at the latter tournament.

More recently, he did scouting and analyses for the Swedish FA at the 2013 and 2017 European Championships, the 2016 Olympics and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

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In announcing Dennerby’s appointment last week, NFF 2nd Vice President/Chairman of Strategy, Shehu Dikko, said: “The NFF decided to go for a coach of the calibre of Thomas Dennerby for three reasons: to sustain and enhance the Super Falcons’ dominance on the African scene; to take the Falcons and the other women teams to the next level of challenging for laurels at global competitions like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup and; to generally lay the foundation for the real development of women’s football in our country.”

At a ceremony inside the Conference Centre of the National Stadium Complex, Abuja, the NFF confirmed that Dennerby’s contract will last till after the 2020 Olympics in the initial, with the right for automatic renewal subject to meeting of performance milestones.

Before then, the Swede will have the opportunity to prove himself at the 2018 and 2020 Women Africa Cup of Nations competitions, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals and the Women’s Football Tournament of the Tokyo Olympics.

“We believe we have the right man to take the Super Falcons and women’s football in Nigeria to the next level.

Undoubtedly, we have been doing very well on the African continent, with eight titles out of 10 AFCON competitions so far.

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However, we went all out for a man of Dennerby’s pedigree and capacity because we want the Falcons and the other teams to win laurels at global championships.

 

“As a Federation, we will give Dennerby and his assistant Petersson, as well as his Nigerian assistants all they require to succeed,” Dikko said at the unveiling.

Dennerby said: “I am ready for the opportunity and the challenge of working with an amazing team like the Super Falcons. I believe we can all work together to close the gap between them and the big women football –playing nations of the world.

“I believe in hard work. I am happy to be here and we are going to work together for the success of the team. Every individual player of the team is important, but the cohesion of the team is paramount.

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“I will be placing a serious demand on the players to give their best in training, physical fitness and in every competition. My philosophy is to develop the players and to work with the backroom staff.”

  • Shehu Dikko (third from left) shakes hands with Dennerby as NFF General Secretary Sanusi (third from right), Omidiran (second left), David (left), Oshoala, Ebi, Yusuf and Alizor look on.

Dennerby and Petersson will be working with four Nigerian assistants. They are: Oni Olanrewaju Wemimo (Assistant Coach); Maureen Mmadu (Assistant Coach); Taiwo Omobolanle Tundun (Goalkeepers’ Trainer 1) and; Precious Dede (Goalkeepers’ Trainer 2).

Dennerby’s assistant, Petersson, has worked with several top Swedish clubs and was assistant coach of the Swedish U23 women team between 2006 and 2012.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said that Dennerby has already been assigned with a personal car and a driver.

On her part, Chairman of NFF Women’s Football Committee, Ayo Omidiran expressed belief that the appointment of Dennerby was well –thought –out and she expects a turn –around in the fortunes of the Super Falcons at major championships.

Work begins immediately for the new crew as the Falcons will compete in the 8 –Nation WAFU Women Cup of Nations taking place in Cote d’Ivoire 10th -24th February 2018.

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Also present at the ceremony were NFF Assistant Director (Technical), Abdulrafiu Yusuf, NFF Head of Women’s Football Ruth David, Head of Marketing Alizor Chuks and Super Falcons’ stars Asisat Oshoala and Onome Ebi.

 

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

Relief for continental ticket-seeking Enyimba

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Enyimba FC who are desperately seeking a return to the continental fixtures next season have been relieved of a little financial burden by the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation.

 The initial N10 million fine imposed on the team has been reduced almost by half.

 In the ill-tempered match with Enugu Rangers three weeks ago, the Nigeria Premier League fine Enyimba N5 million as part of the disciplinary measures taken, claiming that Enyimba disrupted the live telecast of the match.

The NFF committee disagrees with the decision and therefore set aside the fine imposed.

Enyimba will this Sunday host Plateau United in a potentially volatile match as both teams have varying chances of picking continental ticket to feature in either the CAF Champions League or the Confederation Cup.

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All eyes on Aba, Ibadan and Ikenne as battle for continental tickets goes down to the wire!

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A stroll in the park to be followed by victory parade are the anticipated spectacles in Jos when Enugu Rangers face ‘home’ sides, Gombe United this Sunday.

But elsewhere, it could be ‘thunder and blood’ battle as four eligibles fight for two obtainable continental tickets in three venues of Ikenne, Ibadan and Aba.

Remo Stars, Shooting Stars, Enyimba and Plateau United are aspirants jostling for continental tickets.

On the other side of the struggle is also the battle to evade relegation. Coincidentally, Ibadan  provides the venue for both dreams where the hosts, Shooting Stars, will be hoping to pick a ticket to any of the two CAF inter-clubs competitions while the debuting Premier League sides, Sporting Lagos are expected to play the game of their life.

Coincidentally, Shooting Stars were expected to give the Lagos sides the succour last weekend when they faced Bayelsa United.

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 Had Shooting Stars won the match, Sporting Lagos which upstaged Enyimba 2-1, would have been in comfort zone, making Sunday’s duel at the Lekan Salami a ‘merry-making’ venture for both sides.

But a twist of fortunes which saw Bayelsa fighting back to a 2-1 win means Shooting Stars will have to spare no weapon on Sunday to beat Sporting Lagos.

The visitors on the other hand have a mountain to climb to avoid the looming drop.

 Ikenne provides another battle ground, though with lesser gravity than what is expected in Ibadan and Aba. A win of any margin secures CAF Champions League ticket for Remo Stars as they host Katsina United who stay without threat in the middle of the league log.

But the battle will be fiercer in Aba where both hosts, Enyimba and visiting Plateau United have arithmetical and conjectural chances of making the top three and obtaining a continental ticket.

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While the battle at the top of the log is for two teams to join Enugu Rangers in getting continental ticket, so also it is at the bottom as both Gombe United and Heartland await the two others that will escort them to the lower league.

 Battling to avoid the drop are Sporting Lagos, Doma United, Akwa United and Bayelsa.

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Nigerian Football

Coronation day for champion-elect, Enugu Rangers

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Enugu Rangers can afford to lose 56-0 this Sunday to Gombe United and erase the record negative goal difference of the already relegated side. Such a scoreline will not change the destiny of both sides as Rangers will merely enter the pitch to fulfill the fixtures for formality sake. They will be more interested in the post match event – their coronation as the new king of Nigerian league.

 A win will only add icing to the celebration cake, taking their points to 70, just three short of 73 obtained by the defunct Dolphins in the 2010/2011 season.

 But it is taking nothing away from Enugu Rangers who will be presented with the league trophy this Sunday by the NFF president, Ibrahim Musa Gusau.

The NFF chieftain headlines a choice list of eminent guests expected at the occasion, which will see the champions, who will be crowned for the eighth time since a national football league was introduced in 1972.

Their success this season was confirmed last weekend when they beat Bendel Insurance 2-0 at home while their three rivals – Remo Stars, Shooting Stars and Enyimba lost their respective away games with identical scorelines of 2-1.

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