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Nigerian Football

Napoli slams heavy price tag on Osimhen amidst Manchester United’s interest

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Following the interest that Manchester United have shown in having Nigeria’s in-form striker, Victor Osimhen, Napoli have indicated willingness to sell the star player if the club  wins the Serie A.

With the Serie A at midway to conclusion, Osimhen has been the arrowhead that has seen Napoli taking a comfortable lead and having  12 points ahead of second-placed AC Millan.

Winning the Serie A is not the only condition attached to the salle of Osimhen to the Premier League side,  Manchester United will need to fork out €120million for the striker’s signature.

Osimhen is on a shortlist of three world-class forwards that the resurging Manchester United are looking forward to. The others are Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Goncalo Ramos of Benfica.

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If Manchester United succeded in getting Osimhen, the striker will be the third ever Nigerian to feature for the club.

Before him were Odion Ighalo who was a surprise signing on the last day of 2020 January transfer window and Remi Moses, a defensive midfielder in the 1980s.

Moses played for West Bromwich Albion under Ron Atkinson in the late 1970s and moved to Manchester United in 1981, making his debut for the Red Devils on September 19, 1981 against Swansea City.

He was such a good player that he was nearly capped for England in 1985 before a career-threatening injury ruled him out and was later to miss almost the entire 1985-86 season.

As Manchester United  prepare for significant off-season investment Erik ten Hag’s team is all out for  for a high profile striker that will likely take up a huge portion of the summer budget.

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The preferred option, according to Manchester Evening News is Osimhen  following his impressive haul of 13 goals in 15 Serie A appearances to put Napoli 12 points clear at the top of the table and on course for a first scudetto since 1990.

And according to Sky Italy’s Gianluca Di Marzio Luciano Spalletti’s side may be more open to selling their star, should they go all the way.

But United will likely face competition from a number of Europe’s top clubs come summer and could be forced into a bidding war.

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

Osimhen’s outburst was a moment of madness, says Amaju

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Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President and a  FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has expressed shock at last month’s outburst by Super Eagles’ striker, Victor Osimhen against Finidi George.

“It is very unfortunate”, Amaju Pinnick remarked on an Arise Television programme. The former NFF president said he had put a call to Osimhen who was very remorseful while the telephone conversation lasted.

  “I told him he has to apologise, and I am sure he will if he has not yet done so.” Amaju remarked that he could not comprehend what went wrong as Osimhen was the most cool-headed player in the national team.

He went on to remark that Finidi George was not a personality to be disregarded like that. He has won virtually every honour available during his playing days and was a member of the Super Eagles at their peak when Nigeria ranked fifth in the world.

“I believe players should learn to respect their coaches”, said the former NFF boss.

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I prefer a foreign coach for the Super Eagles, says Amaju

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Nigeria’s FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has told the world that he has always been an advocate of foreign coaches for the Super Eagles. He spoke on Arise Television while fielding questions with Reuben Abati, Rufai Oseni and Ayo Mairo-Ese. 

His reason for being averse to indigenous  coaches stemmed from lack of respect for them by the players.

“Yes, the Nigerian coaches have the requisite knowledge and the technical ability, but modern football is beyond that in managing players.

“Will the national team players respect the coach? The sad thing is that they don’t”, said Amaju Pinnick.

 He however revealed that he supported the appointment of Finidi George owing to the circumstances that the NFF found itself after the exit of Jose Peseiro.

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 The NFF, he revealed, had no money to hire a foreign coach. The body therefore went for the most available option, Finidi to ensure a smooth transition.

 “Finidi was part of the coaching crew of Peseiro and it was therefore logical to ask him to continue.

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Nigerian Football

NFF to train referees on VAR

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Application of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR)  may soon be introduced into Nigeria’s domestic football competitions.

This is deduced from the statement of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Ibrahim Gusau while addressing the annual general meeting of the Nigeria Premier League.

He also disclosed plans by the federation to train Nigerian referees on the application Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Gusau revealed that  NFF had already secured the communication gadget that the referees will use during matches.

“We have to train the personnel that will manage the VAR now. We have selected some of the referees that we are to start training.

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It is not a training of one day, one month or two months; it is a training that will take a little bit of time. After the training they have to go on practical training on the VAR system by going out while some matches are ongoing to see how they can manage it. But when we are sure we have the personnel that can manage it in the next one or two years, we will start to see how we can use VAR in our system,” Gusau said.

He also said that the federation intends to make the league attractive by discouraging Nigerian players from joining other lesser glamourous African clubs without established football pedigree.

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