Connect with us

International Football

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets set for final training camp in Germany

Published

on

Nigeria’s U17 boys under the tutelage of FIFA Cadet World Cup-winning captain Nduka Ugbade are gearing up for a final training camp in Germany ahead of the Africa U17 Cup of Nations due in Algeria between 29 April – 19 May.

Last summer, the Golden Eaglets swept aside all before them to win the WAFU B U17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana which made them eligible for a spot at the continental finals.

In February, the Eaglets had an extended training camp in Abuja, where the technical crew seized the opportunity to evaluate more players, and then went on break. Since resuming camp in Abuja a fortnight ago, following the country’s general elections, the team has played nine friendly matches, winning eight and drawing one.

The five-time world champions have also scored 50 goals and conceded 11 goals. The latest friendly games were against Galadima FC on Easter Sunday, whom they defeated 3-1, and against V.P. Sports which they pounded 10-2 on Tuesday.

Ugbade, who captained Nigeria’s U16 team to FIFA World Cup victory in China in 1985, and was a key player for the U20 team that finished as runners-up at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Saudi Arabia four years later, insists that the technical crew is not resting on its oars as they get set to pick the team that will go on the final training camp and onwards to Algeria.

Advertisement

“We continue to work hard as we look forward to the championship in Algeria. Our objective has not changed: we go hard for the World Cup ticket and then we aim for the trophy. First target is a ticket to the World Cup finals, and then we take things from there.

“I have confidence in the squad we have been able to build, even as we are still utilizing every minute, every hour to tinker with what we have and see how it can get better.

“We have a tough act to follow in that Nigeria has won the World Cup five times in this category, and nothing we do will be seen as special.

“However, we know that if we can win the Africa Cup, it will be a stepping stone to joining the great squads that have won the World Cup for Nigeria,” said Ugbade who was also part of the Super Eagles’ squad that qualified Nigeria for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 1993, and won the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia in 1994.  

Advertisement

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

International Football

Two Moroccan football players lost at sea, says club official

Published

on

Abdellatif Akhrif, IRT player reported missing off the coast of M'diq this Saturday, July 6, 2024. © COPYRIGHT: IRT

Two Moroccan players from top-flight soccer side Ittihad Tanger have been missing at sea since Saturday after strong currents drifted their small yacht, a club official said on Sunday.

They were in a group of five players from the club who went cruising off the northern city of Tangier when strong currents and heavy winds drifted their yacht away as they were swimming in deep waters, club deputy president Anass Mrabet told Reuters.

“Three players have already been rescued on Saturday, while research is still ongoing for the missing Salman Harraq and Abdellatif Akhrif,” he said.

The players did not have buoys on them when they jumped from the small yacht to swim, he said citing recounts by rescued players.

While Akhrif, 24, is already a full member of the squad, Harraq, 18, was about to move up to the senior team this year, Mrabet added.

Advertisement

Ittihad Tanger have been in the Moroccan top flight since 2015 and won the league title for the first and only time in their history in the 2017-18 season. However, they have struggled in the lower half of the standings in recent years.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

International Football

FIFA launches ‘Football Manager’ World Cup with $100,000 in prize money

Published

on

FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development and former soccer manager Arsene Wenger speaks during the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 17, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

FIFA will host its first ever FIFAe World Cup of Football Manager this year to crown the best virtual manager on the highly-popular video game, world soccer’s governing body said on Thursday.

FIFA is partnering with Sports Interactive, the developers of the game that has sold millions of copies and has also been used by several football clubs to scout players and opponents thanks to its extensive database.

Players will compete for $100,000 in prize money in the final event from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

“This competition requires participants to demonstrate a profound understanding of football strategy and tactics,” said former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is the ambassador for the esports event.

“Success demands not only mastery of game mechanics but also in-depth football knowledge, making this format a fascinating blend.”

Advertisement

FIFA said in the inaugural year of the event, selected member associations will be invited to be represented at the final event.

Member associations from all six confederations are expected to be invited while players can sign up on FIFA’s website.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

International Football

Former Italy international Roberto Baggio robbed at gunpoint

Published

on

Former Italy international Roberto Baggio was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint at his home in northern Italy while watching his country’s match against Spain in the Euro 2024 tournament on Thursday, local police said.

Burglars broke into Baggio’s house near Vicenza, hit him on the head with a gun butt and locked him and his family in a room while they stole jewellery, watches and cash, daily Il Corriere della Sera reported. It said he suffered a deep wound.

“Luckily, the violence I suffered only resulted in a few stitches, bruises and a lot of fear. Now it is to overcome the fear,” Baggio was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA.

Baggio, 57, played for clubs including Juventus (JUVE.MI), opens new tab, AC Milan and Inter Milan. He also played 56 times for Italy, scoring 27 goals, and is widely seen as one of his country’s all-time greats.

After the robbery, Baggio, widely known as the “divine ponytail”, was treated at a local hospital where he received stitches for the head wound, Italian media reported.

Advertisement

Italy lost to Spain 1-0 on Thursday and now must avoid defeat by Croatia to guarantee progression in the tournament.

-Reuters

Continue Reading

Most Viewed