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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: John Obi Mikel – Nigeria skipper criticised by academy founder – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: John Obi Mikel - Nigeria skipper criticised by academy founder

Mikel at his Chinese club Tianjin Teda

by
Staff Reporter

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 10:00


With Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel no doubt looking forward to learning his side’s group stage opponents for the 2018 World Cup when the draw is held this coming Friday, he has been criticised by the founder of an academy he attended as a youngster.

Former Nigeria Football Federation technical director Kashimawo Laloko, who founded the Pepsi Football Academy at Agege Stadium in Lagos, believes Mikel – a product of the institution – has not done enough to give back to the youth in Nigerian football.

“Mikel was brought to limelight through our Jos centre around 1995 to 2002. We gave him the breakthrough that made Nigerians to know him,” Laloko is quoted by the Vanguard.

“He was unpolished when he came but we refined him. If not for us, maybe, he would not be where he is today but since he became a star, I have not heard that he visited the Jos centre to donate a pair of jersey to the players there. That is most unfair.

“Some former players give us money for the running of the centres but Mikel has not done such. Osaze is an example of a player who paid us because he recognised what we did for him.

“There was a time we wanted to use Mikel in a advertising campaign for the academy but he shunned us. His agent was asking us to pay a huge sum of money but Mr. Nelson could not believe it and that was how the deal fell through. I don’t think Mikel has done well for Nigerian youths.”

With Mikel currently enjoying the off season, following the completion of the Chinese Super League’s 2017 campaign earlier this month, perhaps he’ll make time to give back to those who helped his rise in the game.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: John Obi Mikel – Nigeria skipper ends CSL season on a high – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: John Obi Mikel - Nigeria skipper ends CSL season on a high

Zunis Stopilla of Zambia challenges Obi Mikel of Nigeria during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match between Nigeria and Zambia on 07 October 2017 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Nigeria ©Kabiru Abubakar/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 06, 2017. 10:00


Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel completed his first season in the Chinese Super League on a high this past weekend.

The 30-year-old played the full 90 minutes as Tianjin Teda claimed a 1-0 home win over Henan Jianye on Saturday in their final match of the 2017 season.

The victory – secured by a first-half goal from Senegal’s Mbaye Diagne – saw Tianjin finish 13th on the CSL log, two places and nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Having wrapped up his club duties, Mikel will now turn his attention to the Super Eagles, who have two high-profile matches coming up.

First Nigeria will wrap up their successful 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign a final Group B match against Algerian in Constantine on November 10.

This will be followed by a friendly against Argentina in Russia four days later, as the West African begin early preparation for next year’s global tournament.

Mikel, as Nigeria’s captain and one of coach Gernot Rohr’s most trusted players, is likely to be a central figure in both matches.

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Yiadom and Partey praised by Ghana skipper Gyan – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 07, 2017. 17:00


Ghana players Boakye Yiadom and Thomas Partey have been singled our for praise by team captain Asamoah Gyan following their performances against Congo.

Partey scored in the Black Stars’ 1-1 home draw with the Red Devils last weekend and followed it up with a brilliant hat-trick in a 5-1 win against the same team in Brazzaville on Tuesday.

Yiadom also excelled in the match in Congo, netting a fine brace to see Ghana claim a big win which somewhat revived their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

“Great performance from the two players. Looking at their performance from their clubs, I wasn’t so surprised because they are all in form for their clubs,” Gyan told Hot FM, as quoted by GHANASoccernet.

“They were consistent with their clubs. Boakye Yiadom scored a lot of goals for his club [Red Star Belgrade] and has even inspired them to the Europa League group stage. He deserved the call up and he is showing with his performance.

“I’ll also congratulate Thomas Partey for his wonderful show. He also started so well for his club and had a fine form before joining. And he has been able to transfer that form to the national team.

“This is what the national team needs. There must be competition from all angles. Everyone must be ready to prove his worth when handed the call up. The competition in the team is what can push the team forward.”

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FC Metz capture Gambian U20 skipper – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

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by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Jul 13, 2017. 17:00


French national first division side, FC Metz have signed Gambian international U20 skipper Ablie Jallow on a five year deal.

Reports reveal that the Gambian completes his switch from Metz’s official partner in Senegal, Generation Foot, who he helped win the league last season.

The BBC website reports that Generation Foot’s coach Olivier Perrin was delighted with the move and remains confident the 18-year-old will do well.

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“One of his strengths is his vision during the game, he’s always able to anticipate what will happen,” Perrin told the Metz website.

“He’s comfortable with the ball at his feet, it’s beautiful to see him play.

“He has also improved his finishing this season.”

Jallow initially joined the Senegalese outfit on loan in 2015 from Gambian club Real de Banjul before the deal was made permanent last year.

He joins his former Generation Foot teammate and Senegal U20 striker Ibrahima Niane at Metz after he signed for them over the weekend.

Niane was the top scorer last season for the Senegalese champions.

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