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Yobo: Nigeria have talented, fearless youngsters

Joseph Yobo has urged Nigeria to concentrate on their initially game alternatively than the aspiration of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Last and backed them to hold their individual against Argentina. The Tremendous Eagles begin their Group D marketing campaign against Croatia in Kaliningrad, right before having on Iceland and then Lionel Messi and Co.

“It needs to be a single game at a time,” Nigeria‘s joint-most-capped player (a hundred and one appearances), who performed at Korea/Japan 2002, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 right before retiring, informed Information Agency of Nigeria. “You really do not go to the World Cup and be dreaming of taking part in in the Last when you are not completed with what you have right before you initially in the team phase.

“Win your initially game initially, and get ready for the next a single without imagining of the third game. It needs to be a single at a time. I really do not think it is great to lose the initial game and begin to worry.

“If the Tremendous Eagles can win the initial game, the self-esteem and high-quality will establish and Nigerians will see high-quality in them as the level of competition to progress.

Nigeria and Argentina will play their fifth World Cup come upon in St. Petersburg. Claudio Caniggia’s brace – he scored the initially immediately after a clever free-kick amongst Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta, and extra a wonderful second – seized the South People in America a 2-1 win at the United States 1994. Yobo then performed in 1- losses in 2002 and 2010 and a Messi-inspired 3-2 defeat in 2014.

Having said that, without Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho overcame Nicolas Otamendi, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and Sergio Aguero 4-2 in a helpful very last November.

“I performed against Argentina in 3 World Cups,” mentioned Yobo. “Maybe this is the time for Nigeria to report her initially victory about the Albeceleste. If we really do not concede an early goal against Argentina, we need to be able to get at least a draw.

“Croatia, Iceland… everything can transpire. Croatia we know, but Iceland is the surprise package deal of Group D.

“I disagree with individuals worrying about the Tremendous Eagles’ defence. What is critical is working experience. Of course, we may not have seasoned senior players in that area but we have talented, fearless youthful players who can hold their individual against any team. I really really do not think the defence is as terrible as is staying portrayed.”

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Group D: Argentina and Croatia head tricky Group D



Group D looks likely to be one of the most fiercely-contested groups at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. It pits historic giants Argentina against two blossoming European sides in Croatia and Iceland, plus the ever-unpredictable Nigeria, who are sure to be a tough nut to crack.

Teams
Argentina Iceland Croatia Nigeria

Key Game

Argentina-Croatia, (21 June, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium)

The group’s two strongest teams on paper will lock horns at a World Cup for the first time since 1998, when Argentina edged to a 1-0 win. The showdown between Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic is one of the many intriguing subplots to what will be just the second meeting between the two nations on the global stage, one which could prove pivotal in deciding who qualifies and claims top spot. With France potentially lurking in the Round of 16 for the group runners-up, there will be plenty on the line.

What you need to know
• Iceland and Croatia have met on six occasions in World Cup qualifying in the last eight years. The Croatians have the better of the head-to-head, with four wins from those games, but the Icelanders have the fonder memories of the most recent encounter, which they won 1-0 in June 2017.

• Nigeria and Iceland have only faced one another once before, with the Europeans easing to a 3-0 victory in a friendly in 1981.

• History will be made in two Group D fixtures: Argentina have never taken on Iceland before, while Croatia and Nigeria will also do battle for the first time.

The stat
4 – The number of times that Argentina and Nigeria have met in World Cup group action. La Albiceleste have triumphed in all four matches: 2-1 in 1994, 1-0 in 2002, 1-0 in 2010 and 3-2 in 2014.



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Obafemi Martins likely to return to Nigeria squad – 2018 FIFA World Cup


Eagles striker Obafemi Martins against Swaziland in Lobambo

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 30, 2017. 09:30


Nigerian national team scout Victor Agali has hinted that striker Obafemi Martins and midfielder Joel Obi could make their return to the Super Eagles squad.

Igali has warned the team’s fans not to be surprised if the duo is called up by coach Gernot Rohr for their games next year.

Martins ended the season in spectacular form for Chinese Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua, whilst Obi has impressed Rohr with his displays for Italian side Torino.

Their form has caught the attention of Rohr, and according to Agali, the duo are set for a recall to the team next year, but they have to keep ‎working hard.

“All players who are currently performing to expectation in their respective club sides have equal chance,” Agali said to Sportsvillagesquare.

“The coach {Rohr] is a disciplinarian who welcomes players based on merit.

“Don’t be surprised to see the likes of in-form Obafemi Martins, Joel Obi and others returning to the team, and I myself won’t hesitate to scout for more legs that will help maintain the good form.”



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Gernot Rohr extends his contract with Nigeria until 2020 – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 09:00


Super Eagles of Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr has penned a new two-year deal until 2020.

The Nigerian Football Federation has decided to tie down the German manager after masterminding their qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with one game to spare.

Rohr was appointed on an initial two-year contract in August 2016 until 2018, taking over a team in turmoil following Sunday Oliseh’s reign.

Announcing the contract extension, NFF boss Amaju Pinnick said the federation was impressed by Rohr’s work ethic.

“When we saw the draw for the World Cup, we knew we were condemned [by a tough group] and we determined that we must overcome it,” Pinnick quoted by ESPN.

“The first thing we identified was that we needed a new coach so we reached out to Arsene Wenger, to Gerard Houllier, and one name kept coming to the fore: Rohr.

“Now we have no regrets about hiring him and he has proven himself not just by qualifying for the World Cup, but with the foundation he is laying for our team, which now has young players from the age of 19, [he is] doing well.

“That is why, as we launch this fan engagement platform, I am proud and happy to announce that we have extended Rohr’s contract for another two years, and paid him his wages until December 2017.”

Rohr’s new deal means this is the first time that a Super Eagles coach has had his contract renewed before a World Cup as Pinnick launched the NFF’s campaign to take 100 fans to Russia



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Nigeria and Egypt headline CAF Award nominee list – 2018 FIFA World Cup


Rohr with Eagles skipper Mikel

by
Staff Reporter

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 17:30


The Confederation of African Football has announced a list of nominees to vie for a number of CAF Awards come January next year.

Among those nominated is Egypt coach Hector Cúper who will hope to bag the CAF Coach of the Year Award after guiding the Pharaohs to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The 62-year-old is joined on the shortlist by Wydad Casablanca manager Hussein Amotta, whose side lifted the CAF Champions League title, and 2018 CAF African Cup of Nations winning coach with Cameroon, Hugo Broos.

On the other hand, Nigeria national team manager Gemot Rohr and TP Mazembe’s Mihayo Kazembe are also set to battle for the ward.

Rohr guided the Super Eagles to the World Cup whilst Mihayo led the Congolese side to the CAF Confederation Cup title.

Meanwhile, Egypt have been nominated for the 2017 African National Team of the Year after reaching their first World Cup in 28 years and their first AFCON final in seven years.

2018 African champions, the Indomitable Lions and World Cup participants Nigeria have also been named in the shortlist whilst Zambia U20 and Mali U17 sides are part of the list.

Al Ahly are also in the running for the CAF African Club of the Year Award after a winning the Premier League unbeaten, reclaimed the Egyptian Cup for the first time since 2007, as well as reaching the CAF Champions League final.



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


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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Nigeria not afraid of anyone, Echiejile warns Brazil and co. – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Monaco’s Nigeria full-back Elderson (left)

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 12:00


Nigerian international Elderson Echiejile has fired a warning to the world’s best football national teams ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals which will be hosted by Russia.

World champions Germany, European giants Spain, France, South American giants Brazil and Argentina will be amongst the favourites to win next year’s tournament.

Echiejile, who plays for Turkish side Sivasspor, believes that the Super Eagles can beat anyone with the draw for the global tournament set to take place on the 1st of December 2017.

“We are not afraid of anyone, any team,” Echiejile told brila.net.

“We just want to keep our preparation in top form, play quality friendly games and we will be ready for anyone in our group.

“This could be our time, Right now we have things going well with the team, so we are not afraid of anyone” he continued.

Nigeria came back to stun Argentina 4-2 in an international friendly match earlier this month and Echiejile stated that it is just a tip of what the Super Eagles will do in Russia.

“The win is enough motivation for everyone in the team that we can actually dispose any team at the World Cup without fear or jittery,” he added.



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Nigeria players to pocket $2.4 million for World Cup qualification


Alex Iwobi of Nigeria (l) celebrates his goal with Kelechi Iheanacho 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
Staff Reporter

Friday Nov 24, 2017. 13:30


The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have revealed that Super Eagles players will be paid for securing qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.

The federation will pay players and officials a total of $2.4 million as a bonus for qualifying for the prestigious tournament which which will be hosted by Russia.

This was confirmed by the NFF’s spokesperson Ademola Olajire when speaking to The Guardian Nigeria.

“The NFF have agreed to give the team $2.4 million out of the $8 million we are expecting from FIFA,” Olajire said.

The federation have also agreed other payments and benefits to the team to avoid a pay row that marred Nigeria’s participation at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Nigeria went on to reach the round of 16 where they were defeated by France, who won 2-0 at the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília.



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Gernot Rohr hopes Kevin Akpoguma will choose Nigeria over Germany – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 22, 2017. 13:30


Nigerian Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr hopes former German youth international Kevin Akpoguma decides to play for his team.

This comes after the manager was in Europe to embark on a scouting mission last weekend where he watched the Bundesliga clash between Hoffenheim and Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Rohr revealed his delight after watching the central defender and says he plans to hold talks with Akpoguma over an invitation ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: MOHAMED SALAH – ‘THE EGYPTIAN STAR COULD SCORE 70 GOALS THIS SEASON

”I watched him play for Hoffenheim against Frankfurt on Saturday. Kevin is an excellent match for the players we are on the lookout for,” Rohr told SWR.

”But he’ll have to decide soon whether he wants to wear the colors of Nigeria and I’ll call him in the next few days.”

The defender added that it’s an honour to see Rohr showing interest in him, but he is German and wants to represent the Die Mannschaft.

“That honours me, of course, but I’m German, I was born here, so I should play for Germany too,” adds the former German U16, U17, U18, U19, U20 and U21 international.



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Vincent Enyeama not keen to return to Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 21, 2017. 13:30


Rumours doing the rounds suggest that Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama is not interested in making his return to the national team.

According to a popular Nigerian website, the former Super Eagles number one is not interested in bouncing back to the team.

Coach Gernot Rohr has constantly voiced his desire to have the 35-year-old back in the team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

OwnGoalNigeria reports that Enyeama, who left the national team after a row with former coach Sunday Oliseh, has turned down the approach from the coach to return to the team ahead of the World Cup.

The website reports that Colin Udoh, who holds close ties with the former Enyimba goalkeeper, said that Enyeama won’t be coming back to the team despite the goalkeeper crisis rocking the side.

Meanwhile, the unfortunate diagnosis of first choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme ‎with Leukaemia has left the West Africans struggling in the goalkeeping department, with Rohr not completely happy with the goalkeepers at his disposal.



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Kevin Akpoguma an excellent match for Nigeria – Gernot Rohr – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Nov 21, 2017. 11:30


Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has described Hoffenheim defender Kevin Akpoguma as an “excellent match” for the Super Eagles.

The coach embarked on a scouting trip to Germany this past weekend after overseeing Nigeria’s recent matches against Algeria and Argentina.

Rohr was able to watch a Akpoguma, a long-term target for the Nigerian Football Federation, in action for his club side and has become an admirer of the 22-year-old.

“I watched him play for Hoffenheim against Frankfurt on Saturday. Kevin is an excellent match for the players we are on the lookout for,” Rohr told SWR.

“But he’ll have to decide soon whether he wants to wear the colours of Nigeria and I’ll call him in the next few days.”

When asked about Rohr’s plans to cap him, Germany-born Akpoguma pledged loyalty to the country of his birth: “That honors me, of course, but I’m German, I was born here, so I should play for Germany too.”



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Nigeria learn 2018 CHAN group rivals


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Nov 19, 2017. 13:00


The draw for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) has been conducted.

Morocco will host the continental tournament between 12 January and 4 February 2018.

The tournament hosts have been pitted against Guinea, Sudan and Mauritania in Group A.

African giants Nigeria are in Group C along side Libya, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea.

The matches will be played in Casablanca, Marrakech, Tangier and Agadir.

2018 CHAN Groups

Group A (Casablanca)

Morocco

Guinea

Sudan

Mauritania

Group B (Marrakech)

Cote d’Ivoire

Zambia

Uganda

Namibia

Group C (Tangier)

Libya

Nigeria

Rwanda

Equatorial Guinea

Group D (Agadir)

Angola

Cameroon

Congo

Burkina Faso



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Nigeria FA signs payment deal with Super Eagles players for World Cup – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


John Obi Mikel carried on shoulders of players Abdullahi Shehu, Kelechi Iheanacho and Chidozie Awaziem as Nigeria qualify for the World Cup 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
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 16, 2017. 18:00


Nigerian media reports that the Nigerian Football Federation has engaged players in signing an agreement regarding payments ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

NFF boss, Amaju Pinnick says he is determined to avoid the problems that have blighted African teams’ participation at past World Cups, especially the Super Eagles.

The BBC reports that skipper John Mikel Obi has welcomed the deal and says he is excited with the initiative from the NFF.

“We are very happy and excited with this development,” he said to the BBC.

“This is the first time since I started playing for the senior team that I would see everything regarding preparation and bonuses and allowances put down in black and white and a binding agreement executed.

“It is reassuring that we now have a Federation leadership so committed to making everything work that they arranged this meeting and allowed the players to contribute and then set out to sign the agreement.”

The agreement was signed after a meeting between senior players and top NFF officials ahead of Tuesday’s 4-2 friendly win against Argentina in Russia.

According to the NFF vice-president, Shehu Dikko, he said the deal is a comprehensive document that includes the build-up to the tournament in Russia.

“We have concluded negotiations and come to an agreement with the team as regards bonuses, allowances and share of income from FIFA for the 2018 World Cup,” Diko added.

“Every detail has been agreed on match bonus for each match and each round up to the final as well as share of income from FIFA money for each round until the stage we are able to get to at the finals.

“We also agreed on preparation, such as how much players will be paid for the friendly matches, including how and when the monies would be paid.

“We even delved into how the NFF would apply the funds due to it from FIFA after paying the players their share.”



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Iwobi: The real reason why I snubbed England for Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Alex Iwobi (R) celebrates with Nacho Monreal

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Nov 16, 2017. 15:30


Arsenal FC’s promising midfielder Alex Iwobi he revealed why he decided to represent Nigeria instead of England.

The attacking midfielder inspired the Super Eagles to a 4-2 win over Argentina by scoring a brace in an international friendly match which was played in Russia on Tuesday.

Iwobi, who made his Nigeria debut in October 2015, is a former English youth international having played for the European side’s Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 teams.

However, at senior level the Lagos-born attacker opted to switch allegiance the African side and has recently told explained why.

“I was growing up in England and England was the only national team I knew, so I was actually very pleased to play at national level,” Iwobi told Soccer Laduma.

“However, my family are all from Nigeria, I was born in Nigeria, my uncle (Jay-Jay Okocha) is a legend in Nigeria,” the 21-year-old continued.

“That’s why I thought I would give it a chance. That’s why I went to the U23s and somehow felt more welcome, and I thought it’s where I belong, so I made the decision to switch.”

Iwobi’s solitary goal helped Nigeria beat Zambia 1-0 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier last month and as a result, the Super Eagles booked their place in the finals.



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Algerian coach Rabah Madjer says Nigeria was scared of them – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Algerian head coach Rabah Madjer

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 13, 2017. 18:30

Algerian national team coach Rabah Madjer says the Super Eagles of Nigeria were scared of them after playing to a 1-1 draw on Friday.

Madjer was speaking after their last match of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier campaign in Group B, saying Gernot Rohr’s men were scared of losing the match.

However, goals from John Ogu and Yacine Brahimi’s penalty saw the Desert Warriors securing a point at home.

“In the second half, after the goal from Nigeria, I had to make some changes. I pulled out (Riyad) Mahrez who was tired and replaced (Zinedine) Ferhat in his place,” Madjer said to El Bahdja Radio.

“I brought back (Baghdad) Bounedjah who brought a lot in front. We created a lot of opportunities and if we had been effective, we would have won.

“Moreover, Nigeria was scared of us during the second half. They saw that we could win.”

The North Africans will face Central African Republic in their next international fixture on Tuesday, while Nigeria are in Russia for a friendly against Argentina’s Albiceleste.



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Referee explains why he gave a penalty in the Nigeria versus Algeria World Cup qualifier clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 13, 2017. 14:30


After handing the Algerians a penalty against Nigeria in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Friday, Gabonese referee Eric Otogo-Castane has explained his decision.

Although it was seen as a controversial penalty, Otogo-Castane says he was guided by the new laws of the game as defender Abdullahi Shehu was adjudged to have fouled Yacine Brahaimi in the box.

The Super Eagles claimed a point as they scored through John Ogu, but the replays suggest that Shehu didn’t do much to warrant a penalty being awarded.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: JOHN OBI MIKEL – NIGERIA SKIPPER READY FOR ARGENTINA CLASH

”Expectedly, we asked questions after the game and the referee explained to us that the decision was taken based on a newly introduced law into the game, which allows for intention to be punished”, the NFF board member told Owngoalnigeria.com.

”He interpreted Shehu’s intention to impede the man, who stayed on his feet instead of going down from the tackle. ‎

“The fact that the Algerian attacker Brahaimi didn’t go down is what made the decision to look like the wrong call according to him.

”Let’s be frank he did his best considering the atmosphere he was under and especially after turning down numerous attempt by the Algerians to con him into giving them a penalty.

”Maybe Brahaimi should have been sent off before the incident which lead to the goal, but I guess he didn’t want to lose grip of the match, which a red card to the Algerian captain would have triggered.

“It’s called game management and we understand his explanation.“



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New Algerian coach Rabah Madjer happy with performance against Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Algerian head coach, Rabah Madjer during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying soccer match between Algeria and Nigeria at Chahid-Hamlaoui stadium in Constantine, Algeria, 10 November 2017.

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Nov 12, 2017. 14:00


After leading the Desert Warriors to a 1-1 draw in his first assignment as coach, Algeria’s Rabah Madjer says there are positives from the team.

Madjer revealed that he was satisfied with his side’s performance against the Super Eagles of Nigeria on Friday night.

He also admitted that the North Africans would have won if not for the opportunities they missed, but also said Gernot Rohr’s men kept fighting hard.

”Frankly, we could not ask more to this team. We faced a very tough team from Nigeria, who did not let it go despite their World Cup qualification earned even before this match,” Madjer said.

“We tried to develop our game despite the difficulties.

”That said, I think that what I saw tonight, the future of this selection looks bright. There are many positive things to remember, though, I repeat, not everything has been perfect.

”I think this draw is satisfying even if we could have won if we had converted the opportunities we got, especially in the second half.”

The draw leaves Algeria at the bottom of Group B.

Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia will represent the African continent at the World Cup in Russia next year.



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Yacine Brahimi helps Algeria hold Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Yacine BRAHIMI of Algeria challenged by Alexander IWOBI of Nigeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria on November, 12th 2016 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium
©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Nov 10, 2017. 23:46


Algeria and Nigeria drew 1-1 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiaction (CAF) Group B match at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui on Friday night.

The draw sees Algeria finish the qualifying campaign winless, while Nigeria, who are the Group B winners, will take part in next year’s finals in Russia.

The Desert Warriors should have broken the deadlock through England-based centre forward Islam Slimani a minute into the match.

But the striker’s header from the centre of the box missed the target following a good cross by Zinedine Ferhat, who plays for Le Havre in France.

The Super Eagles also threatened through Tony Nwakaeme, who was making his debut for Nigeria, in the 15th minute as the visitors looked to take the lead.

The striker’s right footed shot from outside the box was well saved by Algeria’s 33-year-old goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi.

Algeria were then forced to make a change on the half-hour mark as Ayoub Abdellaoui replaced Chemseddine Nessakh, who was injured.

The last chance of the first-half for Nwakaeme and was denied by Chaouchi on the stroke of half-time and the score was 0-0 at the interval.

Chaouchi was called into action 10 minutes after the restart and he pulled off a great save to deny Nigerian attacker Alex Iwobi.

Aissa Mandi, the Algeria midfielder, had a glorious opportunity to make it 1-0 to his side in the 61st minute, but he headed over the crossbar close range.

The hosts were left to rue that missed chance as Nigeria broke the dealdlock a minute later through John Ogu, who scored with a beautiful left-footed long range shot to make it 1-0 to Nigeria.

It was end-to-end stuff in the closing stages of the match as Slimani missed the target from close range with Nigeria keeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa well-beaten.

Algeria were then awarded a late penalty after Yacinie Brahimi was fouled in the box and forward stepped up, and beat Ezenwa to ensure that the game ended in a 1-1 a draw.

Algeria (0) 1 (Brahimi 88′)

Nigeria (0) 1 (Ogu 62′)

Algeria XI: Haouchi, Mandi, Cadamuro, Chafaï, Nessakh (Abdellaoui 30′), Medjani, Ferhat, Bennacer (Boundjah 75′), Mahrez (Hanni 65′) Brahimi, Slimani.

Nigeria XI: Ezenwa, Abdullahi, Ola Aina, Balogun, Ekong, Etebo, J.Ogu, Ndidi, Nwakeme (Onyekuru 70′), Iwobi (Musa 81′), Iheanacho.



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2018 World Cup Qualifier: Algeria 1-1 Nigeria – AS IT HAPPENED – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Alex Iwobi of Nigeria (l) celebrates his goal with Kelechi Iheanacho 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
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Nov 10, 2017. 23:24


Algeria finish their qualifying campaign having failed to win a single match. Nigeria, who have qualified for the World Cup as Group B winners, finish the qualifying campaign unbeaten.

Lineups:

Algeria XI: Haouchi, Mandi, Cadamuro, Chafaï, Nessakh, Medjani, Ferhat, Bennacer, Mahrez, Brahimi, Slimani.

Nigeria XI: Ezenwa, Abdullahi, Ola Aina, Balogun, Ekong, Etebo, J.Ogu, Ndidi, Nwakeme, Iwobi, Iheanacho.

Commentary:

FULL-TIME: Algeria 1-1 Nigeria.

90′ – The fourth official has added four minutes.

88′ – GOAL! Brahimi. Algeria 1-1 Nigeria. Brahimi coverts from the spot-kick.

85′ – Algeria are awarded a penalty after Brahimi was fouled in the Nigeria box.

81′ – Nigeria sub: Musa IN, Iwobi OUT.

80′ – Nigeria are looking to contain Algeria in the closing stages of this encounter.

75′ – Algeria sub: Boundjah IN, Bennacer OUT.

70′ – Algeria are now applying some pressure on the Nigeria defence.

65′ – CHANCE! Algeria striker Slimani misses the target from close range with Nigeria keeper Ezenwa well beaten.

62′ – GOAL! Algeria 0-1 Nigeria. Ogu nets with a long range effort.

55′ – Algeria keeper Chaouchi makes a good save to deny Nigeria forward Iwobi.

50′ – Algeria attackers Slimani and Mahrez are both fouled in the middle of the park as the hosts look to break the deadlock.

46′ – The second-half is underway.

45′ – The fourth official has added one minute.

42′ – CAUTION: Ogu is booked (Nigeria).


40′ – Five minutes left before half-time and it is still 0-0 here in Constantine.

35′ – Ferhat tries a through ball, but his Alegria team-mate Slimani is caught offside.

30′ – Algeria sub: Abdellaoui IN, Nessakh OUT.

25′ – Algeria and Nigeria have shown some initiative going forward, but the two goalkeepers are yet to be seriously tested.

20′ – Ndidi pushes forward and he unleashes a shot which is blocked as we approach the half-hour mark.

15′ – Algeria forward Mahrez bursts into the Nigeria box, but his Leicester City FC team-mate Ndidi stops him.

10′ – Nigeria are dominating possession as they look to break the deadlock.
5′ – Algeria winger Mahrez’s free-kick is easily saved by Nigeria keeper Ezenwa.

1′ – The match is underway.



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Iwobi: Why I almost cried after scoring for Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Alex Iwobi of Nigeria celebrates his goal 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
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Nov 10, 2017. 15:30


Nigerian international Alex Iwobi has disclosed that he almost cried after scoring for the Super Eagles against Zambia last month.

The Arsenal FC midfielder’s solitary goal helped Nigeria beat Zambia 1-0 in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group B match in Uyo.

As a result, the Super Eagles booked their place in next year’s World Cup which will be hosted by Russia.

“When I actually scored the moment was crazy, I remember running off celebrating,” Iwobi told Arsenal website.

“I almost cried, I actually almost cried to see how the fans were reacting, to see my mum and dad in the stands; it was just an amazing feeling.

“To go to the World Cup you can see it’s not just the players’ dream, it’s the fans’ dream as well and for me to get the goal for us to go through I’m just proud to do that.

Iwobi went on to discuss what it means for him to play for Nigeria after being in the England youth setup for most of his life.

“Yeah it’s basically my family, where they’re from, where I’m from it’s my homeland, so it’s always an honor to wear the green, white and green,” the 21-year-old attacker added.

“I mean I’ve seen so many kids on the street when we’re like in the bus, they’re screaming “go Nigeria, go Nigeria”, so to represent them I’m just proud.”

Iwobi is part of the Nigeria squad that will face Algeria away in the final Group B match on Friday. Nigeria will also take on Argentina in a friendly game in Russia next week Tuesday.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Riyad Mahrez – Algerian coach Rabah Madjer banking on Leicester player to beat Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Riyad Mahrez of Algeria battles Nigeria ‘s Etebo

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 09, 2017. 19:00


Although Algeria are out of the race to book a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the Desert Warriors will still have to protect their dignity when they meet Nigeria.

The thrilling encounter is set to be staged in Constantine on Friday as the North Africans will hope to boost their morale after a poor campaign.

Having a new coach in Rabah Madjer, the Algerians are aware that a win will ease their dismal qualifying campaign.

Madjer will lead the side for the first time after the axing of Lucas Alcaraz last month, and he wants a win to start his tenure on a high.

However, he will not make it happen alone and that is why players such as Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani must be in an uncompromising mood to down the Super Eagles.

“Our team is in crisis, it has been a difficult period for the players and that is why we have to get back to winning matches immediately (defeating Nigeria),” stressed Madjer.

Madjer will bank on the Leicester City winger as he has been impressive in the English Premier League in recent times.



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Henry Onyekuru eyeing first full international for Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Dani Alves (L) of Paris Saint-Germain in action against Henry Onyekuru (R) of Anderlecht during the UEFA Champions League group B soccer match between RSC Anderlecht and Paris Saint-Germain at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Anderlecht, near Brussels, Belgium, 18 October 2017. EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 09, 2017. 18:00


Nigerian international striker, Henry Onyekuru is delighted to have an opportunity to make his debut for the Super Eagles.

The 20-year-old is looking forward to his first official appearance for the West Africans as they prepare to face the Desert Warriors of Algeria on Friday in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

ZAMBIA AND CAMEROON TO BATTLE FOR SECOND SPOT

Onyekuru expressed his delight on Twitter after the RSC Anderlecht (on loan from Everton) forward made his first appearance in a non-competitive game against Togo in June.

He played against the Sparrow Hawks in a cameo role as the Super Eagles won 3-0, but was not been invited by coach Gernot Rohr since the outing.

However, the forward has an opportunity to impess the manager ahead of the World Cup in Russia as the 2013 African champions have already secured their place after garnering 13 points from five matches in the qualifiers.

“My first full international call up for the Nigeria National Team! God is great,” Onyekuru tweeted.

“Blessed to be able to share this moment with these guys and we will do our best to make Nigeria proud.”



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Tammy Abraham doesn’t regret choosing England over Nigeria – Premier League 2017/2018


Swansea City’s Tammy Abraham (left) and Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 09, 2017. 12:00


After choosing to represent England over Nigeria on an international level, Tammy Abraham has rubbished rumours that he considered playing for Nigeria.

The forward says he does not regret choosing the Europeans instead of the West African nation despite repeated overtures from the Nigerian Football Federation to lure him.

Abraham’s father is Nigerian which would have qualified him to play for the Super Eagles.

A childhood friend of NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, claimed in September that Abraham had decided to play for the Super Eagles.

However, the U21 England international denied the claim and has been called up for England’s forthcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil.

“I see myself as being a long-term England player,” Abraham said.

“That is where my main focus is and I am 100 percent focused here to try and get into that team.

“I was pretty set on England really and playing in the Premier League meant it would be nice to play in the England team as well.”

Altgough he is on loan at Swansea City from Chelsea, he has scored five goals in his first 14 appearances for the Welsh club.

“It was flattering (when asked about Nigeria’s interest), but for me my main focus was here (England). It was nice to know that I was doing something right and going in the right direction.”



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Chelsea confirm Tammy Abraham has snubbed Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Swansea’s Jordan Ayew (left) celebrates with Tammy Abraham after scoring their second goal during the Carabao Cup, third round match at the Madejski Stadium, Reading. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 19, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Reading. Photo credit should read: Scott Heavey/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 15:30


Swansea City striker Tammy Abraham has snubbed the chance to play for Nigeria, as confirmed by parent club Chelsea.

The Camberwell-born 20-year-old is eligible to represent Nigeria because of ancestral ties to the West African country.

Nigerian football authorities have attempted to recruit Abraham for the Super Eagles, but their efforts have been in vain.

Abraham has received a call-up to the senior England team for impending friendlies against Germany and Brazil, and Chelsea confirmed on their official website that he is committed to the Three Lions.

In reviewing their players that have reported for international duty, the Blues’ site explained: “Abraham who, along with Loftus-Cheek, has been called up to the senior squad for the first time, has pledged his long-term future to England following recent reports which indicated Nigeria were hopeful of persuading him to switch allegiance.”

Abraham will hope to make his senior England debut in the match against Germany at Wembley Stadium on Friday night.



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Former Nigeria star steps down from Chelsea role


Former Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Nov 07, 2017. 12:00


Former Nigeria international Michael Emenalo has stepped down from his position as Chelsea’s technical director.

According to the Telegraph, Emenalo brought his 10-year association with the Blues to an end on Monday, following their 1-0 victory over Manchester United on the weekend.

The former Super Eagles defender reportedly made the decision to quit during the European summer, but delayed his departure to have a minimal impact on the team.

Emenalo is a close friend of club owner Roman Abramovich, who asked the 52-year-old to reconsider, but he insisted that he needs to spend more time with his young family.

It is also speculated that Emenalo’s departure is due to strained relations with head coach Antonio Conte, who wants greater control of transfer proceedings.

Emenalo represented Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup and first joined Chelsea’s technical team in 2007.



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


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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La Liga history maker Uzoho ecstatic with Nigeria call-up – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Nov 06, 2017. 09:00


New Nigerian senior international Francis Uzoho has paid tribute to his Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna.

This is after the teenage goalkeeper earned his maiden call-up to the Super Eagles squad.

The 19-year-old has been named in the 24-man squad to take on Algeria in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier and then a friendly against Argentina this month.

“It probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been promoted to the first team at Deportivo,” Uzoho told BBC Sport.

“They’ve really helped me and hopefully I can repay the faith,” the Nwangele-born shot-stopper added.

Uzoho’s national call-up comes off the back of a strong start to his Deportivo career in the Spanish La Liga.

The former Nigerian Under-17 international became the youngest foreign goalkeeper to ever play in La Liga last month.

“I feel I owe the former manager [Pepe Mel] a lot as well and I am grateful to the players and management of the second team and senior side and I thank God for his favours,” he added.

Uzoho made his first team – and La Liga – debut on 15 October 2017, starting in a 0–0 away draw against SD Eibar.

According to Wikipedia, at the age of 18 years and 352 days, Uzoho became the youngest ever foreign goalkeeper to debut in La Liga.

He is also the second-youngest player to appear in the league during the campaign, only behind Real Madrid‘s Achraf Hakimi.



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Nigeria lose Tammy Abraham to England – Premier League 2017/2018


by
Bertin Basson

Friday Nov 03, 2017. 18:00


Tammy Abraham is set to make his debut for England this month, despite previous claims by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick that the forward will play for the Super Eagles at international level.

The lanky forward, who was born in England, qualifies to play for Nigeria at international level through his parents and there were hopes that he would choose to represent the West African nation at next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The chances of that happening, though, seem to be over with Abraham now in line to make his debut for the Three Lions against either Brazil or Germany.

Abraham, 19, has scored five goals in 13 games for Swansea City across all competitions this season. He is currently on loan at the club from Premier League rivals Chelsea.



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Odion Ighalo confirms withdrawal from Nigeria squad – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Odion Ighalo of Nigeria celebrate his goal with Victor Moses

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Nov 02, 2017. 15:00


Odion Ighalo has confirmed that he will miss Nigeria’s upcoming matches against Algeria and Argentina due to injury.

The Chanchung Yatai striker was on Monday named in the Super Eagles’ squad for their final 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Algeria on November 10, followed by a friendly against Argentina in Russia four days later.

However, Ighalo suffered a knock to his knee in Changchun’s latest match over the weekend and is set to be sidelined for approximately two weeks.

“I suffered a knee sprain (ligament) in our last game against Chongqing Dangdai Lifan FC on Sunday, I was able to finish the game because I thought it wasn’t serious, then I started feeling pains after the game,” Ighalo is quoted by Allnigeriasoccer.com.

“I will be out of action for 10-15 days, I won’t be able to play against Algeria and Argentina.”

Ighalo has established himself as the leader of Nigeria’s attack through the World Cup qualifiers and scored the opening goal in the 4-0 win over Cameroon in September.



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Algerian legends back Rabah Madjer as national team coach ahead of Nigeria clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Islam SLIMANI of Algeria Challenged by Leon BALOGUN (L) and William EKONG(R) of Nigeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria on November, 12th 2016 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium ©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 02, 2017. 09:00


Ahead of Algeria’s clash against Nigeria in their final Group B, 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers next week, former Desert Warriors players have backed new coach Rabah Madjer.

This comes after Madjer was named national coach for the fourth time in his career on October 18 after Lucas Alcaraz was dismissed following a disappointing World Cup qualification campaign.

Ex-internationals such as Billel Dziri, who played under Madjer in the 1990s, believe the 1987 African Footballer of the Year can win over his critics.

KEITA BALDE SHRUGS OFF KYLIAN MBAPPE COMPARISONS

“The players will see his training methods and the quality of his training sessions,” he told BBC Sport.

“People say that it has been a long time since he has not coached, but he has lots of experience on the football pitch. We cannot neglect that fact.”

On the other hand, Omar Belbey, who played under Madjer at the 2002 CAF African Nations Cup, adds it could be unwise to ignore the latter’s extensive experience.

“When you have an ex-international with the career he had and all that he represents, that is a monstrous asset,” adds Belbey.

“We, the players, listened to what he had to say because he knows what he’s talking about.”

Madjer has since announced his squad for the Super Eagles clash set to be staged in Constantine on November 10, which will be followed by a friendly against the Central African Republic in Algiers on November 14.



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