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Top Tips: Scotland face tough test on not so Super Saturday

SATURDAY has a strange feel to it with Albania v Scotland catching most of my attention on a day when others will be focused on the lower leagues.

We have Nations League matches, international friendlies, English and Scottish lower-league games and even Irn-Bru Cup ties.

I have to admit I didn’t find it easy picking winners this weekend despite spending plenty of time studying games so play it with low stakes.

In England, I like Sunderland, Peterborough and Bury while my best bets in Scotland are Ayr and Berwick. I’ve put all five on a money back acca and hopefully, I’ll get four or five correct.

I’ve posted separate previews on Ayr v Morton and the Scotland game as well as some English tips. I’m backing injury-ravaged Scotland not to lose but it’s a tough test for an inexperienced and in many ways shadow side.

Most of my picks are reasoned on these posts. There are also some VIP tips – long shots – for members only.

My Super Single on Friday was a loser after Queen’s Park conceded two late goals to Connah’s Quay. I would have advised cover if I hadn’t been skelping everyone at pool down the golf club. The treble was beaten all ends up – one goal short in Holland and one Wales goal short.

Good luck to everyone with all of their Saturday tips and well done to all the winners on Friday.
.

2pts Super Single

  • Sunderland & over 1.5 match goals
  • (21-20, Ladbrokes)

1pt Top Treble

  • Romania (7.45pm)
  • Inverness +1
  • Raith
  • (14-5, Betway)

*2pts Moneyback Fivefold

  • Peterborough
  • Sunderland
  • Bury
  • Ayr
  • Berwick
  • (14-1, McBookie)

*Stake back as free bet for  wrong

1.5pts Both to Score Treble

  • Brechin v Arbroath
  • Burton v Coventry
  • Southend v Blackpool
  • (5-1, bet365)

4 Draws pays 146-1

Longshot Acca pays 54-1

First Scorer pays 14-1

November Super Singles Total: -2.3pts

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

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Nigeria FA signs payment deal with Super Eagles players for World Cup

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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Uganda receive 10 billion in country’s biggest sponsorship deal from Airtel – FUFA Super League 2017/18

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Uganda receive 10 billion in country's biggest sponsorship deal from Airtel

Fufa President, Engineer Moses Magogo (L) and former Fufa President, Lawrence Mulindwa share a moment together after the 2017 Total Caf Confederation Cup match between KCCA FC (Uganda) and Club Africain (Tunisia) on 23 May 2017 at Phillip Omondi Stadium, Lugogo, Kampala. ©Ismail Kezaala/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 06, 2017. 17:00


The Federation of Ugandan Football Associations have received a massive financial boost as Airtel Uganda Limited has renewed its partnership with the FA.

Airtel is a leading telecommunications giant and announced the deal on Monday as the Cranes main sponsors.

It is announced that part of the package will be spent on the FUFA Juniors League, Airtel FUFA Awards and The Uganda Cranes Regional Tours.

According to a statement released by FUFA, the new new sponsorship deal is worth Ug.shs 10 billion for a period of four years.

MAHMOUD ABDEL-RAZIK GETS FIRST EGYPT CALL-UP SINCE 2014

At the event, FUFA was represented by the President Moses Magogo whilst Airtel Uganda Limited’s delegation was led by the Managing Director VG Somasekhar.

“These are four more years to write a new history in Uganda’s football circles. The Shs 10 Billion contribution is to make a meaningful investment in football development,” said Somasekhar.

“The recognition of individuals at international level is success for the entire country.Life in Uganda can be summarized in three words. Eat, Sleep and play football.

“To the players, play for the name on the front of the shirt and remember the name at the back. Airtel Uganda is committed to serve football for the next 4 years, like we have done for the previous 4 years.”

Meanwhile, Magogo added that this was the biggest deal in the history of the country and also thanked Airtel.

“I thank Airtel Uganda for this renewal. Coaches, players, referees create the football product which is marketable to the fans and sponsors and regulated by Government,” adds Magogo.

“This is the biggest sponsorship in the history of this country. It is not about today but the future. Airtel Uganda even supported FUFA in the regional campaigns and the FUFA Awards for two years now.

“I also thank the Government of Uganda for the support throughout the AFCON and World Cup qualification campaigns.”

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Asamoah Gyan thankful for maiden Super Lig goal – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 31, 2017. 17:00


Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has expressed his gratitude and relief at having scored his first Turkish Super Lig goal.

The Black Stars attacker came off the bench to score an injury-time equaliser in Kayserispor’s 3-3 draw away to giants Fenerbahce on Monday night.

It was Gyan’s first in the Turkish top flight league and follows on from a strike in Kayserispor’s 2-1 away win over Yesil Bursa in the domestic cup competition last midweek.

Gyan took to his official Twitter page to express his thanks and emphasise the team effort needed to claim a point in Istanbul.

“Lord I thank you…couldn’t have been any special moment.. the time…massive team effort and support..we did this together @KayserisporFK,” the Ghana star posted.

Monday night’s result sees Kayserispor placed fourth on the Super Lig log with 18 points from 10 matches, five points adrift of leaders Galatasaray.

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Mathias Kigonya confident Ugandan can defend CECAFA title in Kenya – FUFA Super League 2017/18

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by
Scent ition

Tuesday Oct 24, 2017. 15:00


Sofapaka FC and Uganadan goalkeeper Mathias Kigonya is confident that the Cranes can defend the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup to be played in Kenya next month.

The regional tournament is set to make its return after a one-year absence following lack of sponsorship in 2016.

The diminutive goalkeeper has confused many sports journalists who profile him as a Kenyan citizen due to his body physique and name which is linked to a Luhya community from the Western part of Kenya.

PRESIDENT KENYATTA CONGRATULATES NEW KENYA CHAMPS GOR MAHIA

However, the keeper is currently working hard and focusing on representing Uganda in upcoming tournaments like CECAFA and his wish is to play in Europe for Chelsea FC.

“I would really be happy to be part of Uganda Cranes team,” he said to Kawowo.

“Indeed hard work never stops paying and hope one day to play in Europe. Am focused and very positive mentally.”

The goalie featured for the CECAFA reigning champions in the 2016 CHAN finals held in Rwanda.

Sporting Regards,

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Tafadzwa Rusike trying his luck at Zambian giants Zanaco FC – 2017 FAZ Super League

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Tafadzwa Rusike trying his luck at Zambian giants Zanaco FC

Caps United player Tafadzwa Rusike attacks USM Alger goal area during a CAF Champions League match on 24 April 2017 at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe. Caps United won the match by 2 goals to 1. Zinyange Auntony

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Oct 20, 2017. 17:30


Zimbabwe and former Caps United midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike is trying to land a contract with Zambian Premier Soccer League side Zanaco FC.

Media reports in Zimbabwe reveal that the midfielder flew to Zambia last week for trials with the Super League outfit.

The move away from home follows the termination of his contract by Caps United last month.

The News Day website says Rusike’s deal was brokered by an agent, George Deda, who has links with the Zambian club.

BIG GUNS EVADE EACH OTHER IN TKO DRAW

Deda was influential in arranging United’s pre-season in Zambia and it is believed he was behind the player’s move.

United parted ways with Rusike last month and while the club refused to comment on the reasons, the midfielder blamed his woes on injuries which had kept him on the sidelines for a long time.

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Honor Janza explains why he called referee ‘stupid’ – 2017 FAZ Super League

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by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 15:00


In the wake of a 1-0 loss at the hands of Zesco United, Red Arrows mentor Honor Janza has labelled referee Leonard Akapelwa as stupid.

The former Chipolopolo coach has lamented the referee’s stunts after he was shown a red card in an altercation with the whistle man.

Akapelwa apparently went to the Red Arrows bench to show them objects that were thrown on the pitch by suspected Red Arrows fans.

The action was seen as provocation by Janza and his technical bench leading to a serious argument after which the former Chipolopolo coach was given his matching orders.

SIYABONGA NGEZANA: THIS IS FOR YOU CHAIRMAN!

“This is why am saying when you are an amateur you don’t know where to take your complaints,” Janza complained to Zambian Football.

“We did not expect him to come to our bench… for what?

“Us we are technocrats. He was suppose to go to the match commissioner, the fourth official or our officials – bringing to us was a mockery.

“We gave him what he wanted. I told him that he is stupid and I repeat he is stupid. He must not do that again to any coach or any bench because it’s stupid.”

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Vincent Enyeama set to return for the Super Eagles – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 15:30


Lille OSC coach Marcelo Bielsa has decided to make a u-turn and recall Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama back to the first team.

The former Super Eagles skipper has been handed a lifeline by Bielsa following his return from a six month injury lay-off.

Enyeama and 11 others were deemed surplus to requirements by Bielsa upon his appointment as coach of the French giants last summer, paving the way for them to leave the club.

NIGERIAN KEEPER FRANCIS UZOHO DELIGHTS IN SPANISH LA LIGA DEBUT

However, the 35-year old net minder couldn’t make a move as he was recuperating from the meniscus surgery he sustained towards the end of the previous campaign.

Having fully recovered, the goalkeeper posted a video of himself back in training with the team for the first time in six months.

Meanwhile the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has confirmed he has had positive talks on a return as the goalkeeper left the national team in controversial circumstances in 2016 ‎following a row with former coach Sunday Oliseh.

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KCCA’s controversial signing, Juma is happy with teammates’ character – FUFA Super League 2017/18

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by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 13:30


Kampala Capital City Authority’s Ibrahim Sadam Juma has hailed his teammates following a poor start in their current Ugandan Premier League campaign.

Juma was speaking after the defending league champions garnered just two points from as many games in the beginning of the season, but have now managed seven out of a possible nine in the previous three games.

SUNDOWNS, CHIEFS SET FOR HEAVYWEIGHT BATTLE

The midfielder could make his first appearance for the team on Tuesday against Bright Stars.

“In the first few games, we weren’t good but the boys managed to pick themselves up and they now on track,” he told reporters.

“It’s only a matter of time before we get there but I have a lot of confidence in the boys.

“They are good and hardworking and we only have to keep working as a team.”

Juma has only made two appearances for the club since his controversial move from Express and says the boys have stood in well before heaping praise on fitness coach Badru Kaddu.

“The boys have stood in and am proud of them. Fitness trainer has been helpful and prepared me mentally. Though am yet to get at 100%, am confident of getting better,” adds the player.

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Zesco’s Krmpotic sad to exit Barclays Cup – 2017 FAZ Super League

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Zesco's Krmpotic sad to exit Barclays Cup

Zesco United coach Serbian Krmpotic

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Oct 16, 2017. 16:30


Following their Barclays Cup semi-final exit, Zesco United coach Zlatko Krmpotic says he is disappointed after losing 4-2 on penalties to Napsa Stars on Saturday.

The Serbian manager described their encounter against Stars as a tough match and believes they were unlucky to lose on post match penalties.

“It’s normal I am very disappointed but we were unlucky to lose on post match penalties but It was a tough game,” said the Serbian.

FIFA REJECTS GHANA’S PROTEST AGAINST DANIEL BENNETT

“The two teams did not create alot of chances.”

Meanwhile, Napsa stars acting head coach, Linos Makwaza believes his boys deserved to win as they will face Zanaco FC on October 28 at Heroes Stadium in the final.

“Its a great feeling the boys worked hard and deserved the victory. We anticipated to finish the game in regulation time but we had worked on our endurance which paid dividends,” adds Makwaza.

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Pinnick: Nigeria’s Super Eagles won Group of Death – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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Pinnick: Nigeria's Super Eagles won Group of Death

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
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Oct 09, 2017. 14:00


The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) leaders were ecstatic after the Super Eagles’ clinched qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals on Saturday.

The Super Eagles edged out Zambia 1-0 thanks to Alex Iwobi’s late goal in a Group B match at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria.

As a result, the NFF president Amaju Pinnick and NFF general secretary Dr Mohammed Sanusi were in buoyant mood as they joined the players in celebration.

“I am short of words. Let me just say that I am very, very happy,” Pinnick told the NFF’s official website.

“This is the sixth time Nigeria is qualifying for the World Cup.

“But this one is very sweet because many referred to our section as a ‘Group of Death’,” he added.

“We have survived. We give glory to God.”

An equally joyous Sanusi said: “We are excited and as this Board has continued to promise, it is not just about qualification.

“We will ensure the best preparation for the team to set a new record of performance for Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup when they go to Russia next year,” he added.

Group B winners Nigeria will take on Algeria away in their last match on 6 November 2017.

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Mikel: Why Nigeria’s Super Eagles deserve to qualify – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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Mikel: Why Nigeria's Super Eagles deserve to qualify

Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Sep 29, 2017. 14:00


Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel feels that the Super Eagles deserve to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals next month.

The Super Eagles are scheduled to host Zambia’s Chipolopolo in the World Cup qualification Group B match in Uyo, Nigeria on Satuday, October 7.

A victory for current Group B leaders Nigeria will see them win the group and qualify for the finals which will be hosted by Russia next year.

Mikel, who currently plies his trade in China for Tianjin TEDA, praised second-placed Chipolopolo, but he is confident that the Super Eagles will beat them and qualify.

The former Chelsea FC central midfielder was speaking to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) official website.

“I must admit that I applaud the resurgence of the Zambians this late in the qualifiers. Beating Algeria home and away is no mean feat,” he said.

“We will take them very serious on 7th October because they clearly have a new spirit. It is time we wrap this up,” he continued.

“We have all shown professionalism, dedication and determination to be at the pole position in a group tagged ‘Group of Death’.

“Commendations must go to the entire team and the Coach, but we must finish it up in Uyo and secure our ticket right there.”

The match will be played Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

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Chris Katongo dreams of coaching Chipolopolo – 2017 FAZ Super League

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Chris Katongo dreams of coaching Chipolopolo

Christopher Katongo of Zambia lifts the trophy after his team beat Ivory Coast

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Sep 20, 2017. 17:00


Despite saying he is yet to officially retire, Zambian striker Christopher Katongo reveals his dream is to coach the national team.

The former Chipolopolo striker helped the Southern African side as skipper to lift the 2012 CAF African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

He said he was earning his coaching badges and also working hard to better his coaching skills as he helps at Green Buffaloes in the Zambian Super League.

AL AHLY HELD 2-2 AT HOME BY ESPERANCE

“Currently, I have a CAF C licence and I want to go for a B and eventually a CAF A coaching licence. I have always dreamt big and I will work hard to achieve my dreams of coaching the national team,” said Katongo.

“I have heard people say I have retired but truth be told, I am still energetic and able to play.

“I hold a coaching licence yes, and I sit on the technical bench for Green Buffaloes but I still play football and will continue until my body says otherwise.

“To my fellow players out there, it is important to strive hard and maintain good levels of discipline in order to progress in our careers.”

Katongo featured for Chipolopolo in 103 matches since making his debut in 2003 and has scored 23 goals.

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Super Eagles soar into WAFU semifinals – WAFU Cup of Nations 2017

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Super Eagles soar into WAFU semifinals

John Ubong Friday of Nigeria challenged by Ampiah Emmanuel of Ghana during 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match between Ghana and Nigeria at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 18 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Brian Lee

Monday Sep 18, 2017. 21:55


Second half goals from Anthony Okpotu and Peter Moses handed Nigeria a 2-0 win over Ghana in their final Group A game of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations at Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Monday, September 18 and consequently a place in the semifinals of the competition.

The Super Eagles started fast and created their first chance on goal in the sixth minute when John Friday intercepted a bad back pass and was left with just the keeper to beat, but he fluffed his shot wide.

A minute later Ghana suffered a big set-back when Isaac Twum left the field injured and was replaced by Ahmed Adams.

Nigeria continued to boss the game and almost scored in the 13th minute when Anthony Okpotu broke behind Black Stars defence and even beat the keeper with his shot, but defender Vincent Atingah made it back to clear the ball off the goalline.

Three minutes later Peter Moses was on the attack for the Super Eagles when he drove into the box from the right flank, beating two defenders before seeing his 14-yard shot superbly saved by the keeper.

On the half hour Ghana finally created their first scoring opportunity when Emmanuel Lomotey met a corner with a strong header, but his effort skimmed the wrong side of the crossbar.

Ten minutes later Felix Addo muscled his way into space inside the Nigerian box, but saw his ten-yard strike well-saved by the Ghanaian shot-stopper.

The half ended 0-0.

Eight minutes into the second half Nigeria took the lead when Anthony Okpotu showed great strength to hold his marker off to get on the end of a through ball and clinically fired home from six-yards out, 1-0.

Three minutes later the Super Eagles doubled their lead courtesy of a thunderous 20-yard strike from Peter Moses which found the corner of the net, 2-0.

Ghana tried to find their way back into the match, but struggled to penetrate the Nigerian defence.

The Black Stars did almost score in the 72nd minute when Emmanuel Lomotey unleashed a powerful long-range free-kick, but his effort was brilliantly saved by the keeper.

That was as close as Ghana came to finding a goal as Nigeria won the game 2-0 and with it progressed into the semifinals of the competition along with the Black Stars.

With the other Group A game between Mali and Guinea ending 1-1 at the Nduom Sports Stadium it leaves Ghana top of the standings with six points, followed by Nigeria with five points.

Guinea and Mali were left with two points apiece in third and fourth place respectively.

Ghana (0) 0

Nigeria (0) 2 (Okpotu 53’, P Moses 56’)

Teams

Ghana coach: Maxwell Konadu

Ghana: 1. J Addo, 2. Frimpong, 12. S Safro, 5. Atingah, 4. Ampiah (17. Razak 46’), 9. F Addo, 18. Lomotey, 7. Twum (14. Adams 7’), 10. Cobbina, 8. Waja (11. Kelvin 61’), 15. K Safro.

Nigeria coach: Salisu Yusuf

Nigeria: 1. Ezenwa, 2. Okoro, 6. Eze, 12. Aniyikaye, 3. Akas, 4. Aremu, 8. Ifeanyi, 7. Friday (15. Mathias 82’), 11. P Moses, 10. Ali, 9. Okpotu (14. Okechukwu 77’).

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Super Eagles, Indomitable Lions geared for Uyo battle – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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Super Eagles, Indomitable Lions geared for Uyo battle

Kelechi IHEANACHO of Nigeria and Rais MBOLHI of Algeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria on November, 12th 2016 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium
©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Aug 29, 2017. 16:30


The clash between West African giants Nigeria and Cameroon is set to be the pick of the continent’s 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.

The teams will meet for their first match at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Friday evening, kick-off at 18h00CAT.

Nigeria come into the clash sitting pretty at the top of Group B with a full haul of six points following wins over Zambia and Algeria in their first two matches. Cameroon are placed second on the log with two points, having played to 1-1 draws against the same opponents.

If the Super Eagles win both clashes against the Indomitable Lions (the second match is set for Yaounde on September 4), and neither Zambia nor Algeria manage to claim the full six points on offer from their two meetings, then Gernot Rohr’s team will qualify for Russia 2018 with two rounds to spare.

“To start with, we are not going into those two games with a loser mentality. We strongly believe we’ll win, that is our belief, so I’m not thinking about my fate at this time. The mission is only to win our remaining matches and qualify Nigeria to the FIFA World Cup Russia,” Rohr told the Daily Trust.

The German tactician has had to deal with some selection headaches ahead of the first match in Uyo, with Arsenal star Alex Iwobi ruled out with injury and a persistent worry over which goalkeeper to select: Daniel Akpeyi, Dele Alampasu and Ikechukwu Ezenwa are all available, though none has won the trust of Nigerian fans.

As for Cameroon, they have been crowned Africa Cup of Nations champions since their last action in the World Cup qualifiers, and coach Hugo Broos will lead a squad confident of their ability to beat Nigeria in their own back yard.

Chinese-based forward Christian Basogog has no qualms in stating his side’s ambition. “Nigeria are a strong team,” he told FIFA’s website.

“They have very good players and many of them are playing in Europe. But we must defeat them if we are to maintain our qualifying hopes. We should take the game to them. We need to fight to defeat them.”

These two West African heavyweights have not been regular combatants down the years, meeting in just 18 matches across all competitions according to FIFA’s statistics database.

The record is very much in favour of the Super Eagles, who have claimed 10 wins compared to just three for the Indomitable Lions, while five matches have been drawn.

Four of those 18 matches were in previous World Cup qualification campaigns, stretching way back to 1968 (for the 1970 tournament in Mexico) and 1989 (for Italy 1990): Nigeria claimed two wins, Cameroon one, and one match was drawn.

The teams’ most recent clash was a friendly on neutral ground in Brussels on 11 October 2015: Nigeria won 3-0 thanks to goals from Efe Ambrose, Moses Simon and Odion Ighalo, while Cameroon finished the game with 10 men following the dismissal of Stephane M’Bia.

Egyptian referee Gehad Grisha will take charge of the match in Uyo on Friday. The return game is set for the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde on September 4.

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Keita Balde closer to Lazio exit after Super Cup snub – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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Keita Balde closer to Lazio exit after Super Cup snub

Lazio forward Keita Balde Diao

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Aug 14, 2017. 15:00


Senegal star Keita Balde has moved closer to leaving Lazio after being left out of their Super Cup squad on Sunday.

The Rome-based side defeated Juventus 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico last night, though Balde was a notable absentee from the matchday squad.

The 22-year-old Teranga Lions star has been linked with a move away from Lazio this European summer, with Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur and Italian champions Juventus listed as the most likely suitors.

“The player was not calm over the last few days, he was in a way perplexed at having to play this game, so the coach evaluated his condition and the final decision was clear for everyone,” Lazio director Igli Tare told Rai Sport when asked about Keita’s absence.

“Soon the Keita and Stefan de Vrij situations will be clarified.”

Keita reacted angrily on social media, writing on his official Twitter page that he was “profoundly hurt” by being left out of the squad.

“The decision made by the club, which evidently had nothing to do with purely sporting criteria, puts me in a psychologically uncomfortable position and right now I don’t know how to evaluate the consequences of that,” he added.

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Sakala leaves Zanaco to Saudi Arabia – 2017 FAZ Super League

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by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Aug 08, 2017. 12:30


Zanaco midfielder Saith Sakala has joined Saudi Arabian Premiership side, Al-Fateh on a five year deal.

Zambian reports suggest that the midfielder, who previously had a stint in Israel, will battle it out in the Saudi Arabian league with former Zesco United striker Idriss Mbombo.

Mbombo is on the roster of another Saudi Arabia top side, Al-Shaba and according to Zanaco boss, Edward Mutale, Sakala will sign the contract once he passes his medicals.

AUBAMEYANG TEMPTED BY CHINESE OFFER

“Saith Sakala is waiting for his ticket from the club in Saudi Arabia. He is supposed to undergo his medicals either in Saudi Arabia or Turkey, where the club is camped for pre-season training,” Mutale said to the Daily Mail.

“Once he passes his medicals, he will sign a five-year contract.

“We are almost done with everything, we are just waiting for them to send some documents.

“We are happy that the young man, Sakala is leaving the country with our blessings.

“We are confident he will excel in Saudi Arabia because he is an intelligent and disciplined player.

“At Zanaco, we give players opportunities to excel in their careers.”

It is reported that Sakala attracted interest from a number of overseas clubs following his impressive performance in the 2017 CAF Champions League.

Sakala scored two goals in the continental competition where Zanaco were eliminated in the group stage.

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Awaziem: I’ll always be committed to Super Eagles – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

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by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jul 28, 2017. 16:00


Nigeria international Chidozie Awaziem has opened up about what really happened after his medical at French Ligue 1 side Nantes.

The 20-year-old defender, who is on loan from Portuguese giants FC Porto, dismissed the reports stating that they were wide off the mark.

Awaziem feels that the Nigerian media that ran the story apparently didn’t get a perfect translation of what was reported by the French media.

”I think there’s a confusing somewhere in the translation by the Nigerian media,” Awaziem told Owngoalnigeria.com.

“I read the story and I don’t want to believe the writer deliberately wrote that, it’s wrong to assume such. I feel he got the wrong translation.

“That said at no point did I abscon‎d from Nantes after medical, they were issues with my visa and the terms of my contract which took a while to clear with Porto,” he added.

“Since then I have been here. We just finished playing Hull City in a friendly game as I speak to you now.”

The highly-rated defender was part of the Super Eagles team that suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat to South Africa in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in Uyo, Nigeria last month.

”My move to Nantes was on even before the game against Corsica, not even the South Africa game. Everybody know about the deal that took me to Nantes,” he added.

“As for the calamity tag labelled on me, what can I say?, you can’t be loved by all but I can promise Nigerians that I will be at my best anytime I’m called up to play for Nigeria.”

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Kanu calls on Vincent Enyeama’s immediate Super Eagles return – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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by
Bertin Basson

Thursday Jul 20, 2017. 15:30


Former Nigeria international Nwankwo Kanu has offered to help persuade Vincent Enyeama to make a return to the Nigerian national team, ahead of the country’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Cameroon next month.

The Super Eagles are still in search of Enyeama’s full-time replacement following the Lille goal-minders international retirement in 2015 – with Daniel Akpeyi having manned the goals last time out.

Akpeyi was unconvincing in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) defeat to Bafana Bafana, with the burly shot-stopper unlikely to continue in goal.

Head coach Gernot Rohr is reportedly set his sights on goalkeepers plying their trade in Nigeria, with Carl Ikeme out of contention after he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia last week.

With no end in sight to the goalkeeping conundrum, former Arsenal forward Kanu has called on Enyeama to come out of retirement.

“As it is now we need Vincent badly. In my opinion, Enyeama should come back immediately,” Kanu told KweséESPN. “Whoever is close enough to reach him should tell him to start coming back.

“Enyeama is very very good. He is one of the best players in Africa, and one of the best in the world. Let the federation look into it and do everything they can to bring him back.”

The former Enyimba shot-stopper quit international football following a fallout with former coach Sunday Oliseh, but Kanu is desperate to see the 34-year-old make a return.

“If Enyeama says he doesn’t want to come, people like us can talk to him, the federation too can talk to him. If a lot of people talk to him, I’m sure that definitely he will change his mind,” Kanu concluded.

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