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Nigerian Football

Gombe United Heap More Misery On Rivers United

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BY SAMMY WEJINYA.

 

The travails of Rivers United are showing little signs of coming to an end as Gombe United inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Port Harcourt club in a fiercely-fought Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game on Sunday.

Youngster, Best ‘Messi’ Deemua was handed his season’s debut while Efosa Eguakun was given the nod for his first start for the ‘Pride of Rivers’.

United were without their technical manager, Stanley Eguma who was suspended for one game and in his absence, they looked jaded and bereft of ideas in a first half of low quality.

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Gombe United dominated the first half and almost took the lead in the 24th minute when Sani Suleiman struck the post with a fierce effort from range with the Rivers United goalkeeper, Abiodun Akande well beaten.

It was a premonition the visitors failed to heed and they duly paid the price three minutes later as the hosts took the lead in breath-taking fashion.

Idris Bakare got on the end of a sweeping counter attack and calmly rounded Akande before planting emphatically into an unguarded net.

United duly responded in the second half and came inches away from levelling the scores in the 56th minute when Nzube Anaezemba’s half volley clattered against the cross bar.

Gombe United had several excellent opportunities to extend their advantage but profligacy by their forwards proved to be their greatest undoing.

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The nadir of the plethora of misses was Sani Suleiman’s extraordinary gaffe from three yards out with a gaping goal at his mercy midway into the second half.

Rivers United however finished the game the stronger and thought they had equalized in the 84th minute when substitute, Godbless Asamoah steered home unerringly from close range.

The effort was however chalked off much to the frustration of the visitors. Gombe United withstood a late onslaught from the visiting side who threw the kitchen sink at the hosts in an ultimately futile bid to rescue a point from the throes of defeat.

Chief Coach of Rivers United, Willy Udube praised his charges for their second half display.

“I think we deserved more in this game, especially with our performance in the second half.

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“We are not happy that a goal we scored in the second half was disallowed but we always respect the decisions of the referees,” he told the club’s official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

The Gombe United technical adviser, Manu Garba also addressed the press after the incident-packed game decided at the Pantami Stadium, Gombe.

“The first half was very good for my boys but after the first 15 minutes of the second half, a lot of them lost concentration.

 

“Rivers United dominated the last 20 minutes of the game but the first 75 minutes belonged to us.

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“It was a keenly-contested game,” Garba said.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

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New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

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