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Nigerian Football

NFF Eliminates Penalty Shoot-Out from AITEO Cup

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

The maiden edition of the AITEO will not feature penalty shoot-out as tie breakers. According to the media release from the NFF Media Department., drawn matches of the national preliminary series will be replayed. The NFF explained that it was part of innovations to restore the glamour of the oldest national competition in Nigeria. Penalty shoot-out was first employed as tie breaker in the national cup in 1983 when on November 12, Enugu Rangers prevailed 5-4 after 0-0 score line at regulation in the encounter with the then DIC Bees.
Incidentally, that was the last time Rangers won a national competition until the league victory last season. Penalty shootout had been employed to decide nine other final matches ever since. The NFF in its press release revealed that matches that end in a draw, from the first round, would not go into penalties as had been the case over the years.
It pointed out that its General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, who doubles as secretary of the Organizing Committee, explained: “From the first round stage, teams would be designated A and B. Team A will have the prerogative to choose the centre for the match against Team B, from the pool of designated centres.
“If the match ends in a draw, Team B will now have the prerogative to pick a venue from the designated centres as its ‘home’ for the replay. This will apply to all matches from the first round stage.”

AITEO CUP 2017 SCHEDULE

Draw for 1st Round Matches: 11th August

1st Round Matches: 16th August

Draw for 2nd Round Matches
: 18th August

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2nd Round Matches: 30th August

Draw for 3rd Round Matches: 31st August

3rd Round Matches: 13th & 16th September

Draw for Quarter Final & Semi Final Matches: 14th September

Quarter Final Matches
: 20th & 23rd September

Semi Final Matches: 27th September & 4th October

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Women’s Final: Monday 2nd October

Men’s Final: Sunday, 8th October

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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