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Nigerian Football

NFF Adjusts AITEO Cup Format




Penalty Shoot-out which was initially ousted in the national preliminaries of the maiden edition of the AITEO Cup has been restored.
According to a press release by the media department of the NFF, stalemated matches in the Round of 64 and the following Round of 32 will be decided by penalty shoot-out instead a replay on the home ground of the designated Team B.
Even though no reason was given, it may be a way of avoiding possible fixture congestion.
But from Round of 16, stalemated matches will be replayed on the home ground of teams designated as B. Further stalemate at the replay will then be decided by penalty shootout.
The NFF also revealed that quarter final matches and those of the semi-finals will be played on home and away bases.
According to earlier media release, the quarter final matches will be played on September 20 and 23 meaning that the eight teams will play two matches within three days.
The semi finals are slated for September and October 4. With 18 of the current premier league football clubs in the race, at least five of them will be eliminated after Wednesday’s matches.
There are five fixtures featuring head-to-head clashes of top division sides. They are the Lobi Stars versus Katsina United in Makurdi; Niger Tornadoes hosting El Kanemi Warriors in Abuja; Nasarawa United hosting MFM in Lafia; Wikki Tourists versus Plateau United in Bauchi and ABS hosting Enyimba in Ilorin.
Two top division sides – Remo Stars and Gombe United – are not in the race.
Meanwhile, venues for the Round of 64 matches have been released. They run thus:

Round of 64 Matches & Venues

• Ngwa FC (Ebonyi) VS FC Galadima (Kebbi) – Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu (4pm)

• Heartland FC (Imo) VS Insurance FC (Edo) – Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri (4pm)


• Lobi Stars (Benue) VS Katsina United (Katsina) – Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi (4pm)

• Katsina United Feeders (Katsina) VS Aklosendi FC (Nasarawa) – Muhammadu Dikko Stadium, Katsina (4pm)

• AITEL FC (Taraba) VS Unicem Rovers (Cross River) – Jalingo Township Stadium (4pm)

• Mighty Jets FC (Plateau) VS Sunshine Stars (Ondo) – Rwang Pam Stadium (4pm)

• Bayelsa United (Bayelsa) VS FC Zamfara (Zamfara) – Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt (4pm)


• Adamawa United (Adamawa) VS Cynosure FC (Rivers) – Fufure Township Stadium (4pm)

• Ede United (Osun) VS Sakaba United FC (Kebbi) – Oshogbo Township Stadium (2pm)

• FC IfeanyiUbah Feeders (Anambra) VS Jigawa Golden Stars (Jigawa) – FC IfeanyiUbah Stadium, Nnewi-Ozubulu (4pm)

• Samba Kurna (Kano) VS Wikki Tourists Feeders (Bauchi) – Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano (4pm)

• Ekiti United (Ekiti) VS Dolphins FC (Kaduna) – Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti (4pm)


• Niger Tornadoes (Niger) VS El-Kanemi Warriors (Borno) – Area 3 Stadium, Abuja (4pm)

• Rivers United (Rivers) VS FC Atete (Delta) – Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt (4pm)

• Delta Warriors (Delta) VS Ayade Babes (Cross River) – Warri City Stadium (4pm)

• FC Yarma Light (Gombe) VS FC IfeanyiUbah (Anambra) – Patami Stadium, Gombe (4pm)

• Halfa FC (Jigawa) VS Akwa United FC (Akwa Ibom) – Dutse Township Stadium (4pm)


• Shooting Stars (Oyo) VS Dynamite FC (Edo) – Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan (4pm)

• Kogi United (Kogi) VS Rangers International (Enugu) – Confluence Stadium, Lokoja (4pm)

• Nasarawa United (Nasarawa) VS MFM FC (Lagos) – Lafia City Stadium (4pm)

• Niger Tornadoes Feeders (Niger) VS FC Abuja (FCT) – FIFA Goal Project, Abuja (4pm)

• Doma United (Gombe) VS Adamawa United (Adamawa) – Patami Stadium, Gombe (2pm)


• Osun United (Osun) VS Coal City Youths (Enugu) – Oshogbo Township Stadium (4pm)

• FC Lokoja (Kogi) VS El-Kanemi Babes (Borno) – Confluence Stadium, Lokoja (2pm)

• Kwara United (Kwara) VS Sokoto United (Sokoto) – Kwara Sports Stadium (2pm)

• Wikki Tourists (Bauchi) VS Plateau United (Plateau) – Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi (4pm)

• ABS FC (Kwara) VS Enyimba FC (Abia) – Kwara Sports Stadium (4pm)


• Yobe Desert Stars (Yobe) VS Kano Pillars (Kano) – Damaturu Township Stadium (4pm)

• Abia Warriors FC (Abia) VS Crown FC (Oyo) – Umuahia Township Stadium (4pm)

• FRSC FC (FCT) VS Potiskum Academy (Yobe) – Area 3 Stadium, Abuja (2pm)

• Almar (Ogun) VS Spartan FC (Lagos) – Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode (4pm)

• Moyero FC (Ondo) VS Akwa Starlets (Akwa Ibom) – Akure Township Stadium (4pm)


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



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.


“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’



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.  


“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



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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