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Nigerian Football

Not Dead Yet, Shooting Stars Still on Life Support Machine!

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Seventeenth positioned Shooting Stars in the just concluded Nigerian Professional Football League may have their hope of surviving relegation on life support machine as the team anxiously awaits the outcome of the unconcluded Gombe United versus Wikki Tourists match.

On field results as at Saturday sealed the relegation visa to lower division for Shooting Stars. But one of the 10 matches of the day which result may alter the final table standing appeared to have offered hope for the ever struggling Shooting Stars.

Sports Village Square gathered that the Gombe United versus Wikki Tourists match was abandoned after 27 minutes. “On a clear term, we are not relegated yet”, a WhatsApp message from the official handle of Shooting Stars informed Sports Village Square.

Official score line as at the time match was abandoned was 1-0 in favour of Wikki Tourists. Shooting Stars will need Wikki Tourists to lose by at least a two goal margin to escape relegation if a continuation of the match is ordered.

Meanwhile, the media unit of Shooting Stars informed Sports Village Square that the technical adviser to the team, Fatai Amoo has refuted the news making the rounds that he blamed the management for the team’s 0-2 loss to Niger Tornadoes in Lokoja on Sunday.

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The loss put the club in a precarious position on the league table and Amoo was quoted to have blamed the management for poor handling of players’ welfare.

But in swift reaction, the coach said there was no time he faulted the management in the course of the interview but the players who embarked on a needless strike few days before the game!

“I was misquoted in the report and that was quite different from what I said”. Fatai Amoo, the former U 23 assistant coach recalled what he actually said in the interview when he was asked    why his players didn’t not give a good fight.

“They can’t fight because they have fought their selves by embarking on a stupid strike and when you don’t train, what you have is what you give! And now they have seen the result of what they did”, he said.

He singled out the old members of the team for spearheading the strike. “And I think the so called big players have decided to take the team to relegation.

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“So, the team will now think of what to do whether they still have to keep them. They did the same thing last year if not for God.

“And you allowed such players to still be in the team when they are owed a month salary that’s delayed and they decided not to train and we saw the result here, so the management can hear me out”, Amoo concluded.

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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