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Nigerian Football

NFF CELEBRATES PARTNERS, SPONSORS AND SUPER FALCONS

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The Nigeria Football Federation at the weekend at the Lagos home of its president, Amaju Pinnick, held a dinner to appreciate its partners and sponsors as well as the nine-time African champions, Super Falcons.

According to a media release by the NFF, the partners and the sponsors “are the reason the Nigeria Football Federation can beat its chest anywhere that it is 60-65% self –funded.”

The BUA Group presenting cheques to the Super Falcons

The media release further stated that the Corporate Nigeria’s support for Nigerian football has improved significantly over the years. “And they all turned out gleefully and in full flow when the NFF decided to celebrate them in Lagos on Thursday night.”

In south –west Ikoyi, upscale district of Lagos, there was an underpin of excellence to the planning and execution, and though not a night for speeches, the partners and sponsors affirmed their satisfaction and commitment to the relationship. Even those not in the boat yet gave words of their eagerness to jump aboard.

At the occasion were big wigs and representatives of AITEO Group, the Official Optimum Partner of the NFF); Coca-Cola the Official Soft Drink and Co-Sponsor of the National Teams as well as  Nigerian Breweries PLC (Star Lager – Official Alcoholic Drink of the Super Eagles; Amstel Malta – Official Malt Drink of the NFF and the National Teams).

Also in attendance were  Zenith International Bank PLC as the Official Bank of the NFF; Tropical and General Investments makers of Big Bull which is the  Official Rice of the Super Eagles as well as  WAPIC Insurance PLC, the Official Insurance Services Provider of the NFF and the National Teams.

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 Cadbury Nigeria PLC makers of Tom Tom which is the Official Candy of the Super Eagles; Emzor Pharmaceuticals makers of Official Paracetamol of the NFF and the National Teams;  FrieslandCampina WAMCO (Peak Milk – Official Milk of the Super Eagles); Simba Group (TVS: Official Motorycle and Tricycle Partner of the Super Eagles) and; Sports Radio Brila (Official Broadcast Station of the NFF) all attended the event.  Overseas –based kits supplier NIKE and 1XBET (Official Partner) sent words of goodwill.

Francis Peters being presented with signed Nigerian jersey by Pinnick and US Consul –General John Bray

Consul-General of the United States, John Bray; Stephen Forbes from the British Council and; Auditing firm PwC’s Edafe Erhie, Esiri Agbeyi and Tolu Adeleke added colour to the occasion.

Olakunle Alake, Group Managing Director, Dangote Industries makes a donation of N50 million to the Super Falcons and NFF.

The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of the sum of N50 million to the Super Falcons by Dangote Group, immediately followed by the presentation of the sum of N25 million to the team by BUA Group.

A night of conviviality, sense of fulfilment for a glorious year and conviction of an even more glorious incoming year was capped with Akinwunmi and Dikko presenting special luxury hampers to the Federation’s partners and sponsors.

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

Enugu Rangers hold on grimly at the top as Nigerian league gets to home stretch

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Enugu Rangers may have broken loose from the pack following their comprehensive  3-0 victory over Bayelsa United on Sunday.

As if to aid Rangers’ hold of the top position, their closest rivals, Remo Stars who were initially just a point behind fell like  papers blown by the huricane, losing 3-2 to Kwara United. Their loss dealt a big blow on their title aspirations as they are now four points behind Enugu Rangers and had also narrowed their goal difference.

They are now third having been overtaken by Enyimba who have better goal difference even though both are with 56 points.

Shooting Stars who suddenly peaked in the second half of the season are fast pacing up, getting to the fourth position and three points behind Remo Stars.

They were dealt a blow in the added time as Katsina United’s Michael Okoro got an added time goal against to stalemate scores at 2-2.

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Just as Enugu Rangers are at the cusp of the championship, the fates of Gombe United and Heartland appear already decided as the second tier Nigeria National League are already waiting to welcome them next season.

Akwa United may have navigated their ways out of relegation waters following their 2-1 away win over Lobi Stars. Akwa United are now 15th on the log. In Jos, former champions, Plateau and Niger Tornadoes played uninspiring goalless while relegation-troubled Heartland of Owerri spanked Gombe United 3-0 just as Kano Pillars dimmed Doma United 3-1.

All the results:

Sunshine Stars 0-0 Bendel Insurance

Rivers United 4-1 Sporting Lagos

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Lobi Stars 1-2 Akwa United

Kwara United 3-2 Remo Stars

Katsina United 2-2 Shooting Stars

Kano Pillars 3-1 Doma United

Heartland 3-0 Gombe United

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Enugu Rangers 3-0 Bayelsa United

Abia Warriors 0-1 Enyimba

Plateau United 0-0 Niger Tornadoes

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Nigerian Football

Finidi deserves our support, says former international, Kingsley Onye

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NFF Confirms Finidi George

Ahead of the first press parley that Super Eagles’ new manager, Finidi George is going to have on Thursday in Lagos, former Nigeria international, Kingsley Onye has canvassed for full support for the new coach.

 To him, the time of politicking and pushing for a particular candidate was over. “It is time for all of us to back the chosen one, Finidi George”, remarked Onye who was a left rearguard player in the 1985 class of Flying Eagles who against all odds, upstaged hosts,Soviet Union to clinch the third place in the then World Youth Championships that is now called the U-20 World Cup.

  “Although I canvassed for Emmanuel Amuneke’s candidature, am still happy that an equally good Finidi George got the job”, he said in a phone conversation from his base in the United Kingdom.

  “The fact that some players complained after Nigeria’s second friendly match in March shows that Finidi is a man of his class and cannot be influenced by players’ sentiments.

  “I believe he will take Nigeria to an enviable height, the same way Amuneke too would have done.”

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 Continuing, Onye who played for Enugu Rangers while he was in the country in the 1980s also remarked that he was on the same page with Victor Ikpeba who has asked that Finidi’s assistants should always back him in team selection  and tactical formations.

 “We should be more than 100 per cent behind the coach. If we do, he will perform wonders. He has his own philosophy which we must allow to flourish. He did it will Enyimba, leading the club to success last season and was at the brink of repeating the success before his appointment as Super Eagles’ coach.”

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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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