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Nigerian Football

Federation Cup: For non-application of seeding, Rivers United battle Enyimba in star match of Round of 64

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NFF General Secretary, Dr. Sanusi (right) picks the first drawn team from the pot on Wednesday.

Two of the 16 Nigeria’ s Premier League clubs in the Round of 64 will be eliminated by the time the Federation Cup gets to the next round.

This is owing to the none application of seeding which would have seen the top flight clubs moving to the next sage which would also sustain interests.

Virtually all top flight football competitions and even other sports employ seeding to sustain great interests.

By the draw for what is the premier national clubs competition in Nigeria, reigning league champions and  Nigeria’s only remaining flag-bearers in African club competitions this year, Rivers United FC will be up against two-time CAF Champions League winners Enyimba FC of Aba in what is indisputably the star match of Round of 64 of this year’s Federation Cup competition.

Thus by Round of 32, one of the big names in Nigeria will have to be eliminated.  Similarly, the 2020/21 Nigerian champions, Akwa United are pitched against Wikki Tourists of Bauchi in another match-up that will see the depletion of premier league sides in the Federation Cup.

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That is the highlight of the draw held inside the NFF Secretariat on Wednesday. For years, the oldest national competition in the country has lost glamour as big teams have had to clash at the early round of the competition while the lower rated teams revelled and often navigate to the finals and often pick tickets to represent the country at the second-tier continental clubs’ competition – the CAF Confederation Cup.

The women’s Round of 32 fixtures were also drawn on Wednesday, with Rivers Angels of Port Harcourt up against Golden Sun of Bayelsa State and Naija Ratels of FCT to play Adamawa Queens

All Round of 64 matches in the men’s competition and Round of 32 matches in the women’s competition will hold on Wednesday, 26 April.

The Round of 32 matches in the men’s competition have been scheduled for Wednesday, 3 May, with the Round of 16 on Wednesday, 10 May. Quarter final matches are to take place on Wednesday, 17 May.

The semi-finals of both competitions will come up on Wednesday, 24 May with the men’s and women’s grand finale on Saturday, 27 May.

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ALL THE ROUND OF 64 FIXTURES (MEN)

  • Heartland FC (Imo) vs Jedo FC (Sokoto)
  • Bayelsa United (Bayelsa) Vs Essien Ayi FC (Cross River)
  • Ahudiya FC (Abia) Vs Jigawa Golden Stars (Jigawa)
  • ABS FC (Kwara) Vs Bendel Insurance FC (Edo)
  • Standard FC (Kaduna) Vs Ekiti United (Ekiti)
  • FC Basira (Nasarawa) Vs Sunshine Stars (Ondo)
  • EFCC FC (FCT) Vs Katukan Tsafe FC (Zamfara)
  • Wikki Tourists (Bauchi) Vs Akwa United FC (Akwa Ibom)
  • Warri Wolves (Delta) Vs Beyond Limit FC (Ogun)
  • 3SC (Oyo) Vs Adamimogo FC (Ondo)
  • Mighty Jets (Plateau) Vs Niger Tornadoes Feeders (Niger)
  • Malumfashi FC (Katsina) Vs Gombe United (Gombe)
  • Osun United (Osun) Vs Katsina United (Katsina)
  • Bendel Insurance Feeders (Edo) Vs Maikunkele FC (Niger)
  • Cynosure FC (Ebonyi) Vs Kano Pillars Jnr (Kano)
  • Lobi Stars (Benue) Vs FC One Rocket (Akwa Ibom)
  • Jama United (Zamfara) Vs Plateau United (Plateau)
  • Rivers United (Rivers) Vs Enyimba FC (Abia)
  • Ingas FC (Enugu) Vs Novia FC (Adamawa)
  • El-Kanemi Warriors (Borno) Vs De Cardinal FC (Rivers)
  • Nasarawa United (Nasarawa) Vs Kebbi United (Kebbi)
  • DMD FC (Borno) Vs ABJ FC (Bauchi)
  • Ikorodu City (Lagos) Vs Crusader FC (Bayelsa)
  • Gateway United (Ogun) Vs Kwara United (Kwara)
  • FC Ebedei (Ekiti) Vs Hope of Glory FC (Cross River)
  • Yobe Desert Stars (Yobe) Vs Igbajo FC (Osun)
  • Adamawa United (Adamawa) Vs Rangers Int’l (Enugu)
  • Ilaji FC (Oyo) Vs Kano Pillars (Kano)
  • Green Berets FC (Kaduna) Vs FR Ebunuja (Imo)
  • Ozalla FC (Anambra) Vs Doma United (Gombe)
  • Kogi United Feeders (Kogi) Vs Edel FC (Anambra)
  • Mailantarki FC (FCT) Vs kogi United (Kogi)

ALL THE ROUND OF 32 FIXTURES (WOMEN)

  • Bayelsa Queens (Bayelsa) Vs Maureen Mmadu KFC (Anambra)
  • Akwa Angels (Akwa Ibom) Vs Dannaz Ladies (Lagos)
  • Owo Itan FC (Akwa Ibom) Vs Fortress FC (Edo)
  • Honey Badgers (Benue) Vs Kada FC (Kaduna)
  • Heartland Queens (Imo) Vs Confluence Queens (Kogi)
  • Lakeside FC (Ogun) Vs Kwara Ladies (Kwara)
  • Sunshine Queens (Ondo) Vs Edo Queens (Edo)
  • Maureen Mmadu KFC (Abia) Vs Green Foot (Enugu)
  • FC Robo (Lagos) Vs Immaculate Queens (Enugu)
  • First Mah FC (Imo) Vs Royal Queens (Delta)
  • Nasarawa Amazons (Nasarawa) Vs Gallant FC (Kaduna)
  • Naija Ratels (FCT) Vs Adamawa Queens (Adamawa)
  • Rivers Angels (Rivers) Vs Golden Sun FC (Bayelsa)
  • Osun Babes (Osun) Vs Awka Angels (Anambra)
  • Ekiti Queens (Ekiti) Vs Moje Queens (Kwara)
  • Paul E. FC (FCT) Vs Delta Queens (Delta)     

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.

Nigerian Football

Osimhen’s outburst was a moment of madness, says Amaju

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Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President and a  FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has expressed shock at last month’s outburst by Super Eagles’ striker, Victor Osimhen against Finidi George.

“It is very unfortunate”, Amaju Pinnick remarked on an Arise Television programme. The former NFF president said he had put a call to Osimhen who was very remorseful while the telephone conversation lasted.

  “I told him he has to apologise, and I am sure he will if he has not yet done so.” Amaju remarked that he could not comprehend what went wrong as Osimhen was the most cool-headed player in the national team.

He went on to remark that Finidi George was not a personality to be disregarded like that. He has won virtually every honour available during his playing days and was a member of the Super Eagles at their peak when Nigeria ranked fifth in the world.

“I believe players should learn to respect their coaches”, said the former NFF boss.

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Nigerian Football

I prefer a foreign coach for the Super Eagles, says Amaju

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Nigeria’s FIFA Council member, Amaju Pinnick has told the world that he has always been an advocate of foreign coaches for the Super Eagles. He spoke on Arise Television while fielding questions with Reuben Abati, Rufai Oseni and Ayo Mairo-Ese. 

His reason for being averse to indigenous  coaches stemmed from lack of respect for them by the players.

“Yes, the Nigerian coaches have the requisite knowledge and the technical ability, but modern football is beyond that in managing players.

“Will the national team players respect the coach? The sad thing is that they don’t”, said Amaju Pinnick.

 He however revealed that he supported the appointment of Finidi George owing to the circumstances that the NFF found itself after the exit of Jose Peseiro.

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 The NFF, he revealed, had no money to hire a foreign coach. The body therefore went for the most available option, Finidi to ensure a smooth transition.

 “Finidi was part of the coaching crew of Peseiro and it was therefore logical to ask him to continue.

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Nigerian Football

NFF to train referees on VAR

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Application of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR)  may soon be introduced into Nigeria’s domestic football competitions.

This is deduced from the statement of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Ibrahim Gusau while addressing the annual general meeting of the Nigeria Premier League.

He also disclosed plans by the federation to train Nigerian referees on the application Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Gusau revealed that  NFF had already secured the communication gadget that the referees will use during matches.

“We have to train the personnel that will manage the VAR now. We have selected some of the referees that we are to start training.

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It is not a training of one day, one month or two months; it is a training that will take a little bit of time. After the training they have to go on practical training on the VAR system by going out while some matches are ongoing to see how they can manage it. But when we are sure we have the personnel that can manage it in the next one or two years, we will start to see how we can use VAR in our system,” Gusau said.

He also said that the federation intends to make the league attractive by discouraging Nigerian players from joining other lesser glamourous African clubs without established football pedigree.

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