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Nigerian Football

Remo Stars in nervy wait at NaijaSuper 8

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 

Palpable anxiety is expected in the camp of Remo Stars as the curtain falls on the group stage of the NaijaSuper 8 this Thursday. Remo Stars have concluded all their matches in the photo-finish scenario that the Group A has presented.

Three of the four teams – Katsina United, Sporting Lagos and Remo Stars – are tied on four point apiece and are only separated by goal-difference. Only the Nigerian league champions, Enyimba crashed out of contention.

But the pressure is more on Remo Stars who don’t have their destiny in their hands. They have to wait for the final whistle in the group leadership match involving Sporting Lagos and Katsina United.

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A draw sends Remo Stars back to their palatial home in Ikenne. But a win by any of the two combatants gives the Ikenne team another playing time ahead of their more challenging CAF Champions League engagement.

Navigating on new grounds in the continent, more competitive matches will undoubtedly serve as dress rehearsals.

Should they eventually qualify for the Naija Super 8 semi-finals, they will face Lobi Stars, familiar foes from last month’s Super 6 on the same Mobolaji Johnson Arena. That fixture may however be a dream.

The Katsina United Sporting Lagos duel Thursday afternoon may be heading into a draw that could see both teams going into the semi-finals.

Both just gained qualification into the elite Nigeria Premier League.  In the possibility of Katsina winning the duel, they will lead the group and will be joined by Remo Stars.

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The home side, with the active backing of their ‘corporate’ backers and supporters have all to play for to prove their sudden emergence as the new force in South West football scene.

 

 

 

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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

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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