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Nigerian Football

Remo Stars’ Sikiru Alimi again inflicts defeat on Enugu Rangers

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Sikiru Alimi nodded what again turned a back-breaker for hard-fighting Enugu Rangers as Remo Stars opened their Nigeria Premier League account with a 2-1 defeat of the eastern warlords. Last year May, in Enugu Rangers last visit to Ikenne, they lost 1-0 from a Sikiru Alimi’s 40th minute goal. He returned again to do the  damage.

His killer-punch in the 53rd minute secured victory for Remo Stars who had to come back from a goal deficit to clinch a 2-1 win. Rangers’ Kazeem Ogunleye found space in defence line of Remo Stars and unleashed a low drive that caught goalkeeper Kayode Bankole napping.

With a goal up, Enugu Rangers became supercharged and threatening to double the lead. Gradually, the home boys began to gather steam. But the sudden downpour slowed them down as the ball slowed down in the crispy passes that Remo Stars seemed to have adopted.

But as hopes appeared fading, Seun Ogunribide cashed on a defensive lapse as Rangers’ defenders failed to clear their line, giving Remo Stars the equalising goal in the 35th minute.

Sikiru Alimi with a header then put the home boys ahead in the 53rd minute . In other centres, two journalism professional colleagues, Paul Bassey, managing Akwa United and his protégé, Godwin Enakhena leading Sporting Lagos, settled for a goalless draw.

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The result put the Nigeria Premier League débutantes, Sporting Lagos at the summit of the table after two matchdays.

 

In other centres, Gombe United secured a 2-0 win over defending champions, Enyimba of Aba while  Kwara United took a 1-0 advantage against Abia United while Lobi Stars laboured to 3-2 win over Sunshine Stars of Akure.

Niger Tornadoes pipped former champions Rivers United by a lone goal while Plateau United won by a lone goal against Heartland to complete the matches of Match Day-two.

 

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Sunday’s Resultes

  • Gombe United 2-0 Enyimba
  • Akwa United 0-0 Sporting Lagos
  • Kwara United 1-0 Abia Warriors
  • Lobi Stars 3-2 Sunshine Stars
  • Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Rivers United
  • Plateau United 1-0 Heartland
  • Remo Stars 2-1 Enugu Rangers

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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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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