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Nigerian Football

WAFU B U17 Championship: Garba insists technical crew on course to raise formidable squad

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Head Coach Many Garba has told thenff.com that the technical crew of Nigeria’s U17 boys, Golden Eaglets that he heads, is firmly on course to raise a squad capable of doing Nigeria proud at the forthcoming WAFU B U17 Championship in Ghana.

The 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup-winning team lead strategist has told Nigerians to discountenance stories of large failures of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests in his team and rather believe that his crew will put together a squad that will do the job of winning a ticket to next year’s Africa U17 Cup of Nations from the tournament in Ghana.

“Let me clear the air on this matter. The genuine U17 players, according to their official document made available to the NFF and the MRI tests conducted by the football body are still in the camp preparing for the WAFU B U17 tournament. When the camp opened last month, the very sincere football academies had to withdraw their players after the MRI tests they conducted showed that their players were on Grade 5. These players had to leave the camp immediately.

“Those who were not sincere and thought they could find a way through one way or the other have been exposed after the NFF conducted its own MRI a few days ago, and found the results earlier presented by their players before entering the camp did not tally with the requirements of the NFF. The NFF insists on players whose results are between Grade 1 – 4. Players on Grade 5 have been asked to leave the camp.

Garba denied that his camp had been thrown into confusion due to results of the MRI tests.

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“The good news is that most of the players recorded good grades in their MRI results done at the NFF-approved medical centre, and the team is looking forward to a favourable outing at the WAFU B U17 tournament in Accra, Ghana.”

Another MRI test will be conducted by the medical team of the Confederation of African Football before the beginning of the tournament.

The five-time world champions, who are title holders of the WAFU B U17 Championship, will begin the defence of their title against Burkina Faso on the 16 May.

The team has so far played nine friendly games, winning six, drawing two and losing one.

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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 blasts Finidi

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Super Eagles’ arrowhead striker, Victor Osimhen has called out Finidi George who just resigned his position as Nigeria’s coach.

A livid Osimhen in a life post on Facebook, said that the erstwhile Nigerian coach lied about him and his commitment to the Super Eagles. He thereafter rained invectives on the coach and those who share the former Super Eagles’ point of view.

He remarked that he got injured in his club’s last Serie A match against Lecce and went to see his doctor.

After the report came out, Osimhen said he called Finidi to inform him of the injury and that he video recorded the conversation.

 He said he opted to still come to camp, but Finidi refused asking him to stay away and recover. He is however angry that Finidi reportedly doubted his commitment to Super Eagles.

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Nigerian Football

Ikenne town gets second club in Nigeria Premier League

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Ikenne, the home town of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the immediate past vice president, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, has entered the record books as the smallest community to have two clubs at the elite Nigeria football league, the NPFL. 

Next season, the town will have two clubs in the Nigeria Premier Football League following the promotion of Beyond Limit FC from the second tier Nigeria National League (NNL) after the play-off in Enugu.

Beyond Limit FC now join Remo Stars, strong contenders of the Nigerian league title in the past three seasons.

Also promited to the Premier League are Ikorodu City FC,  Nasarawa United and El-Kanemi Warriors.

The four teams secured promotion to the NPFL from the Nigeria National League (NNL) play-offs in Enugu.

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Nasarawa United and El-Kanemi Warriors are returning to the top division.

The teams clinched the top two spots in the Northern and Southern Conferences of the NNL.

In the Northern Conference, Nasarawa United of Lafia beat Sporting Supreme 2-1, finishing first with nine points.

El-Kanemi Warriors defeated Sokoto United 4-1 to take second place with six points.

Both Nasarawa United and El-Kanemi Warriors were relegated from the NPFL last year after finishing bottom of the league’s Group A but they have bounced back impressively at the first time of asking.

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In the Southern Conference, Beyond Limits topped the group with seven points after a 1-0 win over Inter Lagos. Ikorodu City beat Madiba FC 2-0, securing the second promotion spot with five points.

Beyond Limits, Football Academy etched its name in the history books after becoming the first African team to win the prestigious Viareggio Cup in Italy.

Each team in the playoffs played three matches, with the top two teams from each conference earning promotion to the NPFL.

Ikorodu City was established just two years ago.

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Leaders Rangers, Fall to Shooting Stars

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Nigeria League leaders, Enugu Rangers, were on the losing side on Wednesday as old rivals, Shooting Stars of Ibadan, picked the maximum points before a capacity home crowd.

Dumte Christian Pyagbara’s header in the 12th minute earned the Shooting Stars three points and consolidated their quest for continental ticket  next season.

In the other matches, defending champion, Enyimba of Aba dropped to third position following a disappointing 1-1 scoreline with visiting Bayelsa United.

Alade Balogun put the home side in front in the 20th minute but relegation threatening Bayelsa side restores parity in the 35th minute through Ekeson Okorie.

The result pushed Enyimba to the third position following Remo Stars’ comprehensive 4-1 win over Heartland of Owerri at the Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne.

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An early goal from Stanley Joseph in the 14th minute and Franck Mawuena in the 38th minute gave the home side respite till the end of the half.

Joseph pushed further with the third goal in the 69th minute just as Jide Fatokun scored another dip into injury time to make Chukwu Emeka’s consolatory goal earlier in the secured inconsequential.

Kwara United won 2-0 at home against Kano Pillars while Niger Tornadoes won 3-2 against Lobi stars and Plateua United compounded Sporting Lagos’ relegation battle with a 2-1 win away in Lagos.

While Bendel Insurance were 2-1 better against Rivers United at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin just as Akwa United enjoyed a 3-1 win over Katsina United and Abia Warrious won 3-1 away at Gombe United.

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