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Nigeria football oxygen provider, GTI congratulates Finidi, new Super Eagles coach

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Renowned financial investment firm, GTI Group has joined many well-meaning football-loving Nigerians in congratulating the newly appointed Super Eagles Head Coach, Finidi George. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) recently announced the former Super Eagles winger as substantive head coach of the senior national football team, Super Eagles, following the expiration of Jose Peseiro’s contract in March 2024.

As strategic partners to the NFF on the President Federation Cup and the Nigeria Premier Football League respectively, GTI Asset Management and Trust Limited will continue to play a vital role in helping to reposition and restructure Nigeria’s football ecosystem using international best practices.

“The recent appointment of George is a golden opportunity for another indigenous coach to prove his mettle with our senior national team after Stephen Keshi of blessed memory successfully guided the Super Eagles to the 2013 AFCON triumph in South Africa. Therefore, we call on all stakeholders of Nigerian football to rally round George to ensure his tenure is successful,” said GTI Head of Media and Publicity, Andrew Ekejiuba.

It could be recalled that George assisted former coach Peseiro for 20 months during which the Eagles reached the final of the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire, but the team lost narrowly to the hosts by 2-1 in the final game.

Renowned for his attacking prowess and deft touches at the wings during his playing days, George began his club football from the local scene, featuring prominently for Calabar Rovers FC of Calabar and Sharks FC of Port Harcourt before heading to Europe. He won 62 caps for Nigeria, including featuring at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup finals.

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George also won gold, silver and bronze medals from the 1992, 1994, 2000 and 2002 AFCON tournaments.

Prior to his appointment, Finito as he is fondly called by football fans was in charge of two friendly matches in the March 2024 FIFA window where the Super Eagles edged Ghana 2-1 in the first match, ending an 18-year winless streak against the Black Stars, but then lost 2-0 to Mali in the second game.

His first official game will be Nigeria’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bafana Bafana of South Africa in June and will be followed by the second game against Benin Republic in Uyo and Abidjan respectively. These are must-win ties for the Super Eagles who are lagging in third place in Group C of the African campaign behind Rwanda and South Africa.

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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