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Nigerian Football

Amaju Pinnick backsforeign assistants for Finidi George

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Former President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and member FIFA Executive council, Amaju Pinnick, has called on the Glasshouse to give the newly appointed coach of the Super Eagles, Finidi George, its full support with his desire to having foreign personnels as back-room staff.

After weeks of speculations, George, was announced as the Super Eagles’ handler,  succeeding his former boss, Jose Peseiro, who left the position after 20 months.

However, the intrigue of composition of assistant coaches has been another debate for now with the former Super Eagles winger opting for foreign staff ahead of fellow contestants for the plum job in Daniel Amokachi and Emmanuel Amuneke for the role.

Speaking to Arise TV on Thursday, Pinnick noted that the former Ajax star should be allowed to pick his preferred choice of coach to assist him, citing instances of those who have done so before him.

“For his assistants, it is very tricky. It is normal for him to demand foreign assistants if he so desires.

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“Bonfrere Jo was a foreign assistant to Westerhof and later took over the job. Oliseh had a foreign assistant, Siasia had a foreign assistant. It is not new and it is not bad for him to demand the same,” Pinnick pointed out.”

  Samson Siasia was cited as a Nigerian who opted for a foreign assistance while in charge of Nigerian teams – the Flying Eagles and later the Super Eagles.

  He had Simon Kalika, a Dutchman as his assistant. Earlier, there have been reports that the NFF could not afford a foreign-based coach as the first team head coach but could afford a foreign-based assistant coach, which they opted for with a local head coach.

Meanwhile, in appointing a foreign coach as Finidi’s assistant, Pinnick is of the opinion that it is within the capability of the NFF.

“If there are not enough funds to achieve that, it can always be discussed with Finidi.

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“Backroom staffing is more scientific right now. If he says he needs three backroom assistants, perhaps one for goalkeeper training, the others are for other positions.

“The assistant coaches are the engine room of the success of any coach because they see what the coach can’t see.

“But then, it depends on funding from the federation, but I think it is not out of place. Finidi should be allowed to do what he wants to do. But if there is a paucity of funds, they can discuss it with him,” he added.

Reports shows that NFF has recently approached US-based Nigerian coach Michael Nsien to be an assistant to George in the management of the Super Eagles team.

However, he has reportedly rejected the offer from the NFF which is based on being paid per game. He wants the Nigerian football body to match his US-based salary before he can agree to the terms.

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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.

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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Nigerian Football

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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