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Fire on the mountain as Nigeria Sports Minister Summons NFF over poor results

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Four World Cup qualifying matches on the trot and without a win has attracted the Nigerian government intervention through the minister of sports.

Never since Nigeria’s first ever World Cup qualifying match of 28 August 1960 has the Nigerian national team go four matches without a win.

Worst still, Benin Republic inflicted their first ever defeat of Nigeria in a competitive match at Grade A level since 1959. There has been a general outcry as the previously Nigerian lively side suddenly turned a laborious outfit.

The Super Eagles team has now become a global laughing stock. Shortly after another nightmarish World Cup qualifying encounter against Benin Republic on Monday, the Nigerian sports minister, John Owan Enoh, demanded a detailed technical report from the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) following the Super Eagles’ disappointing performance during the June FIFA window.

The Super Eagles managed to secure only one point from a possible six, following a 1-1 with South Africa in Uyo and losing 2-1 to Benin Republic in Abidjan in its third and fourth game respectively in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying series.

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These results leave the Super Eagles with a total of just three points from a possible twelve, of the four games played thus far in their quest to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup to be jointly hosted by USA, Canada, and Mexico.

Senator Enoh expressed his dissatisfaction with the outcomes, especially considering the substantial support the NFF has received from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration in addition to the kind of open and positive working relationship between the Ministry and the NFF.

“The recent results are unacceptable,” Senator Enoh stated in a press release on Monday night.

“Despite the immense support from President Tinubu and the high expectations of Nigerian football fans, the Super Eagles have underperformed.

“The NFF must provide a comprehensive technical report explaining the reasons behind this poor showing and give cause why there mustn’t be consequences for the disappointment caused both Government and the generality of Nigerians£, the minister’s press release stated.  

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 Enoh emphasized that Nigerian football fans demand and deserve answers and accountability from the NFF. “Our supporters are passionate and devoted. They deserve an explanation for why our national team has not been performing to the expected standards since after the last AFCON he added. 

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.

World Cup

Can of worms discovered in Super Eagles camp

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA

All is not well at the moment with the Nigeria’s Super Eagles who have gone seven World Cup qualifying matches since November 2021 without a win.

The dwindled fortunes contrast sharply for a team noted before now as the African sides with the longest unbeaten streak in the World Cup qualifiers. At time, they were unbeaten since losing through a late goal to Angola in Luanda on 20 June 2004 till 10 November 2017 when their 1-1 draw with Algeria was converted to a 3-0 forfeiture owing to NFF featuring an unqualified player. At  the time, Super Eagles had raked 35 unbeaten run. At another time from 2012 to 2013, the team had an unbeaten run of 18 matches from 3 June 2012  when they beat Namibia 1-0 in Calabar to 21 June 2013 when they were beaten 2-1 by Uruguay in a FIFA Confederations match in Brazil.

 Yet the same outfit has turned laborious after losing its flairs. A source close to Finidi George told Sports Village Square that the coach complained that the NFF just heaped all the blames of the team’s current precarious situation on him while exonerating the players.  

  He also reportedly remarked that the NFF did nothing to mobilise crowd support for the Super Eagles in the back-breaking encounter with Benin Republic in Abidjan despite the presence of large Nigerian community in the Ivorian commercial capital city.

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 A Benin Republic sports journalist confirmed this to Sports Village Square. The journalist remarked that it was true that there “were not many Nigerians at the Félix Houphouet Boigny stadium even though Nigeria has a strong community in the Ivory Coast.  I see that the defeat against the Republic of Benin really hurts.”

  Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, the President General of the Nigeria Football and other Sports Supporters’ Club (NFSP) had earlier made the same assertion on the neglect of crowd mobilisation for the Super Eagles and that those who made it to Uyo and had auto accident on their way back were not even given a mention by the NFF.

 He had since 1991 established the first of the international cells of the supporters club. They were not mobilised for the game against Benin Republic.

 On players attitude, a member of the NFF confirmed that the Super Eagles camp in Uyo was loose as players went to camp with their girl friends.

 That could also explain their dismal forms in the back-to-back destiny shaping encounters with South Africa and Benin Republic.

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World Cup

BREAKING! Finidi George formally resigns

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Nigeria Super Eagles’ coach, Finidi George has resigned from his post as Super Eagles’ coach, two days after the Nigeria Football Federation announced it was going to employ a foreign technical adviser.

A source close to Finidi told Sports Village Square that Finidi sent his resignation letter to Ibrahim Gusau “3o minutes ago.”

 Finidi was said to be livid that the NFF leadership met with the sports minister two days ago, but failed to mention that players reported late to the camp and that they didi nothing to mobilise Nigerians in Cote d’Ivoire to come out to support the Super Eagles in last Monday’s match with Benin Republic.

“He complained that the NFF heaped all the blames on him”, said the source.

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  Calls to NFF officials to verify the information were not answered.  

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World Cup

UPDATE: NFF may spare Finidi George

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Under fire Super Eagles’ coach, Finidi George may excape sack afterall. A source close to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) told Sports Village Square that Finidi may not be sacked.

 He would however work under the foreign technical adviser that the football governing body is planning to hire in the next few weeks.

  The source who was privy to the Wednesday’s ‘hybrid mode’ meeting of the NFF informed that Finidi George will be designated as ‘Chief Coach’ while the expatriate will be the technical adviser.

It is however unclear how the NFF will foot the wage bill of the technical adviser, who may also come with his personal crew as Finidi George  also already have his own foreign assistants.

There is also no word on the loud absence of Daniel Amokachi who was designated as Finidi George’s assistant, but failed to show up at the Super Eagles’ camp leading to the ill-fated World Cup match day 3 and 4 encounters with South Africa and Benin Republic.  

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