Nigeria in the 2013 African Cup of Nation

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Next year’s Africa Nations Cup will be Nigeria’s 17th appearance at the tournament proper after they sensationally failed to qualify for the 2012 edition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea last year.

They have won the tournament twice, on home soil in 1980 and then in Tunisia in 1994.

They were also beaten finalists in 1984, 1988, 1990 as well as 2000, which they co-hosted with Ghana.

To qualify for the 2013 AFCON, they eliminated Rwanda and Liberia.

The Super Eagles dispatched of the Lone Star of Liberia 6-1 in the return leg of a final qualifier in Calabar and thus head to South Africa on an 8-3 aggregate.

Such a comprehensive result has restored some public confidence in the team after they failed to qualify last year for this year’s competition.

However, partly as a result of this failure they are not among the top seeds for the 2013 tournament meaning they could clash with the likes of hosts South Africa, perennial rivals Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and defending champions Zambia as early as the first round of this championship.

Former international skipper Stephen Keshi took over the team from Samson Siasia in November and has since worked with mainly players from the Nigeria Premier League.

As a result of this new focus, the likes of Gabriel Reuben, Papa Idris, Umar Zango (Kano Pillars), Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers), Henry Uche, Uche Kalu (Enyimba), Juwon Oshaniwa (Sharks), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars) and Azubuike Egwuekwe, Chigozie Agbim, Sunday Mba (Warri Wolves) have become part of the national team.

However, only a handful of these players figured in the thumping of Liberia in Calabar as their Europe-based counterparts seized the chance to press for places in the final squad to South Africa 2013.

It will be very interesting to see the mix of NPL stars and their Europe-based colleagues for the forthcoming competition especially as for the 2008 and 2010 editions, no player from the domestic league made the final cut.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nations Cup 2013: Nigeria coach accepts Shittu request

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Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has accepted a request from Millwall’s Danny Shittu not to be considered for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The defender wants to concentrate on his club’s push for promotion to the English Premier League.

“Stephen Keshi has agreed Danny Shittu can stay away from the Nations Cup after he called him,” the Super Eagles media officer Ben Alaiya said.

Shittu was named in the Super Eagles’ initial squad of 32 players.

However before Keshi’s comments the Nigeria Football Federation had rejected Shittu’s written request.

The NFF had made it clear that they wanted to apply the full weight of Fifa sanctions on Millwall if they did not release the centre-back.

“We’ve made our position known to both the player and his club,” NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire told BBC Sport.

“There’s a standard Fifa rule on international call-up and we expect them to respect that.

“The rules are very clear and we are only going to wait and follow due process on this situation.”

Millwall boss Kenny Jackett had earlier said he expected Shittu to turn down Nigeria.

Nigeria will take on African champions Zambia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso in Group C.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: Benitez delays Mikel, Moses’ Portugal trip

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Chelsea coach, Rafa Benitez, has delayed Mikel Obi and Victor Moses from joining the Super Eagles at their Faro training camp in Portugal. He plans to keep the duo for their cup ties against Southampton and Swansea before releasing them for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mikel and Moses, integral players since Benitez took control at Stamford Bridge, are in the Nigeria squad which was due to report for a pre-tournament training camp in Portugal on Thursday.

The Chelsea pair have been granted permission to stay in London until after the New Year but Benitez is negotiating to keep them for as long as possible as his team become embroiled in a cluttered fixture list.

The Blues launch their defence of the FA Cup at Southampton on January 5, four days before the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final at home to Swansea.

Benitez accepts he is unlikely to have them around by the time they play Stoke in the Barclays Premier League on January 12.

“The tournament starts on the 19th, so they will go one or two weeks before,” Benitez said.

“Maybe we can manage to keep them a little bit longer. We will talk with them. They know sometimes the players do not need to go early. But at least one week before the 19th, they have to be there.”

Nigeria’s first game of the tournament in South Africa is on Janaury 21 against Burkina Faso. The final is on February 10, four days before Chelsea are due to play in Prague in the Europa League.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: Martins to play in ‘Nations Cup’

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Levante striker Obafemi Martins may have been dropped from coach Stephen Keshi’s team to the 2013 Africa Nations Cup holding in January in South Africa but the diminutive player has received another chance to feature in a Nations Cup tournament on Friday (today) at the Apapa Navy Ground, Ajegunle, Lagos.

Martins exclusion alongside several other top players from the trip to South Africa was greeted with mixed reactions but the former Inter Milan forward has been listed as one of several foreign-based players expected to feature in an exhibition match at the ongoing Ajegunle Mock Nations Cup.

The match tagged ‘Homecoming’ will involve some of the country’s best stars plying their trade in the European leagues against their home-based counterparts.

Also listed for the match is Dynamo Kiev forward, Brown Ideye, who made the Super Eagles 32-man provincial list for South Africa 2013.

Other foreign-based players expected to feature in the game are former Flying Eagles captain and Granada forward, Odion Ighalo, Sweden-based Eddy Egbe, Eyo Archibong from Switzerland, Lawal Momoh from Germany, Don Kefe and several others.

Director of the competition, Lawrence Alabra, said most of the players who will be in action on Friday started their careers through the Mock Nations Cup.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Murray no longer feeling pressure to win

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Andy Murray will experience a new sensation when he starts play at next month’s Australian Open – feeling like a Grand Slam champion.

The third-ranked Brit broke through at the U.S. Open in 2012, adding to his gold medal at the London Olympics.

‘’In the last three, four or five years there has been significant pressure in my mind, and now I feel more relaxed and relieved after winning the U.S. Open,’’ Murray said Wednesday. ‘’So, I think from my side, I hope to take the pressure off myself and be able to play a little bit more relaxed – and I hope to repeat my Grand Slam win.’’

Murray was promoting a winner-takes-all $250,000 exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi that serves as a warmup for the Australian Open, which runs Jan. 14-27.

Murray hired Ivan Lendl as coach on last New Year’s Eve and is full of praise for the changes the eight-time Grand Slam champion made in his game.

“He helped with a lot of small things; you know, technical things, small mental and psychological things and small physical things as well as tactical things,’’ Murray said. ‘’A lot of those small things add up to 5 to 10 percent to my game, and that was what I needed to find to make it past the last hurdle and win one of the major tournaments.’’

After losing in the final at Wimbledon this year, Murray’s next goals include going one step farther at his home major tournament and becoming the top-ranked player in the world – but he doesn’t plan on playing more events to achieve the second of those.

“Every year when Wimbledon comes around I’m desperate to win and do well. It’s an incredibly tough event and a lot of pressure during that time of the year,” Murray said.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Murray no longer feeling pressure to win

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Read Time:1 Minute, 45 Second

Andy Murray will experience a new sensation when he starts play at next month’s Australian Open – feeling like a Grand Slam champion.

The third-ranked Brit broke through at the U.S. Open in 2012, adding to his gold medal at the London Olympics.

‘’In the last three, four or five years there has been significant pressure in my mind, and now I feel more relaxed and relieved after winning the U.S. Open,’’ Murray said Wednesday. ‘’So, I think from my side, I hope to take the pressure off myself and be able to play a little bit more relaxed – and I hope to repeat my Grand Slam win.’’

Murray was promoting a winner-takes-all $250,000 exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi that serves as a warmup for the Australian Open, which runs Jan. 14-27.

Murray hired Ivan Lendl as coach on last New Year’s Eve and is full of praise for the changes the eight-time Grand Slam champion made in his game.

“He helped with a lot of small things; you know, technical things, small mental and psychological things and small physical things as well as tactical things,’’ Murray said. ‘’A lot of those small things add up to 5 to 10 percent to my game, and that was what I needed to find to make it past the last hurdle and win one of the major tournaments.’’

After losing in the final at Wimbledon this year, Murray’s next goals include going one step farther at his home major tournament and becoming the top-ranked player in the world – but he doesn’t plan on playing more events to achieve the second of those.

“Every year when Wimbledon comes around I’m desperate to win and do well. It’s an incredibly tough event and a lot of pressure during that time of the year,” Murray said.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Eagles under no pressure to win —Abdullahi

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Nigeria’s sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi believes the Super Eagles could benefit from having no expectations on them heading into the 2013 African Cup of Nations.

The team failed to qualify for the last tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea but the two-time winners are still rated as one of the favourites in South Africa.

Prospects have in the past been high for Nigeria heading into international tournaments.

However, in the build-up to the Nations Cup, these have since lowered with many believing that reaching the knockout stage of the competition will be considered a success.

“We have to be realistic, this is a new team and we have to be very careful,” Abudallahi told reporters.

“It will not be easy for the team under coach Stephen Keshi to be building and contesting at the same time.

“We [the government] do not expect much from the team because it is still a new team.

“I hope they will benefit from this and give their best as expected without any pressure whatsoever.”

Interestingly, when Keshi was appointed by the Nigerian Football Federation in November 2011, the ex-defender was handed the mandate of steering the side to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 World Cup.

Abdullahi distanced himself from those targets and insists that the government’s expectations are next to nothing – even thought the government funds the team.

“They are not under any target from us so that’s very clear,” he said.

“The coach and players need support from every Nigerian, and as government we will give them the necessary support they need.

“So let’s hope that everybody will put their hands together for the team to do well.”

Regarded as continental giants, Nigeria have won the Nations Cup only twice, on home soil in 1980 and in 1994 in Tunisia. The Super Eagles have finished as runners-up on four occasions (1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000) and they have emerged as second runners-up a record seven times.

Meanwhile, Nigeria are expected to announce their 17 foreign-based players for their Nations Cup training camp in Faro, Portugal.

They will join a 24-man locally-based squad in Portugal for the friendlies against Catalonia and Angola in Spain and Portugal respectively in January.

Nigeria begin their Nations Cup campaign against Burkina Faso on 21 January and then face Zambia and Ethiopia in Group C.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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FIFA probes Egypt soccer disaster

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Read Time:2 Minute, 42 Second

FIFA has demanded a full report on the violence at the match in Egypt on Wednesday night that left more than 70 persons dead.
Al Masry fans invaded the pitch after a surprise 3-1 win over Cairo club, Al-Ahly, in Port Said Wednesday night, with reports saying as many as 79 peersons died in the ensuing violence.

There have been claims that security forces and police did not do enough to intervene, and that the violence was tied up with the political power struggle in the country. FIFA, the game’s world governing body, yesterday asked the Egyptian authorities to explain exactly what happened.

FIFA said in a statement: “FIFA has asked the Egyptian authorities for a full report on the incident in order to evaluate what happened.’’
In a letter to Egyptian FA President, Samir Zaher, the world governing body’s President, Blatter, offered support and said: “Today is a black day for football and we must take steps to ensure that such a catastrophe never happens again.

“Football is a force for good and we must not allow it to be abused by those who mean evil.
“I await further news from you concerning the circumstances of this tragedy.’’
Home fans reportedly armed with sticks and knives stormed the field after the final whistle.
Reports suggested some Al-Ahly fans suffocated, trapped in a narrow corridor as they fled the violence.
Al-Ahly coach, Manuel Jose, spoke of his sense of helplessness after watching his club’s fans die in front of him. Jose himself was among those who were attacked.

“I was hit and kicked on neck, head and feet,” said the Portuguese boss, 65, who has also coached Sporting Lisbon, Benfica and Braga in a career spanning more than 30 years.
Jose was eventually taken to his side’s dressing room.
“There, I saw our fans die before us and we are unable to do anything,” he told www.el-ahly.com.
“Nothing happened to any of the players but we feel overwhelming sadness and the return flight was made in silence, full of respect for the lives of our fans who died.”

Barny said there was very little security to prevent home fans bent on violence.
“What happened was an unspeakable catastrophe,” he said.
“From the beginning of the game, the fans of the opposing team were allowed to fire rockets and stones at us without any intervention.

“In the end, it turned into a state of madness without any role for the security in the stands.
“We tried to save the lives of some of the fans, but many died before our eyes.” Al-Ahly announced Jose was returning to Portugal because he was “going through a bad psychological situation”.

Jose added: “I have to think about my life differently now. “Although, everybody loves me greatly, this experience has changed my life completely.” A minute’s silence will be held before this weekend’s quarter-final matches at the African Nations Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Olympic Qualifiers: Nigeria Defeat Algeria 4-1, Crash Out

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Despite beating Algeria 4-1 in their last group match, Nigeria’s U-23 Eagles crashed out of the Africa Olympic Qualifying Championship Friday night.

Nigeria’s exit from the tournament was made possible by the Junior Teranga Lions of Senegl who defeated Morocco 1-0 in their last match in Group.

While Coach Austin Eguavoen and his team were shown the way out, Senegal made it through to the U-23 African Championship semi-finals after a hard fought win over hosts, Morocco, who also qualified to the semis despite the loss.

Both teams finished on 6 points but Senegal tops the group and will stay in Tangiers for the semi final, while Morocco now travel to Marrakech for their next game. Nigeria are in the third position on the table with three points, while the Algerians were last team on the log also with the three points.

Spain-based midfielder Raheem Lawal conjured the magic for Nigeria after a first half that saw the U-23 Eagles fall behind.

Lawal, who first announced his intention to wreck havoc with a 15th minute crack at goal, drew his team level after 47 minutes courtesy of a brilliant free kick from the top of the Algerian box after the lively Gbolahan Salami was brought down.

The midfielder was a bit lucky for his second goal in the 75th minute when he fired with the left foot from distance and it crashed against Ali Guechi and wrong footed goalkeeper Mazouzi in the Algerian post.

In the 82nd minute, Algeria’s Abeid from English club Newcastle United was sent off for his second booking of the night and that seemed to open the way for Nigeria to make hay.

Lawal netted his third goal in the 86th minute. It was a brilliant solo run as he surged forward into the vital area past several markers before he slotted under the Algerian shot stopper.

The man of the match crowned a great day in the office three minutes from time when he set up Daniel Uchechi for an easy finish and Nigeria’s fourth goal.

After a difficult start against a bright-looking Nigeria, Algeria came back into the picture to start controlling the game especially in the midfield.

They were rewarded just two minutes before the interval when striker Baghdad Bounedjah connected home from a well-delivered low cross from the left.

Nigeria looked a different team to the one who had lost to both Morocco and Senegal in their previous matches. They attacked with purpose and passed the ball more comfortably among themselves.

And it would be star man Lawal, who took the first crack at goal after 15 minutes, but his effort from distance missed its mark by not much.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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