Taribo, Agali Clash as CAF Disregard Moses

Former Super Eagles stars Taribo West and Victor Agali have disagreed over the exclusion of Victor Moses from the final shortlist of nominees for the CAF African Player of the Year award.

The Chelsea wing-back was on Monday left out of the final nominees for the continent’s highest individual football award, which has Egypt’s  Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool) as well as Gabon striker and 2015 winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund).

However, Super Falcons striker Asisat Oshoala, who won the Women’s Player of the Year award in 2014 and 2016, was again nominated for the award alongside Cameroon’s  Gabrielle Aboud and South Africa’s Chrestina Kgatlana.

Nigeria  coach Genort Rohr, Hector Cuper (Egypt) and L’Hussein Amoutta (Wydad Casablanca) made the shortlist for the coaches’ category while the Eagles, Cameroon and Egypt were nominated for the National Team of the Year award.

The Women’s National Team of the Year category  has Nigeria’s U-20 women’s team, Falconets, Ghana’s U-20 team and South Africa’s national team.

However, some Nigerian football followers including Atlanta ’96 Olympics gold medallist Taribo feel that Moses deserves a place on the list judging by his performances for the Blues and the Eagles.

 “Moses should have been included on  the final list because  he has done well for Chelsea and the national team. He helped  the Eagles  qualify for the  World Cup and also played a major role in Chelsea winning the EPL title last season, so he deserves a place on the list,” Taribo said.

But Taribo’s teammate at the Mali 2002 AFCON, Agali, said the country had not been able to produce players like Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke, Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Ikpeba – past Nigerian winners – worthy of the award.

The former Nigeria striker said, “It’s hard to judge (if Moses should be on the final list) but honestly we’ve been struggling to produce a real superstar in recent times. We have to appreciate the level of growth of other African countries and if  our players want to climb the podium in Africa, they need to improve on their performances, they need to do more.

“If you look at Moses’ goal scoring record at Chelsea, it’s not as high as that of the other three nominees. It’s not even as high as that of Riyad Mahrez, the last winner of the award.

“I appreciate Moses for his contribution to the national team, professionalism and seriousness but the truth must be told. Let’s not forget that Egypt also qualified for the World Cup largely due to Salah’s performance; he’s also been outstanding for Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League, not just in the EPL.”

However, both ex-stars tipped  Salah to win the award scheduled for Accra, Ghana, on January 4.

“I’m happy with the way Moses has been playing but I strongly don’t think he should be the African best,  Salah should be. Let’s hope one day, another African player will win the world’s best player award like George Weah,”  former Schalke 04 striker Agali added.

“The three nominees have done very well but I think Mo Salah should win it, he’s been scoring and his goals have been crucial for both club and country,” Taribo stated.

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I’m not migrating China for European club —Mikel Obi

Super Eagles captain  Mikel Obi has denied he will  return to the English Premier League in January.

Mikel swapped Chelsea for  Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda during  last January transfer window after the Blues’ Italian manager Antonio Conte shut him out of  the first team.

Some reports had claimed the 30-year-old would leave Tianjin after an injury-hit first season, with Everton leading the chase.

But Mikel, who represented Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,  said he had no intention  of returning to Europe now.

“I don’t know where such a rumour came from, but this story is untrue,” he toldTianjin TV.

“I want to stay in the Chinese Super League and play for Teda. I‘m sure there will be lots of speculation about me as the transfer window nears but this is a false rumour.”

According to the News Agency of  Nigeria, Mikel  says he  is confident that playing  football in China will not affect his international career.

 “Playing in the CSL will help me maintain my status for the World Cup,” he said.

“The standard of the CSL is quite high. Before, people might have thought it was slow, but now it’s very quick. I have no doubt playing in this league will help me stay in shape.

“Of course, there is still a gap between the CSL and the English Premier League but the CSL is improving. To play more games will be good and I hope I don’t get injured.”

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Mohamed Salah Entitled BBC African Footballer of the Year

Egyptian Mohamed Salah has been voted BBC African Footballer of the Year for 2017.

Following a record number of votes, the Liverpool star won ahead of Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Guinean Naby Keita, Sadio Mane of Senegal and Nigeria’s Victor Moses.

“I am very happy to win this award,” the 25-year-old told BBC Sport.

Salah, the Premier League’s top scorer with 13 goals, has enjoyed a stellar year for both club and country.

In early 2017, the forward was the central figure for Egypt as they finished runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations.

He also had a hand in all seven of the goals that took the Pharaohs to their first World Cup since 1990 – assisting two and scoring five, including the stoppage-time penalty against Congo that qualified them for Russia.

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“I want to be the best Egyptian ever so I work hard,” added Salah, who is the third player from Egypt to win the award and first since 2008.

“I always follow my own way and I want everyone in Egypt to follow my way.”

Salah’s form at club level has been every bit as impressive as it has in internationals.

In Italy, he scored 15 goals and made 11 others as he helped Roma finish second in Serie A, their best league placing in seven years, prior to joining Liverpool and scoring 13 times in hmoror 16 league games.

“I would like to thank my Liverpool team-mates and I also had a good season with Roma so I have to thank my team-mates there and my team-mates in the national team,” said Salah.

Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah

Salah is the current Premier League top scorer, with 13 goals

“Since I came here, I wanted to work hard and show everyone my football. I wanted to come back to the Premier League since I left, so I am very happy.”

Salah has taken the Premier League by storm this season, in contrast to a less impressive spell in the division with Chelsea between 2014-15.

“It’s well-deserved,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who handed the trophy to the player at the club’s Melwood training academy.

“I am a really lucky person. I had the opportunity to work with a few outstanding players and I am happy that it is now with Mo.

“The good thing is that he is still young, there is a lot of space for improvement, a lot of potential still that we can work on, but that’s how it should be. It’s a big pleasure, to be honest, to work with him.”

By winning the BBC African Footballer of the year prize Salah adds his name to a list of legends including Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) and Michael Essien (Ghana).

“I am very happy to be like them in winning this award,” said Salah, who follows compatriots Mohamed Barakat (2005) and Mohamedgoa trika (2008) in receiving the trophy.

Previous winners

2016: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City & Algeria)

2015: Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)

2014: Yacine Brahimi (Porto & Algeria)

2013: Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)

2012: Chris Katongo (Henan Construction & Zambia)

2011: Andre Ayew (Marseille & Ghana)

2010: Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland & Ghana)

2009: Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Ivory Coast)

2008: Mohamed Aboutrika (Al Ahly & Egypt)

2007: Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal & Togo)

2006: Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana)

2005: Mohamed Barakat (Al Ahly & Egypt)

2004: Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)

2003: Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)

2002: El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool & Senegal)

2001: Sammy Kuffour (Bayern Munich & Ghana)

2000: Patrick Mboma (Parma & Cameroon)

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See Why Zidane Thinks Madrid Will Get More Chances To Chase Barca.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane tried to hide his disappointment at missing the chance to close to gap on rivals Barcelona at the top of La Liga to six points on Saturday.

Madrid failed to capitalise on Barca’s 2-2 draw at home to Celta Vigo earlier in the day as they played out a 0-0 stalemate at Athletic Bilbao to drop points for the sixth time in 14 La Liga games so far this season.

“For me the most important thing is to keep thinking that we are going to have another opportunity throughout the course of the season to cut the gap,” said Zidane.

That opportunity to cut the eight-point gap between the sides is most likely to come when Madrid host Barcelona in three weeks time.

However, Real could go into that match down in fifth in the table as they currently lead Sevilla only on goal difference in fourth and trail Valencia and Atletico Madrid.

Zidane’s men will also be depleted without captain Sergio Ramos, who saw his 24th career red card late on at Sam Mames, Dani Carvajal and Casemiro through suspension when Sevilla visit the Bernabeu next weekend.

And Real will play a game fewer in La Liga than their rivals before the end of the year as they jet off to contest the Club World Cup between the 13th and 16th of December.

“At the moment there are three teams in front of us, but there are still six months left. We are at little behind, but there is a long way to go,” added Zidane.

Zidane had shown his intent to pounce on Barca’s slip-up by naming his strongest available side as Gareth Bale once again missed out through injury.

Without the man from Cardiff, Madrid started with the same line-up that started the Champions League final in the Welsh capital six months ago.

However, Zidane insisted it is merely results and not the level of performance that has changed for Real since they swept Juventus aside to retain the Champions League and beat Barcelona to the La Liga title last season.

“It is the result, nothing more. When I look at the game today, I can’t say we are playing worse,” added the Frenchman.

“What changes things are goals. That day we scored four against Juve and today we couldn’t score.

“Last season we would score goals in the last minute and at the moment that isn’t happening.

“We need to keep going and think that there will be better moments to come.”

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SPORTRohr, Super Eagles, Oshoala Earn CAF Award Nominations

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been nominated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for national team of the year, with its handler Gernot Rohr in the running to win coach of the year.
CAF announced the nominations for the 2017 Aiteo CAF award on Monday.

Super Falcons striker, Asisat Oshoala, is also among the nominees for the best women’s player award, while Nigeria’s U-20 women national team, Falconets, are up for the women’s national team of the year award.
The winners will be decided by votes from the members of the CAF technical and development committee, CAF media experts panel and independent media and TV consultants.
The award gala will take place on January 4, 2018, in Accra, Ghana.
Full list of nominees:

Women’s Player of the Year

Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Dalian Quanjian)

Chrestina Kgatlana (South Africa & UWC Ladies)

Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene(Cameroon & Rossyanka)

Rutendo Makore (Zimbabwe & Black Rhinos)

Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi & Kvarnsvedens)
Women’s National Team of the Year

Ghana U-20

Kenya

Nigeria U-20

South Africa

Zimbabwe
Coach of the Year

Gernot Rohr (Nigeria)

Hector Cuper (Egypt)

Hugo Broos (Cameroon)

L’Hussein Amoutta (Wydad Athletic Club)

Mihayo Kazembe (TP Mazembe)
National Team of the Year

Cameroon

Egypt

Mali U-17

Nigeria

Zambia U-20

Club of the Year

Al Ahly

Mbabane Swallows

SuperSport United

TP Mazembe

Wydad Athletic Club
Youth Player of the Year

Eric Ayiah (Ghana & Charity Stars)

Krepin Diatta (Senegal &Sarpsborg)

Luther Singh (South Africa & Braga)

Patson Daka (Zambia & Liefering)

Salam Giddou (Mali & Guidars)
Referee of the Year

Bamlak Tessema (Ethiopia)

Ghead Grisha (Egypt)

Janny Sikazwe (Zambia)

Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)

Mehdi Abid Charef (Algeria)

Papa Bakary Gassama (Gambia)

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Ikpeba Sets Quarter-Finals Target For Eagles.

F​ormer Super Eagles Striker, Victor Ikpeba has set a quarter-final target for Nigeria at Next Year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The former Monaco Star says it high time the Eagles break the round of 16 ceiling, adding that expectations are very high after their impressive qualifying campaign which saw them go unbeaten in Group B which featured Algeria, African Champions, Cameroon and Zambia.
Ikpeba was speaking in Abeokuta the Ogun State capital on Saturday, after a training session for  about 300 students drawn from  public school across the state held at the Moshood Abiola International Stadium.
He says with the quality of players in the team, reaching the last eight should be Nigeria’s aim at her 6th appearance at football’s showpiece event.
“We keep on saying they have done well. All that we will hope for is for them to get to the quarterfinals. I think with the quality of players we have. I this set of players are quality players, I think they can do it,” he said.
The 44-year-old who played and scored at the France 98 World Cup also lauded the Nigeria Football Federation for its unwavering support of the team ahead of the Mundial in June.
The Eagles will know their World Cup group opponents on December 1st, this year.

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Qatar Unveils World Cup’s First ‘Reusable’ stadium.

Qatar on Sunday unveiled the design for what it claims is the World Cup’s first ‘reusable’ stadium, the seventh of eight expected venues that will stage games during the 2022 tournament. 

Ras Abu Aboud is a 40,000 stadium that will be built on Doha’s southern waterfront and host matches up to the quarter-final stage. 

After the tournament the stadium will be taken down, with the parts put in to containers in the hope it will be reassembled and used elsewhere. 

“This venue offers the perfect legacy, capable of being reassembled in a new location in its entirety or built into numerous small sports or cultural venues,” said Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of Qatar’s World Cup organising committee. 
Qatar has now revealed the designs for all venues expected to be used in 2022 except the Lusail Stadium, which will host the opening game and World Cup final. 

Although Qatar’s initial bid was for up to 12 stadiums, it is now scheduled to play matches at just eight venues. 

FIFA is yet to make a final decision on the number of stadiums used during 2022. 
Since controversially being chosen by FIFA to host the tournament in 2022, Qatar has found itself at the centre of a global storm. 

It has been criticised over human rights and labour abuses and blighted by allegations of corruption. 

Most recently it has found itself accused of supporting terrorism as part of a bitter dispute involving Doha and its Arabian Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, as well as Egypt.

 Qatar’s government has said it is spending $500 million a week preparing for world cup.

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Nigeria To Begin Preparation For 2020 Olympic – Dalung.

A​lmost three head ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung has directed that preparations for the games must begin soon. Dalung gave the directive to the National Sports Federations at the closing ceremony of the 2017 National Karate Open Championship in Abuja. He said that if the sports federations hoped to win laurels at the 2020 Olympics then preparatons must begin early. Represented by Tayo Oreweme, the Director of the Sports Ministry’s Federation and Elite Athletes Department (FEAD), the minister noted that the Tokyo Games would be karate’s first Olympic outing. “This will be the first time karate will feature at the Games, hence the need to commence preparations and be part of that history,’’ he said. Dalung said it was important that preparation should commence immediately in view of the need for the Karate Federation of Nigeria to have its athletes qualify for the Games. “I hope that the federation’s technical team has been able to identify high-profile athletes from this championship who will be nurtured to stardom to win medals at the Olympics.
“To qualify for the Olympics, all hands must be on deck. “I want to encourage the federation to spread its tentacles, to get to the corporate and private organisations, as well as the World Karate Federation, for financial and technical support which will ensure successful outings at the qualifying competitions,” he said. Dalung also called on the national federations to concentrate more on constant organisation of zonal and national competitions for all age categories. 
“This is what will help you to identify and nurture potential athletes to represent Nigeria at international competitions,’’ the minister said. Earlier, President of the federation, Silas Agara, had said karate was becoming a global sport capable of building bridges of love, friendship and cooperation among nations. “It is for this reason that its inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has come to us as a positive development. 
“It is my hope and expectation that all stakeholders, athletes, coaches, referees, administrators and sponsors will strive to make our collective dream come true in our determination to place our country on the map of world recognition. 
urge all participants in the national championship to commit themselves to the sport with all sense of patriotism, having in mind that the essence of participating in competitions is not only the euphoria of winning. “Have it in mind that there is more fulfillment in the coming together to enhance national integration,’’ he said. Agara restated the federation’s resolve to open up opportunities for all athletes, regardless of gender, class or age, in order to enable sportsmen and women realise their aspirations. He promised to ensure equal development and promotion of karate in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT through sustained courses, seminars, competitions and provision of access to facilities. Agara said no stone would be left unturned as the federation sets out to identify athletes who possess the needed potentail for the nigeria 2020 Olympics. 
FCT and Lagos won gold in the kata female and male team events respectively.

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