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INTERVIEW with Keshi: Tactical Discipline, Bane of African Teams * Why I Did Not Play For Nigeria – Fashanu and more Sport News..

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STEPHEN KESHI INTERVIEW

Keshi: Tactical Discipline, Bane of African Teams

The Brazilians did not forget Stephen Keshi and his Super Eagles after the men in green swooped down to South America’s biggest country for the FIFA Confederations Cup last year.
Though they were unable to navigate themselves through an examining group including world champions Spain and Copa America holders Uruguay, they did give a good account of themselves and thrill the flair-obsessed locals. That was evident when the Nigerians arrived at the team hotel in Campinas, where innumerable animated fans were on hand to greet them.
Here, in an interview with FIFA, Keshi reveals his surprise at that memorable welcome, discusses the way he believes football should be played, outlines what has let African sides down in the past
How pleased were you with the reception you got in Brazil? 
I was very pleased because it was something that we were not expecting. And we came so late in the morning and they were still waiting for us just to give us a welcome back. It was good.
Are you satisfied with Nigeria’s level or can you still improve? 
We can be much better. This squad is probably a year-plus old, it’s a new team. Most of the players are young. We’re still in the process of getting much better at what we do. In two years’ time we can be much better.
What can the team achieve under you? 
I don’t know. My dream is to build a strong team for Nigerians and give these players a reason to be footballers. And to show the many players that are coming up behind that they can become somebody in football. That’s my dream and that’s it.
How important is the team’s unity? 
It’s very important because I think that most of the teams that I played for in Europe, in Africa, always had this unity, this oneness. I think it’s a great weapon to have in your team because everyone is there, fighting for one another, playing for one another, which is a great thing. I’ve known this all my life as a football player, and now as a coach I’m experiencing the same thing. This is the way we got to qualify. Togo also qualified for the World Cup in 2006 because we were united. We had more spirit moving forward. It was the same thing in Mali when I was there as well. I think it’s working so I just keep on.
What’s Stephen Keshi’s football philosophy? What can we expect from a Stephen Keshi side? 
I like attacking football. I don’t believe you need to sit back and load behind. You’ve got to be open and make the people come to the stadium. They spend so much money – they need to get value for it. Good, attacking football is what I like. Of course there must be purpose and discipline and togetherness to make the good football work.
Pele once said that an African side would win the World Cup by the end of the 20th century. Do you think African football is now on a par with Europe and South America? 
I think so. If you look at most of the African players that are playing now for the African teams – the five African teams that have qualified for the World Cup – most of them are playing in Europe, playing against the same players as European players, South American players. I think it’s the same thing. The only problem, the only difference I think is the lack of concentration and the lack of discipline on the field. Tactical discipline, that is. If we could pay attention to our game plan and concentrate, I think we could do it because this is the same team that we play against week in, week out in Europe. Nigeria haven’t won a World Cup game for a while. Why do you think that is? I mean, we’ve always had such great players. It’s because of a lack of tactical discipline and concentration.
You have a wealth of experience in the squad. How will this help you progress
You can’t buy this sort of experience. I pray that Vincent Enyeama, [Joseph] Yobo, [John] Mikel Obi will bring all their experience. Youth is good, but if we can combine youth and experience that will be great for us.

Why I Did Not Play For Nigeria – Fashanu

Years after failing to feature for the Nigerian national team, former Wimbledon of England star, John Fashanu has come out to reveal one of the reasons that he could not make the Green Eagles team
In the past, various reasons have been given with stories that he (John) did not show any interest in playing for Nigeria and that the then coaches of the national team deliberately shunned him.
However, Fashanu, who later returned home to emerge a board member of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) stated recently that he was unable to make the Nigerian national side because he was not good enough.
Featuring as A TV analyst during one of the matches of the ongoing 20th FIFA World Cup, Brazil 2014, Fashanu admitted that it was difficult breaking into a star studded that of them hence, his conclusion that he was not just good enough for it.
Born in Kessington, London in as fondly called had his club career in England where he featured for Norwich City, Miramar Rangers, Crystal Palace,, Lincoln City, Millwall, Wimbledon and Aston Villa
An English FA Cup winner with Wimbledon in 1988, Fashanu represented England at full International level gaining two caps – against Chile and Scotland in the 1989 Rous Cup, due to his good form at club level for his then club Wimbledon.
Following retirement from the game through injury, Fashanu became a television presenter.

      

 LEAGUE STORIES                       

                  Glo NPFL Table after first round
   Team                  P  W D  L  GF GA GD Pts
1.        Kano Pillars        19 9 7  3  30 19  11  34
2         Nasarawa Utd    19  9  4  6 20  15  5  31
3         Abia Warriors     19  9  3  7 26  19  7 30
4         Sharks                  19  8  6  5 22  17  5 30
5         Enyimba              19  8 5  6  18  12  6 29
6         Giwa FC              19  8 4  7  19  15  4 28
7         Warri Wolves    19  8 4   20  19 1  28
8         Akwa United     19  8 4  7  18  18  0  28
9         Dolphins FC       19  7 6  6  21  16  5  27
10     Heartland FC     19  6 9 4  18  15  3  27
11     Sunshine Stars  19  6 9 4   27 25  2  27
12     El-Kanemi          19  7 5 7   23 17  6  26
13     Lobi Stars           19 8 1 10 21 25 -4  25
14     Taraba FC          19  8 1 10 13 19- 6 25
15     Enugu Rangers 19  7 3  9  24  23  1 24
16     Bayelsa Utd       19  7 3 9  24 30  -6 24
17     Crown FC           19  7 3 9   16 23  -7 24
18     Kaduna Utd       19  6 3 10 16 23 -7 21
19     Gombe Utd       19   5  9  21 23 -2 20
20     Nembe City       19  3  7  9  9  33 -24 16

            Clubs Halt Break for Federation Cup

After weeks of recess, clubs in the domestic scene are returning to training in preparation for the 2014 Federation Cup round of 64.
The ongoing FIFA World Cup taking place in Brazil had forced the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to halt the leagues thus forcing clubs to embark on short break.
Reports from camps of some clubs revealed that the break has ended with teams getting set for the Federation Cup round of 64 fixtures billed for between July 2 and 3 across designated centres.
Federation Cup Round of 64 Fixtures, Date and Venues
Team                                                   Date                  Venues
Enyimba va Sokoto North                2/7/14              ABUJA,
Zar Studio, Kebbi, vs N/Tornadoes 2/7/14              GUSAU,
Jigawa vs Nembe City                        2/7/14             KATSINA ALA
Ibom Youth vs Katsina Spotlight      2/7/14              LAFIYA,
Heartland vs Ebonyi United               2/7/14             UMUAHIA,
Kwara United vs Sharks                      2/7/14             BENIN,
Dalhatu vs Shhoting Stars                  3/7/14             ABUJA,
Dynamite vs Ranchers                         3/7/14           LOKOJA,
Kaduna Utd vs Leopard FC                  3/7/14           KATSINA Ala
Bright Star vs Crown FC                       3/7/14            BENIN,
Apa Utd vs Ekiti Utd                             2/7/14            LOKOJA,
Nasarawa UTD vs Young Elephant    2/7/14            JOS,
Bendel Insurance vs Sunshine Stars  3/7/14            KADUNA,
Bobbies FC vs Ajiroba Ooni                   2/7/14          ENUGU,
Rangers vs Ikpeazu                                3/7/14      UMUAHIA                                ABS vs GIWA FC                                     2/7/14           MINNA,
Lobi vs Tornadoes Feeders                     3/7/14            OS,
Gateway vs Kano Pillars                         3/7/14            LOKOJA,
Gombe Utd vs Batom FC                        2/7/14            Ilorin
Prime vs. El Kanemi Feeders                  3/7/14            Minna
Dan Buram vs WarriWolves                  3/7/14            Abuja
Kogi United vs Yobe Stars                                               Jos.                                                  
First Bank vs FC Lokoja                                                   Akure.

Nigerian Referees Join Bring Back Our Girls Campaign

Rising from its Annual General Meeting, the Nigeria Football Referees Association (NRA) has joined the clarion call for the release of the abducted Chibok girls in the interest of good image of Nigeria, while enjoining the Country’s leadership to do all it could to make the country secured and safe for the inhabitants.
This was contained in a 14 points Communiqué issued after the NRA’s 2014 AGM held last weekend at Sharon Ultimate Hotel, Jos Road, Area 3, Abuja, signed by the NRA’s Secretary-General, Prince Moroof Oyekunle Oluwa and made available to newsmen by the Public Relations Officer of the body, Serah Jumoke Adebisi.
The body also wishes the National Football team, Super Eagles presently campaigning in group ‘F’ of FIFIA World Cup in Brazil good luck and success as they prosecute their fifth appearance at the highest stage in global football.
Also included in the Communiqué was a call for better relationship with NFF’s Referees Committee, noting that “In as much as the NRA enjoys a seemingly cordial relationship with the NFF, the NRA has observed with great dismay that the NFF Referees Committee rather than deal with the referees through the NRA, and not directly dealing with the referees.
“This has resulted to rise in the level of indiscipline exhibited by the referees and therefore, the NRA resolved that in all matters affecting referees, the Referees Committee of the NFF should endeavour to deal with the Association for proper coordination of the referees’ activities in the Country”. 
As the NRA elections draw nearer, the body has however constituted a six member Electoral Committee where they charged them to discharge their duties of organizing a credible poll for new sets of executives to come in accordingly.
Rabiu Umar Gusau was appointed as Chairman of the committee while other members were as follows: S.S Bello from North Central, Awa Queen from North East, Ibraheem Umar from North West, O.O. Oluwabunmi from South West, E.E.E. Ebito from South-South, while Barr. Nwachi .K from South East would serve as Secretary and NFF Representative would also join the committee.

Ogbeide Wants Free Scoring Team

Newly appointed technical adviser of Bayela United Solomon Ogbeide has said he does not limit goal scoring to strikers alone.
The veteran tactician, who will resume  at the Glo Premier League side when the second stanza starts, said his philosophy as a coach is to equip and train every player to score goals irrespective of the player’s position in the team.
“All the teams I’ve handled in the past it has always been my practice to train every player on the tactics of goal scoring not restricting the role alone to the strikers.
“By the practice any player that gets the ball as well as chance to score should be able to convert the chance into a goal.
“Often it poses a big problem to team to limit goalscoring function to specific players and on match day you discover to your chagrin that those players couldn’t score because they’re far away from the ball.
“My enduring tactics is to empower and encourage every player to score it makes things somehow easier for the team,” said the former Sunshine Stars coach to supersport.com.
Ogbeide confirmed that he is most likely to oversee the affairs of Bayelsa United in the remainder of the ongoing league season.
“Hopefully, I’ll be there at Bayelsa United, I’m almost there just waiting for all the details to be tied up.
“Bayelsa United are a very good side with potentials to go places in the domestic league.
“The coaches there are of good quality, they’ve done pretty well just that chances sometime bring out the best.
“Perhaps that’s the difference my going there may achieve due to my unique philosophy to the game.
“But to be frank with you the coaches there have done well, we’ll complement each other for optimal result,” said the former Akwa United coach.
The Restoration Boys are placed 16th on the 20-team elite league on 24 points from a possible 57 at the conclusion of first stanza hostilities.

Ezeji Dumps Crown for Sunshine Stars

Domestic league veteran Victor Ezeji has changed gear,  putting off his initial plan to team up with Crown FC of Ogbomoso but had decided to pitch tent with Sunshine Stars of Akure.
Western Sport League Beats gathered that Ezeji sealed a deal with the  Akure gunners on Tuesday after agreeing personal terms with the club.
“Victor Ezeji has signed for us. He agreed his personal terms with the club after meeting with Akin Akinbobola and Mike Idoko on Tuesday to finalise the agreement.
‘’So he is now contracted to Sunshine Stars for the next one year,” an official of the Akure club disclosed The former Dolphins and Enyimba striker is yet to be handed a squad number though Ezeji requested for the club’s number 19.
The official explained that Ezeji asked for number 19 specifically to mark his 19th season in the Glo Premier League.
The signing of Ezeji by Sunshine Stars have now put to rest the speculation surrounding where the former top scorer in the Nigerian top flight will play for this season.
Earlier this season, Crown FC were believed to have struck an agreement to sign the striker after discussions were held.
Ezeji has scored in every of the 19 seasons he has featured in the premier division in Nigeria with Dolphins, Sharks and Enyimba.
Last season when the Premier League era in Nigeria clocked 10 years, Ezeji was honoured as the Player of the Decade.
The celebrated striker is now expected to resume with Sunshine Stars in a matter of days before the second round of this season starts in July after the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

                          FEATURE

Meet the World Cup Referee Who Is Richer Than Players

A few weeks ago, Rio Report’s colleague Early Doors reported on the internet sensation sparked by the emergence of a female referee in Brazil.
And Early Doors wondered openly back then why a young, beautiful woman with the world at her feet would submit herself to what is seemingly such a miserable profession:
“Sure, you get to be involved in football at a level that could be far higher than your own skill, and we can kind of understand getting a kick out of blowing the whistle and laying down the law.
“But are those minor thrills really worth becoming the sporting equivalent of a traffic warden? Is the uniform and the whistle or flag adequate compensation for the constant barrage of abuse from fans and players, aggression that often borders on physical assault, and guaranteed public humiliation every time you make a mistake?” –Brazil’s newest FIFA ref causes internet sensation, May 2014
All those comments apply doubly to Jonas Eriksson, the referee nominated by Sweden to officiate at the World Cup.
Because Eriksson, far from being desperate to earn the very modest collected by a top referee, is rich.
Very rich. Stinking rich. Wipe-your-bottom-on-£20-notes rich. Yet still he subjects himself to abuse on a weekly basis.
Eriksson made his money as part owner of a Swedish media company which floated on the stock exchange seven years ago, earning him around £7 million.
The very biggest names in the game earn more than that in a year, but Eriksson is worth more than the vast majority of the superstars he’s responsible for ordering about.
Eriksson was 33 years old at the time he sold his company, and could have very easily sat back to enjoy a life of quaffing champagne, chasing supermodels, and wondering which Aston Martin to buy next. Instead, he trudges around Swedish football pitches every weekend, getting soaked and frozen in winter and bitten to bits by mosquitoes in summer, while simultaneously being abused by several complete thousand strangers.
And sometimes it’s more than several thousand. As the controversial referee who sent off Martin Demichelis in Manchester City’s ill-fated Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona, he has also been abused by millions of people around the world. So poor was his decision that day, in fact, that he even provoked a torrent of abuse from the invariably mild-mannered Manuel Pellegrini.
But the man himself is unrepentant, and claims that refereeing – which he’s done since he was 20, and turned to full-time after his windfall – is his first love.
“All the money hasn’t changed anything,” he once said. “The best thing I do in my life is still refereeing football.”
Eriksson takes control of USA’s opening match of the tournament against Ghana. Let’s hope that he doesn’t do anything to earn himself a few more million enemies among Team USA or Black Stars fans.
                     THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES
              Sunday 22 June
              Nigerian Time
                 Group H
30   Belgium vs Russia         5::00pm  Maracanã – Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho Rio De Janeiro
             Group H
31    Korea Rep. vs Algeria  8.00pm  Estadio Beira-Rio Porto Alegre
           Group G
32    USA vs Portugal          11.00pm Arena Amazonia Manaus
           Monday 23 June
               Group B
33    Netherlands vs Chile    5:00pm  Arena de Sao Paulo Sao Paulo
                Group B
34    Australia vs Spain        5.00pm Arena da Baixada Curitiba
               Group A
35    Cameroun vs Brazil     9.00pm Estadio Nacional Brasilia
               Group A
36    Croatia vs Mexico           9:00pm Arena Pernambuco Recif
            Tuesday 24 Jun
               Group D
37    Italy vs Uruguay            5:00pm Estadio das Dunas Natal
              Group D
38    Costa Rica vs England    5:00pm Estadio Mineirao Belo Horizonte
               Group C
39    Japan vs Colombia           9:00pmArena Pantanal Cuiaba
               Group C
40     Greece vs Côte d’Ivoire   9:00pm Estadio Castelao Fortaleza
Wednesday 25 June
                 Group F
41    Nigeria vs Argentina 5:00pm Estadio Beira-Rio Porto Alegre
                 Group F
42    Bosnia/H’govina vs Iran     5:00pm Arena Fonte Nova Salvador
                 Group E
43    Honduras vs Switzerland   9:00pm Arena Amazonia Manaus
                 Group E
44     Ecuador vs France           9:00pm Maracanã – Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho Rio De Janeiro
Thursday 26 June
                Group G
45    Portugal vs Ghana            5:00pm Estadio Nacional Brasilia
                Group G
46    USA vs Germany             5:00pm Arena Pernambuco Recife
                Group H
47    Korea Rep.vs Belgium     9:00pm Arena de Sao Paulo Sao Paulo
                Group H
48    Algeria vs Russia              9:00pm Arena da Baixada Curitiba
 
Second Round
Saturday 28 June
49   Winner A vs Runner Up B  5:00pm Estadio Mineirao Belo Horizonte
50   WInner C vs Runner Up D  9:00pm Maracanã – Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho Rio De Janeiro
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