New Lagos Referees Boss Plans Big for Members
Newly elected Chairman of the Lagos State Referees Council, Moses Adebanjo has promised that his administration will do all it takes to leave a positive mark in the lives of the whistle men in the state and Nigeria at large.
The retired FIFA badged referee who assumed office as the boss of the LSRC said top of his agenda is to give Nigeria referees a facelift and ensure they are well equipped trained.
“My administration is aimed at rebranding referees and that we have started. Aside our well equipped office, we have introduced new training kits and shirt to help give Lagos state referees a great look, Adebanjo said.
“As I speak to you, our website – the first of its kind is ready and it will be launched on Sunday where Nigerians can have access to our activities.
“We plan to focus more on training and we have already fixed a big seminar for the 12th of June , 2015 where international football referees outside the country will be invited.
“In all modesty, we have set up a committee to commence work on that,” he continued.
“Also, we are looking forward to building strong relationship with external bodies such as the state FA’s towards sorting out issues that have affected us in years past.
“Towards encouraging the upcoming ones, we will ensure that young referress in secondary schools are allowed to handle matches in the Principal Cup and so on. These we are going to do,” he said.
Royal Father Tasks Journalists on Volleyball
Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewa Land, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle has called on sports journalists in the country to give more coverage to volleyball in order to re-awaken interest of Nigerians in the game, which according to him is virtually dead.
The monarch made the call while speaking at a press briefing to kick-start Oba Kehinde Olugbenle Volleyball Championship and unveiling of trophies, held inside the chamber of Yewa traditonal council, Ilaro, Ogun state.
The maiden edition of Oba Kehinde Olugbenle Volleyball Champioship which will take place from December 3rd to December 7th, 2014 will involve eight teams from Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Kwara states and be held at the Gateway Int’l Stadium Ilaro.
Speaking further, the traditional ruler who is also the Life Patron of Ogun State Volleyball Association, explained that serious attention must be paid to volleyball like football so that the game that once made the country popular can be revived.
He added “volleyball as a game is capable of harnessing talents especially at the grassroots level, while various competitions of the game could be used to build national relationship”.
While charging the Ogun state Volleyball Association to continue toput in place grassroots programmes that can help to discover more talents, Oba Olugbenle disclosed that he would solicit support of Dangote Cement company to ensure the championship is organized annually and made a national competition.
“I am a lover of sports especially volleyball; it was my game in secondary school. So my giving support to this competition should be seen as my own contribution to the revival of volleyball in Nigeria.
I am sure this will further expose our talents in the game and I wish to call on other well-to-do individuals to use their resources to promote sporting activities as they are capable of uniting people and engendering development at the local level”.The monarch submitted.
Meanwhile, the chairman, Ogun state Volleyball Association, Alhaji Biodun Elegbede has commended Olu of Ilaro for his support for the association and his decision to bankroll the competition.
He pointed out that “though volleyball has been relegated in the country, the state association will continue to organize competitions that will revive the game both in Ogun and at the national level”.
Elegbede, however, said the maiden edition of the championship was restricted to just eight teams as a result of time constraint, noting subsequent editions will attract more teams and larger spectators
Sunshine Queens Coach Hails Players
Sunshine Queens head coach, Kayode Olujohungbe has hailed the performance of his team in the just concluded 2013/14 Nigeria Women Premier League (NWPL), said the team is the best in the country.
The Akure female based team finished third on the NWPL log with 33 points and runner up in the 2014 Women Federation Cup losing 0-2 to Rivers Angels in the final in Lagos.
“The team has done brilliantly well this season; third in the league and second in the FA Cup, all praises goes to God Almighty for the grace.
“Every member of the team has done well and contributed to the success this season. There is always room for improvement which we intend to do on time and prepare for the 2014/15 season.
“I always try and keep the best players that I have in my team whenever possible, but I’m sure we will fortify the team to compete against any foes in the league and other competitions.
“But the girls were fantastic. The state government through the State Football Agency (ODSFA) leadership have been wonderful in our quest and we need their total supports to achieve our target in 2015”, Olujohungbe said.
Meanwhile, according to the 2015 female league calendar of activities signed by executive secretary, Isaac Ajisafe stated that the league will commence on February 28, 2015.
Stars Who Would be Missing in Action
Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)
igeria’s absence at the 2015 AFCON means that Africans and indeed the rest of the world will not be able to see the excellent goalkeeping skills of the Super Eagles captain who remains the continent’s finest safehand at present.
Enyeama’s performance at recent competitions including the Nations Cup and the World Cup stands him out, little wonder his nomination for the BBC Africa’s Best Player Award which he lost to Algeria’s Yacine Brahimi as well as the African Footballer of the Year Award of which he has made the final shortlist.
Emmanuel Emenike (Nigeria)
The failure of the AFCON defending champion to make it to Equatorial Guinea also means that top scorer for the last edition Emmanuel Emenike would also be missing. Sadly for the forward, he would miss the privilege to follow the footstep of the late Rasheed Yekini who won the highest scorer award of the Nations Cup back to back
Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)
The Tottenham striker in the English Premiership will not be in Equatorial Guinea to showcase his skills. His team only managed to beat Uganda twice in Group E of the qualifiers and finished bottom.
Mohamed Salah Ghaly (Egypt)
The 2015 Afcon event will miss the Chelsea and Egyptian winger. His team failed to qualify for the Afcon finals. Besides representing the Egyptian national team at an early age, he also participated in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2012 Summer Olympics. He also won the CAF Most Promising African Talent of the Year in 2012.
John Obi Mikel (Nigeria)
Talk about experience and the midfielder has earned it all at a professional level his club Chelsea and the Super Eagles of Nigeria. But the defending champions will not be in Equatorial Guinea next year after failing to jump the qualification hurdles and Obi will have to watch the event on TV.
Geoffrey Massa (Uganda)
The University of Pretoria striker has been in good form for club and country, but will still keep waiting for Uganda to break the Afcon jinx. Uganda came close to qualification, but lost to Guinea in the last deciding match. Massa was among the top scorers in the qualifying campaign with four goals.
Saladin Said (Ethiopia)
Ethiopia participated at the last Afcon event, but will miss out next year and stars like Said will not have chance to showcase their talent. The forward plays for Egyptian side Al Ahly SC.
Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana)
The Black Stars of Ghana who qualified after topping Group E in the qualifiers will miss the Juventus player because of injury. Asamoah who also missed the last two games against Uganda and Togo in the qualifying campaign is ruled out for three months with a knee injury.
Victor Mugubi Wanyama (Kenya)
The midfielder who has been in good form for Southampton FC in the English Premier League will not be part of the 2015 Afcon after Kenya failed to qualify for Africa’s biggest football showpiece. The Harambee Stars fell out in the preliminary stage of the qualifiers.
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
One of Africa’s most decorated players, the striker will not be part of the Ivory Coast team in Equatorial Guinea since he quit the national team. But he has continued to play a key role for Chelsea’s quest to win the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
Mehdi Benatia (Morocco)
The Bayern Munich player will be a big miss at the 2015 Afcon. Interestingly he misses out because Morocco opted not to host the event and they lost their status. After his move from AS Roma to the German champions, he is Africa’s highest paid player.
Senzo Meyiwa (South Africa)
The Bafana Bafana skipper will not be part of the 2015 Afcon event after losing his life during a burglary in October at the girlfriend’s house in Vosloorus, South of Johannesburg. The Orlando Pirates goalkeeper performed well for the national team in South Africa’s last four Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
I’m Not Under Any Pressure
Former Super Eagles forward Samson Siaisia was recently named as the head coach of Nigeria’s U-23 national team. He is returning to a familiar terrain having once handled the team where he piloted the country to a silver winning effort at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Siasia who was appointed the U-23 team coach after his successful stint as the coach of the U-20 side the Flying Eagles, would later become the head coach of the senior national team, the Super Eagles before he was replaced by current handler Stephen Keshi following Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup jointly hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Two year after exiting the Super Eagles, the former Nigerian international is back and is saddled with the responsibility of building a solid U-23 squad that will impress for Nigeria at the All Africa Games as well as the 2016 Olympics.
In a telephone chat with Lagos based television station, Siasia, who owns a football academy called SIA One, explains his readiness for the uphill task, stressing that he feels no pressure taking up the job at a time Nigerian football is at its lower ebb after Super Eagles failed to book a ticket to the 2016 AFCON to be staged in Equatorial Guinea.
Feelings on being handed the job
feel very great to be called to serve again, having being there before I see it as an avenue to once again make my country proud and I am very much ready for the task.
I am not new to this, having handled the national teams at different stages. I believe my wealth of experience will come to bear in ensuring that success is achieved.
So far, how has it been?
So far things have been going well, we have started screening which we will soon round off and from there we will move to the next stage, you know we don’t have much time on our side, so we have to be up and doing to get the team in shape for the task ahead.
How have you been coping with screening a large number of players?
Yeah, we have been having a smooth screening exercise and this has been made possible by the capable hands I have as my assistants. They have also been very active in the process and their commitment and dedication have made the job easier.
What can you say about the quality of players you have seen?
I must confess, they are all of high quality. I have always believed that in Nigeria, there are lots of talents only waiting to be given the chance to express themselves. It also shows that we have quality players in our league. Most of the players screened play for various teams in the domestic league and I am not disappointed with what I saw in camp.
So what is the next stage after the screening exercise?
We are going to conclude the screening by Friday (last weekend), then we would have selected those we believe have what it takes to be in the team and then we bring in some foreign based players to join them in fighting for shirts in the team.
How are you looking forward to the game against Gabon in February?
We are looking forward to the match with high expectations. We hope to be ready for the match, to get a team that will do the job and from there, we can go on.
Super Eagles failed to qualify for AFCON 2013, is this putting you under any pressure?
No, I am not under any pressure as far as the job is concerned. All I have to do is to settle down and get the job done and like I said with those assisting me, we are making progress and we hope to make Nigerians happy by giving them the desired results, so there is no pressure whatsoever.