Match Analyst for Super Eagles

THE Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, will improve the technical crew of the Super Eagles by hiring a match analyst, to assist Stephen Keshi, team’s coach to excel at the FIFA world cup in Brazil.

Keshi specifically pressed NFF to consider employing a match analyst for the technical crew in the World Cup blueprint he submitted to the federation. This will help Nigeria to realise its hopes of making a major impact at the World Cup where it will test its might against Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina in Group F and aspire for a place in the knock-out stage which the Eagles last reached at France ’98.

Chris Green, chairman of the NFF Technical Committee, said the body which met recently expressed confidence in Keshi for surpassing expectations last year and had decided to adopt the coach’s World Cup programme.

The only exception to the programme was the decision of the committee to recommend Mexico as the training camp for Nigeria as against Keshi’s request that the team should camp in either Miami or Houston in the United States of America before the start of the tournament.

The green-light on the role of the analyst will likely pave the way for the reinstatement of Anderson Ogugua, who functioned in that capacity for the team at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa early last year.

Though the Super Eagles clinched the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 1994, the match analyst and some technical staff were sacked by NFF upon the return of the team from South Africa because of spinning costs of running Nigerian football programme.

Though the analyst will work behind the scene, his job will enable Keshi have at his disposal information detailing the technical and tactical ability of Nigeria’s adversaries by procuring their match footage and creating a data base and statistics on their key players.

Mikel Tipped for Glory at GLO-CAF Award

SUPER Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has declared his support for John Mikel Obi to be inducted the next Africa Footballer of the Year for 2013. Mikel is on the CAF three- player final shortlist for the award that will produce the winner at the ceremony in Lagos, on Thursday, January 9. Last year’s winner Yahaya Toure and Didier Drogba, both from Ivory Coast are the other players on the list.

Mikel Obi
Obi

Keshi, who plotted Nigeria’s victory at the Africa Cup of Nations last year in South  Africa, said Mikel’s emergence will compensate for the country’s long wait to reclaim the crown Nwankwo Kanu last won 14 years ago. Before Kanu, who won in 1996 and repeated the feat in 1999, Nigerian players such as Rashidi Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba had won the award.

Keshi, who is also in the frame for the African Coach of the Year, expressed optimism that the wait will finally be rewarded when the CAF Technical and Media Committee poll votes and announce the winner.

“I hope Mikel wins the award as I will be very happy because it has been a long time that any Nigerian player ever won it. But let us hold our breath till January 9”, Keshi told reporters at the weekend after he guided Nigeria to another slim 2-1 win over Ethiopia in a friendly match.”

The Glo-CAF contest is predicted to be a close race between Toure and Mikel. Toure has been sterling for Manchester City this year, scoring nine goals in the English Premier League from an advanced midfield role. But it is Mikel who has enjoyed a steady playing time as the Chelsea midfield enforcer that is in vantage position to spearhead the Nigerian quest.

His stocks have risen since he regulated the order of the Super Eagles play at the Africa Cup of Nations where Nigeria beat Burkina Faso 1-0 to claim their first continental title since 1994. In addition to representing Nigeria at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil in last June, Mikel also contributed to Chelsea’s UEFA Europa League triumph last year.

Moyes’ Grudge Against Referees

DAVID Moyes says Manchester United is “beginning to laugh at referees” for their “terrible” decisions following a third successive loss. Fabio Borini scored from the spot to give Sunderland a 2-1 win in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 after Adam Johnson tumbled in the area.

David Moyes
Moyes

The United manager said his team were “playing referees as well as the opposition”. “It’s really terrible; we’re having to play them as well as the opposition at the moment. They realise we are having a difficult time right now and they are not used to this, but good supporters stick with their team, they stick with their manager”.

Referee Andre Marriner awarded the hosts a 64th-minute penalty on the advice of one of his assistants after Johnson had gone down under Tom Cleverley’s challenge. Earlier, Sunderland had taken a 45th-minute lead when Ryan Giggs scored an own goal before Nemanja Vidic’s header levelled matters soon after the restart. Borini’s penalty gives the Black Cats the upper hand going into the second leg at Old Trafford on January 22.

Earlier this month, Moyes said it was “scandalous” United were not awarded a late penalty in their Premier League defeat by Tottenham at Old Trafford. “How could the linesman give that?” Tuesday’s defeat means United have lost three straight games for the first time since 2001, having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea on Saturday following a 2-1 defeat by Tottenham

Moyes, who succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer, has also seen his side make a difficult start to the Premier League as they sit 11 points behind leaders Arsenal. His predecessor sat alongside former midfielders Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson in the stands at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.

Asked if their presence was an added pressure, he said: “Not at all. Alex is a great sounding-board for me. He is there to help, so is  Sir Bobby.”

Qatar 2022 will the first winter World Cup

Sepp Blatter
Blatter

THE Federation of International Football Association, FIFA, has completely ruled out any prospect of the Qatar 2022 World Cup being played in the summer. Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, had already said the tournament would be in November or December but organisers had still hoped to host it in June and July. Blatter said two months ago that a firm decision on dates for the World Cup will be made in December 2014.

Also, Jerome Valcke, FIFA general secretary, told Radio France that: “The dates for the World Cup (in Qatar) will not be June-July.” According to him, “If you play between 15 November and the end of December, that’s the time when the weather conditions are best, when you can play in temperatures equivalent to a warm spring season in Europe, averaging 25 degrees. That would be perfect for playing football.”

The scheduling of the tournament has been debated since it was controversially awarded to Qatar in December 2010. Fears have been raised that the summer heat in the Gulf emirate would be dangerous for players and fans alike.

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee has indicated it would be happy to switch to a winter World Cup while failed bidders Australia have vowed to seek compensation from FIFA if the 2022 World Cup is played in winter.

Compiled by Vincent Nzemeke

— Jan. 20, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

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