Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Jennifer Okoye on Nigeria's 2-0 loss to Croatia.





Jennifer Okoye obviously wasn't happy with Nigeria's 2-0 loss to Croatia.She explains what she thinks went wrong and what should be done.

Post match reaction- Jane Nweze on Nigeria's loss to Croatia




Jane Nweze, who is in Russia and was at the Super Eagles game against Russia drops her 20 kobo on the loss, what she thinks went wrong and what the Eagles need to do to get back on track.

Agree or disagree?

You can follow her on Twitter @JaneONweze

Monday, June 18, 2018

Russia Diaries II - Eagles downed, Visa/Mastercard wahala and more

Touch down Kalinigrad
 Match Day was cool, had to wake up early to do some interviews with a few Nigeria stations ( I go soon begin charge, Russia expensive) breakfast and then a dash to the airport for the flight to Kalinigrad where the Eagles were due to play Croatia.


Oh! I promised to tell y’all about how one of us almost got deported yeah?….

Well turns out that her FAN ID read her gender as ‘male’ instead of ‘female’. The guys at the Russian Immigration were threatening to put her back on the plane.

Wasn’t a nice sight at all but kudos to the representative of the Nigerian Immigration Service who was able to sort the issue out and she was able to join us at the bus park.

How dem go say you fly half way across the world and then you go begin go house? No be her portion lai lai.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Russia Diaries 1- Of jet-lag, DM sliding and more



I should have done this two days ago but a whole lotta factors militated against my daily Russia diary. 
Flying halfway across the world to Russia is a challenge and then there is the stress of connecting flights, navigating airports, time zones and jet-lag.

Typing this is a struggle but I promised a few folks I was gonna do this so here we go.

Two weeks ago I had given up on coming to Russia to cover the tournament. My sponsors started giving me excuses. Las las rug was pulled under my feet. I was disappointed and started making arrangements to follow the game at home.

I missed the 2014 edition in Brazil due to ill-health and other personal reasons and I was sad that 2018 was going to pass me by.

Nigeria vs Croatia: Player ratings

I had a very long day yesterday. The logistics to cover this World Cup na die....Wait this isn't about that.
My man Emeka Ezeibe came up with his player ratings for the Nigeria v Croatia game. If you done with church and have calmed down a bit then please read this.
Do you agree or disagree?
Hit him up on Twitter -@emekaezeibe and continue the convo there.
FRANCIS UZOHO: Was decent and composed through out the game. Couldn't do much to prevent the goals and was barely tested. 6.
ABDULLAHI SHEHU:Didn’t improve much from his last two games and seems to be the weakest link at the back. One wonders why Tyrone didn’t get to start the match. 4
BRYAN IDOWU: Was solid and pushed forward at times. Wasn’t really disturbed by the Croatians. 5
LEON BALOGUN:Had a much more improved game compared to the friendlies. Was solid and composed at the back. His best game from the last two he played. 6
WILLIAM TROOST: A below par performance.The low point of his game was wrestling down Mandzukic for the resultant penalty kick.Flop of the match in my opinion. 2

WILFRED NDIDI: Moved back and fort with timely interceptions. 
An invaluable asset to the team. Provided enough shield for the two center backs. 7.

OGHENEKARO ETEBO:Was outstanding,tackled and dribbled with finesse. Was the most inspiring and motivated pushing forward. Lifted his game after the own goal but was let down by his team mates.Man of the match. 8.5
ALEX IWOBI: Did well to control the ball on few occasions he pushed forward. Not one of his best matches but should have finished the match in his preferred role. 6
MIKEL OBI: Played out of position and was not able to distribute his trademark long ball upfront. Seems lethargic at times. 5

VICTOR MOSES:Was more of a falling spree for him.Lacked his usual ball control and intelligence.His final touch was awful to say the least. 3.5
ODION IGHALO:Was isolated through out the game save for a weak header in the second half. 4
IHEANACHO, NWANKWO & MUSA:Didn’t see much of the ball or make an impact as the team had already become downcast from the goals conceded. 6

EXTRA NOTES: Mikel shouldn’t play upfront again as he was ineffectual.

Ighalo should be dropped for Iheanacho.
Croatia not that superb after all;but we lost.
Gernot Rohrs inability to define midfield duo or trio caused us the match.
We are Height disadvantaged.



FINAL NOTE:Our next match is a must win and loosing this match is either a Kiss of Death or we've finally Kissed the competition good bye.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Nigeria v Czech Republic- Player Ratings 2

Alex Iwobi was Nigeria star of the show as Husbauer, Sourcek and Barak struggled to stifle him and Abdullahi had a day to forget for Nigeria.

    

Uzoho Francis- Preferred to Daniel Akpeyi, he had a lot to do in the first half of the game, making a lot brilliant save to keep the score even as he denied Patrik Schick from a close range. There was little he could do to prevent the opening goal as he once again showed his brilliant reflexes and pull off a glorious save from Tomas Soucek header but Tomas Kalas was in position to hit home the rebound. 7/10

Troost-Ekong- Marshalled the back three impeccably and made a couple of important blocks and clearance, but a bit shaky when contesting for aerial balls. 6


Leon Balogun- Not best of a display expected from the Mainz defender, he was uneasy, shaky and frequently rushed off his feet; was not comfortable with what was thrown at him but manage to win some duels against Schick. 6/10

John Oguh- Though he was slotted to the left-hand side of the 3man defence which Rohr employed in the first half. Though some clumsy passes from him he was rarely troubled and looked assured when needed; he formed a crucial part of the defence and was a threat in the Czech box. He was unlucky not to have scored from a set piece as he floats his header just over the bar and a call for a penalty as he was hauled down in the box. 6.5/10

Abdullahi Shehu- Never really got into his stride; was always found wanting in his position and also lacks the pace going forward.
Was kept on the back foot until he was replaced by Tryonne. 4/10

Bryan Idowu- Quiet going forward and a little clumsy defensively. Presented with the chance to assist Ighalo for Nigeria's equaliser but he rather took the chance himself and his effort on goal was over the crossbar. 5/10

Wilfred Ndidi: Was asked to stifle and break-up play which he ultimately tried to do. There were some wayward passes from which can be excused for the fact he is returning from injury. he was unlucky not to have gotten the equaliser when his ferocious shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Tomas Vaclik. 6/10

Mikel Obi- Tried to dictate the midfield tempo with some busting run down the middle of the park. He linked up well with Iwobi and later Tyronne but was unfortunate that Idowu couldn't get anything out of his run into the box with the ball. Sometime slow in decision making and holding too much on the ball. 5.5/10

Victor Moses- Showed glimpses of quality and, occasionally, nimble footwork but was sloppy in possession. He tends to do the most simple things in a difficult way. Another frustrating outing for the Nigerian wide man. 4/10

Alex Iwobi- The best player on the pitch. Displayed guile and class, typified by his willingness to collect the ball from the defence to start attacks and also creating space. Was still running when everybody else was walking.  7.5/10

Odion Ighalo- Hard the most difficult job on the pitch to play as a lone striker but he did linked-up well with Iwobi on few occasions and gave Nigeria constant attacking threat. could have scored had Idowu layed a pass to him. 7/10

Substitutes: 

Tyronne Ebuehi (Abdullahi 46) Was a constant threat down the flank. Had few chances to push forward with good link-up play with Mikel and Ndidi. 6.5/10

Elderson (for Idowu 69);
Had little to offer in the game and barely went forward. His pace was put into test when a pass meant for him was intercepted. 3/10

 Simi Nwankwo (Ighalo 69). Had little to offer as the advantage of his hight was well snuff out by the Czech defenders. 3/10

Ahmed Musa (Moses 79) Had little to offer but his only contribution was when he timed his run too early and was flagged offside by the linesman. NA

Kelechi Iheanacho (Mikel 80) prefered Ighalo over him to start and was ineffective off the bench. NA

Gernot Rohr.
Preferred a 3-4-3/3-5-2 in the first half with little or no effect of his tactical master plan working on the game as his side lacks urgency and quick transition from defence to attack. He quickly changed things up in the 2nd half but was unfortunate not to have gone home with a draw. 5/10

by Guest Writer

Nigeria v Czech Republic- Player ratings.



So we lost to the Czech Republic in our last friendly game before we take on Croatia in our first game at the World Cup.

My guest, Emeka runs the rule on the players and how they rated in the game.

Ratings are out of 10.

By the way we lost 1-0 (not like y'all didn't know)

FRANCIS UZOHO : Unlike his previous matches for the Super Eagles, was composed especially in the first 10 minutes where he usually exhibits some attributes of being jittery.Made some classy saves but should be bold enough to shout at his defenders when they are disorganized. 7.5.                                         

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Super Eagles World Cup funding; A plea to the Federal Government.

Super Eagles World Cup funding; A plea to the Federal Government.


So for a very long time, the NFF has been able to sort out all issues related to bonuses and allowances for the Super Eagles as they head out to a major tournament.

I spoke to a few players and they told me they have been briefed and told exactly what is due to them and the backlog of the monies has been cleared.

What this means is that we won't see any issue like 2014 when Ghana had to fly in dollars to share with their players a night before a game. There will be no murmuring and fights over remuneration.

All the players have to do is go on the pitch and do the business.

That being said, the NFF needs all the monies they can lay their hands to on to sort out other sundry issues that have to do with Nigeria's World Cup participation.

I nicked piece off someone and decided to publish because it encapsulates my thinking as Nigeria head into the Mundial.

Some parts were edited but the core of the article remains.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

5 lessons from England v Nigeria by Jennifer Okoye



My friend and colleague Jennifer Okoye of Jay FM Jos  makes her debut on my blog today.

She serves us lessons she picked up from Nigeria's international friendly with England.

Her take:

The Super Eagles didn't perform well against The Three Lions of England in their second friendly game ahead of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup starting on the 14th of June.

England defeated Nigeria by 2-1, with goals from Garry Cahil in the 7th minute and Harry Kane on 39thminutes while the only goal from the Super Eagles came through Alex Iwobi at the 47th minute in the second half.

Player ratings- Nigeria v England by Yema Olanrewaju


My good friend and youth coach Yema Olanrewaju is here as a guest writer and he gives his 20 kobo on the Nigerian side v England.

Yema, as I love to call him is a former Kwara United, Ocean boys and Crown FC midfielder

He rates the players out of ten in a game Nigeria lost 2-1.

Here we go
--------------
Uzoho - The young keeper has begun to gain Nigerians confidence. He did far above average and one of our best performers today. 7/10

A game of two halves: England vs Nigeria

So we lost 2-1 to England at Wembley on Saturday in an international friendly to prepare the Super Eagles for the World Cup.

Uzoho saves of Raheem Sterling. Picture credit Guardian UK.
The first half was painful to watch as England ran the show and picked us up easily. They could have scored four goals before the break but for some good goalkeeping by Francis Uzoho and profligacy by the English attack led by Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.

Nigeria never got started at all. We never did until the second half and by then, the damage was done already.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Salisu calls Omoyele, Ashadi, Nwakali, 20 others for friendly with Atletico



Ahead of Tuesday’s glamour friendly match with newly –crowned Europa League kings, Atletico Madrid FC of Spain at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Super Eagles’ B Head Coach Salisu Yusuf has invited 23 players, among them highly –rated Plateau United striker Tosin Omoyele and Katsina United defender Destiny Ashadi.

 

There were also call-ups for Akwa United FC goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo, Enyimba FC forward Isiaka Oladuntoye, FC IfeanyiUbah defender Adeleye Olamilekan and Lobi Stars’ duo of Olufemi Kayode and Ebube Duru.

A sprinkle of foreign –based actors, including the nimble –footed Alhassan Ibrahim, former U17 World Cup –winning captain Musa Muhammed and the Nwakali brothers (Chidiebere and Kelechi) was also included.

 
All invited players are expected to arrive at the Bolton White Apartments Hotel, Abuja on Friday, 18th May before the contingent moves to Uyo at the weekend.


INVITED PLAYERS


Goalkeepers

Olufemi Kayode (Lobi Stars)
Olorunleke Ojo (Akwa United)
Olufemi Thomas (Rangers International)

Defenders
Musa Muhammed (Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
Stanley Okoroma (MFM FC)
Ebube Duru (Lobi Stars)
Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC)

Adeleye Olamilekan (FC IfeanyiUbah)
Austin Opara (MFM FC)
Isiaka Oladuntoye (Enyimba FC)
Chinedu Ajana (Katsina United)

Midfielders


Raphael Ayagwa (Plateau United)
Destiny Ashadi (Katsina United)

Kelechi Nwakali (MVV Maastricht, Netherlands)
Alhassan Ibrahim (FK Austrian Wien)
Chidiebere Nwakali (Aberdeen FC, Scotland)
Usman Mohammed (Norway)
Dayo Ojo (Sunshine Stars)

Attackers
Emem Eduok (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey)
Sadiq Umar (NAC Breda, Netherlands)
Tosin Omoyele (Plateau United)
Kadiri Samadi (Lobi Stars)
Ibrahim Alhassan (Kano Pillars)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Nasarawa go down fighting in Jos


Nasarawa United was unable to live up to pre-match billings as Plateau United ran victorious in Jos.

The match day 21 fixture came alive as early as the 8th minutes when the centre referee, Isaac Ogaba pointed to the spot when Ibrahim Sanusi clattered into Reuben Bala in the area.


Former player Bature Yaro stood up to give his side an early lead as the solid miners poured men forward but were unable to get the needed equalizer as the first half ended with Plateau United slightly in front with Seun Sogbeso injury the major highlight of the first half after the goal.

On resumption of the second stanza, Nasarawa United managed to string some beautiful passes together with Nwani Ikechuchwu the main threat to the Plateau United defence.