Nations Cup

Nigeria Football Federation told to pay up former assistant coach Okpala’s outstanding entitlements

Former national team assistant Okpala was sacked by the NFF

Former national team assistant Okpala was sacked by the NFF

The House of Representatives Committee on Sports has waded into the Nigeria Football Federation’s misunderstanding with former Super Eagles assistant coach, Sylvanus Okpala and has asked the football federation to pay the dismissed tactician his outstanding financial entitlements.

The Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Ayo Omidiran, while criticizing the NFF for not paying Okpala his entitlements, revealed that she had not come in contact with the ex-international’s petition to the Committee.

Omidiran stated that if she had been aware of the petition, she would have ensured the matter was amicably resolved without recourse to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), were Okpala has resorted to in his quest for justice.

”If I had seen his petition nothing would have made him to petition the Federation to CAS because we would have resolved it once and for all,” the lawmaker told Vanguard.

“The truth is that NFF should pay him all his dues, and I can assure you that once I see the petition action would be taken and Okpala will withdraw his petition to CAS.

“He should not have gone that far but that is the highest arbitration body in sports administration in the world, I know that once we step in, he would withdraw the petition.”


German legend Hitzfield interacts with top Ghana Football officials

Otmar Hetzfeld with ex Ghana international Tony Baffoe at a seminar in Accra

Otmar Hitzfield with ex Ghana international Tony Baffoe at a seminar in Accra

German coaching legend, Otmar Hizfield,brought his coaching odyssey close to some of the key stakeholders of Ghana football in a two-hour interaction aimed at defining new perspectives for the management of the game in the country.

Hizfield, who has coached the likes of Grasshoopers, Aarau, where he handled players such as former Ghanaian international, Opoku Nti, Borrusia Dortmund and Bayern Munich and now in charge of the Swiss national team, is in the country to officially launch the, a local sports news platform.

Hizfield, one of Europe’s most successful tacticians in contemporary times with 12 European titles under his belt in an entralling moment took his audience down memory lane from his modest beginning when he failed to land a job as a mathematics teacher through the travails of the career to a successful manager.

For him, perseverance and the will to succeed are the key elements that should be the driving force behind every football ambition, and that African teams needed them most if they wanted to reach the ultimate at the global football stage.

“African teams are technically and tactically efficient, but the will to succeed is always lacking at the crucial stage.

“When they beat the big teams they are carried away by such minor accomplishments. We saw it when Cameroun defeated Argentina, the defending champions at the World Cup in 1990, and Algeria also beat Germany in 1982, but they all failed to reach the finals.

“The difference is that the big teams are driven by the desire to reach the ultimate and are not moved by minor achievements,” he stated.


Former Ghana coach Barreto gets the nod as coach of Ethiopia

Former Ghana coach Mariano Barreto

Former Ghana coach Mariano Barreto

Former Ghana coach Mariano Barreto has been appointed as the new Ethiopian coach with immediate effect.

The Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) announced on Tuesday that the Portuguese will take over from Sewnet Bishaw who was sacked in early February.

EFF settled on Barreto from a shortlist of five coaches that had been drawn from the initial 27 who applied for the job.

Barreto coached Ghana between 2003-2004 then coached CS Maritimo between 2004-2005.

In 2005 he moved to Al Nasr, then moved on to Naval between 2006-2007.

Mariano then moved to AL Qudisiyah in 2011S.

Should the EFF fail to agree on the salary with Mariano, they would consider settling for Serbian Zoran Pilipovic.


NFF debunks sacked Nigeria assistant coach Okpala’s rants

Okpala was sacked as assistant coach of the Super Eagles

Okpala was sacked as assistant coach of the Super Eagles

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reacted strongly to Sylvanus Okpala for comments he made in a recent interview that insinuated that the Federation’s President made rude comments about the President Goodluck Jonathan in the saga that followed his sack from the national team’s technical team.

Okpala said in an interview that NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari had boasted that not even President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR can compel him (Maigari) to return him (Okpala) to the Super Eagles.

The claim has clearly not gone down well with the bigwigs at the glass house, with the General Secretary of the Federation Musa Amadu registering his disappointment at the comments which he described as a immature effort to blackmail the NFF President.

“Mr Sylvanus Okpala must come out clearly to tell the world at which forum the NFF President made such a statement. It is infuriating that a former employee of the NFF would go to that length to try and blackmail the NFF President and the Executive Committee,” Amadu said.

“Mr. Okpala’s statement was wholly in bad faith and was a poor attempt at showcasing the NFF President in bad light. Alhaji Maigari is universally known to be, as a result of his background, respectful of persons in authority and would never issue such a statement.

“The NFF is taken aback that Mr. Okpala also went ahead to say that the NFF killed his mother! How could we have done that? I remember quite well that when Mr. Okpala lost his dear mother, the NFF issued a condolence message and even sent him a letter of condolence.”

Amadu recalled the months before Okpala was employed as Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles, when he persistently asked the NFF to intervene in his contractual dispute with his then employers, Rangers International Football Club of Enugu.

“The NFF President and members of the Executive Committee and Management went all out to back Mr. Okpala in his case. It is regrettable that the same man can turn around to be painting the NFF in bad light,” Amadu continued.

“He is commenting on a case that is in court, which leaves him open to contempt. The NFF never wanted to comment on this matter but for the misconduct of Mr. Okpala in bringing the name of President Goodluck Jonathan into this matter.”


Eritrea withdraws from CAF AFCON 2015 qualifiers

Eritrea has withdrawn from AFCON 2015 qualifiers

Eritrea has withdrawn from AFCON 2015 qualifiers

CAF has announced Eritrea’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers.

They were due to play newcomers South Sudan in one of two preliminary round fixtures in April. South Sudan now proceed to the next qualifying round.

The East African country has a history of players defecting on international duties with the national teams.

Seventeen players from the Eritrean squad, plus the team doctor, absconded at the 2012 East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda.

In 2011, 13 Eritrean players sought asylum in Tanzania after the same tournament, while 12 members of the Eritrea squad disappeared and sought asylum in Kenya during the regional tournament in 2009.

Four Eritrean athletes also left their base and sought political asylum in Britain after the London Olympics in 2012.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 Eritreans flee the small east African country every month, a United Nations report said last year. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)


Friendly between Senegal- Kosovo scheduled for Geneva

The Teranga Lions of Senegal

The Teranga Lions of Senegal

Senegal will play a friendly against Kosovo with the match scheduled May 23 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Kosovo will be playing their second ever friendly match against the Teranga Lions after playing their first against Haiti on March 5, ending in a goalless draw.

The Kosovo FA is neither a member of Fifa or Uefa. The team is managed by Kosovar football manager Albert Bunjaki since May 2009.

Senegal are preparing for the qualifiers of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations having failed to qualify for the upcoming Fifa World Cup in Brazil.


Botswana to host 2014 COSAFA Cup competition

COSAFA Cup competition

COSAFA Cup competition

This year’s COSAFA Cup competition will be staged in Botswana, making it fourth country to stage the event since the finals switched to a tournament format in 2007.

The competion is scheduled to take place from September 13 to 28, in between the qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco to give coaches maximum time to work with their home-based players.

The Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) this week received confirmation from the country’s Ministry of Sport that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) had approved their application to stage the event.

It builds on the country’s successful hosting of the Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships in 2010 and 2011 and will provide Botswana with the opportunity to showcase their ability to host a continental championship.

“We are delighted as the Botswana Football Association to have been given an opportunity by Cosafa to host this regional tournament which represents the largest regional constituency of CAF. We are particularly delighted with the support that His Excellency Lt Gen Ian Khama Seretse Khama has given to sports in Botswana, particularly football. We commit to raise the bar in terms of delivery of this tournament,” says BFA President Tebogo Sebego.

Timothy Shongwe, chairman of Cosafa’s Competitions Committee, says they have full faith in Botswana’s ability to deliver a world-class event.

“We are delighted to have Botswana confirmed as the venue for the 2014 Cosafa Cup. Botswana has a proven record of hosting regional championships and the facilities are excellent. Most importantly the 2014 Cosafa Cup has the support of the Botswana Government and in particular President Ian Khama. We look forward to another fantastic tournament that will showcase the developing talent in the Southern African region,” Shongwe says.

The format of the competition will be the same as the successful event staged by Zambia in 2013.

A total of 14 teams, which is likely to include at least one guest nation from elsewhere on the continent, will compete with the eight lowest ranked sides according to the Fifa World rankings at the time playing a round-robin group stage to start.

The top two teams in each pool will advance to the quarterfinals, where they will be met by the six best positioned sides in the World Rankings and the competition will continue in a knockout format with a total of 23 games to be played.


Tunisia appoints former Belgium manager Georges Leekens as national team coach

Newly appointed Tunisia coach Georges Leeekens

Newly appointed Tunisia coach Georges Leeekens


Former coach of Belgium, Georges Leekens has agreed a two yeat deal to take charge of the Tunisia’s national team, according to the football federation of the country.

Tunisia will begin their preliminaries in September for next year’s African Nations Cup finals in Morocco and leekens first task will be to ensure that the Carthage Eagles make it through the qualifying stage.

The 64-year-old Leekens coached Belgium for two separate spells, first leading them to the 1998 World Cup and then taking charge again from 2010 to 2012 when he suddenly quit to take over at Club Bruges.

He was also briefly coach of Algeria for six games in 2003.


Tension intensifies as Nigeria Football Federation queries Coach Stephen Keshi

Coach Stephen Keshi

Coach Stephen Keshi

The Nigeria Football Federation has queries Super Eagles head coach Stephen after he failed to attend an event hosted by president Jonathan Goodluck and also missing a technical committee meeting.

The Nigerian football body issued a letter to the national team coach, seeking an explanation for going home earlier than agreed which resulted in him missing the reception for the CHAN 2014 squad hosted at the president’s villa in February.

He then spoke at the TomTom Editors’ Roundtable held in Lagos this week – without permission from the NFF – and missed a technical committee held on Tuesday.

“It is important we draw your attention to previous actions whereby you travel out of Nigeria without NFF’s express permission,” read the NFF letter to Keshi.

“Specifically, you travelled out of Nigeria before 13 February 2014, the day President Jonathan received the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) team, causing us huge embarrassment.

“Your request for leave approved by the NFF was from 15 February – 10 March 2014 but you left before 13 February and returned 26 March.

“The Technical Committee meeting on 25 March was called off because you said you had flight hitches from USA.

“As a responsible organisation, we have no other option than to issue you a query to explain how all these events unfolded.”

The relationship between the Nigerian football body and their Eagles coach has been tense since the side lifted the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.


Egypt beats Morocco to lift 2014 UNAF U-17 trophy

UNAF Cup competition

UNAF Cup competition

Egypt has been crowned winners of the 2014 North African Football Union (UNAF) U-17 Tournament after beating hosts Morocco 3-1 in the final.

The Young Pharaohs humbled the hosts to claim the ultimate during the zonal union’s cadet championship held from 21 to 23 March 2014.

Egypt went up on 18 minutes through Hossam Adel before Mohamed Hamdy doubled the lead on 35 minutes. Zouhair Idriss pulled one back for the Moroccans on the stroke of half time but Mohamed Alaa took the game beyond them by converting a spot kick four minutes from time of the encounter held at the Prince Moulay El Hassan Sports Complex in Rabat.

In the third place match, Tunisia accounted for Libya 2-0 to snatch bronze.

Four teams took part in the four-day championship organized by UNAF. Only Algeria were absent.

21/03 : Morocco 2-1 Libya
21/03 : Egypt 4-1 Tunisia

Third-place match
23/03 : Tunisia 2-0 Libya

23/03 : Morocco 1-3 Egypt

The U-20 UNAF Championship also recently took place from 18 to 21 March.

Senegal won the tournament ending on top of the group thanks to their narrow wins over Libya and Tunisia.

18/03 : Senegal 1-0 Libya
19/03 : Tunisia 1-2 Morocco
21/03 : Senegal 1-0 Tunisia
21/03 : Libya 2-1 Morocco

  1. Senegal 6 pnts
  2. Morocco 3 pnts
  3. Libya 3 pnts
  4. Tunisia 0 pnts


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