Nations Cup

German trainer Gernot Rohr steps down as coach of Niger

Rohr has resigned as coach of Niger

Rohr has resigned as coach of Niger

Gernot Rohr has resigned as Niger national coach after accepting the blame for the poor results that sees them lying bottom of their qualifying group for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

The 61-year-old German – who spent the majority of his career either playing or coaching in France and guided Bordeaux to the 1996 Uefa Cup final – added their cause would have been helped no end if his employers had been more amenable to his demands as to how best to prepare the team.

“We haven’t won many… thus I have tendered my resignation to Fenifoot (the Niger football federation),” he said.

“I am the most responsible for these bad results. But I am not happy either with the means placed at my disposition to prepare the team, notably logistically.”
Rohr, who has been in charge since September 2012 but asked to stay on when his contract terminated in August this year, said he left on good terms.

“As I did not have a strong hand of cards I asked the Niger football bosses to let me leave and we came to a mutual agreement.

“I leave on friendly terms with Niger,” added Rohr, who formerly coached another African national side Gabon.

Niger, who qualified for the previous two Africa Cup of Nations, have garnered just two points from their qualifying matches and meet Cape Verde in their next game in November and round the qualifiers off at home to Mozambique.


Nigeria is ready to host AFCON 2015 – NFF veep declares

AFCON 2015

AFCON 2015

Nigeria could host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations if Morocco pull out of staging the continent’s biggest football showpiece due to fears over the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease, according to vice president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Seyi Akinwunmi.

With Morocco yet to confirm whether they will let go the opportunity to host the tournament, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has already written to a few countries including Ghana and Egypt to ask if they can host the Cup of Nations.

The North African country is asking CAF to postpone the tournament to a later date instead of its present January/February schedule but the governing body is not ready to.

And Nigeria could throw her hat in the ring to stage the tournament despite fears of the possibility of teams from Ebola-ravaged countries qualifying for the competition and bringing along their supporters.

Africa’s largest country was certified Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation on Monday, six weeks after the last case of the disease was reported and this could prompt renewed interest from international organizations.

“I think we are interested [in hosting the Afcon],” new NFF vice president Seyi Akinwunmi was quoted on Goal on Monday.

“It is not strictly the purview of the NFF alone but we have been asked [if we can host the competition] and we have said yes, why not?

“I think that the National Sports Commission or the Federal Government is looking at the possibility of hosting the tournament,” said Akinwunmi who disclosed that CAF had not yet written to Nigeria.

South Africa have already turned down the opportunity to host the tournament with Safa president Danny Joordan saying: “The Afcon 2015 tournament will not be held here. That issue doesn’t exist. Caf must discuss this matter with Morocco.”

With the Super Eagles struggling to qualify for the 2015 tournament, hosting the competition would give them automatic qualification to defend the title they won in South Africa last year.

It could also be a way for Nigeria to show its leadership role on the continent after successfully curtailing the spread of the disease, something for which it has already earned the praise of the international community.


NFF boss Amaju Pinnick reveals reason for sacking Stephen Keshi as national team coach

NFF president Amaju Pinnick

NFF president Amaju Pinnick

Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Pinnick, has said that the decision of the NFF to sack Stephen Keshi and his team was in the interest of Nigerians.

Former Coach, Keshi had been widely criticised for the poor performance of the national team in the qualifying games for the African Nations cup.

However, following a 3-1 home win against Sudan on Wednesday and a hostile attitude towards the coach, the NFF executive committee, on Thursday, released a statement, announcing the sack of the coach.

“We did that because we saw a lot of things that had happened in the past, there were issues that bothered about security, from the beginning of the game, we saw that a hero in Keshi was booed from the beginning of the match.

The NFF President also stated that security agents had to interfere because at the end of the match people were running to the pitch.

“We took all this decision to save him and let him know that he’s a hero and should remain a hero.”

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr. Pinnick mentioned that the last NFF administration had concluded on signing Amodu Shuaibu as the Technical Director of the football federation and he is just to manage the remaining two matches.

He also suggested that the former coach and his administration could go for a refresher courses anywhere which would be sponsored by the NFF, adding that in the future this would help him if he decides to come back as Eagles coach.

Mr. Pinnick apologised to the fans for the steps taken, “It is not a decision that is primordial based or playing to the gallery but looking at documentations as it relates to the way forward.”

Mr. Pinnick also noted that Keshi would be paid all outstanding entitlement within two weeks. He debunked the reports making the rounds that the Super Eagles players played for Keshi and not Nigeria.


Newcastle makes provisions for Ebola crisis with African duo set to play in AFCON 2015

Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse

Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has revealed the club are making provisions for their Africa Cup of Nations hopefuls amid growing concerns over the Ebola crisis.

Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote and Senegal striker Papiss Cisse have been taking part in qualifiers for the finals – which are scheduled to take place in Morocco from January 17 to February 8 – this week.

However, with concerns currently being raised about the safety of players, officials and fans alike, Pardew admits the club have taken precautions.

He said: “We would be naive not have concerns. We have a strategy for when they return and making sure they and their families are taken care of.

“They are essential to us and our doctor has looked into the problems that might arise and also protection for them, and to make sure we do our very best to help them.”

Whether or not the finals go ahead in Morocco as planned remains to be seen, as CAF is said to have contacted Ghana and South Africa as possible venues should Morocco pull out.


Morocco denies pulling out as hosts of 2015 AFCON tournament


Morocco are the hosts of AFCON 2015

Morocco are the hosts of AFCON 2015


The North African country however insists that they still want the tournament postponed, forcing a conflict with organisers.

The Confederation of African Football has maintained its stance that the tournament, to be held between January 17 and February 8, must go ahead as planned.

The ebola virus has claimed more than 4,000 lives since the start of the year, and with around a million spectators expected to travel to watch the tournament, Morocco sports minister Mohamed Ouzzine reiterated the country’s desire to for a postponement.

“Our concern is the health of Africa, and based on WHO [World Health Organisation] reports and guidelines, we have to listen,” he said.

“Zero safety does not exist, but one has to take the necessary precautions so that the coming tournament will be a football feast, bringing together our African brothers, but given the current ebola situation we don’t think such a feast can take place as expected.

“I don’t think there is any state or any country that has the necessary capabilities to monitor, check and control the current ebola situation when faced with these numbers. This is our real problem. We don’t have a problem with visiting teams, we have a problem with visitors.”

It is believed at least two other countries have been asked if they can step in at short-notice if Morocco refuses to host on the original dates.

One is believed to be South Africa, who hosted the 2010 World Cup, while Ghana’s sports minister Mahama Ayariga wrote on his official Facebook page that they have been approached.

“CAF wrote to us and indicated that Morocco had given strong indications they would pull out if CAF did not change the date,” Ayariga wrote. “They are writing to a number of countries that they think have the capacity to be an alternative venue in the event of Morocco actually pulling out.”


Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp question’s CAF’s decision to host 2015 AFCON amid ebola crisis

Dortmund striker Aubameyang

Dortmund striker Aubameyang

​Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has called on the organisers of the Africa Cup of Nations to take the Ebola crisis seriously.

The spread of the Ebola virus in Africa has thrown the 2015 AFCON tournament into doubt, with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) rejecting a request from host nation Morocco to postpone the competition.

Despite the Ebola outbreak, qualifiers for the tournament were held across Africa last weekend and on Wednesday.

However, Klopp – whose Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a double in a 2-0 win for Gabon over Burkina Faso last Saturday – believes football should be second in the minds of tournament officials given the current situation.

“I don’t know whether the players think about it [Ebola], but I think a lot about it,” Klopp said.

“I spoke a lot with Auba [Aubameyang] about it, tried to sensitise him of the problem as he was away with his national team.

“Young people are green they don’t think that much about such things.

“I don’t really understand how FIFA or whoever is responsible for that can assume that of all things the borders in Africa are safe enough that no Ebola-infected person can travel to another country. Even here [in Europe] we aren’t able to do that.

“If there is one country in Africa which has the feeling that it can’t host the Cup safely then this has to be the priority, not the Africa Cup.

“You have to take this seriously and can’t shut your eyes. There will be a lot people from all over Africa in Morocco to watch the games and only a few of them would have undergone the best medical checks.”


Keshi reacts to sack: “This is not the end of the world for me”

Coach Stephen Keshi

Coach Stephen Keshi

Ex Nigeria head coach Stephen Keshi has reacted to the Nigeria Football Federation’s decision to sack him, saying it is about time for him to move on.

After an executive committee meeting, the NFF announced that Keshi has been relieved off his duties as national team coach a day after the Super Eagles beat Sudan in the 2015 AFCON qualifiers.

The win was the team’s first so far in the qualifiers after a chain of disappointing results.

However, Keshi speaking at Abuja after the announcement, the Big Boss said: “its about time for me to move on, my dear. This is not the end of the world for me”.

The state has however decided send Keshi and his technical team on a fully funded coaching course in any country of their choice.


Algeria qualify to AFCON 2015 with 100% record so far

Algeria qualify to AFCON 2015

Algeria qualify to AFCON 2015

Algeria qualified for the African Cup of Nations in Morocco next year with an impressive 3-0 win over Malawi in a Group B match at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker on Wednesday night.

The win sees Algeria maintain their perfect record in their qualifying group and have 12 points from four games while Malawi prop up the group with three points.

Mali, despite their 3-2 loss to Ethiopia in Group B’s other match on Wednesday, are still second with six points while Ethiopia are third with three points.

The first goal of Algeria’s game in Blida came after just a minute as Porto’s Yacine Brahimi fired high into the net after a neat one-two with Islam Slimani on the edge of the area.
Riyad Mahrez, who plays for English Premier League side Leicester City, doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time.

He picked up a superb through ball from Sofiane Feghouli before turning inside a defender and finishing with a low shot.

Mahrez then turned provider as his cross was met by Slimani’s head to confirm Algeria’s place at the Nations Cup finals.



Sassi’s late goal earns Tunisia three points against Senegal

Tunisia pip Senegal at home

Tunisia pip Senegal at home

A late, late goal from Ferjani Sassi saw Tunisia snatch a 1-0 victory over Senegal in a Group G, African Cup of Nations qualifier match at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet on Wednesday night.

It was a fast paced start to the game with Senegal playing some free-flowing football and having their first effort on goal in the tenth minute when Stephane Badji fired inches wide from long range.

As the game progressed the away team became more and more confident, but their passing in the final third continued to let them down.

Senegal’s next decent effort on goal came in the 28th minute when Papy Djilobodji met a left-side free-kick from Pape Kouly Diop, but his 12-yard header skimmed the wrong side of the post.
Five minutes later, in a rare foray forward, Tunisia nearly caught Senegal on the break when Wahbi Khazri met a low left-wing cross with a deft touch, but Bouna Coundoul made a good save to deny him from close range.

This video is not available in your region In the 40th minute the Tunisian goalkeeper had to be his best with a fantastic acrobatic save to turn a Papy Djilobodji header around the post after the Senegal man met another free-kick into the box.

The half ended 0-0.

The second 45 saw Senegal continue in the same trend and the came close to the opening goal in the 53rd minute when Moussa Sow met a right wing cross, but his header from six-yards out struck the side-netting.

Three minutes later Pape Kouly Diop tried his luck from 24-yard free-kick, but a fantastic save from Aymen Mathlouthi saw Senegal denied.

On the hour mark Moussa Sow looked certain to score for Senegal when he broke through on goal, but he was denied in a one-on-one with the keeper.

Senegal continued to press forward, but could not find a goal.

Instead, very much against the run of play, Tunisia stole victory when Ferjani Sassi poked home a goalmouth scramble following a corner-kick in the 95th minute of the match

The result sees Tunisia go top of Group G with ten points from four games, three points above Senegal in second place.

Egypt are in third place with six points following their 2-0 win over Botswana earlier on Wednesday.


Stephen Keshi sacked despite Nigeria’s win over Sudan

Stephen has been sacked as coach of Nigeria

Stephen has been sacked as coach of Nigeria

Nigeria on Thursday sacked Stephen Keshi as national team coach, despite his side’s home win against Sudan that kept them in the running to defend their African title.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said after an emergency meeting that former coach Shuaibu Amodu would take temporary charge before a foreign manager is appointed.

The Super Eagles were rock bottom of Group A in qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations after winning just one point in three matches but a 3-1 win against Sudan in Abuja on Wednesday lifted them to third.

Speculation about 52-year-old Keshi’s future has refused to go away since the end of the World Cup finals in Brazil in July, where Nigeria reached the knock-out stages of the competition.
Keshi’s three-year deal ran out after the return from South America while he lost the support of players after much-publicised rows with the likes of Emmanuel Emenike, Peter Odemwingie and Ikechukwu Uche.

His record of five defeats, five draws and just one victory in the last 11 matches has only compounded dissatisfaction and led to calls for him to quit.

In a statement, the NFF said Keshi and his coaching staff had led Nigeria to “glorious accomplishments” in the last three years and called the coach and his assistants “true national heroes”.

“However, in the interest of Nigeria football and the desire to ensure qualification for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals, the (executive) committee decided to relieve them of their duties with immediate effect,” it added.

Unanimous approval was given for a consortium of coaches, led by Amodu, to lead Nigeria in their remaining qualifying matches against Congo and South Africa “after which an expatriate coach will be appointed”.

Amodu’s re-appointment comes four years after he was sacked and stopped from leading the country to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

This will be his fifth stint with the Eagles having first taken charge of the team in 1994.

The 56-year-old will be assisted by El Kanemi Warriors coach Salisu Yusuf, who worked under Samson Siasia both with the Flying Eagles and Super Eagles, and Gbenga Ogunbote of Sharks.

Their immediate task is to secure a win against Congo in Pointe Noire to stay in the reckoning for a place at the Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco in January.

Nigeria have four points from as many matches while Congo are second on seven points. Group leaders South Africa travel to Nigeria for the final qualifying game next month.

Keshi’s sacking comes despite NFF president Amaju Pinnick saying this week that the football association would not rush into a decision over Keshi’s future.

“We want our people to be patient and not stampede the federation to take knee-jerk decisions that will backfire in the end,” he said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Samson Siasia has been named the Under-23 coach. The former international, who last coached the Super Eagles before he was replaced by Stephen Keshi, will be assisted by Farayi Amoo.



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