Nigeria will play their final preparatory match against World Cup bound United States of America in Florida.
USA who have been drawn with African side Black Stars of Ghana, will use this encounter against the Super Eagles to prepare for the the team that has knocked them out the two previous World Cups.
The USA Soccer Federation announced on Thursday that the game will be played in Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday June 7.
The Super Eagles who drew goalless with Mexico on Wednesday, have met USA once and lost 3-2 in 1995.
Cameroonian legend Joseph Antoine Bell says he does not like the CHAN and has described as ‘a competition for the weak’.
The Ex Cameroon international is among those who do not see the importance of this competition which saw its 3rd edition competed in January in South Africa with the coronation of Libya.
“Personally, I am against the CHAN. When we speak of excellence, you cannot have two levels. CHAN is for the weak,” said the former Lion indomitable at the launch of the 2nd edition of the African Football Night in Abidjan on Tuesday. “CHAN is open to players of the same age as those of Team A who compete in Afcon. And if they are not called in first team is that they are simply not good. Do you think Ivory Coast will send their CHAN team to the World Cup?,” he asked.
Bell added: “Organizing CHAN is just like organizing a test for those who have failed. And Africa will never win the World Cup by promoting the bottom. It is not Mauritania who cannot qualify for Afcon who will go to the World Cup.”
“It is a football for fun, entertainment. It is not excellence. I hold the same respect for those who play CHAN as well as those practicing football Sundays in Côte d’Ivoire,” he concluded.
Asante Kotoko forward Yahaya Mohammed has signed a pre-contract with Libyan giants Al-Ittihad – an agreement that will see him join the Tripoli-based club for a three-year period beginning next season.
Yahaya, who rejected a GHc40,000 contract extension offer for two years from the porcupine warriors in December last year, jetted into Tripoli on Tuesday morning with a North African agent to sign the three-year agreement in the presence of Mr. Riad al-Juma, Director of football for Al-Ittihad Club.
The Ghana international who turned 26 years on Monday, is not eligible to feature for the 16-times Libyan Premier League Champions yet as the transfer window in the North African country was closed recently. He will officially join his new teammates at the end of the current season.
Yahaya impressed during the 2014 CHAN tournament in South Africa which alerted the North African side to move for his services.
Fifa will send experts to Mali between February 18 and 22 to help the West African country manage its football, officials said on Monday in Bamako.
The mission of the Fifa team is in line with the Performance Programme of the world’s football governing body meant to improve the management of the sport on and off the pitch in member countries.
The Fifa delegation will hold meetings with Malian officials concerning the running of the football federation, the domestic leagues and the national teams – senior, junior and women.
Focus will also be on the organisation of local competitions, communication strategies of the FA and collaboration with external partners like the sports ministry and National Olympic Committee.
The Malian Eagles finished third at the two previous editions of the Africa Cup of Nations but observers say reforms and disciplinary measures are needed to redress the continued instability in the country’s football.
14/2/2014 Algeria 2-0 Morocco
14/2/2014 Zambia 2-1 Tanzania
14/2/2014 Botswana 0-1 Zimbabwe
15/2/2014 Cote d’Ivoire 4-0 Mali
16/2/2014 Burkina Faso vs Ghana
16/2/2014 Egypt vs Tunisia
16/2/2014 Rwanda vs Kenya
*Guinea Bissau vs Senegal
Nigeria vs Sierra Leone*
Ethiopia vs South Sudan*
*Mozambique vs Comoros
The South African Football Association (SAFA) is keen on hiring a new manager for the Bafana Bafana to improve the dwindling fortunes of the national team and Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi is highly being considered for the job.
Disappointed by the early exit of Bafana at the African Nations Championship (CHAN), SAFA is keen to find a replacement for present coach Gordon Igesund and are looking for a credible and experienced trainer who can turn things around from the grassroots like what Keshi has done with players from the Nigerian league.
“We are not happy at all with the performance of our team in a competition that we are hosting. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t even qualify from the group stage,” a SAFA official is reported to have disclosed to Goal.com during the CHAN competition.
“Yes Igesund is a good coach and has tried his best since he was appointed but I think it’s time we bring in somebody from outside to handle our national team like it is done in other countries.”
While there have been rumours about the potential return to South Africa of former coach Carlos Quieroz who is presently in charge of Iran, the Nigerian tactician is also one of the top names being listed for a look in.
“I think there are some coaches SAFA has in mind to contact but honestly speaking it will be nice if Stephen Keshi can handle our team,” the source continued.
“I believe he will achieve with the team, his track records have proved this. You know he qualified Togo to the World Cup although some problems he had with the Football Association there cost him leading the team to the World Cup. Now he has done it again with the Nigerian team.
“So we believe Keshi can do a good job with this team if he agrees. We know he cannot leave his job now but we are targeting talking to him after the World Cup in Brazil,” the source said.
Keshi’s contract with the Nigeria Football Federation which runs until November 2015 has been slated for extension but the trainer could be tempted by a quest for new horizons and greener pastures after being owed salaries for more than six months in 2013.
His immediate task is to impress with the Super Eagles at the World Cup in Brazil.
A top official of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, has blamed coach Stephen Keshi for the inability of the Super Eagles to win the just ended African Nations Championship (CHAN), saying the best home-based players were not taken to the tournament.
Nigeria claimed bronze at the tournament, after they were defeated on penalties by Ghana, but Kwande was left unimpressed with team selection.
“I am impressed with the performance of the Eagles being Nigeria’s first qualification for the Africa Nations Championship,” he told SportingLife. “And to come third in the competition is good, but I think we could have done better knowing fully well that we have better players back home.
“Some of the boys that were brought to the tournament were not actually the best from the home front if we are to be honest with ourselves.”
Kwande was quick to point fingers at first choice goalkeeper and skipper, Chigozie Agbim.
“Look at the case of goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, yes he had some very good saves in the competition but at the same time he only kept twice for his club last season.
“We have two goalkeepers that were rated the best in the Nigeria Premier League last season from Enyimba Football Club and Kano Pillars. None of these goalkeepers were called up by Keshi. We ought to have got a better striker from the local league compared with the ones we paraded in Chan,” Kwande added.
He also suggested that the League Management Company (LMC), should be consulted next time, to ensure the best legs represent Nigeria.
“I think we should work hand in hand with the League Management Company to ensure the best legs in the Nigeria league are recruited for Chan,” Kwande said.
“I know every season we have the best coach, best player of the season and Nigeria Professional League best 11. So, I think we should try and see how we can localise this competition.
“During the Chan competition I was seating with the coach of the first team of Black Stars of Ghana (Kwesi Appiah) and I asked him why he was not on the bench he told me they want to actually localise the tournament.
“He told me he was in South Africa to watch the team and see if he can get more talents from these set of players. He also said the coach that tutored the team in Chan – Maxwell Konadu is from a local team not a national team coach.
“If we are to be honest with ourselves any local coach would have seen all the players because he would have played with all the teams.
“I don’t know and I can’t remember the last time or ever hearing that Keshi has gone round to watch Enyimba Football Club, Kano Pillars or Bayelsa United football clubs play another team. I think we should try and localise this competition more, I believe we will do better.”
The Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) are determined to go ahead with their decision to hire a foreign technical assistant despite Super Eagles coach,Stephen Keshi’s disapproval.
It was reported last week that the NFF made their proposal to make the appointment to Keshi but he inturn demanded for the reinstatement of Sylvanus Okpala,who was sacked last year by the NFF,a proposal that was turned down.
The NFF however insists that Keshi needs technical support if Nigeria were to do well at the World Cup in Brazil,citing examples of matches that the Super Eagles failed to win.
A meeting was scheduled between the NFF and Keshi on Monday to convey their decision,but it would no longer hold as the coach has travelled to the United States of America without formally informing officials of the federation.
“We were not formally informed of his trip because we wanted to meet him on Monday(today) and tell him about our findings for the World Cup,” a member of the NFF is reported to have told Vanguard Sports, a Nigerian newspaper .
“We want to do well in the World Cup and we strongly feel that he needs a technical assistant,’’ the member said, adding, “it is about Nigeria and not individual aspirations. We want to break the African record of a quarterfinal berth in the World Cup and from all indications we know that Keshi needs a help. He will still lead the technical crew to Brazil and will remain the head coach. But we just want to attach somebody to him for the sake of improving Nigeria’s lot in the World Cup.”
Another source at the NFF also said that: “a new hand could ask questions about certain things that may eventually help the team. Chigozia Agbim, for example, kept only two matches for his club throughout the season and has recently been dropped by his club, Enugu Rangers who registered four goal keepers and found him not good enough to be among their keepers.”
“That’s the keeper Keshi used in the CHAN competition and he embarrassed the country. That cannot happen in football nations. We don’t fold our arms while somebody leads us astray. If you closely watch our league you will find out that those who played CHAN in South Africa were not our best, some may not even make the second team of the bests in our league. We want to be sure that we make a true representation of the current best of Nigerian football in Brazil and a new hand may not give in to the kind of sentiments that we have noticed in the team now.”
South African Football Association (Safa) President, Danny Jordan has announced that after a three-day lekgotla of NEC members,the association will embark on a major overhaul.
“We have thrown away the drawing board and starting on a new slate,” said Dr Jordaan. “If we are to have a national team that can compete with the best in the world, then we have to strengthen development at all levels in order to produce players capable of beating the best in the world.”
He said that the lekgotla had acknowledged that women’s football has not been receiving the attention it deserved. “We will be working harder to identify and develop promising young women to help them achieve their full potential,” he said.
Jordaan said that the lekgotla had decided on several steps to ensure the success of the programme.
A team from Safa will engage with the Minister of Sport, universities and school sports governing bodies to decide on practical steps to strengthen youth teams. “We intend to place considerable emphasis on school sport and junior leagues,” he said.
The first of the new inter-provincial tournaments will take place from March 28 to March 31 in Moruleng in the North West. This will be for under-17 boys.
The under-19 boy’s tournament will take place in Bloemfontein between April 27 and May 2.
The under-19 women’s event will take place between August 4 and August 9 in Modimolle, Limpopo.
Safa intends to create footballing academies in all nine provinces. “We are able to do this with the co-operation of government at all levels,” said Jordaan. “The first of these academies is already established in Kwa-Zulu Natal.”
Jordaan said: “I am aware that there is speculation surrounding Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund. “I read in the news that this coach or that coach is coming to take over from Gordon. Well, I want to say that, at the moment, there is no vacancy.”
Dennis Mumble, Safa’s chief executive, who has been charged with implementing the changes said that it will be a costly exercise.
“We will fund this by approaching our sponsors, working with government at all levels, by seeking assistance from Fifa and CAF and the National Lotteries Board.
“We are confident that this money will be found because it is so obviously important to all of South Africa. The future of South African football is riding on this if we are to achieve our objective of consistently being among the top three teams in Africa and the top 20 in the world.”
Key messages are:
• An increased emphasis on the development of youth teams and women’s football.
• The reintroduction of inter-provincial tournaments for men and women
• Tightening of lower league regulations to improve standards.
• The creation of football academies in all nine provinces
• A major training programme for scouts and coaches to enhance their abilities to improve talent identification across the country
• A greater emphasis on scientific research to improve player performance. Part of this programme will be in partnership with the University of Johannesburg and other institutions of higher learning.
• The strengthening our club licensing system to ensure proper governance and to promote development within the club itself.
Zimbabwe coach Ian Gorowa believes CHAN 2014 has exposed his players to the fact that they can compete and beat West African opponents.
The Warriors never lost a game in their group, having drawn with Morocco and Uganda and beating Burkina Faso. They defeated Mali in the quarterfinal and went down to Libya after penalties in the semifinal. They then lost narrowly to Nigeria in the match for the bronze medal.
“I told the boys that we need to come home from CHAN on February 2 and we did that. I think overall we did well by lasting this long,” coach Ian Gorowa in a media interview after the tournament.
“I think we learnt a lot from CHAN and we have seen that we can compete with these West Africans. I think the fear factor is a big one; that has gone now. Whether we play Mali, Burkina Faso or Nigeria or whoever, if we apply ourselves, then we have a chance of winning.
“CHAN, for us, has firstly opened doors for the players and secondly it has opened up our eyes to show that we can compete. We had three West African opponents so this was good for us to get a big test.
“Even if you look at our loss to Nigeria, we got a red card early in the game and Nigeria only scored very late so we did well even in a game that we lost.”
Gorowa then looked towards the future and to the qualifying stage for the 2015 Africa Nations Cup finals to be hosted in Morocco. The draw will be held in April and Zimbabwe want to build momentum from CHAN.
“Already we have a nucleus of players to choose from now. All the CHAN players can be added to the pool which draws heavily on Zimbabweans playing in South Africa,” Gorowa says.