Theo Walcott hit a brace for Arsenal to help see off Benfica in the Emirates Cup and send a timely reminder to manager Arsene Wenger. Having fallen behind to Franco Cervi’s strike, Walcott scored twice before a Lisandro Lopez own goal and efforts from Olivier Giroud and Alex Iwobi sealed a 5-2 win for the hosts. The England forward said during pre-season that he welcomes the added competition up front following the arrival of club record signing Alexandre Lacazette. But he scored twice playing in a deeper role and, with the future of talisman Alexis Sanchez still up for debate, Walcott will have enjoyed taking centre-stage. Benfica led when Jonas headed back to Cervi, whose low shot ricocheted off the feet of Per Mertesacker and beat David Ospina to open the scoring. Arsenal were soon level with a goal that owed a lot to new recruit Sead Kolasinac. The free signing from Schalke won...
The Nigeria Football Federation has decried a publication which claimed its chieftains had not only handpicked coaches for the U15 National Team, but had also gone ahead to ‘share coaching positions in the various National Teams among their friends and cronies.’ Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green, frowned at the said report, saying that at no time of recent had any member of the NFF Executive Committee or Management forwarded names of coaches to him as an individual, or the Technical and Development Committee as a body, for employment into any of the National Teams. “At the last meeting of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, a decision was taken to advertise the coaching positions in the U17 men and women National Teams, U20 men and women National Teams, the U23 men’s team and the Senior Women National Team (Super Falcons). A public notice to that...
Two of the best sides in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) this past decade, Enyimba and Kano Pillars weigh in on each other on Sunday in a Match Day 32 encounter which promises not just a clash of former heavy weights but also the reunion of old team mates that have switched sides. The two sides with symbolic aliases that aptly depict what they stand for have had a stranglehold on the domestic league in Nigeria since the turn of the millennium, leaving occasional spaces for other teams to have a taste of the league diadem. Matches between both sides have also, always had a bearing on the eventual destination of the league trophy but despite Sunday's game lacking such agenda, there would still be more to be contested for in the game than just a mere fight for the three points. When the People's Elephant - as Enyimba are called...
Sand Eagles veteran, Abu Azeez made it to the shortlist for Matchday 28 VAT Wonder Goal award with his inside the box blast of the ball that earned the Ibadan side a 1-1 draw in Enugu against Rangers International. Other contenders for the VAT Wonder Goal award are Sani Abbani of Gombe United and Sunshine Stars’ Joseph Abiodun. Azeez, who returned to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) mid-season to play for Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) following the amicable resolution of his issues with Enyimba International benefited from a well laid pass by Najeem Olukokun to blast home a right-footed shot amidst a cluster of legs of Rangers defenders. Abbani was at the end of a three-man passing orchestra that saw him shoot from outside the box in Gombe United’s 2-0 defeat of North East neighbours, El-Kanemi Warriors. The beauty of the goal is seen in the move that began from...
Six match officials in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) whose performances have been adjudged as not meeting the high standard of the league have been suspended from further handling of matches for the rest of the 2016/17 season. Following a review of performances of match officials in the last three match days, the League Management Company (LMC) has requested the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to withdraw the said match officials from the NPFL games. The officials include four Referees and two assistant Referees who officiated in different games on Match Day 29, 30 and 31. They include Umar Mohammed of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who officiated in the Match Day 29 fixture between Niger Tornadoes and Plateau United, Aliyu Abdulahi of Kaduna State who was the match referee on Match Day 30 between Katsina United and Kano Pillars, Saleh Mohammed of Jigawa for his poor performance on Match Day 30...
BY ABDULGAFAR OLADIMEJI Nigeria’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) stars who were selected for the nation's Championship of African Nations (CHAN) arrived in Kano this evening, Monday, to begin their two-week camping programme, before their first-leg away match against Benin Republic in CHAN Kenya 2018 qualifiers. As at the time of filling this report, 15 of the 25 players invited by Coach Salisu Yusuf we're present at the team's Tahir Guest Palace camping venue. Gaffer, Yusuf, would be assisted by executive member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Sharu Rabiu Ahlan, who would oversee the team's activities. LEADERSHIP Sport understands that other invited players were on their way to the ancient city, as their arrival was delayed by the weekend NPFL matches involving their clubs, which barred them from departing their base, with most of the players coming from the Eastern Western and Southern parts of the country affected the most. The chairman, Kano State Sports Commission, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima,...
 Top of the table Plateau United were the luckier side on a day their opponents, FC IfeanyiUbah dominated play but could not make good of their free flowing passes. Plateau United won 1-0 to establish again their five point lead over second placed MFM, whose game in Enugu against Rangers was aborted by heavy downpour. Coaches on both sides had different perspectives to the outcome with Yaw Preko of FC IfeanyiUbah insisting the result was not a true reflection of the exchanges on the pitch. For Kennedy Boboye, whose side got a favourable result, the outcome was satisfactory. An apparently relieved Boboye expressed would admit that it was a tough challenge from the Federation Cup champions but took solace in the fact that the win has further renewed his side's ambition to end the season in pole position. "First, I'm satisfied with the result, it’s total victory but it was a tough game,...
Former Super Eagles captain, Vincent Enyeama could be heading to exit door at Lille as he is among the 11 players who has been told that they are no longer required by new coach, Marcelo Bielsa. The French club’s new Argentine boss has also sent messages to Zambia’s Stoppila Sunzu, Tunisia’s Naim Sliti and Ivory Coast’s Junior Tallo saying they are not part of his plans. Enyeama, who played 101 times for the Super Eagles, only signed a new deal last season and could choose to follow the lead of Tallo. “As for me, I’m under contract. I will respect the two years I have left. I’m in no hurry,” the Ivorian told French Newspaper L’Equipe. “I want to establish myself at Lille. “It’s the club that wants me to leave. We’ll see if they find a solution between now and the end of the transfer window. I’m calm. It’s a bit bizarre, but...
AITEO, Nigeria’s foremost energy solution company, on Wednesday acquired the ‘Naming Right’ of the NFF Federation Cup, as an extension/addendum to the company’s sponsorship agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation. It is also part of the rights AITEO has under the original agreement. Those rights will enable the acquisition of additional commercial assets from the NFF that are available and not encumbered, on a mutually –negotiated basis. To this end, the NFF Federation Cup, the oldest football competition in Nigeria, is henceforth to be known and addressed as "AITEO Cup" The duration of this aspect of the sponsorship is 5 years, similar to the main agreement (signed on 26th April 2017) on a Cost Value Arrangement and commencing from the 2017 season.  This arrangement will see AITEO underwriting the costs of the organisation of the competition which encompasses the costs of organising the competition from the Round of 64 to the men...
BY DICKSON AGBO Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup. The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later. Andre Silva added a third on 80 minutes before Nani completed the rout in stoppage time to ensure Portugal progressed to last four as winners of Group A, finishing above Mexico on goal difference. Mexico eliminated hosts Russia with a 2-1 win in Kazan to join Portugal on seven points, with Fernando Santos’ side to face the runners-up of Group B on Wednesday for a place in the July 2 final. Copa America holders Chile lead Germany on goal difference ahead of the final round of matches in Group B, although Australia and Cameroon...