Sunday, October 15, 2017

Akwa United claim 2017 Aiteo Cup



2015 champions of Nigeria’s oldest and biggest domestic competition, Akwa United FC of Uyo on Sunday reclaimed the title, now named AITEO Cup, on a brilliant and exciting evening at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.

Scoreline at the final whistle was 0-0 but the Promise Keepers prevailed 3-2 after penalty shoot –out to become the first winners of the captivating AITEO trophy.

The colourful final was watched by a glittering array of eminent personalities, including Governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger State), CAF President Ahmad, CAF Vice Presidents Kwesi Nyantakyi and Omari Selemani, CAF Emergency Committee members Souleman Waberi and Amaju Melvin Pinnick, Executive Committee members of NFF, chieftains of sponsors AITEO, NFF Management, Members of the Lagos State Executive Council and members of the diplomatic community.
 2015 champions of Nigeria’s oldest and biggest domestic competition, Akwa United FC of Uyo on Sunday reclaimed the title, now named AITEO Cup, on a brilliant and exciting evening at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.

 
Scoreline at the final whistle was 0-0 but the Promise Keepers prevailed 3-2 after penalty shoot –out to become the first winners of the captivating AITEO trophy.

The colourful final was watched by a glittering array of eminent personalities, including Governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom) and Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger State), CAF President Ahmad, CAF Vice Presidents Kwesi Nyantakyi and Omari Selemani, CAF Emergency Committee members Souleman Waberi and Amaju Melvin Pinnick, Executive Committee members of NFF, chieftains of sponsors AITEO, NFF Management, Members of the Lagos State Executive Council and members of the diplomatic community.

Victory handed Akwa United, whose goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo won both the Best Goalkeeper and Most Valuable Player awards and whose Coach, Abdu Maikaba was adjudged the Best Coach, a ticket to represent Nigeria in the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup competition.

 
Akwa United forward Christian Pyagbara also claimed the Top Scorer’s award with his seven goals in this year’s competition.
Victory handed Akwa United, whose goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo won both the Best Goalkeeper and Most Valuable Player awards and whose Coach, Abdu Maikaba was adjudged the Best Coach, a ticket to represent Nigeria in the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup competition.

Akwa United forward Christian Pyagbara also claimed the Top Scorer’s award with his seven goals in this year’s competition.

Bala eyes Aiteo Cup trophy






Niger Tornadoes coach Abubakar Bala has revealed that winning the Aiteo Cup will be the best thing to have happened to him in his coaching career and will crown a successful season for him and his players.

Bala has stirred the ‘Ikon Allah’ boys to the final of the Aiteo Cup seeing off top sides like FC Ifeanyi Ubah and Plateau United in the process.

Tornadoes are back to the cup final after a 17-year absence and Bala feels the time is right for the Minna side to win a major laurel.

“We have worked so hard to get to this stage and we are going to do all we can to make sure we lift the title on Sunday against Akwa United.
“I’m already a fulfilled man getting this modest Niger Tornadoes side to the final but I want to top it up with winning the title.

“The motivation for me and my boys is to be the first winners of the Aiteo Cup so we can go back to Minna and present it to the state government who has been our biggest supporters,” Bala added.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ikefe: Aiteo Cup final biggest game of my career

For Niger Tornadoes centre back Andrew Ikefe, the 2017 Aiteo Cup final will be the biggest game of his career even after a stellar season with the Minna based side.

Ikefe has played for Dynamic Sporting Solution, Kaduna United and Katsina United and despite raking nearly ninety games for the three sides, he says none of those games will be as big as the clash with Akwa United at the Agege Stadium on Sunday.
Ikefe, in white nicks the ball off a Gombe United striker
Tornadoes dispatched Nigeria Professional Football League heavyweights like champions Plateau United and FC Ifeanyi Ubah to make it to their first final in 17 years.

Ikefe told 9jafooty.blogspot.com that he is proud to be part of history with Niger Tornadoes and can’t wait for kick-off on Sunday.

“The Aiteo Cup final will be the biggest game of my young career and I believe it will end in victory for me and my team (Niger Tornadoes),” he said.

“We have really worked hard to get to this stage and by God’s grace, we will take the trophy back to Minna with us. The coaches have been working on our game plan and we are adapting well.

Ikefe, in blue strip fights for the ball against MFM
“I have played a number of games in my career but none will be as big as the final on Sunday. If everything goes according to plan, I will win my first major title.

“Akwa United is a very good side as they have shown in the league and the Aiteo Cup. It will be a very difficult game but we are determined to win the cup.

“It will mean a lot to me on a personal level if we get to win the cup. I've always dreamt of winning a domestic title and then heading out to Europe. I pray my dreams come true and I’ll do everything I can on the pitch to make it come true.” Ikefe added.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Rivers retain 21 for new season


The season of releasing players is here again and Rivers United have sieved a few off the roster. Only 21 players were retained for the new season as the team gets set to begin pre-season training.

Left back Gabriel Wassa, who shone like a million stars a year ago has been let go, Esosa Igbinoba is also out. The former Nasarawa United midfielder has battled injury and loss of form last term and might just head back to Lafia.

Veterans Austin Festus and Sunday Rotimi headline those that have been retained as Eguma sets to continue as coach.


Rivers United finished in 15th place on the log last season and will look to do better in the new season.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Iwobi’s goal earns Eagles WCup spot


Nigeria’s Super Eagles have qualified for the upcoming 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia with game to spare against North African side Algeria.

The Eagles achieved the feat with a 1-0 win against the tough fighting Chipolopolo of Zambia in Saturday’s Group B qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.
Substitute Alex Iwobi scored the match winner in the 73rd minute to hand the country their fifth World Cup appearance.

The Southern Africans actually lived up to their pre-match tough talking, but a flurry of misses at goal nearly saw the match slipping from their hands.
Nigeria’s forwards, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Simon Moses and captain John Mikel Obi, all fluffed chances to get on the scoresheet.

The first half ended goalless with the Chipolopolo the better side as they troubled the Super Eagles’ defence with their pace in attack.


Zambia had the first chance at goal in the 15th minute but their danger man, Fashion Sakala, hit his effort wide.

In the 17th minute Odion Ighalo failed to link up with Moses Simon’s low cross.

Injury saw Ogenyi Onazi being substituted by Mikel Agu in the 30th minute.

Ighalo came close in the 44th minute to put Nigeria in front but shot wide from Moses's fine cross.
Another effort in the 44th minute, this time an acrobatic display by Simon in the box, went annoyingly wide.

Zambia then nearly grabbed the lead but Mwepu failed to beat Ezenwa in goal for Nigeria.
Kennedy Mweene made a superb save, palming away Wilfred Ndidi’s header from a Moses set-piece.

In the 67th minute a dangerous shot by the Zambians took a slight deflection and went away for a corner.

Ighalo came close again in the 71st minute but delayed too much, thereby wasting the good interchange of passes between Iwobi and Moses.

Iwobi was to break the deadlock in the 73rd minute to put Nigeria in front.

Ola Aina came in for injured Echiejile in the 79th minute to make his long awaited debut for Nigeria.

Other efforts by Iwobi to increase the goal tally were wasted.
Nigeria will round up their World Cup qualifying campaign with a dead rubber clash against Algeria next month.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Nigeria v Zambia- Pulse of the matter


I'm looking forward to Saturday's all important game against Zambia with sweaty palms and for good reason too.

The Chipolopolo have always been a dangerous team and matches with the Super Eagles have never been easy. In fact I can't remember a game that we took them to the cleaners-none that I can think of right now.

The scoreline has always been 2-0 or 2-1 in favor of Nigeria. Our latest conquest of the Zambians was a laboured 2-1 win in Ndola on Match Day One of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

We stormed to a two goal lead in the first half through Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho but the second half was all Zambia. Nigeria goalkeeper Carl Ikeme came up big on the day and helped Nigeria escape with a 2-1 away win.

Saturday's game looks like a slippery one and the Super Eagles will do well to dodge the banana peels the Chipolopolo will throw at them (no pun intended).

Nigeria wins the game and Russia 2018 is a certainty even with a game to spare while a draw or loss means it will go down to the wire-the final Match Day, that will see Nigeria going to Algeria while Zambia welcome Cameroon.


I had a couple of experts chip in with their thoughts as regards their most memorable Nigeria v Zambia match up and how they think the Eagles will fare on Saturday at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.

Tornadoes edge FCIU to qualify for AITEO Cup final



Bolaji Adeyemo (Blue jersey) surges forward against FCIU


Niger Tornadoes of Minna will play in the Final of the men’s event of this year’s AITEO Cup Competition, after digging their feet into the ground to eliminate Cup holders FC IfeanyiUbah in Nnewi on Thursday.

 
Godwin Obaje scored from the spot with five minutes to go, for his sixth goal of the competition (same as Akwa United’s Christian Pyagbara and one more than Sunshine Stars’ Ajibola Otegbeye) but it was too little too late for the Anambra Warriors who lost the first leg 2-4 in Lokoja.

Mustapha Aliko celebrates Tornadoes qualification

In the women’s competition, Cup holders Rivers Angels did not make the mistake that FC IfeanyiUbah made, as they took their scoring boots to the Yakubu Gowon Stadium to fire four goals past stubborn Bayelsa Queens, who earned a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Nembe.

Akwa United, 1-0 losers to Sunshine Stars in Ijebu-Ode in their semi final, first leg, will host the Akure darlings in their delayed semi final, second leg on Sunday.

The NFF Appeals Committee will decide the other women’s semi final, as Abia Angels are appealing their disqualification from the competition on grounds of using an ineligible player against Confluence Queens in the quarter finals. 

AITEO Cup Update (Semi Finals: 2nd Leg)

WOMEN
Rivers Angels 4-0 Bayelsa Queens (6-2 aggregate)

* NFF Appeals Committee to decide on the case of Abia Angels/Confluence Queens, with Ibom Angels on standby to play the team that scales through.

MEN
FC IfeanyiUbah 1-0 Niger Tornadoes (3-4 aggregate)

Akwa United Vs Sunshine Stars (0-1)
* Second leg to take place in Uyo on Sunday, 8th October 2017

*All pictures courtesy NFF

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Agba set to 'score' this weekend.



Niger Tornadoes striker Samuel Agba will quit bachelorhood when he takes his heartthrob Faith Anastasia to the alter on 30th September 2017 in Kaduna.

The 23-year-old has played for Jigawa Golden Stars, Rangers, Wikki Tourists and Niger Tornadoes in a career that has seen him become one of the most sought-after strikers in the Nigeria Professional Football League.