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Super Eagles Call Off Bonus Strike, Ready For Guinea Test

The Super Eagles on Tuesday suspended a training strike over unpaid bonuses at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt following last-minute pleas by the country’s football officials.

The team finally agreed to train in Alexandria, 30 minutes after schedule, after the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) promised to pay a win bonus from their 1-0 victory over Burundi on Saturday, by the end of the week.

NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire told AFP “the matter has been resolved”, conceding that funds for the tournament had arrived late.

“The NFF received part of the money meant for the tournament today and is in the process of converting it to dollars to pay the players and officials”, he said.

“The only money they’re owed is the win-bonus for the Burundi match”, he added.

The bonuses were expected to be paid by the NFF after Saturday’s game ended.

Officials close to the team, who spoke under anonymity, told AFP that following reassurances from the NFF “the team captain spoke to the players, asking them to show some understanding after which the team agreed to train”.

The players had earlier boycotted the official pre-match conference.

Other NFF officials disclosed that the players have been paid a daily training allowance of $200-a-player from June 2 to June 30.

Nigeria’s top football body — cash strapped and besieged by corruption trials against its top officials — have struggled to pay athletes their bonuses and allowances at several tournaments.

Source: Complete Sports

NFF Thanks President Buhari After Receiving AFCON Money

The Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed receiving part of the money approved by the Federal Government for participation of some National Teams in international competitions, including the Super Eagles’ participation at the ongoing 32nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

NFF’s Acting President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi (in the absence of President Amaju Pinnick who is fully involved with organization as President of AFCON) said on Tuesday that the Federation received part of the money on Tuesday morning and had immediately launched the process to convert the sum to American Dollars to pay the players their only outstanding entitlement – the win bonus for the match against Burundi in Alexandria on Saturday evening – and for subsequent matches.

“We want to specially thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his keen interest in resolving this matter quickly, which has enabled us to receive part of the money in record time. We have immediately started the process of converting the money to American Dollars at the Central Bank in order to pay the players the bonus for the win over Burundi three days ago as well as plan for subsequent games.”

Akinwunmi added that on Monday, 24th June, the NFF had transferred to the players and their officials their camp allowances up to the last day of the group phase matches at the AFCON 2019, as well as the appearance fee for the friendly against Zimbabwe in Asaba on 8th June.

“We have paid these monies through our funds managers, Financial Derivatives Company on Monday, 24th June 2019. The only issue we had was that some of the players did not send their bank accounts and instead authorized the bank to pay their monies to some other individuals. The bank requested clear authorization for this to happen.

“I was on a telephone discussion with the Captain of the team Mikel Obi this morning and can safely say that all clarifications have been made and the usual cordial relationship and understanding between the players and we the administrators is still intact.  I have challenged them to go all out and win the trophy assuring them that their monies all the way to the final is guaranteed. It is now for the players to focus on the championship and deliver glory to the nation. I have no doubt of their ability to do that.”

Source: Complete Sports

Amuneke: Tanzania Still In Race For AFCON 2019 Round Of 16 Spot

Tanzania coach Emmanuel Amuneke has played down the East African’s defeat to Senegal in their first Group C match of 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt, informing Completesports.com that despite the setback, his charges are still in strong contention for one of the qualification tickets in the group.

Amuneke will lead the Taifa Stars out on Thursday at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo against East African rivals, Kenya, at 9pm Nigerian time.

Senegal and Algeria are also billed to cross each other’s path earlier same day and venue, but at 6pm, Nigerian time.

Amuneke reckons that his players have put behind the disappointment of their defeat to the Terranga Lions and are now poised to give their all in the remaining two group games starting with Thursday’s crunchy clash against The Harambee Stars.

“We are not talking about the past (loss to Senegal),” the former African Footballer of the Year (1995) told Completesports.com in and exclusive chat.

“We can’t reverse any thing, we have to think and plan for the future.

“Our objectives for coming here is to do well, and irrespective of what happened in the match, I think we still have opportunity to make up with the remaining games and move to the next stage. That’s our objective.

“As human beings, we will do our best, and God who knows where we will reach even before coming here will take care of the rest,” the former Nigeria U17s coach who won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile stated.

Source: Complete Sports

Foodco Excites Video Game Lovers With Football Game Championship

Video game lovers are in for an exciting season as FoodCo Nigerian Limited, operators of the FoodCo Entertainment Centre, is set to organize the maiden edition of the FoodCo Football Video Game Championship scheduled to hold from June 24 to July 8, 2019.

The FoodCo Football Video Games Championship is a novel Esports competition that will host some of the best FIFA 19 PS4 players from South West Nigeria and environs. Participating players will converge in FoodCo Entertainment Centres located in Akobo, Ring Road and Monatan, Ibadan, Oyo State, to compete for the right to become the champion of champions.

Speaking on the tournament, Solomon Huesu, Marketing Manager, FoodCo Nigerian Limited, stated that the competition will be a platform for Nigeria’s bourgeoning Esports community, particularly FIFA 19 players and enthusiasts, to express their passion for the game.

He said: “The global Esports community is growing exponentially and Nigeria, with a vibrant youth population pegged at over sixty per cent is a critical part of the fraternity. As a foremost lifestyle brand, FoodCo is passionate about offering new and exciting ways to engage with audiences and that is why we are leveraging this platform to connect with Esports buffs in Nigeria.

While calling on Football Video Game lovers to seize the opportunity of the tournament to test their mettle against the very best from across the country, Huesu added that the best three players in the competition will walk away with mouthwatering prizes including cash gifts, electronics and other items.

Heusu further stated that in addition to providing an outlet for Esports devotees to express their passion for the game, the tournament aligns with the FoodCo Entertainment Centre mandate to always provide a premium experience for gamers and fun seekers.

“When we started integrating the Entertainment Centres to our business portfolio, our objective was to raise standards and provide a premium experience for anyone that walks into any of our outlets. This tournament is a fulfillment of that promise and we pledge to continue to look for other exciting ways to connect with our teeming customers,” he added.

Source: Complete Sports

Rangers Embark On Two-Week Break After NPFL Championship Play-offs

The management of Enugu Rangers has handed their players a two-week recess following the conclusion of the 2018/2019 NPFL season in which the club finished third in the final table of the Championship play-offs, Completesports.com reports.

The Coal City Flying Antelopes crashed out of the Aiteo Cup in the Round of 32 following a 2-0 defeat to Lobi Stars in Minna. The club’s management asked the players and technical officials to proceed on a two-week break to rest and refresh after a hectic 2018/2019 season.

“Let me start by thanking you all for the efforts you put in the concluded season,” starts Prince Davidson Owumi – the General Manager of the club, when he addressed the players Monday morning.

“Surely, we would have loved to be champions of the league and perhaps, successfully defend our Aiteo Cup trophy but God knows why we ended this way.

“As we embark on a two weeks break, I urge us to have the needed rest and come back with vigour to challenge on all fronts,” the former NPL and Warri Wolves boss told the players.

Rangers won the Aiteo Cup last year but were unable to defend the silverware this term.

They featured in the CAF second tier inter club competition, CAF Confederation Cup and reached the group stage.

A third place finish in the NPFL Championship Play-offs meant the Antelopes will return to the second tier continental competition, and Prince Owumi feels delighted over the players’ efforts.

“Getting back to the continent is a good feeling, but our target at the start of the season was to be league and Aiteo Cup champions.

“But due to circumstances beyond our efforts, we came up as second runners-up in the league. We thank God for His mercies just as we can’t forget to appreciate the efforts of Enugu state government, under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for his continued sponsorship of our activities”.

Owumi assures Rangers’ teeming supporters that there will be no room for errors in the coming season on all fronts, stressing that it would be a trophy filled season.

Also speaking at the gathering that served as a thanksgiving session, technical adviser for the side, Olugbenga Ogunbote expresses gratitude to God for a successful season.

“Let me start by thanking God for His goodwill towards the team in the ended season. Also, I must say that this was a very challenging season that saw all of us giving our best to achieve our target which we missed by a few inches, but thankfully, we are going back to the continent to complete what we started this season,” Ogunbote stated.

“It is my hope and belief that the trophies will rain next season.”

Source: Complete Sports

Ezenwa: Eagles In Positive Mood Ahead Nigeria – Guinea Clash

Ikechukwu Ezenwa, one of Nigeria Super Eagles’ three goalkeepers at the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt has told Completesports.com that the team is in fine mood ahead of their Wednesday’s second Group B match against Syli Nationale of Guinea.

The Katsina United goaltender says the players are in high spirit given the importance of tomorrow’s tie against fellow West Africans.

“The camp is cool today, the players are in high spirit and focused on the match against Guinea tomorrow,” Ezenwa told Completesports.com on Wednesday.

Ezenwa has had an illustrious career on the domestic scene with three Aiteo Federation Cup titles plucked in 2008 (with Ocean Boys), 2011 (with Heartland) and 2016 (with FC Ifeanyi Ubah).

He has also won the NPFL title way back in 2006 with Ocean Boys of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

Super Eagles won their opening group match last Saturday against Burundi 1-0, and a win against Guinea on Wednesday will send the three-time champions to the knock out stages and Ezenwa says they are poised for a tough game against the Syli Nationale.

“We know they will come out strong on us. We are equally looking forward to a difficult game, but we remain positive that victory will come our way,” he said.

“Yes, getting the three points will make the last (group) game against Madagascar less difficult because we don’t want to go into the last game with our chances of progressing tied to it.

“It will be tough, but we are determined to do our country proud,” the former Sharks (2011-2014), Sunshine Stars (2014-2016) and Enyimba (2017-2019) goalkeeper stressed.

The kickoff of Super Eagles versus Syli Nationale on Wesnesday is 3:30pm, Nigerian time.

Ezenwa previously featured Nigeria’s U-20s -the Flying Eagles, and equally made coach Samson Siasia’s U-23 Eagles that won silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Source: Complete Sports