It has been more than 12 years since a Nigerian player and indeed a Nigerian Clubside won the CAF Champions League. In fact, since Enyimba’s consecutive triumph on the continent in 2003 and 2004 against Ismaily SC of Egypt and Étoile Sportive du Sahel of Tunisia respectively, only Heartland FC of Owerri have managed to grace the final ever since 2009 when they lost to Tp Mazembe on away goals.
However in the final played on November 4 between Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Al Alhy of Egypt, two Nigerians were on each side as they looked to become the first Nigerian in over 12 years to win a CAF Champions League medal.
While Al Ahly had former u23 international Junior Ajayi in their front line, Wydad Casablanca’s Chisom Chikatara wasn’t involved as the Moroccan side went on to win their 2nd Caf champions league title on a 2-1 aggregate, thus making him the fourth Nigerian to win the Caf champions league with a foreign club.
4. Chisom Chikatara – Wydad Casablanca (Morocco ) 2017
Kolanut boy as he is popularly called, has so far endured a torrid 2017 season as he has been on the sidelines for a long period which has made him miss most of the current campaign, however this didn’t stop him from getting a Caf champions league winners medal as Wydad beat Al Ahly of Egypt to the trophy for only the 2nd time in their history and first time in 25 years.
Chikatara gained prominence after he gaining promotion into the NPFL with Abia Warriors in the 2013 and his goalscoring exploits secure his entrance into the 2016 CHAN team where he scored 4 goals despite Nigeria crashing out in the group stages and caught the eyes of his current employers.
3. John Zaki – ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) 1998
John Zaki was highly instrumental in ASEC Mimosa’s champions league triumph, as he made 7 appearances in the 1998 CAF Champions League campaign scoring 4 times including one in the 2nd leg of the final played at the Stade Félix in Abidjan.
2. William Okpara – Orlando Pirates (SA) 1995
Willy Okpara was on the books of the South African club sides for over 15 years as a goalkeeper and he was instrumental as the team went on to win the CAF Champions League in 1995, 2 years after Emmanuel Amunike won it with Zamalek.
Pirates defeated Asec Abidjan on a 3-2 aggregate scoreline with Okpara keeping a clean sheet in the 2nd leg as Pirates ran out 1-0 winners to lift the title for the first time in their history. Okpara was the club’s first choice goalkeeper from 1990 to 2002, losing his place to Congolese goalkeeper Michel Babale during the 2002-03 season, then he retires in 2005.
He holds the record of Pirates’ appearances with 375 matches and is also the club’s longest-serving player. After featuring for the flying eagles in 1987, he later went on to feature for the Super Eagles 5 times
1. Emmanuel Amunike – Zamalek (Egypt) 1993
The former u17 coach was a left winger during his playing days before he moved to Europe with Sporting club of Portugal and later on to FC Barcelona of Spain where he won series of titles, the Ezieobodo born player had turned out for Julius Berger in Nigeria and Zamalek of Egypt in 1991.
He went to Egypt and within three years (1991-1994) he scored 26 goals in 71 games winning the Egyptian League in a consecutive fashion in 1991/92, 1992/93 seasons and then becoming the first Nigerian to win the CAF Champions League in 1993 after Zamalek defeated Asante Kotoko 7-6 on penalties after a 0-0 aggregate
Amunike retired at the age of 33 after series of niggling injuries affected his career, he appeared 27 times for the Super Eagles scoring 9 goals, featuring at the 1994 World Cup and also winning the Gold medal in the 1996 Olympics with the dream team.
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
READ ALSO: Mosengo-Omba Is CAF New General Secretary
The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.