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U20 AFCON: Flying Eagles Aim For Redemption In Niger

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U20 AFCON: Flying Eagles Aim For Redemption In Niger 5

On the 23rd of July 2016, a rainy afternoon at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, Nigerian players clad in white shirts lay scattered on the pitch in dejection after the final whistle, the reality dawned, Nigeria won’t be going to the CAF U20 AFCON in Zambia and Ultimately miss out on the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea.

Not only was the reality of missing out on the U20 World Cup painful, but more painful was the nature and circumstances which surrounded the Flying Eagles implosion to Sudan in Lagos.

After a 2-1 lead from the first leg of the final qualifying round in Sudan, the Eagles capitulated and lost 3-4 in Lagos thus allowing the Sudanese to progress to the 2017 U20 AFCON in Zambia on goals difference after a 5-5 aggregate scoreline.

It was a stunning shock as the 7-time CAF U20 Champions which was made up of majorly players from the all-conquering FIFA U17 World Cup team in Chile 2015 failed to go past an unfancied Sudanese team who later on went to finish bottom of their CAF U20 AFCON group with a point and 3goals scored, 8 conceded, to sum up how poor the Sudanese team was.

To put things into perspective, not that the team lacked quality as the team included the likes of Villarreal fast rising winger Samuel Chukwueze, Bologna’s Orji Okonkwo, Victor Oshimen, Kelechi Nwakali and coached by Emmanuel Amuneke just to mention a few, but the in-house issues in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) came to the fore as reports came in that the team had earlier planned to go on a training strike just 24 hours before the game due to lack of match bonuses and poor preparations.

Nevertheless, while some have questioned the ambitions and dedication of such young players for protesting the lack of match bonuses when career-growth should have been Paramount, the deed had been already been done and it rounded a poor 2016 where Nigeria missed out on both the CAF U17 and CAF U20 AFCON as well as the FIFA U20 & FIFA U17 World Cup, failing to defend the latter having won a record 5th FIFA U17 title in Chile a year before.

Fortunately, on the 2nd of February 2019, the Flying Eagles kick start their U20 AFCON redemption campaign with a 2-0 win over Burundi courtesy of Yahaya Nazifi and Maxwell Effiom goals. Its a pride as the CAF U20 AFCON starts with a comfortable win, with the team led by Paul Aigbogun, starts it’s a journey to win the 8th title and the first since the team’s triumph at the 2015 U20 Afcon in Senegal.

U20 AFCON: Flying Eagles Aim For Redemption In Niger 6

The journey won’t be straight forward with the Flying Eagles facing South Africa on Tuesday at the Stade General Seyni Kountche, Niamey and the hosts Niger Republic on Friday, February 8 – where only four world cup tickets are available but the target is pretty simple and clear; a semi-final finish will be enough to see Nigeria through to the Finals in Poland later on in the year as only the competition’s top 4 teams will qualify for the FIFA U20 world cup in Poland.

Whether or not the team makes the Final coming up on the 17th of the February, it is left to be seen as Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali lurk around the Semi-finals but success for the Flying is non-negotiable.

SQUAD

U20 AFCON: Flying Eagles Aim For Redemption In Niger 7

Goalkeepers: Akpan Udoh (Unattached); Olawale Oremade (Oasis FC); Detan Ogundare (Kogi United)

Defenders: Mike Zaruma (Plateau United); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Igoh Ogbu (Rosenburg FC, Norway); Solomon Ogberahwe (El-Kanemi Warriors); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC); Olasunkanmi Aliyu (Emmanuel Amuneke Academy)

Midfielders: Peter Eletu (Prince Kazeem Academy); Quadri Liameed (36 Lions); Aniekeme Okon (Akwa United); Jamil Muhammad (Kano Pillars); Afeez Aremu (IK Start, Norway)

Forwards: Adamu Alhassan (Kano Pillars); Yahaya Nazifi (Sonderjyske FC, Denmark); Ibrahim Aliyu (Oasis FC); Adeshina Gata (Wikki Tourists); Ibrahim Abubakar (Plateau United); Onyekachi Paschal (Vaxjo United, Sweden); Maxwell Effiom (Enyimba FC).

 

 

 

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Africa

FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™

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FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™ 14

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.

FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™

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.

 

 

 

 

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Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency

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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.

Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency

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.

Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency

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.

 

 

 

 

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