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International friendlies: Ighalo, Iheanacho missing in Coach Salisu Yusuf’s 30-man list against Mexico, Ecuador

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Super Eagles’ First Assistant Coach, Salisu Yusuf, has listed 30 players, including eight home-based professionals, excluding the foreign-based duo of Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho, for upcoming international friendlies.

The list, released on Tuesday by the Communications Department of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), however, has featured captain Ahmed Musa, as well as forward Moses Simon.

The list was released ahead of the international friendlies against the “A” Men National Teams of Mexico and Ecuador, scheduled for the U.S.

The Super Eagles will clash with CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico at the AT & T Stadium in Dallas, Texas on May 28.

They will then head to New Jersey to tackle Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison on June 2.

Yusuf, who is also Head Coach of the CHAN and national under-23 teams, has included home-based goalkeepers Adewale Adeyinka and Ojo Olorunleke who are to support the returning Maduka Okoye.

He also called up defender Ibrahim Buhari, and forwards Victor Mbaoma and Ishaq Rafiu, with the home-based players being two goalkeepers, two defenders, two midfielders and two forwards.

A statement from NFF said only 25 of the 30 players will make the final list for the tour, which is preparatory for June’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying matches.

The qualifiers are against Sierra Leone in Abuja (June 9) and São Tomé & Príncipe in Marrakech, Morocco (June 13).

Full list of invited players:

Goalkeepers: Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands); Adewale Adeyinka (Akwa United); Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba International FC).

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Isa Ali (Remo Stars); Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ibrahim Buhari (Plateau United)

Midfielders: Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Watford FC, England); Chiamaka Madu (Rivers United); Babatunde Afeez Nosiru (Kwara United); Azubuike Okechukwu (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey); Samson Tijani (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria); Alhassan Yusuf (Royal Antwerp FC, Belgium)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Ademola Lookman (Leicester City, England); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Emmanuel Dennis (Watford FC, England); Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord FC, The Netherlands); Victor Mbaoma (Enyimba FC); Ishaq Rafiu (Rivers United)

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FIFA Suspends Indian Football Federation Over Third-Party Influence

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FIFA has suspended the Indian football federation meaning that the country will not currently be able to host the under-17 Women’s World Cup in October.

Football’s world governing body said its council unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation “due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA statutes”.

Federations must be free from legal and political interference, according to FIFA rules.

The AIFF is in disarray and being run by administrators after former chief Praful Patel stayed in office beyond his term without fresh elections, which courts ruled invalid.

Fresh elections are to be held on August 28 and the poll process began last week after India’s Supreme Court approved a timeline prepared by the administrators.

India is due to host the U-17 tournament on October 11-30 but FIFA said on Monday that because of the suspension it “cannot currently be held in India as planned”.

FIFA said that it was “in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and is hopeful that a positive outcome to the case may still be achieved”.

Indian men’s and women’s national teams also cannot play junior or senior international games during the suspension.

Former men’s captain Bhaichung Bhutia called the suspension “very harsh”.
“At the same time I think it’s a great opportunity to get our system right,” he told Indian sports news outlet Sportstar.

“And very important that all the stakeholders — the federations, state associations, sport ministry — come together to get the system right and everybody work for the betterment of the sport.”

India captain Sunil Chhetri had recently advised his players “not pay too much attention” to the FIFA ban threat as the situation was out of their control.

“The suspension will be lifted once an order to set up a committee of administrators to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee has been repealed and the AIFF administration regains full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs,” FIFA said.

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Dollar Rain for Amusan, Brume, others from Sports Ministry for Commonwealth successes

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Team Nigeria medallists and their coaches at the 2022 Commonwealth Games have received their cash rewards from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for their heroics in Birmingham.

Athletes who won gold medals received $5,000, silver medallist received $3,000, while bronze medallists got $2,000. Athletes who represented Nigeria in the 4 x100 relay received $15,000 for the team.

Amongst those who got rewarded are Women’s 100m Hurdles Champion, Tobi Amusan, 200m Silver medallist and long jump winner, Ese Brume among others.
The Coaches and officials also got rewarded by the ministry for their roles in Team Nigeria’s success.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare ensured that three weeks camping allowance was paid to all athletes.

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Nigeria’s Performance At Commonwealth Games A Parting Gift To Me – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari has described Team Nigeria’s performance at the 22nd Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022, as a parting gift to him.

Buhari said this in a statement issued by his media aide Femi Adesina.

‘‘We are proud of these achievements and the memories will linger with the nation forever and for me this is a special moment and a fitting parting gift, being my last Commonwealth Games as Head of State,” Statement quoted Buhari as saying.

He said, “the President commends the 94 worthy ambassadors that proudly flew the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events, and for those exciting moments when the medalists brought smiles to our faces by breaking world, national, and games records, as well as achieving personal bests in their career.”

According to Buhari, the athletes’ performance was a display of the “God-given attributes of the real Nigerian- never give up, strive to the end”.

“The President also lauds the coaching crew and team officials for the passion towards the development of sports in the country, assuring them that history will remember them for all their contributions to making our athletes shine in the international arena,” Adesina’s statement added.

Nigeria finished with 35 medals, including 12 gold, nine silver, and 14 bronze, the nation’s best outing at the Games in years.

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