With the Super Eagles international friendly matches against the Stallions of Burkina Faso and the Terranga Lions of Senegal scheduled to take place this week, the biggest news for Nigerians is the return to fitness of Premiership duo of Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi who featured for Chelsea and Arsenal respectively at the weekend.
Meanwhile, despite being ignored by Super Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr, Fanendo Adi has continued to paint the MLS red with goals. Also, Eagles’ invitee, Tyronne Ebuehi has stated his readiness to be among the first to arrive the Eagles’ camp in London, today. The ADO Den Haag right-back is likely to make his debut for the senior national team against Senegal or Burkina Faso.
Reports emanating from the clubs of Super Eagles players however has a tinge of bad news as CD Feirense of Portugal star, Oghenekaro Etebo and South Africa based back-up keeper, Daniel Akpeyi were yet to secure their visa for the trip to London as at the time of filing this report.
In this extensive report, ADEBAYO OLODAN takes you through how Nigerian players are shaping up for the upcoming international friendly matches and the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with their performances in Europe, the United States and even Iraq.
In the early kickoff, Arsenal was surprisingly defeated 3-1 by West Brom with Alex Iwobi playing the last 12 minutes after regaining fitness. At the Selhurst Park, Isaac Success played the last 10 minutes of Watford’s 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace while Ademola Lookman watched proceedings from the bench as Everton thrashed Moses Odubajo’s Hull City 4-0.
Victor Moses has been given a clean bill of health to report for Super Eagles duty after the wing-back on his 50th Premier League appearance for Chelsea lasted 70 minutes as the Blues secured a hard-fought 2-1 win at Stoke City. Dominic Solanke and Ola Aina were not in Chelsea’s squad to the Bet365 Stadium.
At the Stadium of Light, it ended goalless between Sunderland and Burnley with the Black Cats trio of Victor Anichebe (injury), Josh Maja and Joel Asoro missing in action.
In a highly entertaining clash at the London Stadium, Wilfred Ndidi logged 90 minutes in Leicester City’s 3-2 win over West Ham. The midfielder assisted Jamie Vardy for his side’s third goal to give ‘The Foxes’ a 3-1 lead while his teammate, Ahmed Musa came off the bench in the 76th minute. Joshua Onomah benched when Spurs defeated Southampton 2-1, yesterday.
Ndidi revels in winning streak
Wilfred Ndidi is delighted with Leicester City’s 3-2 win at West Ham United. The win was the club’s fourth under the new manager and Leicester City now lies in 15th position on the league table with 30 points in 28 games.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, massive 3 points far away from home. Great support from the fans once again,” Ndidi tweeted.
In a related development, Ndidi has named former Brazil international and 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year, Kaka, his football idol.
He said in a video interview on LCFC TV, “My football hero is Kaka.
“I love the way he played, his kind of techniques, goals scored. Actually when I was young, I watched him, though I never had the experience of who Kaka was, I only heard about Kaka scoring goals, so I just loved him.”
The midfielder said he supported any club Kaka, a UEFA Champions League winner with AC Milan in 2007, played for.
He added, “When Kaka moved to (Real) Madrid, I also followed him. Even though he was not playing so much. I just loved the way he was calm, his moves when he played.”
Adeniran withdraws from England squad
Fulham midfielder of Nigerian ancestry, Dennis Adeniran has withdrawn from the England U-18 squad due to an undisclosed injury, the English Football Association has announced.
Adeniran has been replaced in the squad by Ipswich Town teenage sensation Tristan Nydam, who has Zimbabwean blood flowing in his veins.
The 18-year-old was among three players of Nigerian descent that initially made the roster announced on Thursday, the others being Tolaji Bola (Arsenal) and Tariq Uwakwe (Chelsea).
11 players of Nigerian descent are expected to represent the England squads during the international break, including Three Lions pair Dele Alli and Ross Barkley.
The England U18s will tackle Qatar on March 22 and March 24 before their final international friendly against Saudi Arabia three days later.
EPL YOUTH LEAGUE
Super Eagles prospect scores hat-trick for Chelsea
Chelsea youth striker of Nigerian descent, Ike Ugbo underlined his immense potential with a hat-trick for the Blues’ U18s as they breezed past Tottenham U18s 7-1 and 9-2 n aggregate into the FA Youth Cup final.
The England youth international, who is eligible to play for Nigeria, opened his account as early as the fourth minute, when he converted a Reece James cross to give Chelsea the lead, in a game which saw them progress to the final of the competition for the sixth straight year.
Uggbo scored his second goal of the day from the day in the 36th minute from the penalty spot before completing his hat-trick some minutes later.
Daramola joins City
National League South club Oxford City, has announced the signing of Nigerian-born midfielder, Akin Abiola-Daramola.
A product of Southend United, Abiola-Daramola is a ball-winning midfielder who is equally comfortable playing as a right-back.
He has previously worn the jerseys of North American Soccer League’s Philadelphia Fury, Corby Town and Stevenage. Daramola’s other teams include Walton Casuals, Harrow Borough and Sutton United.
Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama kept a clean sheet as Lille drew 0-0 at home to Marseille.
Stanley Amuzie was not listed in Sampdoria’s 0-1 loss to Juventus just as former U-23 striker; Umar Sodiq was an unused substitute when Bologna defeated Chievo Verona 4-1.
Leon Balogun was an unused substitute as his club, Mainz 05 suffered a 0-1 defeat at home to Schalke 04.
It was a sad tale for Abdul Ajagun who lasted the duration of Roda JC’s 0-3 loss to FC Twente just as Funso Ojo played 90 minutes when his team Willem II secured a 1-1 draw at FC Groningen.
It was however another no show weekend for Taiwo Awoniyi as his team, NEC Nijmegen suffered a 0-3 loss at Utrecht. The Liverpool-loanee was again confined to the substitutes’ bench.
Elvis Manu and Kingsley Ehizibue played on the opposite side for 78 and 82 minutes respectively as Go Ahead Eagles lost 1-3 at home to PEC Zwolle. Elsewhere, Super Eagles invitee, Tyronne Ebuehi played 90mins as his team, ADO Den Haag crashed 0-1 at AZ Alkmaar.
Ebuehi set for Eagles debut, hits camp today
There is no going back as regards to ADO Den Haag right wing-back Tyronne Ebuehi making his international debut for the Super Eagles in March.
The Haarlem-born Ebuehi has given his word that he will join the Super Eagles squad in London today (Monday).
For the first time in his career, the 21-year-old defender will participate in a training session with a national side at the Hive Stadium training ground tomorrow, as it is.
Ebuehi first gave Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr the cold shoulder when he was called up for the World Cup qualifier against Algeria in November, but has had a change of heart and has chosen to represent Nigeria ahead of the Netherlands. This season, he has started the last 19 games contested by ADO Den Haag in the Eredivisie.
Free scoring midfielder, Sanusi nets 14th career goal
Belgian-Nigerian goal scoring defensive midfielder, Ryan Sanusi was on target to help Sparta Rotterdam beat Heracles 3-1 on game week 27 in the Dutch Eredivisie, Saturday night.
The player was struggling to be fit days leading up to the clash at Sparta-Stadion Het Kasteel after suffering a knee injury but put his injury worries behind him.
On 29 minutes, Sanusi scored his first goal in the Dutch top-flight when his shot deflected off Justin Hoogma and beat Belgian goalkeeper Bram Castro.
In the second half, he would have given Sparta Rotterdam a three-goal advantage but his dangerous shot did not go in.
Since making his professional debut in the Netherlands, Sanusi has 14 career goals (11 assists) to his name from 101 league matches.
Adebayo Azeez was introduced the 90th min while his compatriot, David Amoo was an unused substitute as their club, Patrick Thistle drew 1-1 at Kilmarnock.
In the Belgian Cup, former Bendel Insurance forward, Joseph Akpala was a 97th minute substitute for Oostende while the duo of Aliko Bala and Kingsley Madu were unused substitutes for Zulte-Waregem as the match was decided via penalties after 3-3 draw in regulation time. Zulte won the match 4-2 on penalties.
Etebo hit by visa hitch
CD Feirense forward, Oghenekaro Etebo has reportedly been hit by a visa hitch ahead of his proposed trip to London for the national team’s international friendly games with Senegal and Burkina Faso.
The Nigeria U-23 poster boy was hoping to be issued the traveling document sometime last week which didn’t happen, having made the trip to Madrid, Spain to apply for an endorsement on his passport.
Etebo is hoping that he will be sent the visa the first working day after the weekend, and if that is not the case he is certain to miss the Super Eagles first workout at the Hive Stadium training ground.
Regarding Chippa United net-minder Daniel Akpeyi, there is still no good news as he wasn’t granted a visa yet as at Friday.
The goalie has been invited again to the national team after deputising for Carl Ikeme against Algeria in November 2016.
Former Enyimba forward, Emem Eduok played the last 21 minutes of Kasimpasa’s 3 – 2 defeat of Aminu Umar’s Osmanlispor FK. Umar who made the starting line-up for his team was substituted after 70 minutes while his teammate, Kenny Otigba came on in the 90th minute. Elsewhere, versatile defender, Kenneth Omeruo lasted for the entirety of Alanyaspor’s 3-1 win at Bursaspor.
Ogenyi Onazi saw 70 minutes of action as Trabzonspor defeated Galatasaray 2- 0 while Godfrey Oboabona lasted 90 minutes when Genclerbirligi defeated Rizespor 1-0. His teammate Nosa Emmanuel Igiebor sat out the duration of the match.
Ex Rangers star, Egbuchulam scores twice for new club
Chisom Egbuchulam scored a brace for new club BK Hacken in a friendly match. The former Rangers star
scored his first set of goals for his club BK Hacken in their 6-0 friendly win over Helsingborgs IF.
Egbuchulam, who finished as the Most Valuable Player in the Nigeria Professional Football League last season was playing for the Swedish club’s U21 side, following his move to the club last month.
Egbuchulam joined Hacken from Rangers on loan, after failing to get contracts in Tunisia and Turkey. The Swedish club will decide whether to offer a permanent deal to the player if he impresses during the season. He will be the third Nigerian to play for Hacken, after Dominic Chatto and John Owoeri.
Garba impresses in Djurgarden trial
Haruna Garba is already proving that he should be offered a contract by Swedish Allsvenskan side Djurgarden.
In his first trial game, the 23-year-old striker was on target as the club defeated Tromsø 3-1 at the Danderyd Arena in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Garba netted in the 24th minute to put Djurgarden 2-1 up and was one of the three players on the Swedish team that was yellow carded by referee Jonas Karlsson.
With confusion surrounding the loan move of Bristol City’s Gustav Engvall, the Swedish club is in the market for a striker, with the transfer window set to close in the next eight days.
Garba previously represented teams in Lithuania, Malta and United Arab Emirates.
Adi on song again
Despite being snubbed for the upcoming games involving the Super Eagles, Fanendo Adi has continued to make headlines in the MLS.
The former Dynamo Kyiv forward scored in the 88th minute as Portland Timbers as the team romped to a 4-2 win over Houston Dynamo. Adi has now scored three goals in the league. His compatriot, Amobi Okugo, was an unused substitute for Portland Timbers.
ISIS Attack: Malomo may quit Iraq for NPFL
Highly rated defender, Malomo Sunday Ajigbade has stated his readiness to return to the Nigeria Professional Football League following incessant attacks by terrorist group ISIS in Iraq.
“I believe playing outside the country has given me great exposure but the issue of ISIS which is a terrorist group is making me have a second thought about Iraq, just last week they attacked a city close to where I stay in Kirkuk and it was very scary and unsafe, so that is why I want to leave.”
Malomo , also made bold his intention to help his club, Kirkuk FC win the Iraqi Premier League Super Four championship which got underway at the weekend.
The 25-year-old former FC Ebiede of Lagos defender was in January selected as the best defender in the Kurdistan Iraq Premier League, made the team of the week three times and helped his team Kirkuk qualify for the season ending Super Four tournament.
In 2013, Ondo State-born player, who stands at 1.88 cm played for Al Arabi club of Jordan as the youngest player to sign a professional contract in the league at the age of 21, before moving to the oil rich region of Iraq in the summer of 2014.