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Osimhen, Aribo earn assists as Lille draw at Rennes, Rangers win at St. Johnstone



Nigeria international Victor Osimhen recorded an assist as Lille were forced to a 1-1 draw by Stade Rennes in their French Ligue 1 clash at the Roazhon Park on Sunday.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Osimhen laid a lovely pass for Jonathan Ikoné who scored from close range in the 46th minute.

Adrien Honou equalised for the home team in the 68th minute.

It was Lille’s first away point of the campaign after two defeats in their first two away games.

also reports that Osimhen has now scored five goals and recorded one assist in six Ligue 1 games for Lille this season.

In Scotland, Joe Aribo also grabbed an assist in Glasgow Rangers’ 4-0 away win at St. Johnstone.

Aribo who was in action for the entire duration of the game assisted Jermaine Defoe for the game’s fourth goal.

The 23-year-old has featured in all of Rangers’ six league games this season, but is yet to open his goal account.

In the Italia Serie A, Ola Aina played for 62 minutes in Torino’s 1-0 away defeat at Sampdoria and was replaced by Diego Laxalt.

(Edited by Remi Koleoso and Olawale Alabi)


Eagles’ striker, Osimhen loses dad



Super Eagles forward Victor Osimhen has lost his father.

The Lille striker made the disclosure on his twitter handle: @victorosimhen9 on Sunday.

RIP Dad. No words to describe this feeling,” he tweeted.

The 21-year-old ended  the 2019/2020 Ligue 1 season as top scorer in Christophe Galtier’s team, contributing 13 goals and four assists in 27 games as they finished fourth on the league table.

Osimhen also won the Under 17 World Cup in 2015 and the African Under 23 Cup of Nations the same year.

With the Super Eagles, he claimed a bronze medal at the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)


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Osimhen’s goal fails to rescue Lille as Marseille close Ligue 1 gap



Olympique de Marseille cut the lead by Paris St-Germain (PSG) at the top of Ligue 1 in France to 10 points on Sunday after a 2-1 win at Lille.

Two quickfire goals midway through the second half gave them the win after Nigerian international Victor Osimhen had given the hosts the lead.

Champions PSG are in pole position on 62 points from 25 games after Saturday’s 4-4 draw at Amiens.

Marseille have 52 points while Lille stayed fourth on 40 points after the visitors came from behind in an entertaining clash.

Osimhen twice came close in the first half before he fired Lille into a 51stminute lead.

He scored with a dinked shot over goalkeeper Steve Mandanda after he took a defence-splitting pass from Jonathan Bamba in his stride.

Marseille missed a penalty kick on the hour as home goalkeeper Mike Maignan saved Valentin Rongier’s spot kick after Tiago Djalo tripped Bouna Sarr, but Lille’s joy was short-lived.

The visitors levelled in the 67th minute as Lille defender Reinildo Mandava diverted Valerie Germain’s glancing header into his own net and the Marseille midfielder again turned provider two minutes later.

Germain broke loose on the right flank and sent a superb low cross for Argentine striker Dario Benedetto to tap the ball in at the near post and complete Marseille’s fightback.

Earlier on Sunday, Olympique Lyonnais continued their patchy form with a 1-1 home draw against Strasbourg after Kevin Lucien Zohi cancelled out Bertrand Traore’s opener for the home side.

The result left Lyon in 11th place on 34 points while Strasbourg moved one place up to seventh on 37.

Third-placed Rennes suffered a 1-0 setback at Stade Reims, while Brest stayed 13th after holding on for a 3-2 home win over struggling Saint Etienne.

First half goals from Paul Lasne, Gaetan Charbonnier and Irvin Cardona gave Brest a 3-0 lead.

Then the visitors, who remain hovering above the relegation zone in 16th position, set up a tense finish through Denis Bouanga and Lois Diony.


Edited By: Olawale Alabi)

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Ighalo, Osimhen, Nnadozie, Oshoala nominated for CAF Awards



Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo, Victor Osimhen and Wilfred Ndidi have been shortlisted for the 2019 CAF Men Footballer of the Year.

The trio were nominated alongside 27 others in a list released by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Sunday.

Usual suspects, Mohammed Salah of Egypt,  Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon, also made the cut.

The Women’s Player of the Year category boasts of record holder, Christiana Kgatalana of South Africa as well as three-time winner, Asisat Oshoala, and fellow compatriot, Uchenna Kanu.

Super Falcons goalkeeper, Chidinma Nnadozie, who was impressive at the 2019 World Cup in France, also secured a spot in the list alongside six others.

Other award categories include, the African Coach of the Year, Youth Player of the Year, National Team of the Year and Interclubs Player of the Year.

The awards, scheduled for January, will take place in Egypt.

Edited & Vetted By: Moses Solanke/Felix Ajide


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Ligue 1: Osimhen on target again as Lille beat Strasbourg



Victor Osimhen scored his sixth league goal of the season to inspire Lille to a 2-0 home win against Racing Strasbourg in Ligue 1 on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Nigerian opened the scoring and Loic Remy doubled the lead as the side from northern France moved up to third in the standings on 13 points from seven matches.

They are now two points behind leaders Paris St-Germain (PSG) who host Stade de Reims later on Wednesday.

Angers are second, behind PSG on goal difference, after Rachid Alioui’s late double gave them a 2-0 win at Toulouse.

Olympique Lyonnais extended their winless streak to six games in all competitions.

Goals by Maxwel Cornet and Moussa Dembele were cancelled out by Yoann Court’s double in a 2-2 draw at Stade Brestois.

Lille will take on Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League next week when Lyon, who are 10th in Ligue 1 on nine points, travel to RB Leipzig.(Reuters/)

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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U-23 AFCON Qualifiers:  Osimhen scores hat-trick, as Nigeria beat Libya 4-0




Asaba, March 25, 2019 Former Golden Eaglets hotshot, Victor Osimhen, grabbed a hat-trick on Monday as Nigeria ‘s under-23 male national football team defeated their Libyan counterparts 4-0 on Monday in Asaba.

The match, which was palyed at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, is the second leg of a qualification round for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The Nigerian side had lost 0-2 in the first leg game played on Wednesday in Tunisia, Libya’s home ground for now, and have now advanced to the qualifiers’ next round 4-2 aggregate.

The second leg game, which was watched by a handful of spectators, saw the Libyan team putting up a defensive play right from the first blast of the whistle.

However, the Nigerian team took total control of the midfield, as they mounted sustained attacks on the Libyan defence.

The Nigerian team’s efforts finally paid off in the 33rd minute of play, when Osimhen grabbed his first goal of the game from a rebound after a free-kick hit the upright.

On resumption of the second half, the Nigerian team went on the offensive in their search for more goals, forcing the Libyan defence to commit blunders.

Osimhen again rose to the occasion, as he poked in the second goal of the game in the 64th minute after the Libyan goalkeeper, Aymar Altihar, mistakenly parried a cross onto his path.

He later grabbed his hat-trick in the 75th minute following a goalmouth scrabble, after the Libyan defence failed to clear a Nigeria cross inside the penalty box.

Before the ovation which trailed the goal could die down, Nigeria’s Chidozie Okereke grabbed the fourth goal on the dot of 90 minutes for Nigeria.

At the post-match media conference, Nigeria’s coach Imama Amapakabo expressed joy and satisfaction with the win.

He said the Nigerian team played according to the game plan and deserved the victory.

“After the first leg in Tunisia which we lost, we learnt a lot because we saw their pattern of play.

“So, we came home and decided to work on how to break down their style of play.

“Today, we played according to our game plan, to get an early goal, and then follow it up with as many goals as possible,” he said.

Also speaking, Nigeria’s team captain, Azubuike Okechukwu, said the victory was well deserved.

“We came down here to win and we have achieved that. I must say we played our game, we were not under pressure.

“More so, the fans here today are so marvellous. They gave us so much support and we really appreciate it,” Okechukwu said.

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Nigeria Pitch Awards: Internationals deserve more recognition — NFF



The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Saturday says players representing the country deserve more incentives aside the match bonuses and allowances such as due recognition for outstanding performance.

NFF Spokesman, Ademola Olajire, said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on the sidelines of the 7th edition of the Nigeria Pitch Awards held at Ibis Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos.

Olajire, who represented NFF Chairman, Amaju Pinnick, said players representing the country were great ambassadors carrying the image of the country, hence they should be accorded due recognition and awards.

“The award is a great innovation and laudable one for outstanding players who are representing our country because that is what they are doing in other climes as well.

“This reward that serves as a payback for excellence will surely spur the players to deliver more to the aspiration of the country to being the world respected football country.

“If the players knows that there is an award waiting out there different from their normal match bonuses and allowances, it will be an extra motivation for them.

“Such award as Pitch Awards will help our players to deliver more of their mandate and perform better, it will also increase their adrenaline to go faster,” he said.

“Olajire said that the Pitch Awards had a lot of credit for being an independent one devoid controversies in voting and selection process which is being handled be an independent body.

“It is expedient to say that this award is just one of the best in Nigeria because it is a transparent one, I must also commend the independence of the voters.

“The process of voting is being handled by an independent audit company SIAO. The audit company has said that the organisers of the award has never interfere with the process, and this is commendable.

“NFF has a great respect for this award and will continue to seek partnerships with them for contributing immensely to the growth of football in the country.

“We are glad with the independence and integrity of the awards and we hope it will continue to grow in such strength, he said.

NAN reports that Manchester United sensation, Odion Ighalo, Leicester City Midfield maestro, Wilfred Ndidi, 2019 CAF Female Football of the Year, Asisat Oshoala and others are the major contenders for the 7th edition Nigeria Pitch Awards.

The nominees are: “Goalkeeper of the Year Francis Uzoho,

Daniel Akpeyi and Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Defender of the Year: Kenneth Omeruo, Williams Troost – Ekong and Chidozie Awaziem.

Midfielder of the year: Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi and Joe Aribo.

Striker of the Year: Odion Ighalo, Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze.

Queen of the Pitch: Onome Ebi, Chiamaka Nnadozie and Assist Oshoala.

King of the pitch: Odion Ighalo, Victor Osimhen and Wilfred Ndidi.

Team of the year: Lobi Stars, Enyimba FC and Super Eagles.

Coach of the Year: Gernot Rohr, Usman Abdallah and Thomas Dennerby.

Samuel Okwaraji Award: Seyi Akinwunmi, Kunle Soname and Ahmed Musa.

State with the best grassroots Sports: Delta, Lagos State and Akwa Ibom State.

Football Friendly Governor of the Year: Nyesom Wike, Udom Emmanuel and Ifeanyi Okowa.

Corporate Sponsors of Football: Aiteo Group, Zenith Bank and Bet9ja.

Football Journalist of the year (Prints): Charles Diya (New Telegraph), Tana Aiyejina (Punch) and Jonny Edwards (Punch).

Football Journalist of the year (TV): Cecilia Omoreghe (Channels TV), Austin Okon – Akpan (Channels TV) and Mozez Praiz (Supersports).

Football Journalist of the year (Radio): Emmanuel Etim (Naija Info), Tony Bekederemo (Brilla FM) and Olawale Adigun, (Top Radio).

Football Journalist of the year (Online): Fisayo Dairo (ACL Sports), Sam Ahmedu ( and Kunle Solaja (SportsVillage).

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi

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Rohr calls up 2 first-timers, recalls Iheanacho for Sierra Leone fixtures in AFCON qualifiers  



Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernor Rohr has listed 24 players for two 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying fixtures against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone this month. 

The players invited to camp include team captain Ahmed Musa, vicecaptain William Ekong and veteran defender Kenneth Omeruo.

On the list which has three goalkeepers, eight defenders, five midfielders and eight forwards are also two first-time call-ups, as well as a returning old-timer.

Kingsley Ehizibue of FC Koln and Holland-based forward Cyril Dessers have been called up for the first time, while England-based former Under-17 World Cup winner Kelechi Iheanacho returns to the fold.  

There are also goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defenders Leon Balogun and Olaoluwa Aina, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forwards Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen.

Nigeria, on six points from their first two matches and in a comfortable lead in their pool, host the Leone Stars at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on March 27.

They will then head to Freetown to confront the Stars at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in the return four days later.

Ademola Olajire, Director of Communications at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), said in a statement on Wednesday that all invited players are to report in Asaba on March 23.

“The team’s technical and administrative officials are also expected to report on the the same day,’’ he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that victory in both games will virtually guarantee Nigeria a spot at the 33rd AFCON scheduled for Cameroon early next year.

They will thereafter be away to Benin Republic in Porto Novo in June and then at home against Lesotho early September.


Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Wigan Athletic, England); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy)

Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Kingsley Ehizibue (FC Koln, Germany)

Midfielders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Etebo Oghenekaro (Getafe FC, Spain); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ramon Azeez (Granada FC, Spain)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

Cyril Dessers (Heracles Almelo, The Netherlands); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France)


Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)


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QPR’s Eze still on Eagles wish list – Media Officer



The Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Toyin Ibitoye, on Wednesday  raised football fans’ hopes on the possibility of Eberechi Eze of Queens Park Rangers FC of England to play for Nigeria.

Ibitoye made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos ahead of the team’s buildup toward 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers.

NAN reports that the 21-year-old Nigerian-born QPR attacking midfielder, who is eligible to play for the Three Lions of England, had been previously invited by Coach Gernot Rohr to join the team.

Eze had produced stellar performances for the English Championship side and is one of QPR’s best performers this season, scoring vital goals from the midfield  to the admiration of Nigerian officials.

The midfield rising star represented the England U-19 in 2019, when he made his debut on Oct. 11, in a 2-1 win against Italy in the U-20 Elite League.

The President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, had also met with Eze in London on the possibility of  playing for Nigeria.

Ibitoye, however, told NAN that the national team’s scouts were still trying to convince the player to wear Nigeria’s Super Eagles jersey.

“The Super Eagles scouts are still working on Eze to play for Nigeria; he is a good player and will be a good addition to the team as we prepare for the qualifications for the World Cup.

“We have other players who are equally good and can provide the necessary competition and back-up for the team. Nigeria is blessed with excellent players.

“We are happy that all our players are doing well in their respective clubs; Kelechi Iheanacho is now doing well; we have Victor Osimhen firing for Lille and Samuel Chukwueze doing well.

“We also have Samuel Kalu, Moses Simon, the skipper of the team, Ahmed Musa, Troost-Ekong and the host of them soaring high on the continent,” he said.

Ibitoye told NAN that the team would to take all the teams in Africa serious in the World Cup qualifiers, saying that there were no underdogs or minnows in football these days.

“We are not praying for an easy way out of the World Cup qualifiers; the draw for the second phase will come up on Jan. 20, and we intend to take all the matches serious.

“I want to say that there are no longer  small countries when it comes to football, because countries have stepped up their games and can cause upset for any team. We need 100 per cent focus.

“If a country like Madagascar can defeat Niger Republic 6-2 right on their soil, it tells a lot about how the game has developed because Niger Republic is not a bad side on their own.

“Nigeria, as good we are, have yet to defeat any country with that margin of goals away .  It shows a lot of confidence on the Madagascar team; so, we want to watch our back,” he said.

Edited by: Emmanuel Okara/Ijeoma Popoola


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Mane, Oshoala really deserve their CAF awards, football enthusiasts say



Several football enthusiasts on Wednesday hailed Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala for winning the top awards at the CAF Awards 2019 held on Tuesday in Hurghada, Egypt.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Mane won the Men’s Player of the Year award, while Oshoala won the women’s version of the award after an outstanding calendar year.

Mané won the award for the first time, after beating Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, while FC Barcelona Women’s Oshoala won for a joint record fourth time.

Having finished behind the Egypt forward in the last two years, Mané became the second Senegalese to win the award after another Liverpool player, El Hadji-Diouf, in 2001 and 2002.

Oshoala, who scored in FC Barcelona Women’s UEFA Champions League final defeat to Lyon, beat Ajara Nchout of Cameroon and South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana to the African women’s top prize.

A cross-section of football enthusiasts, while reviewing the development, told NAN the two recipients were well deserving of the awards, adding that consistency was crucial for them in winning the awards.

Felix Anyansi-Agwu, the Chairman of Enyimba International Football Club of Aba, said Mane and Oshoala, as well as other winners in the various categories, were well deserving of the awards.

“Congrats to Mane and Oshoala. As for Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze, just like every other Nigerian player, they must learn to be consistent if they hope to win future awards.

“Mane really deserves the award, as he did very well in 2019 and was unfortunate not to have won the 2019 FIFA Ballon d’Or.

“Oshoala on her part has been consistent for both club and country and winning the award for a joint record fourth time was no mean feat.

“All other winners in the various categories actually also deserved the awards on merit.

“Many people would have actually argued the fact that Wilfred Ndidi should have been in the Africa First Eleven.

“But the fact still remains that the young man has not done enough this past year to deserve a place in Africa Best XI compared to the ones that are on the list.

“To be sincere, it saddens my heart each year when the African Player of the Year (APOTY) award was being presented to non-Nigerians.

“The last time a Nigerian won the APOTY was 20 years ago and yet we produce players with great potentials on the continent on a yearly basis with nothing to show for it on Africa’s big stage,” he said.

Mohammed Mukhtar, the FCT FA Chairman, on his part said Mane was long overdue for the award.

He added that Oshoala’s joint record fourth win was a clear testimony of her hard work and commitment to the game.

“Both the Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year award winners were the overwhelming favourites, even before the results were announced officially.

“There was no question about the consistent contributions and commitments of both players to their clubs as well as their national teams.

“Mane has been outstanding and consistent for club and country for quite a long time now and same goes for Oshoala,” the FA chairman said.

He however questioned the choice of Morocco‘s Achraf Hakimi over Osimhen, adding that the latter was the overwhelming favourite in the category.

“In my opinion, Osimhen deserved it more. What more consistency do you need from a player who scored 27 goals and seven assists in 45 matches in 2019 (both in Belgium and France).

“In addition, he scored four international goals in five outings with the national side, compared to Hakimi who scored nine goals with seven assists in 42 matches of 2019 for Borussia Dortmund.

“This one was not fair at all,” Mukhtar added.

However, a former Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Kashimawo Laloko, on his part said the country’s football teams underachieved last year.

He insisted that their players did not deserve to win any award on account of that.

In his assessment, Laloko expressed his displeasure at the disappointing showings and believed the country should have performed better, laying the blame at the doorsteps of administrators and coaches.

“As far as I am concerned, we achieved nothing in football in 2019 and thus do not deserve any showing at such a big stage.

“At the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt, we came third and Nigerians were jubilating. But we are supposed to call our football administrators to order, because we should be achieving more.

“During the qualifiers for the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN), for example, it was all marked with controversies and eventually we failed to qualify.

“Coach Imama Amapakabo, who was the same coach for the CHAN tournament, messed us up again. He was accused of using the wrong players and we suffered for it. Now, we will not be at the Olympics in Tokyo.

“Even at the Under-20 World Cup which used to be our area of strength, we failed to make any mark and it was the same for the Under-17 event. There was also the Super Falcons’ failure to qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” he said.

(Edited by: Remi Koleoso and Olawale Alabi)

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