Super Eagles assistant captain, Ogenyi Onazi has dismissed reports he and the national team captain, John Mikel Obi are having a rift in camp ahead of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.
It was claimed that both stars are no longer on talking terms due to a fight for leadership and it’s distracting other players in camp.
A source in the camp says the friction is largely due to Onazi’s refusal to take orders from Mikel.
“If we must do well in Russia, the NFF must ensure they resolve the wrangling between Mikel and Onazi. Both players I can confirm are not in talking terms and this could cost the team at the World Cup.
As we speak, the tussle is a big distraction for the team. Some players have also pitched their tents with either Mikel or Onazi in the struggle. Though, the reason for tussle is not known yet but some people felt it was due Onazi’s insistence on not taking orders from Mikel,” the source said.
The source who is also a footballer added that Ahmed Musa has joined Ogenyi Onazi in his fight with Mikel. Speaking with Complete Sports Nigeria in a chat, Onazi denied having any rift with Mikel.
“It’s ridiculous to read that I don’t take orders from him (Mikel),” Onazi said. “He’s an outstanding individual and it hurts that this could be out there without verification.“I relate well with Mikel, he is our captain and our leader. Thank you for trying to balance your reports.
“We all grew up together in Jos and he’s someone I have looked up to since I started my career. I get along with him and he has been helpful encouraging me after the criticism I received after the England game.”
Super Eagles Draw Bafana Bafana, Qualifies For AFCON 2019
The Super Eagles of Nigeria, have qualified for the 2019 African Cup of Nations slated to hold in Cameroon.
The Nigerian side punched their qualifying ticket courtesy a one-all draw against perennial rivals South Africa at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on Saturday.
Al Nasr of Saudi Arabia star and the Nigerian Footballer of the Year, Ahmed Musa, led the former African champions along with Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho in the attack.
Gernot Rohr settled for Ikechukwu Ezenwa in goal
The goalkeeper got cover from Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Jamilu Collins and Kenneth Omeruo, while Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, and Samuel Kalu took charge of Nigeria’s midfield.
An own goal by Buhle Mkhwanazi gifted the Nigerian side the opener after 10 minutes from kick off.
The South Africans rallied and were to level score through a tap-in by Lebo Mothiba in the 26th minute of the tie.
Nigeria leads the group with 10 points, while South Africa, Libya, and Seychelles are on nine, seven and one points respectively.
In the other group game, Libya drubbed Seychelles 8-1 in Victoria.
Nigeria Set To Lose Obafemi To Ireland
Michael Obafemi is in line to make his senior international bow at some stage on Thursday after making the final squad for the games against Northern Ireland and Denmark.
The Southampton striker has recently broken into the Saints’ matchday squad, with two appearances off the bench in the last few weeks, and has been rewarded with a first call-up.
Obafemi was born in Dublin and grew up in England, while he’s also eligible to play for Nigeria, but he seems to have expressed his preference to represent his country of birth.
And he may benefit from the ankle injury picked up by clubmate Shane Long as Ireland prepare to host Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland in a friendly on Thursday.
Liverpool youngster Caoimhin Kelleher could also feature for the first time as he was retained as one of three goalkeepers in the final squad.
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill confirmed that Glenn Whelan will captain the side on what is set to be his 85th and final appearance for his country.
The 34-year-old midfielder hasn’t formally announced his retirement but he hasn’t been called up since the World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark last November.
And the Aston Villa man will not travel on with the squad to Aarhus for the UEFA Nations League closer against the Danes on Sunday.
Robbie Brady also looks set to make his first international appearance since the Denmark play-offs after returning to action following a horrific leg break sustained in December.
Meanwhile, Ireland under-19 captain and Manchester United defender Lee O’Connor has been brought into the training squad but won’t be considered for selection.
Republic of Ireland squad to face Northern Ireland and Denmark:
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Colin Doyle, Caoimhin Kelleher.
Defenders: Seamus Coleman, Cyrus Christie, Matt Doherty, Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy, Kevin Long, John Egan, Darragh Lenihan, Lee O’Connor*, Enda Stevens.
Midfielders: Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane, Harry Arter, David Meyler, Shaun Williams, Alan Browne, Callum O’Dowda, James McClean.
Forwards: Scott Hogan, Sean Maguire, Callum Robinson, Aiden O’Brien, Ronan Curtis, Michael Obafemi.
Zenith Bank/Delta Principals’ Cup: Young Strikers On The Rampage, As LG Stage Draws To A Close
Youthful strikers competing at the ongoing Principals’ Cup competition for Secondary Schools in Delta State are making headlines with their beautiful displays.
The competition sponsored by Zenith Bank Plc is still at the stage whereby schools are jostling to pick the sole ticket to represent each of the 25 Local Governments in the state.
It was three years ago that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration of Delta State revived the tournament which was in limbo for over 25 years in a partnership with Zenith Bank.
The results so far in the Local Governments indicate that more goals are being scored in the current edition of the annual tournament. In the Aniocha South LG match between Comprehensive Secondary School, Ogwa and St Anthony Secondary School, George Favour was on the rampage with four goals in the 4-1 victory recorded by the Ogwa team.
While fans of the game were still expressing delight about the feat achieved by Favour, Lucky Obiego also achieved similar feat in the final match of the Oshimili North LG decided only yesterday.
Lucky scored three goals within 15 minutes for Thomas Ibusa Secondary school in their 5-0 thrashing of Ugbolu Secondary School. He registered the 2nd, 3rd and 4th goals for his team in the 25th, 26th and 40th minutes respectively.
His feat was enough to earn his school a place in the zonal stage of the competition which is scheduled for January. It will be recalled that the highest scorers in the past two editions of the tournament were rewarded handsomely during the closing ceremony of the event.
Eyiyemi Stanley also recorded a brace for Beach Secondary School in their 3-1 win over Christ The Saviour International School.
Meanwhile, many of the LGs have fixed their final dates to conform totally with the schedule of the organizers.
For example, Ughelli South LG and Isoko North LG are expected to stage their finals on November 15 (Thursday) respectively.
The ongoing LG stage of the competition ends next week.