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.”
Go Green! Osimhen Grabs Hat-Trick As Dream Team Crush Libya 4-0 To Revive Olympic Qualification Dreams
Former Golden Eaglets star, 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, to reach the third qualifying round of the 2020 Olympic Games football tournament.
The match, which was played at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, was also 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 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, on loan to Charleroi from Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg, again rose to the occasion, as he slotted 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.
The Nigerian squad finished the match four million naira ($11,100) richer as senior team captain Ahmed Musa promised a million naira for every goal his compatriots scored.
Nigeria are the most successful African country in Olympics football, winning the 1996 Atlanta tournament and finishing runners-up to Argentina in Beijing 12 years later.
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.
In Abidjan, the Ivory Coast hammered Niger 6-1 to equal the biggest winning margin set by Kenya in a 2020 qualifier in Africa, AFP reported.
Leading 2-1 from the first leg, the Ivorians scored three goals in each half at home with Italy-based Willy Braciano bagging a brace.
Ivory Coast are likely to face tougher opposition in the third round when they come up against Guinea, who surprisingly eliminated Senegal.
A further seven qualifiers are scheduled for Tuesday with Ghana and South Africa poised to advance after building impressive first leg leads.
Olympics qualifiers are restricted to under-23 footballers with three over-age stars permitted at the finals. (NAN)
GTBank Lagos Polo Gallops Off With Silver, Low Cup Matches
High-class polo would be on center stage for ten days as the prestigious Lagos Polo International Tournament which has GTBank as main sponsor gallops off Wednesday at Polo Club Road, Ikoyi.
The Silver Cup, the traditional event opener, would set hostilities rolling with three matches on the card as teams from Lagos, Kano and Ibadan battle for supremacy while the Low Cup would close the day’s activity.
Of the 33 teams that would vie for honour in four cups twelve of them would stake their pride in the Silver Cup, which is the lowest grade in the tournament.
For the medium-goal Low Cup, five teams would be contesting for the top prize. The medium-goal Low Cup and the prestigious Majekodunmi Cup, which would round off the polo extravaganza, will feature two teams, STL of Lagos and Rubicon of Kano.
The Open Cup as well as the Majek Cup, which are billed for the concluding weekwould have high-profile players from Argentina, United Kingdom, South Africa and a host of top Nigerian players participating.
Debuting STL of Lagos has Abuja-based Almat to contend with and a triumph for any of the contesting teams would see them joining the elite group of winners which include 2018 champions Fifth Chukker of Kaduna.
Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, SegunAgbaje, stated that the financial institution identified with polo because of the love it had for the game as well as sports in general.
According to him, “the passion and the symbiosis between the players and their horses, but most importantly, we hold a strong affinity to the sport of kings because it reflects quality, competitiveness and fair play; some of the values that have made GTBank a Proudly African and Truly International Financial Institution.”
Agbaje reiterated GTBank’s commitment by pointing that the sponsorship of this year’s tournament demonstrates the bank’s strong belief in the role of sports in developing and uniting the society. He stresses that the tournament has grown over the years to become one of the most anticipated social and sporting events of the year in Nigeria.
Tournament Manager, SeyiOyinlola, promised two weeks of exhilarating and thrilling polo urging “polo lovers to turn out in large numbers to come and feel the glamour associated with game of Kings.”
GTBank Masters Cup Season 8 Enters Quarter Finals Stage
Sixteen teams across the Male and female categories are set to compete in the quarterfinals stage of the GTBank Masters Cup. The tournament, which is now in its 8th season, will take place on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th March 2019.
Kicking off the matches at the Campos Mini Stadium on Tuesday will be the female team of Greensprings Schools Lekki, which will square off with Lead-Forte Gate College, Lekki. Later in the day, CMS Grammar School Bariga will face Federal Science and Technical College, Yabato contend for a spot in the Male category of the semi-finals.
On Wednesday, the female teams will again set the ball rolling as Corona Secondary School, Agbara will face Atlantic Hall, Epe, and later, in the Male category, Kings College, Lagos will compete with Jubril Martins Memorial Grammar School, Iponri.
The GTBank Masters Cup tournament since its inception has grown into one of the major platforms for discovering and developing exceptional football talents and many of its alumni are now on trials and scholarships with football clubs and academies in Nigeria and abroad.
Some of the outstanding players to look out for this season are: Celestine Chwang of Kings College and AyinlaAbiola of Answar-ud-deen Girls High School. So far, both players are the highest goal scorers in the male and female categories.
The full schedule of the GTBank Quarter Finals Season 8 is:
Greensprings School, Lekki vs Lead-Forte Gate College, Lekki
Girls High School, Itire vs Ansar-ud-deen College, Isolo.
CMS Grammar School, Bariga vs Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba
Anwar-ul-islam Model College, Agege vs Igbobi College, Yaba.
Corona Secondary School, Agbara vs Atlantic Hall, Epe
Queens College, Yaba vs Answar-ud-deen Girls High School, Ojokoro.
Kings College, Lagos vs. Jubril martins Memorial Gram. School, Iponri
Baptist Academy, Obanikoro vs. Whitesand School, Lekki.
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