The constant calls and promises of cash rewards from top government functionaries and prominent Nigerians distracted the Super Eagles which contributed to their ultimate defeat and exit from the Africa Cup of Nations, a former goalkeeper of the Super Eagles has said.
The ex-goalkeeper, Peterside Idah, said on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme on Monday that it was wrong to have allowed the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema; and the President of the Nigerian Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, to address players during halftime.
Barely six hours before the game, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), made a video call to the team.
The CBN governor had also visited the eagles at halftime where he relayed a message from business tycoon, Femi Otedola, promising them $250,000 (N104m) if they won the cup. Onyema had also promised to give the team N10m for each goal scored.
Idah maintained that when people who are not part of the coaching team are allowed to address players during halftime, promising them cash rewards, the players get distracted.
The retired goalkeeper said the next coach of the Super Eagles must ensure that he is given full authority and does not permit such behaviour.
“We can’t have the President of the NFF addressing the players in the second half. That is not his responsibility. We can’t have the CBN governor addressing the players at halftime. That is not his responsibility. We can’t have the owner of Air Peace addressing the players at halftime. What time will the coach have?” Idah asked.
The former Nigeria international said the Super Eagles were overconfident and were already being addressed as champions when the tournament itself was still in the early stages.
He added that the government officials also did not help matters because of the incessant calls to the players.
Idah added, “We had won the gold in the bedroom. We had already started calling ourselves champions when we had not even qualified. I said it the other day that officials would begin to travel to the Super Eagles’ camp to make promises. ‘If you win the cup, this is the money you will get’. I mentioned this before.
“There is a psychology of football. When you go to play football, you start from zero. You don’t go as a winner because you underestimate your opponent. I said this before that in our dressing room, we had officials that were not football coaches going to address the players and I said this over and over again. The mindset of a player is very fickle.
“He has to think of the match 100 percent. He doesn’t have to think about money; he doesn’t have to think about family problems or women. He has to think about football.”
The ex-goalkeeper said there was a time when government officials interfered to the extent that they demanded that the Super Eagles team reflect federal character.
He said the white coach, however, ignored this order. Idah, therefore, stated that this is the sort of attitude the next coach must have.
“I remember the coach we had in Nigeria. I have worked with the FA in Nigeria. And when we were there, they brought a team list for him and they said you have to put two Hausa, two Yoruba, 4 Igbo and he looked at the list and they said to submit a team list.
“And he put two Yoruba, two Hausa, two Igbo and sent the list to the government. When he sent the list, during the match, he changed it. This was a white coach and the officials in the office compared it with their list and started complaining. Everything about Nigeria is wisdom and the next coach must lay down his rules,” Idah said.
The ex-goalkeeper said Austin Eguavoen was qualified to continue as a coach but advised him to be firm and make his demands upfront before signing any contract.
Osimhen, Salah, 28 Others Get CAF 2023 African Player Of The Year Nomination [SEE FULL LIST]
The Confederation of African Football named Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen, Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, and 28 others as candidates for the 2023 men’s African Player of the Year awards on Wednesday.
CAF confirmed on their official website that the Gala awards will be hosted on December 11, 2023, in Marrakech, Morocco.
According to the statement, “A panel of CAF Technical Experts, African Football Legends, and selected media representatives from a number of countries put together the preliminary list for the various categories with the performance of the nominees between November 2022 and September 2023 serving as the period under consideration.
“Thirty (30) players made the cut for the top prize; CAF African Player of the Year, whilst 20 players have been nominated for the CAF Interclub Player of the Year. Coach of the Year, CAF National Team of the Year and Club of the Year have ten (10) nominees each just as CAF Young Player of the Year – for players under the age of 21.
“For the first time, CAF has introduced the CAF African Goalkeeper of the Year Category (Men and Women) in the prestigious event that seeks to reward and celebrate exceptional Players, Officials and Administrators during the period under review.
“It will be the first time that shot stoppers will be acknowledged for their performances, further expanding the network of winners for the annual event. 10 players have been nominated for the novel award.
CAF maintained that the ultimate winner of each category will be decided after votes from a voting panel consisting of the CAF Technical Committee, media professionals, Head Coaches and captains of Member Associations and clubs involved in the group stages of the Interclub competitions.
It further added that the nominees for the Women’s categories will be announced in due course.
Recall that Senegal forward Sadio Mane was crowned CAF African Player of the Year whilst Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala was coronated CAF African Women’s Player of the Year for a record fifth time during the last Awards Gala in July 2022 in Rabat, Morocco.
Full List of Nominees (in alphabetic order by Member Association):
Player of the Year (Men)
1. Ramy Bensebaini (Algeria and Borussia Dortmund)
2. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria and Al Ahli)
3. Edmond Tapsoba (Burkina Faso and Bayer Leverkusen)
4. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon and SSC Napoli)
5. Vincent Aboubacar (Cameroon and Besiktas)
6. Ibrahima Sangare (Cote d’Ivoire and Nottingham Forest)
7. Seko Fofana (Cote d’Ivoire and Al Nassr)
8. Chancel Mbemba (DR Congo and Olympique Marseille)
9. Fiston Mayele (DR Congo and Pyramids)
10. Mahmoud Abdel Moneim “Kahraba” (Egypt and Ahly)
11. Mohamed Abdelmonem (Egypt and Al Ahly)
12. Mohamed ElShenawy (Egypt and Al Ahly)
13. Mohamed Salah (Egypt and Liverpool)
14. Mohammed Kudus (Ghana and West Ham United)
15. Thomas Partey (Ghana and Arsenal)
16. Serhou Guirassy (Guinea and VfB Stuttgart)
17. Yves Bissouma (Mali and Tottenham Hotspur)
18. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain)
19. Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco and Olympique Marseille)
20. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco and Galatasaray)
21. Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco and Manchester United)
22. Yahya Jabrane (Morocco and Wydad Athletic Club)
23. Yassine Bounou (Morocco and Al Hilal)
24. Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco and Sevilla)
25. Peter Shalulile (Namibia and Mamelodi Sundowns)
26. Victor Osimhen (Nigeria and SSC Napoli)
27. Sadio Mane (Senegal and Al Nassr)
28. Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal and Tottenham Hotspur)
29. Percy Tau (South Africa and Al Ahly)
30. Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Tunisia and Ferencvaros).
2023 Ballon d’Or: Victor Osimhen Ranked 8th Best Player In The World, Becomes First Nigerian To Make Top 10 List
Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen was ranked number 8 in the 2023 Ballon d’Or award which was held in Paris, France on Monday night.
He thus becomes the first Nigerian to make the top ten of the Ballon d’Or.
The Napoli forward became one of the few Nigerians to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or and went a step further by making the top ten.
Osimhen was in impressive form for the Italian side as they clinched the Serie A title for the first time in 33 years. He won the Pichichi, the highest goalscorer prize, last season as the Naples team emerged winners of the league.
The 24-year-old scored 26 goals to become the first African to win the prize. Osimhen was the highest-ranked player from the continent at this year’s award. The closest is Liverpool and Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah who was ranked eleventh.
— Ballon d'Or #ballondor (@ballondor) October 30, 2023
Napoli FC Target Gabriel Jesus As Victor Osimhen Replacement, Consider Morata, David
Despite Victor Osimhen’s commitment to Napoli, the Serie A champions have identified Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus as a potential alternative for the Nigerian striker.
Following the uproar caused by Napoli’s TikTok account, the Nigeria international’s future at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona is unknown.
The club’s official account came under criticism for making light of Osimhen’s penalty miss against Bologna in one post, and comparing him to a coconut in the other.
In reaction to the now-deleted posts, Osimhen’s agent threatened the reigning Serie A winners with legal action.
Napoli insisted that no offence was intended with the two videos, but they stopped short of offering an apology.
There have been talks of the 24-year-old leaving the Italian outfits at the end of the season with some even suggesting that the player could go as early as January.
However, Osimhen in a statement posted on social media revealed his commitment to the people of Napoli and the club.
While talks have previously taken place over a new contract, there is now considerable doubt as to whether Osimhen will sign a new deal with the club.
The 24-year-old, whose current contract runs until 2025, has attracted interest from a number of clubs, including Chelsea.
Napoli club president Aurelio de Laurentiis has stated publicly that he is confident Osimhen will put pen to paper on a new deal.
However, according to Calcio Mercato, Napoli have started to draw up contingency plans in case Osimhen leaves the club in January or at the end of the season.
The report claims that Jesus has been identified as a potential target alongside Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata and Lille’s Jonathan David.
Jesus has been hampered by injury since joining the Gunners from Premier League rivals Manchester City in the summer of 2022.
Despite being affected by injury issues, the Brazilian has still managed to make 41 competitive appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side, registering 14 goals and eight assists.
Morata, who previously played in Italy for Juventus, has made an impressive start to the season, scoring seven goals in eight games for Atletico.
David, meanwhile, has found the net four times in 11 games this term, and the Lille striker is also a target for AC Milan as well as Napoli.
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