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BREAKING: NFF Sacks Gernot Rohr, Appoints Eguavoen Super Eagles Interim Coach

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The Nigeria Football Federation has terminated Gernot Rohr’s contract as the Super Eagles coach.

Subsequently, the football federation appointed Augustine Eguavoen, currently it’s Technical Director, as the Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles on an interim basis.

“This is with immediate effect, and follows the termination of the relationship with Franco-German Gernot Rohr, who has been in charge of the three-time African champions for the past 64 months, and is Nigeria’s longest-serving manager,” a statement from NFF stated on Sunday.

The statement added, “Following a virtual meeting of the NFF Executive Committee on Sunday, it was decided that Eguavoen will work with Salisu Yusuf (Chief Coach); Paul Aigbogun (Assistant Coach); Joseph Yobo (Assistant Coach); Dr Terry Eguaoje (Assistant Coach) and Aloysius Agu (Goalkeeper Trainer).

“Former Nigeria captains Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Garba Lawal have been appointed to provide technical and ambassadorial support for the crew.”

The statement quoted the General Secretary of the NFF, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, as commending the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for collaboration and guidance all through.”

“The relationship between the Nigeria Football Federation and Mr Rohr has come to an end. We thank him for his services to the Super Eagles and Nigeria,” he added.

Eguavoen, a former Nigeria captain, was coach of the squad when it finished in third place at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2006. He was on-field captain when the Super Eagles lifted the Africa Cup for the first time on away ground, in Tunisia 27 years ago.

He will now take charge of the team as it begins preparations for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cameroon 9th January – 6th February 2022, and until the appointment of a substantive Head Coach.

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AFCON: CBN Gov, Air Peace Boss, Govt Officials Distracted Super Eagles — Ex-Goalkeeper Peterside Idah

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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.

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No Stepping Down For Fury, Usyk Fight – Anthony Joshua Insists

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All eyes are on Nigerian Boxer, Anthony Joshua. as the idea of an undisputed heavyweight title bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk resurfaces.

Fury was expected to fight Dillian Whyte in a mandatory title defense of his WBC belt, before Usyk rematches Joshua for the unified WBA, WBO, and IBF belts, with the victors meeting off later this year.

But it now appears that Joshua and Whyte are working on a possible step aside deal with Fury and Usyk to allow them to fight for all the gold in the Middle East.

Fury’s promoter Bob Arum has claimed they have received an offer from the region to crown an unprecedented four-belt undisputed world champion.

“It is total chaos,” Arum told talkSPORT. “What’s happening is just promises coming out of the Middle East about doing a unified fight with Usyk and Fury, and is Dillian Whyte going to step aside.

“And people that have absolutely no contractual ties – like Frank Warren’s Queens- berry and our Top Rank do – are getting involved.

“It’s a typical terrible kind of situation, but hopefully it’ll get sorted out and probably it will get sorted out with a purse bid on Friday.”

Joshua has previously insisted that while he is focused on facing Usyk, there would be a numerical offer that could see him take another deal.

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Eagles Begin Fourth AFCON Chase Against Pharaohs

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Nigeria and Egypt will faceoff at the Stade Roumdé Adjia, Garoua as both sides aim to begin their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on a positive note.

Nigeria will be without top scorer in the qualifiers Victor Osimhen, Watford forward Emmanuel Dennis, and 2019 AFCON top scorer Odion Ighalo, while Egypt will not have Mohamed Abogabal and Ibrahim Adel available after both tested positive for COVID-19.

The rivalry between the two sides dates as far back as 1960, when Nigeria secured a 2-1 friendly victory in their first encounter at the National Stadium, Lagos.

Both sides have since gone on to clash on 18 occasions with Nigeria setting the pace with eight victories, losing five with another five draws.

The Super Eagles are one of the most successful nations on the continent following their last triumph back in 2013, when they narrowly defeated a stubborn Burkina Faso side 1-0 courtesy of Sunday Mba’s stunner, to claim the AFCON title for the third time.

While the Eagles, who finished third at the 2019 edition of the football showpiece in Africa, will be seeking their fourth title, the Pharaohs will look to conquer the continent for a record-extending eighth time.

The Eagles qualified for their 19th AFCON appearance enjoying an unbeaten qualification where they finished at the top of Group L with 14 points ahead of Lesotho to secure smooth entry into the group stages of the tournament.

Eagles defender Chidozie Awaziem said Nigeria, who heads into today’s game in fine form having won four of their last six competitive games, drew one and lost one, said the team were ready to face Mohammed Salah-led side.

“We are fully focused on the game, we are just a few hours away from our first game and we are fully ready for Egypt,” Awaziem said.

“With our efforts and the help of the coach, I believe we will come out with a positive result.“We have lots of good players in the team to count on.”

While Nigeria will be seeking an opening-day victory over Egypt, the Pharaoh’s coach Carlos Queiroz said his ambition was to go unbeaten throughout the tournament.

“It’s a great pleasure to face Nigeria in the opening game. We want to face the strongest teams in the tournament,” Queiroz said in his pre-match press conference.

“Nigeria is a very strong team, but we have no objections. It’s always good to compete against football giants.

“We have a lot of players that are competing among themselves for a starting position, and that’s great because we came here to play seven games.

“Our ambition is very simple. Win all the matches.”

Egypt’s last AFCON title win was back in 2010 when they saw off Ghana 1-0 courtesy of Mohamed Nagy’s 85th-minute strike in the final and will be eager to start the campaign on a positive note.

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