Nigeria, Uganda qualify for Africa Cup of Nations; Jorginho returns to Chelsea early from Italy duty
Victor Moses may be officially retired from international football, but if the Nigerian Football Federation are serious about trying to convince him to return, they can dangle the prospect of playing in an Africa Cup of Nations tournament for the second time in his career. Moses helped lead Nigeria to the 2013 ACN title, being named in the Team of the Tournament and winning the Fair Player of the Tournament award as well.
Unfortunately, the Super Eagles failed to qualify for either the 2015 or the 2017 editions, but they will be there next summer — the tournament was finally moved from winter to summer to better align with the European football season — after a 1-1 draw against South Africa in Johannesburg ensured they finished at least second in their qualifying group.
Surprisingly, Ola Aina was left out of the squad entirely by head coach Gernot Rohr — the 22-year-old may be carrying a small injury, in fairness — but fellow Chelsea loanee Kenneth Omeruo, who’s been excelling at Leganés in La Liga, started in central defense. A goal for either side inside of the first 30 minutes was all the scoring that was needed to book their spot in the expanded final tournament (from 16 to 24 teams) that will take place in Cameroon from mid-June to mid-July.
Uganda edged Cape Verde 1-0 in Kampala, Mali beat Gabon in Libreville and Morocco went through after rivals Malawi lost in the Comoros. Libya triumphed 8-1 in the Seychelles and host South Africa next March on the final matchday needing a win to accompany Nigeria in qualifying from Group E.
The Libyans just missed equalling the record away winning margin for a Cup of Nations qualifier held by Ghana, who won 9-1 in Niger 49 years ago. A total of nine nations have booked places at the newly-extended 24-team finals with hosts Cameroon, Madagascar, Senegal, Egypt and Tunisia securing berths before this weekend.
Back in Europe, another draw made decisive difference, as a scoreless 90 minutes between Italy and Portugal in Milan ensured that the reigning European Champions won Group 3 of League A and thus have become the first team to qualify for the final knockout tournament to determine the winner of the inaugural Nations League exercise.
Italy called up Emerson and Jorginho for this one, but only the latter took part in what was Italy’s fourth draw in the last six games. The Azzurri dominated possession, as one would expect with Jorginho and Verratti in midfield, but were once again let down by their finishing, and managed just 3 shots on target from 15.
In better news, Jorginho is one of several players who has been excused from Italy’s friendly against the USA on Tuesday, and thus gets a few extra days of rest before the return of proper football and the busy holiday period for Chelsea.
Nigeria coach heaps praise on Bafana’s Percy Tau
ormer Mamelodi Sundowns forward Percy Tau drew praise from Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr after his man of the match performance in South Africa’s Afcon qualifier against the Super Eagles at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The diminutive player set up the hosts’ equaliser, which was finished off by Lebo Mothiba, and caused all sorts of problems for the visiting team throughout the contest.
In the end, things ended level at 1-1, a result that saw the Super Eagles book a place in Afcon 2019, with Bafana Bafana needing to avoid defeat in their final qualifying match against Libya in Sfax in March next year.
Speaking after the match, Rohr heaped praise on Brighton and Hove Albion player – currently on loan at Union St Gilloise in Belgium’s second division – as well as few of his Bafana teammates.
“Congratulations to this player Percy Tau. I hope to see him in a big team in Europe, in England or the championship. He is a really good player,” the German tactician told the media.
“You have a wonderful player in Percy. You have a very good goalkeeper (Itumeleng Khune).
“The captain (Thulani Hlatshwayo) is a good player. It’s a good team to go to Afcon, but it will not be easy in the last match. But I can give your coach advice for that match if he wants.”
Rohr was, however, taken aback by the poor attendance at the 90 000-seater venue, saying he expected more people to turn up for a match of such magnitude.
“I was surprised that the stadium was empty. You have such a game, and the stadium is empty. I don’t understand how. Especially in this kind of game. If we had this game in Nigeria, we would have a lot of people,” he said.
The result sees Bafana sitting second in Group E with nine points – one behind Nigeria – with Libya at third with seven points. The group’s whipping boys Seychelles ring up the rear with a solitary point in four matches.
Alexis Sanchez wants to quit Manchester United for PSG after just ten months
anchester United star Alexis Sanchez has reportedly “reached the end of his tether” with Jose Mourinho and has “talked with his agent about how to sort out the mess”.
According to our
sources, their relationship is at “rock bottom” after the Chilean was subbed against Valencia in Tuesday night’s Champions League clash, following another insipid performance.
The 29-year-old last scored for United in an FA Cup tie against Tottenham in April - which as the points out, means the £505,000-a-week striker is costing the club more than £5.6m per goal.
With that sort of return, neither party is happy, and there is growing speculation in Manchester that Sanchez will look to end his Old Trafford agony in the January transfer window if Mourinho remains manager.
The Sun claims that Sanchez has “regularly clashed with Mourinho over his role in the team”. The paper quotes a source close to the player as saying: “He is totally fed up and at the end of his tether with Mourinho. He knows he can’t leave right now but is in talks with his agent about what they can do to try and sort the situation out.”
Mourinho is said to have told Sanchez to sort out his attitude, but the South American is “furious” about the state of his career since arriving at Old Trafford from Arsenal last January.
Mourinho alleges that he bitterly regrets signing for United, particularly given that there was also interest from Manchester City, and that he is starting to wonder if Mourinho signed him just to spite City boss Pep Guardiola.
Southgate set to make shock Welbeck replacement
ews broke earlier this afternoon that Danny Welbeck will be out injured (again) until after next month’s international break with a groin injury sustained in Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Sunday.
Welbeck, therefore, will miss Wednesday’s Carabao Cup game with Doncaster Rovers, Premier League clashes with Brighton and West Brom, and a Europa League trip to BATE Borisov of Belarus.
Therefore, the bookies have priced up a list of potential replacements for the injured Arsenal man, and at 3/1, it's Nelson who leads the way in the betting.
The youngster initially missed out on an England call-up yesterday as Gareth Southgate announced his squad for the upcoming fixtures against the USA and Croatia.
The 18-year-old, who is on loan at German side Hoffenheim, has impressed so far this season netting five times in six Bundesliga appearances.
Speaking about Nelson to the press yesterday, the Three Lions boss said: "We really like Reiss. He came and trained with us not last month, but in September.
"He is doing okay with Hoffenheim. We think that he and some other players in the Under-21's have got big fixtures.
"He always impressed me in the match time he got at Arsenal - he always had a really good impact whenever he played. I always liked his personality on the field and he is one of a number of attacking players who will push for places in the coming years.
"But he is not the only one and it is important we keep pushing him. I don't want him to be thinking that he has just got to roll up and he's got the next one, because there is really good competition for places in that U21s group."
Ryan Sessegnon is the next most likely man for a call-up at 7/2, ahead of Demarai Gray (5/1) and Phil Foden (11/2).
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: "We're crossing our fingers for a speedy Welbeck recovery but attention turns to who'll replace him in Southgate's squad, and at the moment all the signs point towards high-flying Nelson."
Ladbrokes Latest Betting
To replace Danny Welbeck in England squad
Reiss Nelson 3/1
Ryan Sessegnon 7/2
Demarai Gray 5/1
Phil Foden 11/2
Tammy Abraham 8/1
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 8/1
Daniel Sturridge 10/1
Glenn Murray 10/1
Jay Rodriguez 10/1
Mason Mount 8/1
Dominic Solanke 12/1
NPFL: DAVID OBIAZOR JOINS PLATEAU UNITED
The former Kano pillars goalkeeper will start a new Life in jos after he agreed terms with management of tin City Boys yesterday.
It could be recalled that he was in goal for pillars in the historic final Where pillars threw away 3 goals lead .
Speaking to footballlive.ng is the keffi Born goalkeeper .
I Have joined plateau United, it is a new beginning for me , i feel so good to Start a new Life in another club after my three seasons with pillars came to an end.
Pillars is a team i am proud of , But i have to move on , pillars is one of the best clubs in Nigeria, but football is about mobility and i wish pillars the best while i have move on too as a player .
Regarding the just concluded Aiteo cup, honestly i don’t want to discuss about the Aiteo cup final , it was a horrible moment of my carreer , the ball playing Goalkeeper concluded.
Super Eagles defender, Juwon Oshaniwa is on the move of joining the promise keepers, Akwa United ahead of next season Nigeria Professional Football League.
The 28-year-old parted ways with Scottish side Hearts on mutual consent back in 2017 after he was declared surplus to requirements and he has been unattached since then.
Akwa United identified
the AFCON 2013 winning defender as a possible replacement for Gabriel Wassa, who is on the verge of joining his former boss Abdu Maikaba at Plateau United.
The Former Israeli based left back trained with the with the Promise Keepers under the watchful eyes of head coach Rafael Everton on Thursday and is expected to sign a deal with the club ahead of the start of the 2018/2019 season.
Oshaniwa earned 14 caps for the Super Eagles since making his debut in the 3-2 loss to Egypt in an International friendly held in Dubai on April 12, 2012.
NPFL: I Am Still The Head Coach Of MFM Fc – Fidelis llechukwu
The MFM head coach made clear that he is still committed to the Lagos based team in his very words he said:
I am still the head coach of MFM FC and I don’t have any intention of leaving the club any
I have a target to build a team for the future with MFM FC, and we are just halfway down the road, MFM believes in philosophy of grooming talents and players like stephen odey , Sikiru olatubosun and Onuwa are products of raw talents groomed by the team.
Ilechukwu has been linked to some top flight clubs, such as Sunshine Fc, Niger Tornadoes FC, and FC Ifeanyi Ubah a few months ago, but he has pledged his aligence to the Club that made him.
It could be recalled that MFM came second in the 2016/2017 NPFL after being beaten by Plateau United ,who eventually became the champions of 2017 NPFL League.
Ilechukwu led the Olukoya Boys to CAF champions place in 2017 after they struggled to retain their NPFL status a season before.
However the team coach who believe in youths and enjoy scintillating brand of football.
updated 12 minutes ago