FIFA appoints Grisha to handle Zambia, Nigeria match

Football’s world ruling body, FIFA, has appointed Egyptian Ghead Grisha as referee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Zambia’s Chipolopolo and Nigeria’s Super Eagles in Ndola on Sunday, 9th October 2016.

Grisha, 40, has been a FIFA referee since 2008. He will be assisted by fellow Egyptians Tahssen Abo El Sadat Bedyer (assistant referee 1), Ahmed Hossameldin Taha (assistant referee 2) and Ibrahim Noureldin (Fourth Official).

Also appointed is renown former FIFA referee Zeli Sinko (from Cote d’Ivoire), who will serve as referee assessor, while former Ghana FA president Mahamadu Nuru Deen Jawula will be match commissioner.

The match has been scheduled to kick off at the Levy Nwanawasa Stadium in Ndola at 2.30pm Zambia time (1.30pm Nigeria time) on Sunday, 9th October.

Grisha, incidentally, was in charge of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations group phase clash between the Super Eagles and the Chipolopolo, at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, which ended 1-1.

The Super Eagles went ahead to eventually win that Cup of Nations tournament.

FIFA has also appointed respected Nigerian official Paul Bassey to serve as security officer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group E qualifier between Congo and Egypt, scheduled for the Stade de Kintele in Brazzaville on the same day.

Beninoise official Bruno Arthur Didavi will be match commissioner for that game, with the referees from Cote d’Ivoire led by Denis Dembele. Jason Joseph Damoo from Seychelles will serve as referee assessor.

Rio Olympics: Senate To Probe Sports Minister, NOC

DISTURBED by the controversies arising from Nigeria’s poor outing in the just concluded Rio Olympics in Brazil, where it won only a bronze medal in men’s football, the Senaqte has said it will probe the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung and the National Olympics Committee,

Dalung

NOC, over their roles in the event. This is even as it frowned at the U-23 football team for accepting cash donation from a Japanese philanthropist for their Bronze Medal victory. Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports, Obinna Ogba, PDP, Ebonyi South, disclosed this, yesterday,   during an interview with journalists in Abuja . Ogba, who was part of the official delegation to Brazil, said a lot of factors ranging from funding to logistics contributed to Nigeria’s no-show performance at the Olympics Games, saying that the Senate will look into the circumstances when it resumes from recess next month.

“My committee intends to invite the NOC to come and brief us on the Olympics. Apart from the late arrival of our athletes’ kits, you can see even our national anthem at the opening ceremony was the wrong one. So, all these, we are going to find out what happened when we resume,” Ogba said.

On the donation of $390,000 to the Olympic Football team by a Japanese plastic surgeon and football enthusiast, Dr. katsuya Takasu, the lawmaker said it was wrong of the team to receive the money because its source was unknown. “I don’t think it was nice for our country to accept such money given the happenings around the world now. Money is good but it’s not every money that comes your way that you collect. So, I associate myself fully with the President of the Nigeria Football Federation,” he noted.

U-23 Players Yet To Get Allowances

Players and officials of the Nigeria Olympic Eagles are yet to receive their remaining allowances after winning bronze medal at the  Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Nigeria U-23 side last Saturday, August 20 beat Honduras in the third-place match to win football bronze at Rio 2016.

Nigeria’s players celebrate after receiving their bronze medals after defeating Honduras in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s bronze medal football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on August 20, 2016. / AFP PHOTO /

Samson Siasia who arrived back in the country with some of his players on Monday, August 22 revealed that they have not been paid their full allowances for Rio 2016. The Dream Team VI were paid some allowances during the Games after the players threatened to stay away from training. “They said no match bonuses when the Games began, but they didn’t tell us this before the tournament,” Samson said as quoted by  FC Naija.

“Not one penny. It was when the players cried that they came with 11 days daily allowance and that was all they gave us. They then said they would pay us bonuses only when we got to the medal stages but up till now, we don’t even know how much for the Bronze we won,” Siasia continued. “Not one penny. It was when the players cried that they came with 11 days daily allowance and that was all they gave us.” The Olympic team won Nigeria’s only medal at Rio 2016. The bronze won is the third Olympic football medal for Nigeria.

I Won’t Represent Nigeria Again – Usman

Even before she left the shores of Nigeria for Brazil, Mariam Usman knew that winning a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics would be a tough call. She would not pretend to be a magician nor claim perfection where there is none. Usman believes one can only reap where one sows.

DOWN & OUT . . . Team Nigeria’s female weightlifter hopeful, Maryam Usman disappointed as she flops during the women’s +75-kg weightlifting event of the London 2012 Olympics.

The Commonwealth medallist in the +75kg in weightlifting says she has lost the urge to represent Nigeria at international events. Mariam was the only weightlifter that represented Nigeria here in Rio. She competed in the +75 category and amassed 265 kg. She finished 8th in her group. “It is painful to come to the Olympics and see people who are your contemporaries perform better than you; not because you lack the ability but because you were not prepared like them,” she said, while speaking to reporters at the Games Village, here in Rio.

“For me, it is not just about jumping unto the plane every four years to go to the Olympics. Every athlete you see here wants to step on the podium. If you can’t aim to climb up there, you have no business coming to the Olympics. I can only consider going to another Olympics if things change for the better. But if the statues quo is maintained, I don’t think I will go to another Olympics again.” She said training for the Rio Olympics was non-existent while her counterparts from other countries who are competing here in Brazil have been training for three to four years. “Olympic gold medal doesn’t come cheap. It is painful that one has to suffer and when competition comes they expect you to win a medal with your blood.

“The people you have to compete with had everything they needed: training grants, competitions and are exposed to the most modern equipment. I had nothing. You don’t expect such people who have invested so much to lose to one who don’t even train adequately.”

The African champion said before the 2012 Olympics, she had better training than she did under the current dispensation. “Yes, I feel 2012 was better. I had better training and my result was better. This time nothing was done to better one’s performance.”

Okocha To Olympic Team: You Can’t Be Rich Playing For Nigeria

Former Nigeria skipper Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha has warned the country’s Olympic team in Rio they cannot become rich simply by playing for Nigeria.

Money problems have marred the team’s march to the semi-finals of the Rio Olympics, just as they did two years ago when the Super Eagles also held the country to ransom before they were paid appearance bonuses also in Brazil.

Okocha

Okocha, who clocked 43 years on Sunday, has now told the latest edition of the Dream Team they should rather be proud they are representing Nigeria than hope to make money doing so.

“You can’t get rich playing for Nigeria, you will get exposure and touch lives,” Okocha said as he marked his birthday with a visit to internally displaced people. “We have to look beyond match bonuses when playing for our country.” ‘Jay Jay’ recalled how his turning professional in Germany wiped out poverty from his family.

“The decision to take the flight to Germany took away poverty from my family,” he recounted. Okocha, who won Olympic Gold in 1996 and featured at three World Cups, played for Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), PSG (France), Fenerbache (Turkey), Bolton, Hull City (England) and in Qatar before he finally quit the game.

Six things we learnt in week one of the Premier League

Some facts emerged as the new English Premier League season got underway at the weekend where teams went head-to-head against each other in the 2016/2017 campaign.

Both players and coaches were the talking point as the opening day fixtures started over the weekend and Chelsea’s match against West Ham will end match day-one fixtures. Here are the six things we learnt in the match day-one of the Premier League matches

1. Opening day loss:

Leicester City became the first Premier League defending champions that will lose their first match in a new season when they lost 1-2 to Hull City at the Molineux.

Riyad Mahrez scores a penalty for Leicester against

Hull City No league champions have ever lost a game on an opening day fixture as the Premier League new boys have put the Foxes under pressure for the new campaign.

2. First goal of the new season:

Adama Diomande made history as he scored the first goal of the new season when he put the Tigers ahead of defending champions Leicester City in Hull’s 2-1 win.

Leicester City vs Hull City

Though it looked like Abel Hernandez got the goal but after forensic examination Diomande seem to have got the final touch before went into the back of the net.

3. Managerial debutantes:

Some of the managers of the big clubs in England made their first appearance in the richest football league in the world in match day-one fixtures.

Pep Guardiola on the sidelines on his debut for Manchester City against Sunderland

These coaches includes; Pep Guardiola (Manchester City), Claude Puel (Southampton), Walter Mazzari (Watford), Aitor Karanka (Middlesbrough), and Mike Phelan (Hull City).

4. Big names benched:

Players that had a regular place for their respective team surprisingly were relegated to the bench as Joe Hart topped the list omitted names in the starting XI.

Joe Hart benced on the first match of the season

Other players includes; Yaya Toure and Niclos Otamendi of Manchester City and Arsenal’s big money signing Granit Xhaka who was brought on as a second half substitute in the Liverpool match.

5. The most fouls:

After coming on as a second half substitute against Liverpool, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka committed four fouls, the most by any player in the opening day of the Premier League season.

Granit Xhaka in action for Arsenal

6. Absence of Pogba:

The world thought the most expensive will make his Premier League debut at the weekend but the FA claimed the player had complete his suspension he got in the Serie A while he was a Juventus player.

Paul Pogba Manchester United will have to wait for another week when they host Southampton at Old Trafford where Pogba will be making a home debut for the Red Devils.

Stay Away From Us, U-23 Eagles Tell Dalung

The no-love-lost relationship between the U-23 Olympic team camp and the Minister of Sports and Youth Development has reached a boiling point and they have told him in clear terms, they don’t want to see him in their camp.

Siasia-Dalung

The players who are aiming to go pass Germany tomorrow in one of the semi finals of the men’s football event of the Rio Games have begged not to be distracted by officials of Team Nigeria. Specifically, they insisted that they don’t want the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, and his delegation anywhere near their dressing room before and during the match to avoid unnecessary distractions.

“We are set for the semi final clash with Germany. We have perfected our game plan to qualify for the final and win the gold medal for Nigeria like our 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games colleagues,” hinted one of the top players Monday night.

Despite the apology by Dalung for the shabby manner his ministry treated the team during their training tour of Atlanta, USA, the player insisted that it was difficult for them to forget the scandalous scenario before achieving the feat of reaching the semi final. Dream Team players and officials were stranded for three days before being airlifted by American Delta Airline to Manaus, venue of their first group game against Japan.

You wont believe how much a Japanese will give Dream Team if they win gold

– A benefactor promises the Dream Team $30,000 each if they win gold at the Rio Olympics

– Katsuya Takasu also says he will reward the U-23 $20,000 and $10,000 for silver or bronze

– The NFF states that the boys will not be distracted with the mouth watering offer

A plastic surgeon named Katsuya Takasu has promised each member of the Dream Team VI squad $30,000 should they win gold in football at the Rio Olympics. Takasu also pledged $20,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze after the hearing financial crisis that have plagued the national U-23 team.

Dream Team

BBC reports that a benefactor has promised a bonus of $30,000 to each Nigerian player should they win gold at the Rio 2016 men’s Olympic football tournament in Brazil.

“I read about the financial problems affecting the team and I felt the need to make a big contribution. “I am not doing this for media attention but to motivate a team with an indomitable spirit. I fell in love with the Nigerian team because despite all these problems they are in the quarter-finals of the Olympics. “Whether they win or not, I will still donate something to help alleviate the challenges in paying their bonuses and allowances,” Takasu said.

The Nigeria Football Federation vice-presiden Seyi Akinwunmi said that the footballing body was impressed with Takasu’s kind gesture but stated that the team will not get carried away. “I have been in direct contact with Mr Takasu and impressed by his gesture, but we need not get carried away because the integrity of the country is at stake.

“First we must check about this. Significantly, the team has an important game and we need to focus on that,” Akinwunmi said Recall that the Dream Team were held up in Atlanta for financial reasons and also arrived Brazil six hours before the game against Japan where they managed to scrape through by 5-4 in their opening match.

Dream Team

The players refused to train for the Colombia match and threatened to boycott their quarter final match against Denmark before the NFF waved in on the issue.

Olympics: NFF explains Dream Team unpaid allowances

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung and NFF President Amaju Pinnick have doused feelings of discontent in the Nigeria U23 team camp, ahead of Saturday’s Men’s Olympic Football Tournament quarterfinal clash with Denmark.

Pinnick said on Friday afternoon that he spoke with Head Coach Samson Siasia, noting that the team would certainly be in high spirit for the clash with the Danes at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on Saturday evening.

The minister said, “I just finished a long telephone discussion with Siasia and I explained to him the situation the NFF is in and why he has not received his salary. As I explained last week, we received some money from CAF and I directed that the money be used to offset the salaries of the U23 team coaches and also for the Super Falcons’ coaches.

“The money has come into the NFF account but it has to first go into our TSA (Treasury Single Account) before we can access it and then use it. The vouchers for the payment have already been done.

“Siasia confirmed that before I spoke to him, the NFF General Secretary had also called him to explain the situation to him. We are not unmindful of what our coaches are going through in this challenging period and we praise them for their patriotism and hard work despite all these.”

Pinnick also commended the Sports Minister for his concern for the team’s welfare. “I want to specially appreciate the Honourable Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung, who had already dispatched accountants to the U23 team hotel to pay the allowances of players and officials before I called the team.

“The Honourable Minister instructed the accountants to also pay the four alternate players, who are not accredited for the Games. We commend him for his efforts.”

The 1996 champions, who are also the reigning champions of Africa, were scheduled to have a feel of the Arena Fonte Nova on Friday evening, ahead of the clash with the Danes, who lost 0-4 to Brazil in their final group match on Wednesday.

Mikel Denies Donating $30,000 To Olympic Squad

John Mikel Obi

Captain of Team Nigeria to the Rio Olympics, John Mikel Obi has denied media reports making the rounds in Nigeria that he gave 30,000 dollars to his team –mates in the U23 team presently camping in Atlanta, USA.

Speaking from the team’s camp at the Hyatt Place, the Super Eagles captain was furious: “I was first told of this unfortunate story by a friend who called me from Nigeria. I thought he was joking until he sent me the link. “I don’t know the source of this story which to me is all out to divide us as a team. I would have thought that stories that should be coming out in the media are stories that will unite the team instead of dividing us. Our target in Rio is to excel, but if they continue like this, then I wonder how we can be united.”

Wondering why the writer thinks that the players are hungry that needed his money, Mikel asked: “Tell me the players who are in this team that are so hungry that will be looking up to me for survival? Is it (William) Ekong, (Oghenekaro) Etebo, (Shehu) Abdulahi, (Daniel) Akpeyi, (Kingsley) Madu, (Okechukwu) Azubuike or (Stanley) Amuzie, who are my team –mates in the Super Eagles, that I will be donating to, or other players who are plying their trade abroad and are doing well for themselves?

To me, this is just mere distraction that won’t help this team going into a major tournament like the Olympics.” The Chelsea FC ace then appealed to the sporting press and Nigerians generally to rally round the team and wish the players and officials well as they get ready for the men’s football tournament of the Rio Olympics.