Thursday, March 31, 2011


Siasia says Eagles still 'work in progress'

Samson Siasia says Eagles still 'work in progress'

Siasia says Eagles still 'work in progress'

Posted: 2011-03-31 10:27
Samson Siasia was pleased to see his wards chalk up 7 goals in two games, plus the additional bonus of two clean sheets, but says the team is nowhere near where he wants them to be. 

The Super Eagles scored four and claimed three points against Ethiopia in Sunday's Nations Cup qualifier, and added a customary three goals against Kenya two days later, but Siasia says they are still a work in progress.

"I am very happy with the way the boys have played in these two games, and the way they have listened to what we told them to do, and we have seen the results.

"But the team is still a work in progress and we had a little problem in midfield before we made adjustments. But the boys are getting better, and by the time we play more games, they'll get used to the way we want to play."

Siasia has also been impressed by the effort put in by the youngsters drafted into the team. "Some of the players who have come in have done very well, and the competition is high for places.

"We want players to run for 90 minutes, to chase the ball and to play forward as much as they can. This team is doing that, and if we get the balance right, we can take on anyone without fear." 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Siasia is on the right track – Kanu

Samson Siasia is on the right track – Nwankwo Kanu

Siasia is on the right track – Kanu

Posted: 2011-03-30 15:03
Nigeria legend and Portsmouth forward Nwankwo Kanu has praised his countryman Samson Siasia for the new life he has brought into the Super Eagles since taking over in December 2010. 

Nigeria have won three matches out of three under Siasia's watch with yesterday's 3-0 defeat of Kenya being the latest.

The Eagles players who found it hard to score under previous coaches have now been scoring freely and could have done more than they did against the Harambee Stars, but for the brilliant reflexes of Arnold Otieno in the Kenyan goal.

"Samson Siasia is on the right footing, " Kanu told MTNfootball after the game. "The team are scoring goals, not conceding and creating chances," he said.

Kanu has been appointed as football ambassador by the Nigerian Football Federation after 17 years of service to the country's national teams.

Kanu won an Under-17 title in 1993, an Olympic gold in 1996 as well as silver and bronze medals at the African Nations Cup with Nigeria over the course of a career that also saw him play at three World Cups


Nigeria march past Kenya
Victor Anichebe scored

Nigeria march past Kenya

Nigeria march past Kenya

Posted: 2011-03-29 21:33
Nigeria continued from where they left off at the weekend with a 3-0 defeat of Kenya in an international friendly match played at the National Stadium in Abuja. 

A third minute goal from Venlo youngster Ahmed Musa, one from Everton's Victor Anichebe on 48 mins and a stoppage time Ikechukwu Uche smasher were all that the Super Eagles needed to continue a victorious run against the Harambee Stars.

The score line belied the dominance of the Nigerians who missed several chances to increase the tally but for the impressive reflexes of Stars’ goalkeeper Arnold Otieno that kept them at bay.

The Nigeria Football Federation threw the gates open for this game as a way to thank the Abuja fans for their unwavering support for the team during Saturday’s game.

Coach Samson Siasia did not change his starting line up from the game against Ethiopia and they went ahead to attack from the first minute.

It was Anichebe who worked a nice pass for Musa to score the opening goal just as the Kenyans were about settling into the game. The Eagles then kept it till the second half before fired a shot in after a chest down and a turn past Otieno.

Uche scored his third goal in two games with a smash up into the roof of the net past Otieno for Nigeria's third as the clock wound down.

The Kenyans who were captained by Inter's MacDonald Mariga did not show much of the form that got them a victory over Angola at the weekend.

Nigeria have now nicked three wins in three games under Siasia and will hope they can continue their form against two time World Cup winners Argentina when the Albiceleste visit Abuja for a friendly on June 1


Arthur Wharton to be recognised at Wembley

Arthur Wharton to be recognised at Wembley

Arthur Wharton to be recognised at Wembley

Posted: 2011-03-29 15:07
The legacy of the world's very first black professional footballer, Arthur Wharton, will be officially recognised before England's friendly international with Ghana at Wembley on Tuesday evening. 

West Bromwich Albion's black football pioneers, Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson, will join Wharton's oldest living relative, Sheila Leeson, plus Sir Trevor Brooking in a pitchside presentation featuring a mini version of The FA's Arthur Wharton statue at 19h00.

Last year saw The FA donate £20,000 to the Arthur Wharton Foundation towards the building of a statue in Wharton's adopted hometown of Darlington.

Born in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1865, Wharton travelled to England in 1882 to train as a missionary but, after settling in Darlington, he abandoned his studies in favour of a career in sport.

He played in goal for Preston North End a year before their famous "invincible" season of 1888-89 and was understudy to the famous Fatty Foulke at Sheffield United.

Wharton's sporting prowess wasn't confined to just football – in his time at Darlington he was also a top-level sprinter and set a world record by running 100 yards in ten seconds flat. 

Wharton passed away in 1930 and was originally buried in an unmarked grave but the site is now recognised with a proper headstone after campaign work by Sheila Leeson, Football Unites, Racism Divides and the Arthur Wharton Foundation.


Eagles donate World Cup bonus to charity

Nigeria players donate 2010 World Cup bonus to charity

Eagles donate World Cup bonus to charity

Posted: 2011-03-29 07:01
Nigeria's Super Eagles on Monday donated a portion of their earnings from the 2010 World Cup to the Abuja Motherless Babies Home. 

Captain Joseph Yobo, who made the presentation on behalf of the squad, said the team were conscious of their responsibilities as ambassadors and hoped the gesture would go some way to easing the lives of the motherless.

"We kept some of the money from our World Cup bonuses and the whole squad agreed that we should do something for the less privileged so that their lives can be eased a bit," Yobo said.

Children from the Home were at the Super Eagles training in Monday with their Matron to accept the cash donation and have a photo session with the team.


Odemwingie and Moses off

Osaze Odemwingie and Victor Moses leave Nigeria camp

Odemwingie and Moses off

Posted: 2011-03-28 15:59
Forwards Osaze Odemwingie and Victor Moses left the Super Eagles camp on Monday morning to return to their clubs. 

Moses is ineligible to play for Nigeria until his application to switch nationality is approved by FIFA, while Odemwingie is off to continue treatment on his torn thigh muscle.

Moses application, with the accompanying documents, including a signed letter from the player has been forwarded to FIFA by the NFF and he is expected to be free to represent Nigeria away to Ethiopia in June.

Odemwingie passed a late fitness test after suffering a muscle tear in West Brom's last league game against Arsenal and spent most of the past week undergoing treatment from the Nigeria medical team.

To replace them, the duo of Ekigho Ehiosun and Nnamdi Oduamadi are to rejoin the squad after Olympic team duties on Saturday in Benin.

Ehiosu arrived on Sunday from Benin, while Oduamadi is expected on Monday afternoon.

"Those are the only two players joining us from the Under-23 team," Head Coach Samson Siasia said, ruling out reports of Haruna Lukman having been invited. 

Monday, March 28, 2011


Returning Eagles striker, Ikechukwu Uche, was voted as Man of the Match after coming on as a second half substitute to score a brace in an African Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia last night.

The Real  Zaragoza of  Spain forward showed class and received plaudits from soccer fans and votes from journalists covering the match after the team struggled to find their bearing in the early moments.

Speaking  at the post match interview, the younger of the two Uche brothers said:
“My goals showed that I am back to my best. I have continued where I stopped the last time I played for the national team. I promise to continue to do my best for the Eagles and I think we are now on course for Nations Cup qualification.

“The Ethiopians were very determined in the first half as thery were defending very well. The good thing was that in the second half, the coaches made some changes that eventually paid off and I congratulate my team mates for the wonderful second half display that culminated into three goals.”


Nigeria smash Ethiopia for 4

Nigeria smash Ethiopia for 4

Nigeria smash Ethiopia for 4

Posted: 2011-03-27 22:19
The Super Eagles handed Samson Siasia his first competitive win with an emphatic 4-0 victory over the Walya Antelopes on Sunday.

Nigeria took Ethiopia to the cleaners to raise their hopes of qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, with braces from Peter Utaka and Ikechukwu Uche.

The goals from Peter Utaka and just-returned-from-injury striker Ikechukwu Uche were all that the Super Eagles needed to maintain their race for a ticket after Madagascar held Group B leaders Guinea to a 1-1 draw in Antananarivo in an early game.

Victor Anichebe set up Utaka to slot into the Ethiopians’ net in the first minute of the game. It was a goal that calmed the nerves of the home team after their top strikers were put on the bench.

Nigeria went on to miss many chances through Utaka, Anichebe, Ahmed Musa, Joel Obi and Taye Taiwo in the first half.

Utaka doubled the lead of the home team on 53 mins as he rounded the Ethiopian goalkeeper to send the stadium into raptures.

Substitute Uche stabbed home the third goal on 77 mins after great work from fellow sub Osaze Odemwingie to ensure that the Ethiopians could not find their way back into the game.

The introduction of both Odemwingie and Uche for both front men Anichebe and Utaka enlivened the Nigerian frontline as the game wore on. It countered the attack of the Antelopes that was led by the energetic Tikru Tefera.

However, Uche scored his second of the night from a screaming shot at injury time to cap a glorious return to the Eagles after more than a year out.

Nigeria now have six points, one behind leaders Guinea as the race for the group ticket hots up.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


'Champion' Eagles look for fresh start
Joseph Yobo

'Champion' Eagles look for fresh start

'Champion' Eagles look for fresh start

Posted: 2011-03-27 10:19
Samson Siasia's Super Eagles will march out into the turf of the Abuja National Stadium on Sunday night looking for definition from their past when they face Ethiopia.

Where the first objective will be to make a break from the performances of the recent past, the second will be to return to the swashbuckling attacking of the nostalgic '90s.

On Friday, Siasia made a bold claim, that the 'old Eagles' are gone and his current set of players are a 'new Eagles'.

"The old Super Eagles is gone. This is a new Super Eagles. The boys are doing what they have been asked to do," he said.

This, despite playing just one friendly game against Sierra Leone last month.

But the Super Eagles coach has a point. Of the 22 players in his squad, only seven were at last year's disastrous World Cup in South Africa.

Siasia was the unanimous choice to bring change to a stilted national team that had left fans disenchanted after what was generally seen as a recurring string of poor performances.

And so he has had. The squad has been culled drastically. Young players have been called in and some outstanding performers have emerged, led by Inter Milan's Joel Obi.

The team made a winning, if unconvincing, start to life under Siasia with a 2-1 win against Sierra Leone in February, a game where they were booed by the fans at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, but skipper Joseph Yobo says there were extenuating circumstances.

"There was a positive attitude against Sierra Leone. We only trained for one day, but we could have won by 3-0 in the first half," he says.

There can be no such let off against Ethiopia. The Eagles have had five full days of training, and look to have built a good rhythm. Injured players Victor Anichebe, Osaze Odemwingie and Obafemi Martins have been passed fit, so except for Victor Moses, who is ineligible with his application for nationality under processing at Fifa, Siasia has a full squad to pick from.

He and his skipper expect nothing less than a win.

"We are condemned to win. There is no question, and to win big because there is a bit of goal difference now between us and Guinea, so we have to make sure we score as many goals as we can," Siasia said earlier in the week.

While that may sound like the words of a man underrating the opposition, that is certainly not the case, as forward Martins points out.

"The coach has told us that we all have to fall back and defend when we lose the ball, and make sure we play this game like we are playing Brazil or Argentina.

"We are not going to look at them like they are a small team, because there is no small team. We just have to respect them and play a disciplined game," Martins says.

Siasia's penchant for attacking football is no secret, and after having had a reasonably long time with his wards, the former striker is convinced they will do th business.

"These boys will play like champions," Siasia claimed.

That is what the fans want to see.


Another legend of the Nigeria game, Peter Rufai, has been appointed Team Coordinator of the Nigeria U-23 men’s team (Dream Team) by the Nigeria Football Federation.

Nicknamed Dodo Mayana, Rufai remains one of the best goalkeepers to turned out for Nigeria, with his incredible agility, alertness, commitment, industry and flamboyance.

He debuted for the Nigeria senior team in a friendly against Egypt on February 18, 1983. He won a total of 62 caps, scoring one goal – a penalty against Ethiopia in a 1994 African Nations Cup qualifying match in Lagos on July 24, 1993.

Rufai kept goal for Nigeria as the Super Eagles won their first African Cup of Nations title on away soil in 1994 in Tunisia, and was number one choice at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup finals. His last match was against Denmark in a FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match in Paris on June 28, 1998.


Boasts Chelsea Place Is secured

Super Eagles midfielder, John Mikel Obi has declared his place in the star-studded Chelsea side is not under any threat.

The prodigiously talented player who is set to start in Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations qualifying game against Ethiopia on Sunday, expressed confidence that he is able to hold his own in the Premier League top side.

Speaking to Complete Sports Saturday from the Eagles’ Nicon Transcorp Hotel in Abuja, Mikel said the presence of Ramirez and David Luis cannot displace him from Chelsea’s line-up.

The Brazilian duo who teamed up with Chelsea just this season have been making waves with their solid performances for the Les Blues in recent weeks, sparking fears amongst Nigerian fans that Mikel’s place in the team could be in jeopardy.

“I belive my place in the Chelsea team is secured,” begins the former Lyn Oslo of Norway star.

“I don’t feel threatened with the performances of Ramirez and Luiz in the Chelsea squad lately. It is just that I have been unlucky with a series of injuries in recent times.
“I am confident about my ability and I am not afraid of competition. It will only bring out the best in me,” said the player who had a much publicised long drawn out transfer battle before finally signing for Chelsea in 2007.

Speaking further, Mikel said the Chelsea squad is a big one and he can’t be expected to play in every game while expressing his readiness to see out his contract with the Stamford Bridge outfit.

“Chelsea is one of the biggest club in Europe and we have quite a big squad of quality players.

“So people must understand that I can’t possibly play in all matches.
“I’m still contracted to Chelsea and I intend to see it through, then we’ll see what happens next,” concludes the former youth international.

Cambodia Cup run curtailed

Tajikistan’s Farkhod Tokhirov fires a shot into Cambodian keeper Peng Bunchhay on Wednesday. Photo by: SINAN HUSSEIN
Cambodia’s Soun Veasna shields the ball from Tajikistan’s Farkhod Tokhirov during their match. Photo by: SINAN HUSSEIN

Malé, the Maldives
Cambodia suffered a second comprehensive defeat in the AFC Challenge Cup on Wednesday night to end their dreams of qualification to the final rounds next year. A 3-0 loss to 2006 champions Tajikistan at the Rasmee Dhandu stadium confirmed elimination for the side coached by South Korean Lee Tae Hoon, who made six changes from Monday’s lineup that had lost 4-0 to the host nation.

In a near carbon copy of the first game, Cambodia fell behind almost immediately to a cross-come-shot from Tajikistan midfielder Nuriddin Davronov, the ball looping over the head of second choice goalkeeper Peng Bunchhay.

The Kingdom’s men showed resilience, however, with several energetic attacks against the central Asian side and a succession of ultimately fruitless corner kicks from the trusted left foot of Chan Rithy.

In the 24th minute, Tajikistan defender Sohib Savankulov knocked a pass back a little to close to Cambodia’s Kouch Sokumpheak, but the Phnom Penh Crown striker failed to capitalise on the mistake.

Moments later, 2011 Samdech Hun Sen Cup hotshot Khuon Laboravy saw his sweet strike off a headed layoff by Chan Rithy well matched by Tajikistan keeper Alisher Dodov.

In the dying minutes of the half, Sokumpheak had a powerful shot from a corner kick cleared off the line by defenders.

Tajikistan went looking to add to their slender advantage in the second period, but Cambodian skipper Tieng Tiny alongside Pheak Rady, Sok Rithy and Touch Panhcharong were thwarting the advances well. At the other end, substitute Sok Pheng’s long rang blast was saved by Dodov.

With tension mounting in the final stages, a lapse of concentration by the Cambodian youngsters allowed defender Davronjon Ergashev to steal in and net a close range effort to double their lead in the 83rd minute.

In the last minute of regulation time, keeper Peng Bunchhay allowed the final nail to be driven into Cambodia’s coffin as his misjudged pass fell to Farkhod Tokhirov. The Tajikistan striker set up teammate Ibrahim Rabimov to seal their advance in the competition.

Lee Tae Hoon was encouraged by his team’s performance despite the disappointing scoreline. “You played well in the first 70 minute. You showed us great energy,” he said to his players in the dressing room after the match.

In response to questions from journalists over his significant squad changes from the first game, the South Korean revealed he wanted to let his younger players gain valuable experience.

“They are improving, they performed well in the match,” he said. “This is the good step for them.”

Tajikistan coach Pulod Kodirov also admitted to fielding a youthful side. “We gave them experience, but I will field a strong side against Maldives,” he said ahead of tonight’s match against the hosts.

“I’m not happy with the performance. We had many chances to score, but we didn’t deserve to,” he added.

The Maldives also ensured qualification for the finals with a 2-1 win over Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday, and will vie with Tajikistan for group topping honours in their game played at 6pm Cambodian time tonight.
Cambodia, meanwhile, will play a consolation match against Kyrgyzstan at 11pm Cambodian time tonight.

The teams first met in 2007 at the Nehru Cup tournament in New Delhi. Current squad members Chan Rithy, Sam El Nasa and Tieng Tiny featured in the line up then that lost 4-3 to Kyrgyzstan.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Olympique Marseille defender Taye Taiwo will announce next week he is set to sign for Benfica - snubbing the advances of Liverpool and Aston Villa.

Reports in the Portuguese press claim the 25-year-old Nigerian has signed a pre-contract agreement with the Lisbon side, leaving the Reds and Villa out in the cold.

Juventus were also reportedly interested in the powerful left-back, whose current deal with the Ligue A side was due to end in June.

A dead-ball specialist, the full-back is well-known in the French league for his powerful and accurate long shots, and has over 170 appearances for Marseille.

Taiwo is currently on international duty with Nigeria preparing for their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Ethiopia.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Nigeria To Host Argentina June 1 In Abuja
Argentina Official: We Will Beat Eagles Again

Nigeria will host Argentina in a friendly match on June 1 in Abuja, Nigerian officials announced on Wednesday.

“We can confirm this match for June 1 in Abuja,” said event organiser Devlin Hainsworth at an elaborate event at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos to announce the details of the match.
“This is a time to have some of the world’s best players on Nigerian soil.”

Musa Amadu, general secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), praised the match organisers for bringing a world-class team like Argentina to the country.

“It will be a big event because the fans have been asking for such a big match since we last hosted Brazil in Abuja in 2003,” said Amadu.

 Also speaking during the event, Argentina Football Association official,Heman Tofori said the South Americans were coming to Nigeria to maintain their edge over the Super Eagles.

‘We have played against Nigeria three times at the World Cup and we have beaten her three times. The players and officials want to maintain the status quo.That is why everybody has accepted to come here to play you. More importantly, we want to leave a good impression of our country when we come to Nigeria,that is why we are coming with our best team.”

 In attendance at the event were former Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers coach, Sam Alardyce, NFF officials led by its president, Aminu Maigari and such former internationals as Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Monday Odiaka, Tarila Okorowanta, Segun Odegbami, Sylvanus Okpalla and Waidi Akanni.

The two teams last clashed in a World Cup group game in Johannesburg, South Africa last year, with the South Americans winning 1-0.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Host side too hot for Cambodia


Wednesday, 23 March 2011 15:00 

110323_22a Photo by: Ung Chamroeun
Maldivian players (red shirts) celebrate at the end of the their AFC Challenge Cup group match against Cambodia on Monday at the Rasmee Dhadu Stadium in Male.

Male, The Maldives
The Maldives showed why experience can count double, or rather quadruple, with a 4-0 rout of visitors Cambodia on Monday night in their opening group match of the AFC Challenge Cup. The hosts fielded the veteran trio of striker Ibrahim Fazeel, defender Abdul Ghani Assad and goalkeeper Imran Mohamed, all of which had played against the Kingdom a decade ago.

The Maldives eased into the comfort zone within barely a minute of Chinese referee Zhao Liang blowing his whistle at the Rasmee Dhadu Stadium. Mukhthaar Naseer, who scored the winning goal against India in the 2008 SAFF Championship, sent the home fans in early delirium as his rocket from the right-hand byline blasted through Cambodian keeper Ouk Mich’s hands and into the far side netting.

Naseer, Fazeel and skipper Ashfaq Ali then piled the pressure on tourists, carving out numerous gilt-edged chances. In the 41st minute, Naseer drew across two defenders and hit a square pass to his skunk-haired skipper, who duly knocked it into an unguarded right corner to double their lead heading into the break.

Cambodia’s best chance of the first half fell to 2011 Samdech Hun Sen Cup Golden Boot winner Khoun Laboravy. Prak Mony Udom set up the prolific striker, but Laboravy’s fumbled attempt proved no problem for Maldivian stopper Mohamed.
Sam El Nasa, the only current Cambodian player to have faced the Maldives three times, was replaced by Sok Pheng in the last minute of the first period.

For the first 15 minutes after the restart, Cambodia enjoyed the majority of possession. Chhun Sothearath was presented with space to break into the penalty area, but Maldivian defender Akram Abdull Gani came across well to thwart the attack.

Cambodian defenders Lay Rasmey, Tieng Tiny, Say Piseth and Touch Panhcharong were finding it difficult to subdue the
rampaging Ashfaq, whose speed and movement has earned him hero status in his homeland.

Experienced Chan Rithy came on for the final quarter-of-an-hour, but his presence alongside Kouch Sokumpheak had little impact for the travellers. Sun Sopanha’s corner kicks were consistently cleared by the Maldivian defence.

With six minutes of regulation left on the clock, a poor throw out by Ouk Mich was snapped up by Qasim Shamweel who played through Ashfaq to notch his second of the night. Four minutes later, and captain fantastic claimed his hat-trick with another well worked move to put the game to bed.

In the post-match press conference, Cambodian coach Lee Tae Hoon admitted to being outclassed by the home side. “They are too good. With their home crowd, they made it very difficult for our players,” he said.

“It’s great for us to play against the good team – it’s a good experience for the players. [There is] nothing to blame on my boys, they worked very hard.”

The Maldives coach Diego Cruciani was clearly delighted with the result. “All the credit goes to the players because I had just three practice sessions with them,” he said.

Cambodia now face inaugural AFC Challenge Cup champions Tajikistan tonight at 11pm Cambodian time, in their first ever competitive meeting. Tajikistan beat Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in Monday’s early match thanks to an 88th minute’s own goal by Kyrgyzstan captain Sydykov Ruslan.

Hosts the Maldives, which currently lead group C, will play Kyrgyzstan in today’s first match at 6pm Cambodian time.

The Cambodian squad voiced their dissatisfaction with the late night scheduling of their fixtures, with all three of their group games kicking off at 9pm in Male. “We have never played at 9pm, so it was difficult for us,” said one player.


20 players at Eagles' first training

20 players at Nigeria's first training

20 players at Eagles' first training

Posted: 2011-03-23 07:12
There were 20 of the 22 invited players at the Super Eagles' first training session yesterday evening, ahead of Sunday's 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia. 

Goalkeepers: Bamidele Aiyenugba and Sunday Rotimi

Defenders: Joseph Yobo, Taye Taiwo, Olubayo Adefemi, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Dele Adeleye and Efe Ambrose

Midfielders: Mikel Obi, Julius Ubido, Joel Obi, and Kalu Uche

Forwards: Osaze Odemwingie, Ahmed Musa, Obinna Nsofor, Victor Moses, Obafemi Martins, Ikechukwu Uche, Victor Anichebe and Peter Utaka

All trained at the main bowl of the National Stadium in Abuja.

Taye Taiwo landed in Abuja as the team was heading to training and joined up at the National Stadium.

Nigeria have three points from their previous two games, three behind Group B leaders Guinea, with four matches to go in the series.

Sunday's clash with the Walya Antelopes is a must-win for the Super Eagles.

Midfielder Fengor Ogude and striker Solomon Okoronkwo, arrived at the Transcorp Hilton hotel late on Tuesday night, with Ogude being the last in. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Sunshine, Kaduna Utd Win At Home

Nigerian teams recorded impressive performances in CAF inter-club competitions over the weekend with each of Sunshine Stars of Akure and Kaduna United hitting their opponents 2-0 in their CAF Confederations Cup first leg second round games.

Two second half goals by Kayode Abiodun in the 46th minute and Ajani Ibrahim in the 75th minute helped the continental football debutants ease past Camerounian side Tiko United.

In Kaduna,another debuting side, Kaduna United, took a commanding 2-0 lead in their first leg clash against Tchadian side Foula Edifice with goals coming from Aliyu Adamu in the 47th minute and Linus Adams on the hour mark.

In the CAF Champions League Enyimba drew goalless with hosts Union Sportive of Libreville while Kano Pillars crashed to a 2-0 defeat in the hands of Moroccan side, Waydad Casablanca.
The return leg matches will come up in two weeks’ time.

Cambodia face the Maldives

The Maldives captain Ali Ashfaq answers questions during a press conference in Male yesterday ahead of tonight’s match. Photo by: Ung Chamroeun
Cambodia national team head coach Lee Tae Hoon watches his players stretch off during their last home training session on Thursday before departing for the Maldives and the AFC Challenge Cup. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Male, The Maldives
After spending six hours at Kuala Lumpur International Airport before a flight of over four hours on Saturday, the 20 players and seven officials of the Cambodian national football team finally arrived in the Maldives ahead of their participation in group C of the AFC Challenge Cup.

Cambodia play their opening game against the hosts at 11pm tonight Cambodian time at the Rasmee Dhadu Stadium. The teams have previously met in 2001 for the preliminaries of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the finals of which were held in Korea and Japan.

The first leg in Male saw the Maldives crush the visitors 6-0 before drawing the return leg 1-1 in Phnom Penh. Striker Sam El Nasa and assistant coach Ieng Saknida are the only surviving members of that squad still involved with the current Cambodian national team.

On arrival in the Maldives, Cambodia’s head coach Lee Tae Hoon admitted he knew little of the history between the sides when questioned by local journalists, but remained confident of success in the tournament.

“Now we have a strong squad. We have changed a lot,” he said.

“So I believe that my players can do better than in the past, despite just a couple of days of preparation [due to the conclusion of the Hun Sen Cup the previous weekend].”

“Now we’ve climbed from 166th to 154th in the FIFA World rankings. It’s a good achievement for us,” he said.

Ouk Mich, Cambodia’s captain and goalkeeper, also noted their recent improvement. “We cannot compare to what happened last 10 years,” he said during a press conference in Male yesterday.

“I believe that we can take revenge on the home side.”

Despite having a population of under 400,000 Maldives are one of the best teams in South Asia, and were crowned champions of the 2008 South Asian Football Federation Cup after beating India 1-0 in the final. In 2009, they were runners-up in the same tournament as India gained revenge with a 3-1 victory after penalties.

They also drew 0-0 at home with South Korea in a 2006 World Cup qualifier played in 2004. Their newly appointed coach Andrés Cruciani played as a defender for the U20 Argentina national team in 1985 and coached Bangladesh from 2005 to 2007.

Captain and striker Ali Ashfaq is considered one of the best players to come from the Maldives, and is hailed as the playmaker of the team by Maldivian journalists. He spent one year with DPMM FC of Brunei before returning home in 2008 to join VB Sports Club, which have won the last two seasons of the domestic Dhivehi League.

The highly decorated player, nicknamed “Dhagandey” meaning Man of Steel, asserted that his team carried a significant home advantage over Cambodia. “Our team will play well because of our supporters,” he said yesterday.

Sunday, March 20, 2011



Former Flying Eagles and U-23 Olympic Eagles star, Ambrose Efe, in this exclusive interview with IZUCHUKWU OKOSI, speaks on his fresh challenges as a Super Eagles invitee under Samson Siasia.

Congratulations Ambrose on your invitation to the Super Eagles for the March 27 Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia. How does this make you feel?

Elated, of course. I’ve been craving for this and I thank God my prayers have been answered. It is the wish of every player to play for his national team and I’m no exception. I hope to be an integral part of the ‘new’ Eagles henceforth.

You have repeatedly told us in previous interviews that you feel you’re ripe for a place in the Super Eagles. Do you think your invitation by Samson Siasia was based on merit or he merely wants to try you out?

The coach Siasia I know is someone who appreciates hardwork and has a lot of belief in young players. He wants to build a strong national team and I’m glad that the League where a player plies his trade is no longer an issue.

Siasia is a coach that listens to his assistant coaches as well as the players. He is not bossy, rather, he’s a big brother and wants to relate with his players that way. You saw how the players and coaches related before the 2008 Olympics. His fairness and knowledge of the game earns him the respect of his players.

You also dream of partnership with captain Joseph Yobo in the heart of Eagles defence. Do you think you can beat other central defenders to that role for the March 27 game with Ethiopia?

The decision of who gets to play rests with the coach. It doesn’t matter whether I pair with Yobo or not. What matters is that we win the game. However, I will work hard in the trainings to convince the coaches.

How did your coach and teammates at FC Ashdod react to your invitation?

They were happy for me. My fellow Nigerian at the club, Emmanuel Sarki, told me this is a good chance to hit it big and that I must not blow the chance.

Do you have a sense of fulfilment that your form at FC Ashdod won you a place in the national team, having scored a goal this season...

I have not regretted my coming here because at Kaduna United, I became a first team player right from my first game. Of course, every player wants to play in big European leagues, but I think my performance has been okay, although I can improve. Perhaps, my game here convinced Siasia.

You were reportedly having a heart defect just before the Beijing 2008 Olympics. That must have been a traumatic time for you...

(Sighs) It did weigh me down for quite sometime because I never had a problem like that but my family and friends were there for me and encouraged me a lot
I can imagine how that affect one’s performance on his job and so on. But were you thinking of doing something else apart from football?

Never! I knew that such rumour will blow over and the Nwankwo Kanu case, though quite a different situation gave me the assurance that unless you count yourself out, you can brave life’s biggest challenges.

You were a Flying Eagles player at the 2007 U-20 World Cup in Canada. What is your advise to John Obuh’s team preparing for the Africa Youth Championship?

The only advise I have for them is to remain focused and realise that they will make the name first before having the wealth. But the coach must also listen to his players, although I’m not saying laxity should be encouraged.

And the U-23 players?

Same goes for them. The present U-20 and U-23 are managed by sound coaches and I know they can go places.

Thank you for speaking with Complete Sports.

It’s a pleasure

Saturday, March 19, 2011


The duo of Super Eagles goalkeepers, Vincent Enyeama of Hapoel Tel Aviv and Dele Aiyenugba of Bnei Yehuda, both of Israel, have told coach Samson Siasia that they will hit the national team camp on Monday, March 20, 2011 ahead of preparations for the March 27 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia. Contrary to media reports suggesting that the duo will not be able join up with their national teammates until Thursday, 48 hours before the crucial game as a result of club commitments, Siasia says his two goalies for Ethiopia are keeping to the agreed schedule.

The former Enyimba goalkeepers, reports claimed, would play for their clubs on Wednesday March 23, which will make them to be available only on Thursday.

But Siasia rubbished such speculations, insisting that the duo will arrive on Monday and that they have communicated the secretary of the team about their arrival plans.

“It is not true,” Siasia barked. “They will arrive on Monday. They have informed the team’s secretary of their arrival plans,” Siasia added.

Siasia also explained that there is no club engagements for the players next week Wednesday and as a result, there is nothing to hold the players back in Europe.

“Next week is FIFA match free week. There is no club assignment after this weekend, so what could hold them back?,” the former Nigeria international querried.

He continued: “We are expecting them in camp on Monday. They have communicated with the Secretary (of the team) and I do not know where the issue of playing on Wednesday and returning on Thursday is coming from.”

Super Eagles goalkeepers trainer and former national team first choice goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu, had earlier revealed to Complete Sports, that contrary to media reports, the two goalkeepers will make an early arrival to the national team camp.

“There is no goalkeepers shortage in the team,” Shorunmu declared as he rubbished claims that Siasia is searching for a back-up goalkeeper from the home front.

“Vincent and Dele will be available well on time for the match and they have also confirmed their arrivals. So there is no need to invite any other goalkeeper to the camp.”
Siasia was quoted in the media to have made moves to hand a late call up to Warri Wolves goalkeeper, Ambrose Vanzekin as a back up.
“There is nothing like that,” Shorunmu emphasized.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Champions League draw

Chelsea draw Man Utd in UCL quarters

March 18, 2011

Chelsea will play Manchester United in the Champions League quarter-finals in a rematch of the 2008 final in Moscow.
John Terry slip in Moscow
GettyImagesJohn Terry's slip in Moscow broke Chelsea hearts in the 2008 Champions League final
It will be the sixth time the Blues have faced English opposition in a Champions League knockout tie the past seven years and wil give Chelsea's players - many of whom played in Moscow - a chance to avenge the painful penalty shootout defeat three years ago. The first leg will be played at Stamford Bridge.
The winner of the Chelsea v United clash will face whoever emerges victorious from Inter Milan v Schalke, with the reigning European champions handed a seemingly favourable draw after their dramatic last-16 defeat of Bayern Munich.
On the other side of the draw, Tottenham face a first-leg trip to nine-time champions Real Madrid, with Spurs star Rafael van der Vaart given the opportunity to return to his former club.
Should Real beat Spurs, they open up the possibility of a mouthwatering all-Spanish semi-final against favourites Barcelona. The Catalans will take on Shakhtar Donetsk in the last eight - a tough draw for the Ukrainians, who have reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
The matchdays are:
Quarter-finals: April 5, 6 and 12, 13
Semi-finals: April 26, 27 and May 3, 4
Final (Wembley): May 28


Ten Barcelona players, including Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez, underwent "routine" UEFA doping tests Thursday, just days after a Spanish radio station alleged the club had links to disreputable doctors.

"UEFA doctors paid a surprise visit to Barca?s training this morning and carried out routine drug tests on 10 Barca players," the club said in a statement on its website.

"This is the second time Barca have received one of UEFA?s routine visits this season, after three last year."

The defending Spanish champions' players last underwent UEFA doping controls less than a month ago.

The latest tests come after Cadena Cope radio on Sunday said Barcelona rival Real Madrid has asked the Spanish football federation to take drug testing in the league "more seriously", saying it does not understand how "doctors with questionable reputations" can work for the Catalan club.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


South Africa have been named as the new hosts of the Africa Youth Championship originally scheduled for Libya.

The tournament was meant to begin on 18 March in Tripoli but was postponed because of the civil strife in the north African country.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) says the tournament will now take place from 17 April to 2 May.

“We to decided to move the U20 finals to South Africa,” Caf President Issa Hayatou said in a statement.
“The Executive Committee took that decision on Tuesday.”

The decision means South Africa, who had not qualified for the tournament, will replace Libya in Group A.
They will face Mali, Egypt and Lesotho in that group.

Defending champions Ghana have been paired in Group B with Nigeria, Cameroon and The Gambia.

The four teams in each group will meet in a round-robin format, with group winners and runners-up progressing to the semi-finals - and a place at the World Cup in Colombia in July.
South Africa also hosted the World Cup last year.

Libya has been embroiled in social unrest for about a month with protesters asking for the country’s leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to step down.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


                     Sun Sovannrithy                   :                     Kenneth Nwafor
16 March 2010
Crown add two more to their squad

Phnom Penh Crown added two registration deadline-day signings ahead of the 2011 Metfone C-League season that is due to begin in April. Crown, the reigning 2010 C-League Champions, have added Cambodian international defender Sun Sovannrithy to their senior squad from Naga Corp, as well as central midfielder Kenneth Nwafor, who spent last season with Khemara Keila. Crown's Head Coach Bojan Hodak is pleased with the new acquisitions. "Ty is a former national player and he will be again very soon. He can play in a few positions in defense and midfield and I'm happy to get one of the best players in Cambodia to join us for the new season. Kenneth is a young, hardworking and disciplined player, is a good ball winner and is a more defensive-minded midfield player. These two players will give us the extra options that I was looking for."

Twenty-six year old Sun Sovannrithy has been a regular national team player for Cambodia since his debut against Vietnam in the Tiger Cup in Ho Chi Minh City in December 2004. The previous year he made his first appearances for Cambodia's U-17 and U-20 teams and also captained the U-23 team in the SEA Games in Laos in 2009. Born in Phnom Penh, he began his football at Vatanak Vichea primary school before his family relocated to Takhmau and he represented both Takhmau High School as well as the Kandal provincial team for three years in a variety of positions. At 17 years old, he joined the Military Police team, where he played at left-back or striker and soon emerged as one of the country's brightest prospects, gaining his first national team recognition against Philippines at U-17 level in March 2003.

After nearly four years with the Military Police team, Sovannrithy moved to Naga Corp in 2006 and in his four years with the club, won two Cambodian Premier League championship medals in 2007 and 2009, lost in two Hun Sen Cup Finals and also played in the AFC Presidents Cup. A regular fixture in the Cambodia national team since his debut in 2004, he led the U-23 team to success in the BIDC Cup in 2009 but was stopped from appearing for the national team after a domestic sending off whilst playing in the C-League play-offs in August last year and has not played since, until a couple of recent games for Naga in the recently-completed Hun Sen Cup. Asked about his move, Sovannrithy said; "I'm happy to join Crown, they are a good team, I expect them to do well this season and I'll work hard to achieve success for the team. I'm happy to join them as they really wanted me to play and though I was offered a contract to play in Thailand, I'm happy to stay and play my football in Cambodia for Phnom Penh Crown." 

Also signing a contract with Phnom Penh Crown today, Nigerian-born central midfielderKenneth Nwafor is just 18 years old and already has a wealth of experience behind him. Last season he played in the C-League for Khemara Keila and before that was with the Navy team, Phouchung Neak and local amateur team Camafric FC. A native of Enugu State in southeastern Nigeria, Nwafor started his football with the Sapele Football Academy in Delta State, going onto play for Urhapele FC and FC Lonestar Sapele before heading over to Cambodia to continue his football education, like so many of his compatriots. He recently completed a successful trial with Crown including a match against the African All Stars team, for whom he played in two recent matches against the Cambodian national team.


Oduamadi I Have To Queue Behind Robinho, Ibrahimovic

AC Millan forward, Nnamdi Oduamadi, admits to JOHNNY EDWARD
that the arrival of superstars Robinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and
Antonio Cassano have limited his chances at the Serie A leaders.
He also speaks on his return to international duty.

How do you feel making the Super Eagles 24 man list for the crucial ANC qualifying game against Ethiopia on the 27th of March?

It would be unfair for me to start talking about the game as the coach is yet to pick the final 18 man team for the game. I have to work hard to make the cut before I start talking about the crucial game that could make or mar our chances of qualifying for the Nations Cup next year in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Anyway, I was so surprised when I heard the news about my invitation. I have been working so hard since the pre-season games to at least break into the first team of AC Milan but the arrival of Antonio Cassano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho has made it really difficult for a youngster like me to make the star studded team. But I know that with God and time, I’ll be where Nigerians really want me to be.

You failed to make the final team of the U-20 team to the World Youth Championship in Egypt in 2009 with coach Samson Siasia in charge due to injury, now that he is in charge of the senior national team, how do you intend to prove a point to him that it was no fluke picking you once again?

That’s one moment of my football career that I think I would have made a big statement on the international level. I was sidelined due to injury prior to the WYC and he (coach Siasia) was not ready to gamble on me then. But now that I’m fully fit, I want to show Nigerians what they missed at the WYC in Egypt in 2009. I know that lots of soccer pundits would argue that I’ve not been regular with AC Milan and as such I should not be considered for any of the national teams, but this is a big opportunity for me to prove to them that my non-playing at my club is not down to my inability to perform on the pitch but due to the foreign players quota and also for them to understand that it’s not easy for a young player from Africa to get an opportunity ahead of the kind of strikers we have at Milan. Dominic Adiyah of Ghana had to leave the club because there was no place for him in the team. I know lots of Nigerians would have been disappointed having watched me play regularly in Milan’s pre-season games only for the arrivals of Robinho, Zlatan and Cassano to blight my dreams of regular action on the pitch.

But that’s not going to hurt my confidence at all because I’m fit and eager to prove my coach was wrong on his choices.

Most Nigerian players in recent times have failed to make an appreciable impact on their debut. Are you not scared of such happening to you?

No, not at all. I’ll want my football to do the talking rather than me telling you how well I’m good. My aim now is to prove my critics wrong. This is my chance and I will grab it with both hands, God granting us good health and injury free, I’ll make it impossible for my coach and mentor, Samson Siasia, to drop me from the final 18 man team for the Ethipioa clash.

At 20, you are equally eligible to play for the Olympic Eagles. Do you nurse that ambition?

Yea, Johnny, I I’m prepared to play for my country at any level if invited. It’s the dream of every player to live that dream of playing for any cadre of his national teams. That’s why missing Egypt 2009 is still haunting me. But it’s gone and now and this is a bigger opportunity to show my talent.

How do you fancy the team’s chances of qualifying for the Nations Cup next year?

The key is simple; win all our remaining games and we’d be there. This is a must and I believe that the Nigeria Football Federation hired the right man to achieve that. I don’t want to think otherwise because it would be unheard of.

So what do you think is the major reason why you’ve been overlooked at Milan?

The coach has refused to give me the needed chance to prove myself and I’m glad with this call up because if I perform well, it might be the turning point in my career. Milan did not allow me leave on a loan in January and there was nothing I could do to change that.

Lots of clubs in Italy wanted me but my coach promised to afford me some playing time until Cassano arrived from Sampdoria. His arrival made it pretty difficult for me but I’m not match rusty at all as I train hard with the main team everyday at the club. Milan have big stars in the attack line but I know that my time will come to prove that they were wrong to have underrated me. I’m not in a rush as I know that my time will definitely come to stake a claim for a place in the team’s attack.

Coming to the Super Eagles, does the likes of Nsofor, Ike Uche, Martins and Osaze, scare you as a player?

Well, as a young player who is growing, I should be scared but at Milan here, I equally play alongside big stars, so that won’t affect my game with them. There is nothing to be scared of. I’ll be there to justify my inclusion in the team and I pray the coach gives me the chance to prove my mettle.

This call-up ‘ll definitely offer me the opportunity to prove that I’m not just in AC Milan to make up the numbers but to add quality options to the team. It’s a big challenge for me as a young player and I want to use it as a spring board to my career. My coming to the star studded Eagles is also to give the coaches some options in the attack as other players have at once time or the other been given their opportunity to stake their claim.

As an upcoming player, which player would you say you always looked up to?

John Utaka. I loved the way he played with passion and depth during his first stinct at RC Lens and Stade Rennes before he moved to England. He was really amazing on the flanks then and did so many tricks with the ball. Robinho here also inspires me too at Milan. I always wanted to play like him but he is never my role model.

So who is your role model?

Lots of people in Italy claim that I play like Robinho because of my step-over style but my role model is Ronaldo da Lima. I was playing regularly in the Primavera league when he joined Milan then but I remember always waiting behind to see him torment defenders at the club then.

Also the coming to Robinho from Man City was also a dream come true for me because that’s my nickname in Nigeria. It was a dream come true for me and I can say that I’ve learnt a lot from all these wonderful strikers. He is one player that tells me that I’m too good to be left out of the main team. His encouragement consoles me alot and I’m still waiting for my time to come to prove my critics wrong.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Nwankwo Kanu has asked fans to be patient with both Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as both men face differing fortunes, reports kickoffnigeria.

Kanu's former boss Wenger has come under fire after Arsenal were knocked out from three competitions in the space of a fortnight, with the Gunners boss even enduring some madcap calls him to be replaced.

Kanu, who played at Arsenal under Wenger between 1999 and 2004, says the reactions are over the top.

"I was shocked when I heard some people calling in on radio to say he (Wenger) should go. I have never heard that before," Kanu said.

"I understand the frustration of the Arsenal fans because they want to win trophies after so many years. But Wenger knows what he is doing, and even though they are disappointed, they should still be a little patient.

"If they had won the Carling Cup against Birmingham, things wont be like this. This Arsenal team plays the best football in the league, and has some of the best players in the league. They just need something to go right for them.

Even against Manchester United, if not for the goalkeeper, maybe they would have won."
Despite the odd calls for a new manager, Kanu insists that that was not an option.

"There is no coach that will come in now and guarantee Arsenal a trophy. All that will happen is that the person comes in, and if he doesn't win something quickly, he will come under pressure and this beautiful Arsenal football will disappear. And then they will start calling for Wenger again."

Kanu insists that it is only a matter of time before Wenger comes good.
"That first trophy that will change everything is not far away. They should be patient."
That patience theme also extends to Nigeria coach Siasia, who, unlike Wenger, is riding a crest of fan support heading into his first competitive game against Ethiopia at the end of the month.

But Kanu knows that that honeymoon could be over if Siasia's team should falter, and says there is need for even more understanding there.

"The coach needs time to build the team gradually. Even if the results dont go the way that people expect in the beginning. Continuity is a very important part of success, and people are always looking for change immediately there is a little problem.

"They have to give him time to put the team together, and also introduce his ideas to the players. It is going to be a long process, and he needs the support of everybody, especially the fans."

Monday, March 14, 2011

PKR clinch Hun Sen Cup title

Monday, 14 March 2011 15:00

H S Manjunath

Preah Khan Reach striker Khoun Laboravy attempts to lob the Build Bright United keeper during the Samdech Hun Sen Cup final at Olympic Stadium on Saturday. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Preah Khan Reach captain Sam El Nasa jumps to head the ball from a corner kick over the Build Bright United defence during their 2011 Samdech Hun Sen Cup final at Olympic Stadium on Saturday. PKR won the match 2-0 to taste their first Cup success. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

After five years of fruitless frustration, the greatest moment of Military Police backed club Preah Khan Reach arrived on Saturday evening when coach Rith Dikar’s energetic side pulled off a 2-0 victory over Build Bright United in the final of the 2011 Samdech Hun Sen Cup at the Olympic Stadium.

“It has taken us so long to win something big like this. Now that we have broken the jinx I am certain the team will win many more,” said an ecstatic Rith Dikar after his team collected the glittering trophy and a winners cheque for 80 million riels (US$19,875).

“It was a tough game [even] though we won by two clear goals. There were some anxious moments, but our backline and the goalkeeper did a splendid job,” added the PKR tactician.
BBU coach Meas Sam Oeurn, meanwhile, expressed mixed emotions.

“We had our chances, but we could not convert them and that made all the difference,” he said. “I am terribly disappointed we couldn’t win after having come this far, but I am glad to be associated with the team’s best ever finish so far. The University backed outfit, which put up a stout-hearted show especially in the second half, had to rest content with prize money of 40 million riels.

If there was one team in this highly popular national competition that had transformed itself into a well-knit cohesive unit in the last few months, it was undoubtedly PKR. With a fluid midfield providing ample opportunities for what is easily the best chained forward line, PKR has been trumping the best in the business with two aces up their sleeves - the talismanic Khuon Laboravy and smart operator and skipper Sam El Nasa. It was again this combination that proved lethal against BBU.

A sizeable student contingent cheered on BBU as they spun a few good moves in the first quarter before PKR tellingly counter-punched. A firm swipe at the goal by Tum Saray saw BBU keeper Sos Proshim parry the shot only for the ball to fall invitingly in front of an alert Sam El Nasa, who toe-poked in with great relish.

The captain had a gilt-edged chance to double the lead before half time, but his completely unmarked header off a cross from Lay Raksmey was inches off the mark.

Four minutes after the breather, a chaotic scene in front of the PKR goal triggered a BBU serial charge in which hard-working Sophath Sokunthina was twice unlucky. His first shot was blocked by agile PKR goal stopper Ouk Mich before the BBU striker clipped the rebound off the cross bar. Oum Chandara then controlled it to carve out another chance, but his wildly lashed volley flew wide.

Having lost out on this close call to equalise, BBU quickly fell foul to Khoun Laboravy’s individual charm. The tournament’s leading goal scorer streaked through the defence to glance a header home off Prak Mony Udom’s corner kick amid cries of handball. This claim was later dismissed by the PKR management with Laboravy himself indicating that there may have been a bit of his shoulder coming into play.

There were a few half-hearted attempts by BBU in the closing stages, and their hordes of supporters began to make early exits from the main stand in resignation.

There were further calls for celebration in the PKR camp after the final whistle, with Khuon Laboravy deservingly topping the goal scorers list with an impressive 22 goals to grab the Golden Boot award while Ouk Mich’s great assurance and between the sticks earning him the Best Goalkeeper award. Both players picked up cash incentives of one million riels each.

A referee team led by Thong Chanketya was honoured with a prize of five million riels to share between the four match officials.

In a grand gesture, Prime Minister Hun Sen donated $50,000 to the Football Federation of Cambodia for its developmental work. The donation was handed over to FFC President Sao Sokha by Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema during the closing ceremony on Saturday.

The Fair Play award and five million riels bonus went to last year’s champions National Defence Ministry, who finished fourth this year after losing 1-0 to Naga Corp in the third place playoff on Friday.

An opportunistic strike by Kop Isa minutes before half time turned out to be a match winner for Naga as the former league champs weathered a storm from the Army side.

“I am happy we could get up to third place,” said Naga coach Prak Sovannara. “It was not easy to defend that slender lead with 10 men once we lost Tiet Chandrasokha to two yellow bookings for nearly 30 minutes.

“Our defenders did a good job under pressure and Chhim Sambo was very unlucky to hit the cross piece late in the game.”

The win ensured third place for Naga and a purse of 20 million riel.



Chelsea Star Tells Siasia, Resumes Training

Chelsea of England midfielder, John Mikel Obi has told Super Eagles head coach, Samson Siasia he will be fit for the March 27 2012 Africa Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in Abuja.

Siasia had raised doubts over the availability of the mercurial midfielder following some media reports suggestting Mikel is nursing an injury and he has not featured for his London club for several weeks now.

Mikel has however informed Siasia that he is not only back in training with Chelsea but that he will be fit to play in the game against Ethiopia.

'Mikel has called Siasia to allay the fears that he could be unavailable for the game against Ethiopia at the end of the month',revealed a source close to the Eagles boss.

 'Siasia was truly worried by the reports in the media that Mikel could be out of the game but has had his nerve calmed down with the call from the Chelsea star',further revealed the source.

 Complete Sports' attempts to get both Mikel and his manager,John Olatunji Shittu to shed more light on the true position of Mikel's injury were futile.


What do you think of her look?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nwafor Tobe Kenneth on smooth trials with PPCFC

PPC v African All Stars; [Back Row, LtoR] Narith, Narong, H Pheng, Visokra, Nwafor, Obadin [Front] Dara, Virak, Njoku, Chaya, Sothearith
On 11 March 2011
Crown win at 3rd attempt
PPCFC 1 African All Stars 0 (Friendly)
After a loss and a draw against the African All Stars in previous meetings, Phnom Penh Crown recorded a 1-0 success at the third time of asking, in Friday afternoon's friendly encounter at Tuol Kork. Kingsley Njoku netted the only goal of the match, on 71 minutes from close range and celebrated with a triple somersault. There was no quarter given in the game, both sides not holding back in the tackle despite the friendly tag given to the match, so Crown will feel pleased that they came out on top against their physically stronger African opponents. It was pretty much all Crown in the first-half with the opposition goalkeeper doing well to block efforts from Chan Chaya and Hong Pheng, whilst Kingsley Njoku headed powerfully over, was brought down by the last man only to see play waved on and then had a headed goal disallowed for offside in the dying moments of the opening half.

The African team came out strongly in the second half and Ande Apollo headed wide before Crown got back on top. Odion Obadin had a header from a corner stopped on the line and a better touch from Hok Sochivorn would've given him a goal instead of sending the ball just past the post. On 71 minutes Crown opened the scoring after Sochivorn and Ratana combined to leave Njoku with a simple tap-in, with which he duly obliged and commenced his acrobatic goal celebration. That was the last of the action, as Crown recorded their first win over the African team.

Getting 90 minutes under his belt for Crown was defensive midfield trialist Kenneth Nwafor, 18, who was with Khemara Keila last season and who played for the African All Stars against the Cambodian national team in two friendly games last month, both of which ended in draws. Coach Bojan Hodak decided not to include the Crown players who have been training with the national team all week, in the starting line-up.

PPCFC line-up: Visokra, Dara (Tiny 83), Narith, Sothearith, Obadin, Narong (Sophat 45), Nwafor, Chaya (Sophanal 81), Virak (Ratana 45), Hong Pheng (Sochivorn 65), Njoku (Sokumpheak 83). Subs not used: Vanthan, Sovan.

Friday, March 11, 2011


The Nigeria Football Federation have rubbished suggestion that they will throw the gates open for the March 27 African Nations cup match against Ethiopia.

Chairman of the technical committee of the NFF, Barrister Chris Green who debunked the suggestion was not however forthcoming on the gate fees for the match albeit Complete Sports gathered that it has been pegged at N500 for other terraces and N3000 for the VIP stands

NFF assistant General Secretary, Marketing, Mr Idris Adama said that Super Eagles matches cannot be watched for free because it is Nigeria’s biggest brand and that it will belittle the team to throw the gates open for fans.

“Nigerians should appreciate their team by coming out en-masse to cheer them. They should be passionate about the team and should pay to watch them. I mean there are Nigerians who are ready to spend N1,500 to watch their foreign clubs on screen so why won’t they pay N500 to see their darling team” he stated.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Battambang leagues reach conclusions

Thursday, 10 March 2011 15:00

H S Manjunath

Players of Asia Hope Orphanage celebrate with the ANZ/SALT U16 boys league trophy after their 4-2 victory over rivals Tschrey in the final played at the football field on Battambang airfield on Tuesday. Photo by: CLARA PITZ

After 13 weeks of intense competition involving over a thousand boys and girls from 25 community groups, the curtain came down on the ANZ-SALT Football League season in Battambang on Tuesday. The final day’s action threw up a multitude of shocks and surprises in five different age groups.

The newly developed football pitch at Battambang airfield was a hive of activity as a strong holiday crowd turned up to witness a day of non-stop soccer on International Women’s Day.

While the teams involved in the fight for honours went about their serious business, teams eliminated from the competition enjoyed a day out with friendly five-a-side futsal event. The Nido U16 team and Hope School’s U13 side came up trumps in this shorter version of the game.

When Asia Hope and Tschrey took the pitch for the U16 boys final, form pointed to Tschrey with their 4-2 victory during the season. But Asia Hope showed little regard for statistics and deftly turned the tables to win with exactly the same scoreline.

Within minutes they took the lead only to see Tschrey quickly restore parity through the category’s Most Valuable Player Lous Chally. But Asia Hope pulled clear with two goals before half time and then nailed the contest with another strike after resumption to lay their hands on a glittering trophy presented by Battambang Governor Sok Ung. 

Tschrey was again at the wrong end of the U16 girls final, this time going down tamely to Komar Rereay 3-1. MVP nominee Yorm Siyan was the star of the show for Komar.

Last season’s U12 champs, Catholics, stretched their winning vein to another title triumph as they mowed down SOS 5-2 in the boys U13 final. The Catholics had won all of their matches during the regular season.

Meanwhile the newly formed Fabba’s team, culled out from FEDA Organisation in Ksat Phuy Commune, proved too strong and wily for SOS, winning their U13 girls final 4-2 on the back of MVP Vai Vanlev’s double strike.

The boys U11 decider was more of a goal-fest as Komar Rereay, led by Golden Boot winner Pteh Panneth’s four-goal haul, hammered ASPECA 10-1 to clinch the division.

As many as 64 teams took part during the regular league season, which was supported by the Indochina Starfish Foundation and sponsored by the ANZ Royal Bank.

The SALT Academy’s Mighty Girls programme introduced in September 2010 was the medium of rivetting attention. The Mighty Girls, having beaten regional women’s teams by huge margins, pitched into the U16 boys category this season with creditable results.

The programme ensures safe lodging, education, football training and leadership opportunities for participants, many of whom are now filling in as coaches for younger players.


Shittu Out Of Abuja Game

Carling Cup hero Obafemi Martins, reported dropped from the March 27 2012 Africa Nations Cup squad list to be announced by Eagles chief coach, Samson Siasia may stage a dramatic return to the team ,Complete Sports gathered late last night.

Reports in the media yesterday were emphatic about the non-inclusion of Birmingham's Carling Cup hero in the squad for the game in Abuja as well as the international exhibition game in Malta on March 30 against Peru but an an impeccable source close to Siasia told Complete Sports last night that Obafemi's name has been included.

 'Don't believe all the stories you read out there,Obafemi is in the squad',says the source who went ahead to confirm the invitation of the two Uche brothers,Ikechukwu and Kalu as well as the goalkeeping duo of Dele Aiyenugba and Vincent Enyeama.

 However conspicuosly missing from the list that will be announced this afternoon in Abuja is QPR defender,Danny Shittu whom Complete Sports learnt was originally on Siasia's list until Israel-based defender,Efe Ambrose appeared on the radar.

 Also not given a look-in is Greece-based midfielder,Sani Kaita who onlt two days ago appealed to Siasia to recall him.

Italy-based duo of Joel Obi and Obiora Nwankwo are also expected to be named in the squad which sources say will contain between 24 and 25 names because the Eagles will play two games in one week come the end of the month.