The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has signed a new coach for the female arm of the national team. Swedish manager Thomas Dennerby was named the new head coach of the Super Falcons, who are the reigning African women soccer champions.
AFC Cup finalists Bengaluru FC will play North Korea’s April 25 Sports Club in the inter-zone semi-finals later this year. The Indian club reached the final of Asia’s second-tier competition, only to lose out Iraq’s Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya by a 1-0 scoreline. As a result, they have earned a clash with April 25 SC next season which will be an enthralling affair with the North Korean club due to host the return leg in the 114,000 packed May Day Stadium in September.
April 25 SC qualified for the inter-zonal finals by winning the east zone group, which included the likes of Kigwancha SC and Mongolian side Erchim SC. On the other hand, Bengaluru went through a similar qualification process as they ran victors in the south zone group which involved Indian heavyweights, Mohun Bagan. Both clubs are particularly new to this stage of a competition, and Bengaluru’s coach admitted that he has no clue over the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Read more
The United States Soccer Federation is being dragged by fans after reports show that the bonus paid to former coach Jurgen Klinsmann for reaching the second stage of the 2014 World Cup was $500,000 while female national team coach Jill Ellis received $90,000 for winning the women’s World Cup.
The figures were obtained when the Federation filed its tax return for the year 2015/16. Ellis agreed to the terms of potential bonuses when she became coach in 2014. She renewed her contract after her success at the 2015 tournament. The new deal is expected to run through 2019 after the next tournament in France. Read more
The corruption scandals hit FIFA is dragging back the hosts for the World Cup next year. Russia is reportedly facing financial challenges as sponsors avoid the whole situation.
The top football regulatory body lost £300million in 2016 and could lose another £400million in 2017. The mountain of allegations upon allegations is scaring off investors and sponsors. The activities of Russia in Ukraine and Syria are not helping matters as well as tension continues to grow between Moscow and other nations.
The Swiss police are carrying out investigations if Russia officials bribed its FIFA counterparts in a bid to distort the World cup bidding process in their favour. They are making the investigations with the help of the United States and France.
Since the scandals came to light in 2015, FIFA have had just one sponsor Alfa Bank based in Moscow. On the international level, just China’s Wanda Group is supporting it next year. Other top firms that could have joined in are reportedly put off by the investigations of the FBI into the bribery allegations.
So far, Seep Blatter and Michel Platini have been banned from football but over 40 other officials are awaiting trial for various offences. Over 20 corporate entities were supporting the body but most have backed out as the brand became toxic.
The financial issues would be thrashed out Soccer Venues when the members meet for the annual congress in Bahrain. The Sponsorship and broadcasting rights weigh in heavily on the total costs spent on World Cup tournaments. Sponsors are uncomfortable about Russia, and the tensions in that region with the North Korea/South Korea issues make it worse. Less than thirty percent of required sponsors are on board as Russia face a race against time for the World Cup 2018.
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is expected to feature for his national team side Wales when they play Ireland on March 24 after he recovered from his long-term ankle injury.
The former Tottenham Hotspur player returned to action only last week for Madrid, scoring within 12 minutes of joining the team. Madrid defeated Espanyol 2-0 in the La Liga, but it was the 27-year old that netted the second of the match.
Wales assistant Osian Roberts says that the player is now looking forward to the Ireland game as there were fears he might return in time.
“He’s now confident he’ll be in the team and ready to fight for his place,” the coach said.
“He’s coming along very well, he’s in a good place both physically and mentally. He’s been working extremely hard. He was in a good mood, we watch him train and he looked very good physically and fresh of course,” Roberts added.
Roberts joined head coach Chris Coleman as the pair travelled to Madrid to check on their star player. He added that they expect that Bale would get more action under Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane ahead of the Ireland clash next month.
Bale picked up the injury in November last year but he has recovered six weeks earlier than initial estimates. Roberts attributed the pace of his recovery to hard work from the player, and not just nature.
“We see Gareth when he scores goals for Wales and Real Madrid and amazing things on the field but what most people do not see is the hard work he puts in behind closed doors, in private, that gives him a base so he can make the most of the special talent he has,” Roberts said.
The coach added that Bale is a “well-disciplined” player who readily sacrifices. He also said that the medical staff did their best for the player and assure theoretical long-term guarantees against any setbacks.
The European Club Association led by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says world football governing council, FIFA should reconsider the plan to expand the current number of world cup participants from 32 to 48.
The Gianni Infantino-led council had in October announced plans to host a 48-nation tournament starting from 2026; a move whose legitimate fate is bid to be decided on January 10, next year.
In the proposed format, 16 groups constituted of three teams each will involve the top two teams advancing to a 32-side knockout round. However, the 220-club constituted ECA says the number of games played each season “has already reached an unacceptable level.”
“In the interest of the fans and the players, we urge FIFA not to increase the number of world cup participants,” pleaded the chairman in a letter addressed to FIFA.
In a move many see as commerce-focused and politically motivated, the Infantino-led council seems to have made up their minds to increase the number of invitees to the quadrennial summer party especially in the one slated to be hosted in North America come 2026.
This will see an additional 368 players and 16 teams joining the one month (tourney). Many pundits and critics claim to see right through Infantino’s “chess-moves” claiming that his re-election hopes rest mostly on the promises he made to FIFA’s 211 member federations – something an expanded and more lucrative 2018 World Cup will aid him in fulfilling.
The Italian initially promised to expand the number of World Cup slots to 40 and double development grants to $5 million to member nations from each World Cup.
Rummenigge, also Bayern Munich chairman, maintains that the interest of the beautiful game should be put first before any other form of satisfaction. According to him “politics and commerce” should not be exclusive priority in football
Armando Perez is the interim president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) and he has faith that the Argentine national side has what it takes and will become the next world champions.
This is something extremely surprising and rather unbelievable to say for any national side as winning the World Cup is a task that only the best teams are capable of winning.
Argentina has recently been struggling as they lost against Ecuador on October 8 of 2015 and sustained successive draws after facing off with Paraguay as well as with Brazil. All of these matches were played last year on 2015 which was a fairly long time ago but even now in 2016, the Argentine national side continues to underperform and this is evident by one of their latest matches which saw them losing against Paraguay and only being able to draw against Peru.
Despite all of these recent underwhelming results that Argentina has experiencing, for some reason the head interim president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has stated that Argentina will become the next world champions as he said:
“We are going through a challenging phase, but we will overcome it and we will move forward thanks to deep commitment and outstanding dedication. We are very busy working in full transparency and we are taking great care to ensure the national team is not affected by the administrative problems we have at the institution.”
“Argentina will now need to work towards Russia 2018 in order to renew their challenge. Hence, we decided together to work with young Argentine football players, including Under-23 players, to see if we really have the chance to renovate the team and infuse fresh blood into the national selection, and this takes time. There is no doubt we will be the next world champions,”
The last time that Argentina was claimed as the best national side in the world was back in 1986 which were 30 years ago and Armando Perez is certain that they can do it once again despite their recent struggles.
Nigeria are considered as one of the top ranking teams in Africa and they would potentially be a favourite to achieve World Cup 2018 qualification with ease.
However, there is now a possibility that the Nigerian Football Federation will not be involved in the qualification campaign to start with. The country is in the midst of a recession due to extremely low oil prices. Nigerian economy depends a lot on the export of oil. Since the prices have been low for more than a year, the government has had to deal with severe recession and inability to support the manufacturing sector due to the lack of power.
In such a scenario, it has just been revealed that appearing in the World Cup 2018 qualification campaign will cost several millions of dollars when the players’ wages, travel costs, and other factors are considered. For example, it is estimated that the upcoming game against Zambia will alone cost the Nigerian Football Federation around $300,000 for various means.
Transport will be the biggest factor in this price estimate, as a chartered plane to transport the squad and the staff for two days will come close to $200,000. The Football Federation is also reportedly in debt to the tune of $95,000 to each player.
“As we speak, we don’t have any kobo (a denomination of Nigeria’s naira currency) in our purse. The charges for the Airline alone is $200,000 for a 140-seater plane, and it will be on ground with the team for two days. We need between $6,000 and $10,000 for flight ticket(s) to bring in the players (from Europe). The federal government still has to play its part, because this is the beginning of our campaign for the 2018 World Cup qualifying ticket. If we must get it right, every hand must be on deck,” said a member of the Football Federation.
The Nigerian national football team has recently experienced a change within their staff members as Gernot Rohr was appointed as the new Technical Advisor of the national squad and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has given the new staff member the target of at least qualifying for the upcoming 2018 World Cup.
When it comes to qualifying for the World Cup, the Nigerian national side used to struggle as they failed to do it from 1970-1990 but starting from the World Cup of 1994, they have consistently managed to do it except for the World Cup of 2006.
AdemolaOlajire is the Assistant Director of Communications from the Nigerian Federation and and he has announced to the media what their plans are and the recent details concerning the recent changes of the Nigerian Federation.
“The only reason we have not signed a coach before now is because the previous person didn’t want to be given target but the present administration is very much concerned about qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals’’
“That is the target that has been given to Mr Rohr and he is very comfortable with it.He believes that Nigeria has the players to not only qualify for the competition but do very well in Russia’’
“MrGernot Rohr is very ready and willing to reside here in Nigeria and for your information, Rohr has an African wife, a Madagascan..Work has started already because Mr Rohr is on his way to Spain as we speak to watch the NPFL stars in the Trofeo Carranza tournament’’ AdemolaOlajire said.
In order for the Nigerian national side to qualify for the approaching 2018 World Cup, they will have to finish at the top spot of group B and gain more points than: Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia as all of those national sides are competing in the same group but only 1 will be able to snatch the top spot and qualify.
The elimination matches of the Euros are beginning from today and taking ground in the evening will be the two teams which have reached the second round in unexpected manners.
Talking about Portugal, they probably had one of the less tricky groups in the tournament, if not the least tricky and thus, top 2 was a definite possibility,
Iceland and Austria were considered to be the easy preys and Hungary should not have been much of a challenge either.
But, they are coming to the knockouts without having had a taste of victory as every team managed to hold their striking prowess.
In fact, they must be thankful that they are even in the knockouts. It’s only on goal differential that they came third in the list of the teams which achieved the third rankings in various groups.
The journey could have been over if they had been left behind to 5th or 6th in that list.
The mastery of Cristiano, which made the 3-3 result possible from nowhere on Wednesday, would not do it every time, not against a well-organized Croatia if the other 10 remain as patchy as they have been.
Regarding Croatia, they were tipped to advance anyway, but, to advance as group toppers and that too from a group which had the reigning champions Spain; it must be said that they have punched above their weight.
However, it is of little importance how many wins or how many points you come to the knockouts with. What matters is what you do here.
One would rather want to be wearing a Croatia jersey and not the Portugal one on late form, but, the history of the matches between these two teams gives the upper hand to the Portuguese.