Eagles Watch

Ideye demoted to Chinese club reserves!

These are not the best of time for misfiring Super Eagles forward, Brown Ideye. The former Olympiakos forward who has found game time opportunity limited at both club and national team has been demoted to the reserves of his Chinese club for unruly behaviour and as it stands, he may have to endure that role till another transfer window opens in December.

Elsewhere, England-based Dominic Iorfa and his Hannover compatriot, Serenren Bazee has offered coach Gernot Rohr a huge boost ahead of the World Cup tie against Cameroon. While Iorfa, who can play from the right-back has offered himself to the manager for selection, Bazee, who picked up an injury recently is expected to return to fitness later this week.

ADEBAYO OLODAN provides you extensive reports on the performances of Nigerian players in pre-season matches ahead of the 2017/18 Champaign.

 


ENGLAND

Moses celebrates return to action with Chelsea

Super Eagles star, Victor Moses is delighted to return action with Chelsea for pre-season having spent his summer break recovering from a toe injury.

Moses featured for the first half for Chelsea who spanked London rivals Fulham 8-2 in a pre-season friendly at Cobham on Saturday.

A hat-trick from Willian and a brace each from Michy Batshuayi and Loic Remy coupled with a goal from Cesar Azpilicueta from the spot sealed an emphatic win for the Blues.

Moses, who was impressive for the Blues playing as a wing-back last season, tweeted after Saturday’s game: “Good to get back on the pitch today with the lads. Pre-season well under way #CFC.”

The Nigerian international is expected to be included in the Blues squad to depart London on Tuesday for their pre-season tour of Asia where they will face Arsenal at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest next Saturday.

After that, the Blues travel to Singapore for the International Champions Cup in which Bayern Munich and Inter Milan will also take part.

Surplus Omeruo to join Wolves in £3m deal

Kenneth Omeruo could be involved in a crazy 24 hours as he could be heading for a medical at Wolverhampton Wanderers after making his debut for Chelsea in their pre-season game against Crawley Town.

Omeruo joined Chelsea in 2013 but since his move he has endured five different loan spells without representing the first team in any official or unofficial game, although he has played for the U-23s.

The 23-year-old is back at the club undergoing pre season training, where he has been selected for their first pre season test game against Crawley Town, a game which coach Eddie Newton will supervise in the absence of head coach Antonio Conte.

However the game could be his first and last in the colours of Chelsea as he is reportedly set to undergo a medical with Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers after a fee of around £3m was accepted for him by Chelsea.

Although the player admitted he could yet remain at Chelsea and fight for his spot, he also made it clear that he wants to play regularly as he wants to keep his spot in the national team of Nigeria ahead of the World Cup 2018 in Russia.

‘New Mikel’ shines for Chelsea junior team

The chances that Tariq Uwakwe will be promoted to Chelsea reserve team in the forthcoming season are high, as the young midfielder is training with the squad.

The England U-18 international, who has been dubbed the ‘new Obi Mikel’, remains eligible for the Blues U-18s squad but everything indicate that he will be gradually integrated into the U-23 squad in the new season.

According to reports, Uwakwe has caught the eye of the U23 coaching staff in pre-season, and was involved in their 5-1 rout of Southend United in a friendly on Saturday.

The 17-year-old made his debut for Chelsea U-23s in December 16, 2016, same week he scored against Cardiff City in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.

Uwakwe helped England to retain the 2017 Toulon Tournament in France this summer.

Aina deployed as left-back on Hull City debut

Ola Aina made his maiden appearance for Hull City in their 2-1 loss to Oxford United in a pre-season friendly at their training camp in Portugal on Saturday night.

In a 4-4-1-1 formation, the Chelsea loanee was deployed as a left wing-back by manager Leonid Slutsky.

The Tigers coach made several changes to his starting XI before the second half started, which also saw Aina substituted.

A former England U-19 skipper, Aina is spending the whole of the 2017-2018 season on loan at Hull City due to his lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea.

Ajose, Iorfa join new clubs on loan

League One club Bury FC has confirmed the signing of former Manchester United striker, Nicky Ajose on a season-long loan from Charlton Athletic.

Nicky Ajose, who was on the books of United for 10 years, previously had two loan spells with the Shakers in 2010 and 2013.

The 25-year-old numbers Peterborough United, Scunthorpe United, Chesterfield, Crawley Town, Swindon Town, Leeds United and Crewe Alexandra among his former clubs.

Meanwhile, another Super Eagles target in the shape of Dominic Iorfa has been farmed out on loan by Wolverhampton Wanderers to Championship rivals Ipswich Town.

The right wing-back, an England U-21 international, will remain at Portman Road until the end of the 2017-2018 campaign.

A product of Southend United, Iorfa previously had a loan stint with Shrewsbury Town in 2014.

Meanwhile, the father of the player, Dominic Iorfa Snr, said his son is now ready to pledge his senior international future to Nigeria ahead of England, the team he has represented at various youth levels.

The Lobi Stars boss said his son is now 23 years old, the age he said he will make a decision on his international future months ago.

Iofra Jnr turned 23 last month, and with over 87 professional matches under his belt, the central defender who can also play as a full back is among the players set to be on their way out of the Molineux outfit.

SPAIN

Ex-Eaglet keeper keeps another clean sheet for Deportivo

Former Nigeria U-17 goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho is making a big impression at Spanish La-Liga side Deportivo La Coruna in their pre- season friendly games where he has so far kept goal in two games.

Uzoho joined the Juvenile team of the La-Liga side last season on a four- year deal and wasted no time in making the transition to the B team from where he took part in the training session of the first team.

His performances earned him a spot in the first team pre season preparations and he has since stepped up to the role of third choice goalkeeper of the first team, less than a year after his move from Aspire Academy.

Standing at an impressive height of close to 2 metres he was handed his debut in their pre season clash against Arosa, a game they won 7-0 with Uzoho coming on as a part of their second half substitutes.

He posted another clean sheet on Saturday in another pre-season game. This time around against Silva, a game they won 5-0 with Uzoho coming on as a substitute once again to good effect.

SCOTLAND

Ambrose escapes manager’s punishment for going AWOL

Hibernian head coach, Neil Lennon has moved on from Efe Ambrose’s late return for pre-season after the Nigerian defender rejoined his team-mates.

Lennon admitted earlier last week that he could not get in touch with his former Celtic player, who was given an extended summer break.

But Lennon, whose team hosted Montrose in the Betfred Cup on Saturday, told Hibs TV: “He was due in on Monday, it’s now Thursday, so he was a couple of days late.

“We had a problem getting hold of him as he had left his phone here when he was away. He had a personal problem to deal with as well.

“But he’s back training now. Saturday will be too soon for him but he should be fit for the Ross County game and he always comes back in excellent condition, he is a fantastic athlete.

“He has given me a full explanation so that’s the matter closed.”

GERMANY

Bazee offers Rohr relief ahead Cameroon tie

An update on the length of time German-Nigerian forward, Joel Noah Sarenren Bazee will spend on the sidelines has been provided by his newly promoted side Hannover 96.

Bazee limped out of training with his club few days ago clutching to his thigh, and it lead to fears that the injury that troubled him for the majority of last season has strike again, but latest test results indicates it is not as bad as initially feared.

According to Bild newspaper, the 20 year old will miss just five days of training, which rules him out of their high profile friendly game against Dutch side Twente Enschede.

He is expected to be available for their next training camp at Worthersee where is expected to return to full training just in time before the start of the 2017 /2018 Bundesliga season.

The news will no doubt thrill the coach of the senior national team of Nigeria, who convinced the forward to opt for Nigeria ahead of Germany, but so far has been unable to cap him due to fitness issues associated with the niggling injuries he suffered last season.

TURKEY

Relatively unknown duo join Troost-Ekong at Bursaspor

Turkish side Bursaspor, has confirmed the elevation of two Nigerian players from their youth team to the first team after they penned professional contracts with the Turkish Super Lig side.

Yusuf Abdullahi Muhammad and Paschal Onyedika Okoli were both confirmed by the club on their official website as first team players after their fine performances for the junior team last season.

They will join Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong who moved to the club on a four-year deal from Belgium side Gent last week in the first team of the ambitious Turkish side.

Okoli and Muhammad were among the four Nigerian players signed by the club in January, with Jerry Adim Ikaye and Rasheed Bolaji Eyitayo, the other two.

In January Nigeria U-23 invitee, Taiwo Abdulrahman also joined the club but not much has been heard about him since then.

ISRAEL

Ogu sets Champions League target after first-leg win

Hapoel Be’er Sheva midfielder, John Ogu is delighted with second qualifying round home win in the UEFA Champions League against Honved, but is even determined to fight in the return leg.

The Nigerian duo of John Ogu and Anthony Nwakaeme helped the Ligat ha’Al champions secure a 2-1 win against Honved in the UEFA Champions League play-off match on Wednesday.

Ogu tweeted: Great to have start with a win even though we know we are going to return leg with the thought of going to fight. Our fans were amazing. Both Ogu and Nwakaeme played 90 minutes in Tuesday’s game.

Honved fielded a little known Nigerian, Ikenne-King Patrick in right-back position and also played all 90 minutes.

BELGIUM

Agbo leaves Watford for Liege

Super Eagles defensive midfielder, Uche Agbo has left Watford for former Belgian champions, Standard Liege, the European club has confirmed.

Agbo, aged 21, developed an impressive reputation as a tough-tackling defensive midfielder during his time on loan with Granada last season.

But reported work permit issues have seemingly left the Watford hierarchy preferring to cash in on the youngster.

Unlike Isaac Success, who was granted a work permit before making his international debut, there was little chance of Agbo being able to play for Watford in the near future.

“Uche played 31 matches for Granada last season in La Liga, just two games short of what Success did before he left to join Watford two seasons ago,” a source divulged.

“But unlike Success, Watford cannot use the special talent argument for Uche to get a work permit in the United Kingdom because he was not an MVP or top scorer of a major youth tournament, like Success.”

Liege announced the transfer on their website, with sporting director Olivier Renard saying: “Uche is a young midfielder with a lot of games under his belt and a lot of resilience.

“He played a good part of last season in Spain in La Liga. He is ready for a new experience and will increase our options in midfield.”

NORWAY

Adegbenro’s brace secures win for Viking

Samuel Adegbenro the hero as Viking defeated Ballklubb 0:2 away from home. The former schoolboy invitee found the back of the net in the 6th and 24th min of the match.

Elsewhere, Anthony Omoijuanfo scored the second goal in the 40th min to give Stabaek a 2-0 lead before Lillestroem scored twice in the second half to draw the match.

SWEDEN

Former Enugu Rangers forward, Alhaji Gero was on the substitutes’ bench as his team Oestersunds FK was leading 2 – 1 against Djurgaarden before this paper went to bed in the second half.

FINLAND

Emeka Eze gave RoPs a 41st minute lead in another against FC Lahti.

SOUTH AFRICA

Orlando Pirates unveil Obiozor

Enyimba striker, Christian Obiozor has joined the Buccaneers a day after they confirmed Wayne Sandilands will join the Soweto Giants ahead of the start of the 2017/18 season.

The 22-year-old standing at 1.9m can also play on the flanks and was part of the Super Eagles team that finished third at the African Nations Championship held in South Africa in 2014.

He scored the winning goal in the third-fourth playoff against Zimbabwe in the competition.

Obiozor, who also attracted interest from Mamelodi Sundowns previously played for Enugu Rangers and Kano Pillars before joining Enyimba.

The Emene-born striker will be a good cover for Tendai Ndoro and Gabuza in Pirates’ frontline.

“The club would like to announce our latest signing. Nigerian striker Christian Obiozor joins the Bucs camp,” read a tweet from the club’s official Twitter account.

CHINA

Why Ideye was demoted by Tianjin Teda

The reason behind the demotion of Brown Ideye to the reserves of Chinese side, Tianjin Teda has been revealed.

Reports gathered indicated that the striker did not take the bench role lightly and his reaction sparked a war of words with coach of the team, who reported to the management, hence Ideye’s demotion to the reserves.

His name has since been wiped off from the list of first team players on the website of the team with new signing Frank Acheampong taking his spot as a foreign player in the first team.

28-year-old Ideye has found the back of the net four times in 14 games for Tianjin Teda, but it appears he has played his last game for the team and a move away from the team in December looks imminent according to sources close to the player.

USA

Stephen to face Pogba, Lukaku, others in friendly

Sunday Stephen is in line to feature at the Rio Tinto Stadium when Premier League powerhouse, Manchester Utd tackles Real Salt Lake in a pre-season friendly today (Monday).

The central midfielder will be relishing the prospect of facing one of his former teammates; Red Devils number eight Juan Mata.

Sunny and Mata both represented Spain at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, and both started Spain’s 4-2 win over Brazil in the second round along with former United defender Gerard Piqué.

The former Valencia midfielder has switched his international allegiance to Nigeria but has not been called up to the national team for close to seven years.

Sunday Stephen has started ten games in Major League Soccer so far this season.

 

DO YOU KNOW?

  1. Tiemoué Bakayoko made 3 interceptions per 90 minutes in the Champions League last season; the most of any player.
  2. Chelsea went 32 league games unbeaten v Spurs between 1990-2006, the longest such run between clubs in top-flight history.
  3. Man Utd had won the Premier League title after just 33 games in 2000-01, the earliest title win in the competition.
  4. Only three Premier League defenders created more chances than Tottenham’s Kyle Walker last season (39); Nathaniel Clyne (45), Leighton Baines (46) and James Milner (57).
  5. Gylfi Sigurdsson (433 km) covered more distance in the Premier League than any other player in 2016-17.
  6. Only two players made more interceptions than Tiemoué Bakayoko in the Champions League last season (28).
  7. Liverpool has scored more 90th minute winners (29) than any other side in EPL history.
  8. Alan Shearer holds the record for most goals in a Premier League calendar year, with 36 in 1995.
  9. Man Utd played the fewest matches on a Saturday (11) of any team in the 2016-17 Premier League.
  10. Roma won 76% of their games in which Antonio Rudiger started last season (25/33) compared to 52% when he didn’t (11/21).
  11. Liverpool hold the record for the fewest matches played on a Saturday (9) in a Premier League campaign (2010-11).
  12. 27 players have scored 2+ goals on their Premier League debut, most recently Islam Slimani for Leicester.
  13. Romelu Lukaku is one of three players to score 10+ EPL goals in each of the last five seasons, along with Giroud and Aguero.
  14. Bolton went a Premier League record 28 games without a single draw between March and December 2011.
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