With barely a week to the dead rubber World Cup qualifier against the Foxes of Algeria, Nigerian players continued their impressive displays across Europe, Asia and the African continent. Super Eagles outcast, Sone Aluko was among the goals for his Championship club, Reading, same for former U-17 skipper, Ramon Azeez for his Segunda Division in Spain. Also on song were Chidi Dauda Omeje in Sweden, Aminu Umar for his Turkish club and veteran forward, Peter Osaze Odemwingie in the Indonesian League.
Leicester Midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi however got the highest rating from Premiership legend, Ian Wright at the weekend for his impressive performance in the 2-2 draw against Stoke City.
There was however a tinge of sad news for coach Gernot Rohr as no fewer than four of the players he invited for the matches against Algeria and Argentina have been ruled out to injury, reports ADEBAYO OLODAN.
Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) & Tosin Adarabioyo (Man City): Iwobi lasted 77 mins as his team suffered a 3-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium. Adarabioyo was not listed for the victors.
Wilfred Ndidi, Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City): Ndidi lasted 90 mins and grabbed an assist while Iheanacho played the last 32 mins as Leicester held Stoke City to a 2-2 draw. Musa was however not considered for this tie.
Tammy Abraham (Swansea City): Could not celebrate his England call-up with a goal despite playing for 90 mins of his team’s 0-1 loss to Brighton & Hove.
Ovie Ejaria and Dominic Solanke (Liverpool): Ejaria was not listed while Solanke played a cameo role in the 4-1 bashing of West Ham Utd.
Ndidi oozes class, says Arsenal legend, Ian Wright
Arsenal legend Ian Wright said Wilfred Ndidi showed a lot in Leicester City 2-2 draw against Stoke City for him to be named Man of the Match.
A week ago, Wright labelled Ndidi and every other player signed by Leicester City after their title triumph not good enough for the team, but Ndidi won him over with his display against Stoke.
Ndidi assisted Riyad Mahrez for Leicester City’s second goal with a well-timed tackle, and overall had a very good game in the middle for Leicester City although they twice let their lead slip to draw 2-2.
Speaking as a pundit for SkySports Wright said the Nigerian helped Leicester to take control of the game with his tireless running and well timed tackles.
“You have to look at Ndidi and how he got the tackle in, no foul, very neat tackle and that’s class from the 20 years old. He worked his socks off for his team and made it difficult for Stoke City,” Wright said.
Ola Aina (Hull City): Put in another 90 mins shift as his team crashed 1-4 to Sheffield Utd.
Sone Aluko (Reading): Scored in the 13th min and was substituted in the 53rd min of his club’s 4-2 defeat of Derby County.
Efe Ambrose’s form could attract bids, admits Hibs boss: Hibs boss Neil Lennon has admitted he could soon be fending off bids for Efe Ambrose, claiming the central defender is back at the top of his game.
Ambrose put in a full shift at the weekend as Hibernian defeated Dundee FC 2-1.
Lennon brought the defender to Celtic from Israeli club Ashdod and moved to sign him on loan to help Hibs push for the Championship title and promotion last season after he’d fallen out of favour in Glasgow following a couple of high-profile mistakes. This summer, he persuaded him to sign a two-year deal at Easter Road.
Although Ambrose has had his critics, Lennon insisted he did not lose faith in his ability, adamant the form he is currently showing for Hibs could earn him a recall to the Nigeria squad for next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” he conceded. “There were a few teams in for him before we got him last year and, if he keeps playing the way he has been, his stock will rise.
“This is a player who has played in the Champions League and played in a team which qualified and reached the last 16. He’s also won the Africa Cup of Nations and played in the World Cup, so he has a massive pedigree.”
Lennon was adamant the way Ambrose has resurrected his career was an indication of his inner strength, saying: “For me, at Celtic, Efe was excellent. He was very consistent for me for three seasons. You don’t lose that.
“He is a superb athlete and a consummate professional, who looks after himself very well so I had no worries bringing him in. Now I am seeing the player I know he is. He is a good player. There is no disgrace not to make the Celtic team.
“There are a lot of good players who are on the fringes there or who have left the club and then gone on to play very, very well elsewhere. To play in that environment, while it’s great, is difficult.
“You have to take the rough with the smooth, and it is feast or famine. If things are going well, it’s the best thing in the world and then you make a mistake and you are under the spotlight. Then you have to show a bit of character, a bit of personality.”
Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna): Was missing for the second consecutive match as his team suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid.
Olarenwaju Kayode (Girona): Watched his team’s 2-1 win at Levante from the substitutes’ bench.
Uzoho appreciates Deportivo for Nigeria call-up
Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper Francis Uzoho has paid tribute to the Spanish club after earning his maiden call-up to Nigeria’s senior squad.
Uzoho, 19, has been named in the 24-man squad to take on Algeria in a World Cup qualifier and then a friendly against Argentina this month.
“It probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been promoted to the first team at Deportivo,” he told BBC Sport.
“They’ve really helped me and hopefully I can repay the faith,” he added.
Uzoho’s national call-up comes off the back of a strong start to his Deportivo career and Nigeria’s quest for additional goalkeepers.
He became the youngest foreign goalkeeper to ever play in La Liga last month.
“I feel I owe the former manager [Pepe Mel] a lot as well and I am grateful to the players and management of the second team and senior side and I thank God for his favours,” said Uzoho.
Ex-Flying Eagles skipper on target: Former Flying Eagles skipper Ramon Azeez scored his second goal of the season but could not prevent CD Lugo from losing 3-2 to Real Oviedo in a Segunda División clash at the Estadio Carlos Tartiere, Sunday afternoon.
The defensive midfielder equalised for his team on the hour mark (2-2), with a right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner off an assist from Nicolás Albarracin.
Ramon Azeez opened his goal-scoring account for CD Lugo against Barcelona in September and had gone six games without scoring before facing Real Oviedo.
The 24-year-old has not played for the national team for more than three years.
Orji Okwonkwo (Bologna): Benched for the duration of his team’s 2-3 loss at home to
Joel Chukwuma Obi (Torino): On his return to his former club, Inter Milan, Obi was cautioned in the 64th min and replaced nine mins later as both teams shared the spoils (1-1).
Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes): Was absent as his club secured a 2-1 win over Toulouse.
Ryan Sanusi (Sparta Rotterdam): He lasted the duration of his team’s goalless draw at home to SC Heerenveen.
Fred Friday (AZ Alkmaar) & Bartholomew Ogbeche (Willem II): Friday played for 90 mins while Ogbeche saw 13 mins of action as AZ secured a 3-2 win over Willem II.
Kelechi Nwakali (VVV-Venlo): The former schoolboy international was substituted in the 59th min of his team’s goalless draw at home to NAC Breda.
Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag): Put in another 90 mins display when his club drew 2 -2 with Feyenoord.
Anderson Esiti, Moses Simon and Samuel Kalu (Gent)& Uche Henry Agbo (Standard Liege): With Simon out injured, Esiti played 90 mins while Kalu lasted 85mins as their team defeated Liege 1-0. Agbo was substituted in the 90th min of the match.
Abduljeleel Ajagun (Kortrijk): Was substituted in the 61st min of his team’s 2-0 loss at KV Mechelen.
Jamabo Odeni George (Eupen): Was an unused substitute when his team drew 4-4 with St. Truiden.
Taiwo Awoniyi (Royal Excel Mouscron): The Liverpool loanee lasted the entire duration of his team’s 2-0 loss at Waasland-Beveren.
Moses Simon loses fitness battle, withdraws from Eagles squad
Exciting winger, Moses Simon is the latest player to withdraw from the Super Eagles squad, after joining Changchun Yatai forward, Odion Ighalo in the treatment room.
The availability of the Gent star had been questionable after he picked up a foot injury in training, before Friday night’s game against Standard Liege.
Simon’s injury has been assessed by Gent’s medics and they have advised him not to travel to Africa and Russia for the World Cup qualifier against Algeria and the international friendly against Argentina.
”Moses Simon won’t be available for the games against Algeria and Argentina due to the foot injury,” a top source close to the Gent number 27 disclosed.
With Chelsea dazzler Victor Moses not named in the latest roster due to a hamstring complaint, Simon was in line to start his fourth straight game in the World Cup qualifiers against the Desert Foxes.
Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor): Was substituted after 41 mins of his team’s goalless draw with Kayserispor.
Raheem Lawal, Aminu Umar (Osmanlispor FK): Lawal was substituted in the 86th min while Umar scored a last ditch equaliser to help Osmanlispor rescue a point in their 1-1 home draw with Fenerbache
Eduok on target again, Ekong shines: Ten man Kasimpasa let slip a two goal lead to draw 2-2 against Bursaspor in a league match which had four Nigerians led by CAF 2017 African Player of the year nominee William Troost-Ekong.
Ekong was on from start to finish same as his compatriot Mikel Agu who is on a season loan to the Turkish outfit from Portuguese giants FC Porto.
The duo failed to bail Bursaspor from a sloppy start which saw them concede twice 37 minutes into the game.
Kasimpasa lost their way when Trezeguet was sent off with 30 minutes left to play in the game, and the sending off proved costly as their defence line lead by Chelsea loanee Kenneth Omeruo failed to hold on to their two goal lead.
Omeruo and the back line of his team failed to build on their two goal caution with Emem Eduok scoring again, the second time he has found the back of the net this season in the Turkish League.
Onazi suffers injury relapse: Trabzonspor midfielder, Eddy Ogenyi Onazi is struggling to be fit for Nigeria’s upcoming international matches against Algeria and Argentina.
Prior to today’s contest against Kayserispor, Trabzonspor medics had worked hard to get him in top-top condition after he picked up a groin injury while on international duty with the Super Eagles on October 7.
The former Lazio star could not continue after 40 minutes after suffering a relapse and had to make way for José Sosa.
In the coming hours, Trabzonspor medics will carry out additional tests, which will determine his availability for the matches against the Desert Foxes and La Albiceleste.
Manager Gernot Rohr cannot count on the services of former Watford star Odion Ighalo who has withdrawn from the roster due to injury, while there are doubts about the fitness of John Ogu, Leon Balogun and Moses Simon.
Nigeria will face Algeria on November 10 before wrapping up their 2017 schedule against Argentina in Krasnodar four days later.
Brian Idowu and Fegor Ogude 90 (Amkar): Eagles invitee, Idowu was cautioned in the 57th min and lasted 90 mins alongside his compatriot, Ogude in their club’s 2-1 defeat at home to Anzhi Makhachkala.
Aaron Samuel Olanare (CSKA): Was an unused substitute as his club secured a 2-2 draw at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Stanley Awurum (Portimonense): Played the last four mins of his team’s 1-1 draw at Moreirense.
Porto’s Yahaya tipped for Super Eagles
Former coach of the U-17, Manu Garba has tipped FC Porto rising star, Musa Yahaya as the next in line to join his 2013 set of World Youth Championship winning team in the Super Eagles.
Already nine players from the team have made the progression to the senior team of Nigeria, and Manu who handled the players in their formative years has tipped Musa Yahaya to join his peers in the senior team.
“More players from my 2013 U17 World Cup winning team will make the step up to the senior team. Most of them are beginning to find their rhythm in their respective teams in Europe.
“Taiwo Awoniyi isn’t doing badly in Belgium where he is on loan from Liverpool, Musa Mohammed has found his bearing in Bulgaria, Even Chidera Ezeh isn’t doing badly for Portimonense in Portugal.
“As for your question on who I think will be the next to make the Super Eagles, I will say Musa Yahaya. He has the quality and talent, he need few more games at Porto and the world will see the special qualities he has”, Manu concluded.
Emmanuel Emenike (Olympiacos): He was not listed for his team’s 5-1 defeat of Platanias.
Abdullahi Ibrahim Alhassan (Austria Wien): Came on in the 62nd min of his club’s 3-1 loss at home to Mattersburg.
Emeka Eze (Sturm Graz): Was an unused substitute when his club played a goalless draw at home to Rapid Wien.
Chidi Dauda Omeje and Taye Taiwo (FC Eskilstuna): Omeje put in a full shift and scored the consolation goal for his team while Taiwo was an unused substitute in their 1-3 loss at home to Sirius.
Alhaji Gero (Oestersunds FK): Rose from the substitutes’ bench in the 73rd min of his team’s goalless draw at Joenkoepings Soedra.
Amarachi Osuji and Kyrian Nwabueze (Gorica Bede): The duo played for 90 mins as their club lost 0-3 at home to ND Triglav.
Chidera Ejuke (Vaalerenga): Was on for the duration of his team’s 2-0 loss to Sandefjord.
Nnaemeka Anyamele (HIFK): Was substituted in the 71st min as his club drew 1-1 with Honka.
Paul Onuachu and Rilwan Hassan (FC Midtjylland): Hassan was not listed while Onuachu was substituted after 63 mins of his team’s 2-1 defeat of FC Helsingoer.
Simon Okosun (AC Horsens): Scored his team’s first goal and lasted for 90 mins in the 2-2 draw at Silkeborg.
Kim Ojo (Lyngby): Was on for the duration of his team’s 2-2 draw at FC Nordsjaelland.
Izunna Uzochukwu (OB): He was cautioned in the 39th min and substituted in the 74th min of his team’s 0-3 loss to SoenderjyskE.
Akpabio confident of promotion with Hapoel Katamon: George Akpabio, is confident Israeli club Hapoel Katamon can make the big lift to the elite league despite sitting fifth in the Liga Leumit.
Akpabio, who has previously played in South Africa and Turkey, is Hapoel Katamon leading scorer with four goals in 10 games.
The former Plateau United star was not on the scorers’ sheet at the weekend, when Katamon won 3-0 at Hapoel Hadera, however he was delighted with the win, insisting playing in the top league is the club’s top target.
“It’s a good result for us. We can only keep pushing, game after game to get our objective which is to play in top league”, Akpabio said.
Akpabio and his Katamon teammates will next welcome leaders Hapoel Kfar Saba to the 33,500 capacity-Teddi Malcha Stadium in Jerusalem with the hope of earning the maximum points to inch closer to their promotion dream.
Abdullahi named captain of Anorthosis: The Man of the Match for the Super Eagles in their last competitive game, Shehu Abdullahi has been elevated to the role of captain at his Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta.
Abdullahi wore the armband in their 5-1 thrashing of Olympiakos Nicosia which took them to the top of the league in Cyprus, a point more than second place AEK Lamaca who have however played a game less.
Linked with a move away from the team in January, Abdullahi was on for the entire duration of the game, which was his last before he joins the Super Eagles in Morocco, where they will camp for their upcoming games against Algeria and Argentina. While a move away from Anorthosis Famagusta looks likely in January, the club are however confident of holding onto the 24- year- old until the summer, even though he will be a free agent after the World Cup.
For now there has been no talks about a contract extension which has further swelled talks about a potential move away from the club in January, as they will want to cash in on him now than lose him for free in the summer.
Sparta Prague new signings Umeh, Suleiman resume training: The duo of Umeh Chigozie and Ibrahim Suleiman have resumed training with Czech Republic giants Sparta Prague.
According to their agent, Babawo Mohammed the players arrived the country two days ago, and after a routine medical joined the rest of their teammates in training.
“They are in Czech Republic, they left two days ago to start their careers, and it all started with a routine medical which they passed before joining their teammates in training,” Babawo disclosed.
Umeh is a defensive midfielder who plays for the popular GeeLec Football Academy of Jos while Ibrahim Suleiman is a striker picked from Mutunchi Football Academy of Kaduna.
Umeh who was a part of the 2016 Nigeria U17 team that failed to qualify for the Africa Youth Championship is a midfielder in the mould of Manchester City’s Yaya Toure.
Peter Osaze Odemwingie (Madura Utd): The former Super Eagles striker scored his 16th goal of the season as Madura Utd defeated Barito Putera 3-1. Odemwingie’s goal came in the 66th min of the match.
John Obi Mikel (Tianjin Teda): The Super Eagles skipper played for 90 mins of his club’s 1-0 win over Henan Jianyi on the final day of the CSL season. Mikel’s team finished 13th in the 16 teams log and managed to escape relegation.
Injured Ighalo cooling off in Atlanta
Ighalo who was called up for the international matches against Algeria and Argentina withdrew from the pool after spraining his knee against Chongqing Lifan last weekend.
It is understood that Ighalo is not in America receiving treatment but was forced to start his vacation earlier than planned due to the injury he sustained.
Ighalo finished the just concluded Chinese Super League season as Changchun Yatai’s top scorer with 15 goals from 27 appearances and will be out of action for two weeks.
How Obaboana short changed agent in $1m Al Ahli move: Former Nigeria international Benji Nzeakor has provided evidence to back his claims that out of favour Super Eagles defender, Godfrey Obaboana short changed him in his transfer to Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia.
Owngoalnigeria.com reached out to the Brazil-based agent who provided a chat with the 2013 AFCON winner when he introduced the offer from the club to him on the 10th of June.
He claimed Obaboana went behind him with another agent to seal the move and despite his plea to the former Sunshine Stars to give him his due, the former Rizespor man refused to credit his account.
“I’m shocked at his behaviour, now I understand why most agents don’t go near Nigerian players. I’m happy for him but what is due to me has to come to me. I proposed him to the team, they were not interested in him but I had to plead with them to give him a chance”, Nzeakor told Owngoalnigeria.com.
“He is doing well today, and all I’m asking for is for my dues for bringing the offer to him. I don’t think that is too much to ask, but he has not acted the way he ought to and I’m no longer finding it funny”.
On possible measures he would take to seek redress, the Nzeakor said he is presently in talks with his legal team to sue Obaboana, which would likely earn him a ban from all football related activities.
Okiki scores brace for new club: Former Sunshine Stars striker, Afolabi Okiki has resurfaced in Ethiopia in fine style after he scored a brace for newly promoted Jimma Aba Jifar to record a 2-0 win over Hawassa Keteme.
Okiki has already played in Argentina and came close to joining a club in Malaysia and most recently South Africa after he recovered from a long-term knee injury.
Okiki, who is known as ‘Jack’ in Ethiopia, opened scoring after 89 minutes and moment later the big forward completed his brace.
The former U-23 invitee was lately linked with a return to the NPFL with champions Plateau United and Rivers United.
Ajayi sad over Champions League loss: Former Shooting Stars forward, Junior Ajayi is yet to come to terms with the 2-1 aggregate defeat of his club Al Ahly to Moroccan club, Wydad Casablanca in the final of the CAF Champions League.
Al Ahly put themselves in the hot seat after having their 1-0 lead cancelled out in the first half of the first leg of the final in Alexandria, Egypt.
Wydad however completed the job with a 1-0 win in the return leg to take the aggregate score to 2-1.
Ajayi put in a full shift in the right side of attack and had a penalty appeal ruled out by the centre referee in the second half.
Tried as Ajayi and his teammates could, Wydad defended doggedly and held on to their 1-0 lead for the second Champions League success.