Eagles Watch

Arsenal move for Eaglets trio, Amoo, Tijani, Olaniyan


…Gbolahan Salami clubless

While the Super Eagles were on national duty against Seychelles, three members of the current Golden Eaglets; Akinkunmi Amoo, Samson Tijani and Olatomi Olaniyan are attracting interest from scouts of Premier League club, Arsenal.

Elsewhere, Super Eagles fringe player, Gbolahan Salami is presently job-hunting after cancelling his contract with Turkish club, Denizlispor. The lanky player who was one of the most dreaded strikers in the domestic league has struggled to make a success out of his career in Europe.

In another extensive package, the News Editor, ADEBAYO OLODAN rates the Super Eagles players in their 3-0 thumping of Seychelles plus news surrounding Nigerian players abroad.


Arsenal moves for Eaglets trio, Amoo, Tijani, Olaniyan

Arsenal is ‘locked in a chase’ for young starlets; Akinkunmi Amoo, Samson Tijani and Olatomi Olaniyan according to media reports in the country.

The trio starred as the Eaglets bounced back from a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Burkina Faso to win 5-1 against the Ivory Coast in the U17 AFCON qualifiers.

Amoo was named Man of the Match for that game on Thursday with Arsenal scouts watching on. He also scored from the penalty spot after 57 minutes.

Tijani is a defensive midfielder while Olatomi Olaniyan is a midfielder described as the Eaglet’s ‘engine room’.

Olaniyan found the net twice against the Baby Elephants, opening the scoring in Thursday’s game with the first goal after just six minutes and the second three minutes later when he finished off a swift counterattack.

Ajax and Anderlecht scouts were also in attendance.

Arsenal has already named their Premier League squad for the season and it currently contains 11 Nigerians.

Aside Alex Iwobi and Eddie Nketiah who is expected to see first-team action this season, the remaining nine Nigerians at Arsenal classified as U-21 are: Ryan Alebiousu, Xavier Amaechi, Folarin Balogun, Tolaji Bola, Arthur Okonkwo, James Olayinka, Joseph Olowu, Tobi Omole and Bukayo Saka.


Udoh stays put at Juvy

Juventus striker, King Udoh will remain at the Serie A club throughout this season, despite initial speculation that he was bound to move in the summer.

With playing time not accorded him in Juve’s main team, Udoh had been touted for a summer exit in order to get regular action elsewhere, but all that has come unstuck.

Instead of leaving Turin, Udoh is staying put with The Old Lady, as a purported move to Leixões SC did not materialise, though the Segunda Liga club had been interested in the youngster on a season-long deal.

Udoh, who celebrated his 21st birthday last Wednesday, was also linked with some clubs in Luxembourg and Ukraine but the verdict now is that he will remain in Italy.

Since joining Juventus in 2011, the Italy-born Nigerian striker has been farmed out on loan to five clubs – Reggiana, Virtus Lanciano, Pontedera, Fernana and Fano.

Udoh was a member of the Juventus squads for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 UEFA Youth League and netted on his debut in the competition against Malmo, but he is yet to make his first team debut for the club.

Madu, who was also part of Nigeria’s youth national team to Turkey 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, has subsequently been demoted from the main squad.


Danjuma declares burning love for Eagles

Club Brugge youngster, Arnaut Groeneveld Danjuma has spoken of the possibility of him playing for Nigeria at full senior level soon, as he admits he is in love with the Super Eagles.

Although he was born in Holland and still holds his country of birth top of his plans for international football, Danjuma said he also cherishes his Nigerian origins and cannot rule himself out of playing for his father’s country.

While affirming that he lovingly wears his surname on the back of his jersey at both club and Holland youth team levels, Danjuma said he would readily opt to play for Nigeria should his target of being a Dutch senior international not materialise.

Danjuma earned his fifth start for Holland’s under-21 team as they were held to a goalless draw by England in a European U-21 Championship qualifier Thursday evening and was the best player in the Dutch team in the first half.

Danjuma said: “It’s clear to me, I want to get to the Dutch national team, but if I did not get the chance here, I would play with love and joy for Nigeria.

“I would prefer to play for the Netherlands, but nobody knows what will happen in the future.

”I prefer to keep that for myself. Groeneveld is my second name. And I do not use the name at all because it would sound better in Nigeria.”

Financial Crisis: Waregem relegates Madu to reserves

Financial crisis at Zulte-Waregem has accounted for the relegation of former Super Eagles invitee, Kingsley Madu from the first team to the reserves.

In contrast to widespread reports that Madu who represented Nigeria at Turkey 2013 U-20 World Cup is one of the three players in the team facing similar plight.

The defender will now be involved with the Belgian club’s second team, while team officials seek a means to sell him or loan him to a side outside the European country.

It is another setback for the 22-year-old Madu, as he has struggled to get playing time after he got off to a good start on arrival from AS Trencin of Slovakia, such that Zulte-Waregem want to get rid of him to reduce their wage bill.


Salami cancels Denizlispor contract

Fringe Super Eagles player and former Warri Wolves forward, Gbolahan Salami has cancelled his one year contract with Turkish club, Denizlispor.

Salami disclosed that he decided to terminate his deal with the club due to their inability to fulfill contractual obligations.

The pacy forward who last plied his trade in Kazakhstan after spending about three years in Finland, is now in search of another employee as a free agent.

AFCON 2019: How Eagles rated against Seychelles

The Super Eagles did just enough to get all the three points with a 3-0 win away at Seychelles on Saturday, September 8.

Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem and Odion Ighalo got the goals to give Nigeria the win in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier.

But how did the Super Eagles players fared in the game?

Goalkeeper: Francis Uzoho  5/10

He did not have much to do until the second half when Seychelles began to ask questions of the Super Eagles defence. The youngster however did not to look very convincing the few times he was called into action.

Right-back: Chidozie Awaziem 7/10

Awaziem got the chance to play in place of the injured Jamilu Collins but the central defender deployed at right-back, was solid in defence. He even went on to score his maiden Super Eagles goal to cap his performance.

Central Defender: Leon Balogun 6/10

The 30-year-old Brighton defender wasn’t put under much pressure but looked solid all through. Balogun who struggled a few times with the pace of Seychelles attackers may have missed his injured central defensive partner, William Troost-Ekong.

Central Defender: Kenneth Omeruo 5/10

Omeruo’s lack of playing time this season was apparent.

The last time he played a competitive game was at the 2018 World Cup. The Leganes loanee struggled with the pace of the Seychelles attackers and it was not a surprise to see he was cautioned by the referee in the second half.

Left back: Bryan Idowu 5/10

Just another average game from the Lokomotiv left-back who offered nothing extra to the team offensively and also when defending.

Defensive midfielder: Wilfred Ndidi 6/10

Not a massive game for Ndidi although he wasn’t required to provide such. Went about his job and got into some dangerous areas too.

Defensive midfielder: Ogenyi Onazi 5/10

Nothing much from the experienced midfielder. Not much cover defensively, going forward he offered close to nothing.

Attacking midfielder: Kelechi Iheanacho 5/10

The Leicester man operated played in the hole behind the striker but failed to create chances for the attackers. He got into some areas and it was his free-kick that led to Super Eagles second goal of the game after hitting the post.

Forward: Samuel Kalu 6/10

Kalu was a threat especially in the first half of what was his debut. The Bordeaux new signing forced a penalty from the opponent from which helped Super Eagles double their lead.

Forward: Ahmed Musa 8/10

The Al-Nassr striker was the best Super Eagles player on display as he scored the first goal of the game after looking like the likely scorer from kick-off. He terrorised the home team’s defence with his pace.

Forward: Odion Ighalo 5/10

Struggled for space in the game but managed to get into some good areas. He, however, missed a slew of easy chances to score. He somewhat redeemed his image by scoring from the spot after Samuel Kalu was brought down in the penalty box.


Oghenekaro Etebo 3/10

Came on for Kelechi Iheanacho in the second half of the match but he could not make any impact whatsoever.

Semi Ajayi 5/10

Ajayi played at right-back for almost 10 minutes and he defended well too.

Henry Onyekuru 4/10

Made a very short cameo but still created a chance from which he almost scored.

Semi Ajayi celebrates winning Super Eagles debut

Rotherham United defender, Semi Ajayi has expressed his delight after he made his full international bow with the Super Eagles on a winning note in a 2019 AFCON qualifier against Seychelles.

Nigeria flew past The Pirates of Seychelles 3-0 with goals from skipper Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem and Odion Ighalo.

The former Arsenal player was a 74th minute substitute for injured Awaziem.

“Was an honour to make my international debut today. Humbled to finally represent my country at the highest level and even more grateful to mark it with a win and clean sheet. Thank you God,” British-born Ajayi tweeted.

He represented Nigeria at U-20 level in an invitational tournament in France in 2013.

Rohr didn’t want to risk me after pains in my leg –Collins

Germany-based defender Jamilu Collins has disclosed that he failed to make his Super Eagles debut against Seychelles Saturday after he felt pains in his leg and Coach Gernot Rohr did not wish to risk him.

Collins, who was set for his Eagles debut, failed a late fitness test and so was replaced at right fullback by Chidozie Awaziem from FC Porto for the game.

“I had a little bit of pain in my leg, so it was not something I should risk and also the coach did not want to risk it,” he explained.

“That was the right thing.

“We will now look forward to the next game.

“I wasn’t disappointed because I know the right moment is still coming.”

Collins equally praised the team for the 3-0 win against hosts Seychelles.

“It was a good result for the whole country and the team,” he saluted.

“We now look forward to also winning our next games.”

Awaziem happy with maiden Eagles goal

Chidozie Awaziem is over excited after scoring his debut goal for Nigeria in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Seychelles at the Stade Linite on Saturday.

“This is my Super Eagles goal and I am over the moon. I feel happy and glad to score my first goal for Nigeria. Thanks to God for the goal.

“It was good though. The condition of the pitch didn’t help matters. We gave our best and won,” the defender said after the match.

Awaziem picked up an injury in the second half and was replaced by debutant Semi Ajayi. But he was quick to dismiss the severity of the injury.

“I’m fine. It’s not a serious injury. My condition is very stable,” he added.

A review of how Super Eagles players played in the 3-0 win over Seychelles in a 2019 AFCON qualifier.

Ezenwa, 4 other home-based players for Liberia friendly

Enyimba goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and four other home-based professionals have been included in the list of 18 Super Eagles players expected to play the Lone Stars of Liberia in an international friendly.

The match which is scheduled for Tuesday at the 35,000-capacity Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Monrovia, is organised to celebrate the former World Footballer of the Year and Liberian President, George Weah.

The list of players released by Coach Gernot Rohr for the friendly also included strikers Mfom Udoh and Sunday Adetunji, both of Enyimba FC of Aba, defenders Adeleye Olamilekan of FC IfeanyiUbah and Ebube Duru of Lobi Stars.

Apart from Ezenwa, who traveled with the team to Seychelles for Saturday’s 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifier against the Pirates, all the other home-based professionals had been directed to report at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos on Monday.

Ezenwa and13 other members of the team are expected to fly into Lagos from Addis Ababa on Monday, before departing to Monrovia Monday night.

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