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We contacted Mourinho for Super Eagles job – NFF president

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  • Plans to hire top-class foreigner

Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick has said that they held talks with AS Roma manager, Jose Mourinho while in search of a new Super Eagles coach.

He stated this during a media parley with sports journalists in Lagos on Wednesday December 22.

He said the Super Eagles would get a new coach “within next week or so”, meaning interim coach of the team, Austin Eguavoen, might not take the squad to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on January 9, 2022 in Cameroon.

Recounting efforts in getting a new coach for the national team, Pinnick said the NFF held talks with Serbian Mladen Krstajic and Jose Mourinho in their bid to get a top-class coach for the national team.

He also revealed that Portuguese Jose Peseiro, a former Real Madrid assistant coach and FC Porto head coach, was on the three-man shortlist for the Eagles coaching job.

The NFF President said, “The emphasis on the new coach is discipline. We will look at his antecedents on discipline.

“Secondly, we will also look at how hungry he is to win trophies because if they are hungry it supersedes so many things and if he wants to win he will instil discipline. We will look at all these things but I cannot make a pronouncement emphatically because I will be undermining my executive committee.

“So, until my executive committee comes out within the next week or so to say this is the name because the technical committee has to bring their presentation to the executive committee. It is going to be a seamless movement to the current team headed by Eguavoen.

“But we have spoken to three top coaches and Peseiro, whose name has been going around, is one of the coaches and I can tell you he is a top coach.

“We also talked to Mladen (Krstajic) but after talking to him he got a job with a top club in Israel, Maccabi Tel Aviv. You can see these are coaches that are hungry and ready to take Nigeria as a home; they are people that we know are ready to face the challenge from the 200 million Nigerians.

“They are coaches who the players cannot be bigger than and I believe we are doing everything we can and that’s why we interface with the ministry on every level.

“Of course Mourinho, I am not going to tell you we didn’t talk to Mourinho because we did and the (sports) minister also talked to Mourinho and there is nothing wrong with it.”

Pinnick however refused to reveal the coach who will manage the Eagles at the AFCON. He said, “If the coach will give us the Nations Cup, he will be drafted in immediately. I am not going to tell you that it will be later, because of what essence is the recruitment? If the executive committee says yes and we are ready, what are we waiting for?

 

“When I spoke with one of the coaches on Tuesday, he was already scouting our players and was telling me things I didn’t even know about our players. It was quite impressive and he told me the strength of each player and he took me off guard. We are not going to experiment and if he can win the Nations Cup, no problem.

 

“We know Eguavoen can do it, but we also want someone who can do it better. If we are unable to sign him soon, then we will work with the current team. But I am not going to tell you that if we have him signed today, he is not going to lead the team to the AFCON.”

 

Eguavoen was announced as interim coach of Super Eagles after Franco-German Gernot Rohr was sacked on December 12.

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Ronaldo says media lies about Man United future

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has hit out at the “lies” surrounding reports about his future at Manchester United.

The Portugal forward missed United’s pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia due to personal reasons as speculation swirled over whether he would be leaving Old Trafford.

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It has been reported Ronaldo wants to play Champions League football, but United maintain the 37-year-old is not for sale and remains an integral part of the plans of new boss Erik ten Hag.

In a reply to a fan account on Instagram that referred to a report linking the United frontman to Atletico Madrid, Ronaldo said fans would “know the truth” in a couple of weeks, adding: “The media is telling lies.”

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Falconets beat Canada, to face the Netherlands in quarter-final

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The Nigeria U-20 women ‘s team, the Falconets early Thursday morning rounded off their group stage campaign in the ongoing World Cup taking place in Costa Rica in style; beating Canada 3-1 at the Estadio Alajuela Morera Soto.

The Falconets will face the Netherlands in the quarter-final phase of the tournament.

Coach Chris Danjuma had before now relied on late goals to secure slim 1-0 wins over France and the Korea Republic but the game against Canada was a completely different ball game.

It was the Canadian girls that drew the first blood from an error in the Falconets’ defence.

But two goals from the penalty spot by Esther Onyenezide and another goal in the second half by Chioma Olise saw the Falconets cruising to their biggest win so far in the ongoing tournament in Costa Rica.

Coach Danjuma said before the Canada tie that his girls would seek to win even though they had already booked their place in the last eight.

After falling behind to the early Canada goal, Onyenezide, whose vicious curling shot earned all three points against the Korea Republic, drew the Falconets level from the penalty spot in the 24th minute.

Defender Mia Pante who had handled the ball from a Blessing Okpe shot in the box gifted Nigeria a way back into the game.

Onyenezide was on hand to shoot Nigeria into the lead, also from the spot, in the 32nd minute after Simi Awujo’s dangerous play against Mercy Idoko.

As the Nigeria U20s ended the first half 2-1, nothing suggested the Canadians could mount a fightback in the second half, instead, it was the Falconets that increased their lead.

Substitute Chioma Olise got Nigeria’s third goal as the Falconets finished top in Group C with nine points from three games.

With Thursday’s outcome, the Falconets now have a quarter-final date with The Netherlands in Alajuela on Monday.

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Osimhen scores, taunts racist Verona fans

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Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhentaunted racist Hellas Verona fans after he scored his first Serie A goal of the season for Napoli, who fought back from a goal down to win 5-2 at the Stadio Bentegodi stadium on Monday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

The Nigerian striker also made a back heel flick assist for Matteo Politano to score Napoli’s fifth goal from 12 yards in the rout.

Kevin Lasagna’s cushioned volley at the back post shot Verona into the lead in the 29th minute, but parity was restored when Kvicha Kvaratskhelia headed in Chucky Lozano’s cross eight minutes later.

Napoli turned it around with a goal almost identical to Verona’s, this time a corner was flicked on by Giovanni Di Lorenzo for Osimhen to score with a flexible attempt at the far post.

After scoring to hand the Partenopei a 2-1 lead in the 46th minute, the 23-year-old kicked the ball into the stands in anger at the Hellas Verona fans, who had been hurling racist abuses and monkey chants at him each time he touched the ball during the encounter.

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The Nigeria international also mocked the fans by pretending to cry into the camera as he celebrated his goal with his teammates.

The former Lille striker, who was replaced in the 83rd minute of the win by Adam Ounas, was booked for a foul on Koray Guenter in the 54th minute.

Napoli host Monza at the Diego Maradona stadium on Saturday.

Reacting to his side’s win Osimhen said, “It is important for us to start well because we have lost some great players.

“I am very happy for this victory because it was not easy. We have to feel like last year. This victory shows we are on the right track. I don’t care how many goals I score, I will score to help the team but I always put the team first.

“Spalletti trusts me and he tries to encourage me, it is normal to make some mistakes during matches. He also helps me a lot with individual work.”

On being one of the leaders in the team, the 23-year-old said, “It is important that we all have to take a share of the responsibility. I’m in my third year at the club and it is important for me to encourage new ones like Kvaratskhelia. He had predicted my goal two minutes earlier

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