Stephen Keshi will return to take charge of Nigeria following lengthy contractual talks, says Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick, BBC reports. The 53-year-old, who initially took charge of the team in November 2011, has been offered a new two-year deal. His previous contract ran out after last year’s World Cup in Brazil, where Nigeria reached the second round stage. During his first spell in charge, Keshi won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. “The NFF executive committee met on Wednesday and finally approved the recommendation of the technical committee for Keshi to continue as the country’s coach,” said Pinnick. “We believe he deserves to continue and we expect him to sign this new contract in the coming days.” Keshi has been tasked to meet several targets and that the deal will be off if he does not agree. He is also required to sign a code of conduct and expected to work in line with the NFF technical committee.
Na wao! I thought Amaju will bring something different. Goodluck to you guys sha.
Chelsea captain John Terry has extended his contract at the club until the end of the 2015-16 season, BBC reports. The 34-year-old, whose previous deal ran out at the end of the current campaign, has made over 550 appearances for the Premier League leaders. Chelsea have a six-point advantage with a game in hand on their rivals and boss Jose Mourinho said: “This new contract is not to say ‘thank you very much’. “It is because John continues to perform. He is a top defender.” Mourinho recently said he could “guarantee” Terry would be offered a new deal, which is in line with Chelsea’s policy of offering those over the age of 30 only one-year deals. Terry has won 13 major honours with the Stamford Bridge club since making his debut in 1998, winning the Champions League, Europa League, three Premier League titles, five FA Cup trophies and three League Cup victories. He captained Chelsea to two top-flight titles in Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea but was not always selected by interim boss Rafael Benitez during an injury-troubled 2012-13 season. “I am happy that he completely deserves this new contract after a season where he has already played 40 matches,” added Mourinho.
Morgan Schneiderlin has reiterated his desire to leave Southampton this summer if the club doesn’t qualify for the Champions League. The France international had looked set for a move away from St Mary’s last summer when he was strongly linked with Tottenham, only for the club to refuse to let him leave. However, despite Southampton’s excellent progression this season Schneiderlin, who is currently away on international duty with the French squad, wants to play in Europe’s premier competition. “In August, I wanted to take a move but the club had lost too many players to agree to sell me,” he is quoted as saying in French newspaper L’Equipe. “Since then I have had discussions with the leaders and I want to play at the highest level: it is important at 25 years old to finally know the Champions League. “Given that, late in the season, Southampton may qualify for the Champions League and I can stay, who knows. I have no desire to be in front of my TV on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Theo Walcott has described as “complete nonsense” reports he had a training-ground bust-up with Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal forward has started just once in the Premier League since returning from an 11-month injury lay-off in November, although he did miss the whole of December with a separate injury. Walcott’s lack of action has been linked by some to his contract situation – the England international is inside the final 18 months of a deal which took months to agree before he eventually signed in January 2013 – and there were claims this week of a row with his manager. But those reports have been flatly denied by the player, who wrote on twitter: “I don’t normally comment on false stories about myself, but reports about contract demands and bust-ups with the boss are complete nonsense. “There have been no contract talks as yet and my current focus is not on contracts but on doing my best for Arsenal FC.” Wenger has frequently referenced the difficulty of negotiating with Walcott’s representatives and, when asked recently about any talks, the Arsenal boss joked that “the first contacts have been established with the embassy”.
Luiz Adriano could be on his way to the Premier League after revealing he will not be extending his contract with Shakhtar Donetsk. The 27-year-old has reportedly been scouted by Arsenal and also attracted interest from Liverpool. He is the current top scorer in this season’s Champions League with nine goals in seven matches, but now looks set to move on when his contract expires in December. “My plan is to respect the contract, which has not been renewed and will expire in December 2015,” said the Brazilian. “I am in a good moment of my career and we’ll do what will be best for me and for the club. With my contract set to expire and many good performances, it’ll be difficult to stay in Ukraine.” Adriano arrived at Shakhtar from Brazilian side Internacional in 2007 and helped the Ukrainian club win the UEFA Cup in 2008/09. He has also made two appearances for Brazil but Shakhtar could now be tempted to sell him in the summer.
Sami Khedira has confirmed that he will leave Real Madrid when his contract expires in the summer, but says he is not yet sure where he will go next. The Germany international has been linked with a move to Arsenal and Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich and Schalke. But, in an interview with German magazine Kicker, the 27-year-old said he has not decided where his next move will be. “I want to find new challenges for my career and continue to grow as a player,” he commented. “I don’t have an agreement with any club nor any preferences as to who I would like to join.” Khedira arrived at the Bernabeu in 2010 from Stuttgart and has made more than 100 appearances for Los Blancos since.
Fernando Alonso has rejected McLaren’s verdict on the pre-season crash that left him concussed and said it was caused by a steering problem. The Spaniard has been passed fit to return to action at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, where he spoke about the accident for the first time. Although the team said there was no sign of a failure, Alonso said the car “definitely had a steering problem”. He also denied he had come round after the crash thinking he was 15.
The 2000 Olympic superheavyweight gold medallist Audley Harrison has retired from the sport, aged 43, the boxer announced on his website. Harrison had 38 professional fights, winning 31 and losing seven.
Spain’s national team will pay tribute to the victims of the French Alps plane crash in Friday’s European Championship qualifying match against Ukraine. The German A320 Airbus flight 4U952 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf came down in a remote mountain valley in France on Tuesday 24 March. Germany’s national team held a minute’s silence before their friendly match against Australia on Wednesday, and both teams wore black armbands. Spain’s government has said at least 51 Spaniards were among the 150 victims in Tuesday’s crash, in which at least three Britons were also killed.
On a day that goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama marked his 100 caps for Nigeria, the Super Eagles lost 1 – 0 to Uganda in Uyo. The only goal of the match was scored by Uganda’s Farouk Miya in the 81st minute. Our soccer continues to nose dive. While other serious African countries have hired quality coaches and are already building their teams, the NFF is still playing hide and seek with Stephen Keshi. It’s pathetic really.
Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry and defender Kolo Toure will mark the end of their Ivory Coast careers in this week’s friendly matches. Both players retired from international duty after helping the Elephants win the Africa Cup of Nations this year. But they are in the squad to face Angola in Abidjan on Thursday and away to Equatorial Guinea on Sunday. It means Barry and Toure can say farewell in front of their own fans at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium. The pair were given honorary places in a 28-man selection that includes all of the winning from the tournament as Ivory Coast uses the games to celebrate its success.
Can’t Nigerian authorities emulate this kind of gesture for our retiring stars that did us proud? Couldn’t they have invited Yobo at least to play a good bye game at Uyo yesterday? Just asking.