Tag Archives: CAF Champions League

Agege Stadium will be Ready for MFM’s CAF Champions league Campaign – Bolaji Yusuf

The upgrading of the Agege stadium, the home ground of the Nigeria Professional Football league side, MFM FC Will be ready before the first home game of the olukoya boys In the Confederation of Africa Football CAF champions league.

Speaking during a scheduled facility tour, the senior special assistant to the Lagos state governor on sports facilities, Mr. Bolaji Yusuf explained that the level of work done so far is 60%, “The majority of the upgrading work is completed and by Monday the new extension will be covered leaving room for the remaining 40% which involves fittings and other minor details to bring the stadium to CAF standard”.

The stadium upgrade is expected to be completed and handed over by February 19th and a test match will be conducted on February 20th to try out the new features of the Agege stadium.

The upgrade involves the relocation of the dressing room, referees room and and the addition of a doping control room.

Bolaji Yusuf Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos state governor on sports facilities
photo credit: Afolabi Oni Guarantor

The upgrade will also improve security for players of both the home and visiting teams as against the previous set up where fans had easy access to the dressing room and also the referees room.

The work when completed will be a fulfilment of the promise made by the Executive governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode to the MFM FC players and management after the Olukoya boys picked a slot for the prestigious Confederation of African Football CAF champions league after finishing second in the 2017 season of the Nigeria Professional Football league.

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MFM FC To Governor Ambode: We Are Grateful

The management of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Football Club, the officials and the players of the team have expressed gratitude to His Excellency, the executive Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, for his total support towards the Olukoya Boys.

The Lagos State Governor on Wednesday hosted the Lagos-based team at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja for their great exploits in the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season and for returning the State back to the lucrative CAF Champions League.

While addressing the officials and players of the team, Governor Ambode said: “We need to use sports as an instrument to build the economy of Lagos and also direct the energy of our younger ones to things that are very positive as exemplified by what is happening today.

“Beyond football, they continue to use it for their own mental ability to be able to be proud future leaders in the country and that is what we are trying to say.

“It is a way of propagating new leaders and people who are properly disciplined, because you need a lot of discipline to play football.

“There are things that are not thought in schools that you actually find in sports and that is the direction we are trying to go with youth development in this State. I will like to commend the team and the officials.”

Shortly after the reception, the director of Football MFM FC, Mr Emmanuel Adeyemi, appreciated the Governor’s kind gesture on behalf of the modest NPFL side.

Adeyemi said: “On behalf of the management officials and players of MFM FC, I want to thank the Lagos State Governor, for having and hosting us today in his office. We are grateful to him for his wonderful support for the club. We sincerely want to thank him for all he has been doing for us.

“Many people didn’t know that Governor Ambode has been supporting us from the beginning of our quest in the Nigerian Leagues. Supporting the team with millions of naira is commendable and this has shown that the Governor is not just a lover of sport but a father of the youths.”

MFM FC Bring Continental Football To Lagos After 13 years

After 13 years of no continental club football action in Lagos State, modest Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries FC defeated Nasarawa United 2-0 courtesy of goals from Okorom Stanley and Tchato Giscard to claim a deserved spot in the next edition of CAF Champions League.

The Olukoya Boys beat the imagination of many to do the unthinkable following their victory over the Solid Miners in one of NPFL Matchday 37 fixtures played on Sunday at the Soccer Temple, Agege Stadium.

Nasarawa United started the exciting encounter guns blazing with series of sleek passes but they later surrendered to the resilience of the Lagos-based team after the first five minutes of exchange.

The man of the match, Okorom was the first to make a statement for MFM FC two minutes after the visitors surrendered their dominance when he tested Suraj Ayeleso with a right-footed shot but the Nasarawa United goalkeeper saved his effort.

Olatunbosun Sikiru was brought down near the edge of the visitors’ box and the referee signalled for a free kick in the 12th minute. Okorom scored from the free kick spot following a superb strike that left Nasarawa United defenders in dismay.

The right-back capped his man-of-the-match performance with an assist when he delivered a well tailored cross to Tchato Giscard to head home the second goal in the first minute of the added time. The second half ended with MFM FC maintaining a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Kabiru Dogo and his wards picked up in the second 45 minutes and created a few goal scoring chances.

Abdulrahman Bashir was close to causing danger in MFM FC’s box when he grabbed a deflected effort in the 55th minute but he wasted the opportunity. Douglas Achiv set up Abdulbasit in the 70th minute of the match but the latter’s shot went far off the upright.

MFM FC stood their ground and defended their two-goal lead with Olatunbosun Sikiru, Onuwa Chukwuka, Tchato Giscard forcing the Solid Miners to their own half while Opara Austine, Abisoye Olawale and Jonathan Zikiye did their jobs at the back superbly. It ended 2-0 and the Olukoya Boys booked a continental ticket after a successful two-year campaign in the Nigerian top flight.

Rivers United Can Win CAF Champions League Title – Eguma

Technical manager of Rivers United FC, Stanley Eguma believes his side can tear the form books to shreds and emerge champions of the 2017 CAF Champions League.

Debutants, United were heavy underdogs in their preliminary round tie against Malian side, AS Real Bamako who were making their seventh appearance in the competition but pulled the chestnut out of the fire with a convincing win.

The Pride of Rivers ran away 4-0 winners on aggregate and now face the potentially extremely difficult task of stopping Sudanese club, Al-Merrikh, a side making its 19th appearance in Africa’s premiere club competition, from reaching the group stage.

Eguma is calm and tranquil about the task at hand but predicts that says his charges cannot only just topple the 16-time Sudanese champions but also go all the way in the competition this year.

“The Champions League is a very big stage and we know that tougher opponents lie in wait.

“Our ambition is to win the competition and that is (also) the ambition of the sponsors for the football club (the Rivers State Government).

“We have crossed the first hurdle and we know there are more hurdles for us to cross in future.

“This is the time for extreme hard work and mapping out of strategies.

“The players have to lift their game too because the farther we progress the more difficult it is expected to be.

“Al-Merriekh will be more difficult than AS Real Bamako and we are ready to work to get the win,” he told the club’s official website, http://www.riversunitedfc.com.

Eguma’s side had struggled for goals in previous matches before eventually coming good with four strikes against Real on Sunday.

The experienced gaffer said he was always confident the goals would come.

Rivers United's Technical Manager Stanley Eguma
Rivers United’s Technical Manager Stanley Eguma

“Scoring goals had always been our problem. The boys had been jittery mainly because most of them were playing in Port Harcourt for the first time and it was difficult for them to contain the pressure.

“Scoring four times against AS Real Bamako will give them a lot of confidence going forward.

“I am sure that with time, scoring goals will be a thing of the past for us,” he said.

Rivers United will now return to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) duty on Wednesday when they face former champions, Kano Pillars in Port Harcourt in a rescheduled game.

Don’t Rule Out NPFL Sides From Ruffling Feathers On The Continent – Eguma

Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma is optimistic Nigerian clubs can hold their own in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup this year.

Rivers United and Rangers will both fly Nigeria’s flag in Africa’s premiere club competition – the Champions League while Wikki Tourists and FC Ifeanyiubah will both seek to become the first Nigerian club to win the CAF Confederation Cup – the continent’s second-tier club competition.

Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs have generally underwhelmed in CAF’s inter-club competitions in recent years but Eguma believes the trend can be bucked in 2017.

“It is still too early to definitely say whether or not Rivers United can win the CAF Champions League because we have still not hit optimum form with the NPFL season still in its early stages.

“None of the African clubs that have entered for both competitions (Champions League and Confederation Cup) can confidently say they know which team will win (the respective titles).

“However, I will not rule out Nigerian clubs because we have begun to build stronger teams now.

“The competitiveness of the NPFL is also helping our clubs and I am confident that Rivers United will surprise many on the continent.

Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma
Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma

“We are looking at performing the past feats of Enyimba (that won the CAF Champions League title in 2003 and 2004).

“If Enyimba, a Nigeria club could win the CAF Champions League title back to back, it is possible that Rivers United can do it as well,” Eguma told the club’s official website, http://www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

Eguma was a member of Enyimba’s coaching staff when the Aba club won the African title for the second time in 2004.

Champions League: Enyimba Gun For Three Points In Pretoria

Nigeria champions, Enyimba FC will go all out for their first points of the group stage of this year’s CAF Champions League when they confront Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in Pretoria on Wednesday.

A lone goal defeat to Zamalek of Egypt on a soggy pitch in Port Harcourt ruined the People’s Elephants’ opener to the campaign, but club boss Felix Anyansi-Agwu is optimistic his wards can secure an away win over ‘The Brazilians’ at the Luis Moripe Stadium on Wednesday evening.

“We lost the first match of the group stage at home but we have put that behind us and we have great motivation going into this match. The boys know that nothing less than an outright win will do and they will go all out for it.

“We have tremendous experience at this level and we will approach the game with confidence in our ability to take the maximum three points,” Anyansi-Agwu said.

The South African champions thought they had picked up three valuable points from a 2-0 victory over Entente Setif of Algeria on Matchday 1 only to see the advantage wiped off following the expulsion of the Algerians from the competition for crowd trouble.

Enyimba forward Mfon Udoh is the competition’s leading scorer with seven goals, and fancies his ability to come up with the goods at the 28,000 –capacity Luis Moripe arena.

Enyimba FC trainer, Paul Aigbogu
Enyimba FC trainer, Paul Aigbogu

“Against Zamalek, we did everything but just could not get the ball into the net. We will go all out against Sundowns and expect to pick three points.” The match begins at 7pm South Africa time (6pm Nigeria time).

Zamalek are on holiday as Setif have been expelled.

In Group A, leaders Wydad Casablanca and Zesco United of Zambia clash in the Moroccan city, while pointless Al Ahly of Egypt and ASEC Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire do battle in Alexandria.

GROUP A
Wydad Casablanca Vs Zesco United
Al Ahly Vs ASEC Mimosas

GROUP B
Mamelodi Sundowns Vs Enyimba FC

Pinnick Wants Enyimba To Retain Focus

President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, has charged players and officials of Enyimba FC not to drop their heads or lose focus following Sunday’s CAF Champions League defeat by visiting Egyptian side, Zamalek FC.

Nigeria’s flag –bearers in Africa’s most prestigious club competition fell by a lone goal against the Egyptians, who scored through Bassem Morsy in the first half at a waterlogged Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.

Teams playing in the group stage know every match counts not only for the money but also for the points. Defeat in the very first game of the lucrative pool stage could have the tendency of demoralizing the group, but Pinnick told the team on Monday that they could still go all the way.

Enyimba FC trainer, Paul Aigbogu
Enyimba FC trainer, Paul Aigbogu

“What matters is not the beginning, but how well you cope along the way and how strongly you finish. Nothing is lost. You are not nicknamed ‘People’s Elephant’ for nothing. I remember that it was not all smooth–sailing in the group stage when you won the trophy for Nigeria for the first time in 2003, and even when you went ahead to retain it the following year.

“Your spirit matters, and I know that you do not lack the winning mentality. The important thing now is to forget the loss to Zamalek and re –strategise, and believe you would not only top your group at the end, but go ahead to win the CAF Champions League trophy,” the NFF President said.

In their group stage campaign in 2003, the People’s Elephant were pole –axed 6-1 by Ismaily of Egypt in the group stage, only to beat the same team over two legs in the final to win the trophy.

In 2004, they lost 0-1 in Nigeria to Africa Sports of Cote d’Ivoire and got only one point from two clashes with Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia in the group stage, but defeated the Tunisian club on penalties in the final to lift the trophy.

The Nigerian representatives next face Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in Pretoria, in a competition that rewards winners of every match with $10,000 and pays $1,000 for every goal scored.