Happy New Year


Happy New year from all of us at the NEWFANZONE


Golden Eaglets goalkeeper Dele Alampasu makes Keshi’s final list alongside Chigozie Agbim and Egwuekwe,


Golden Eaglets goalkeeper Dele Alampasu makes Keshi’s final list alongside Chigozie Agbim and Egwuekwe

Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has picked first choice goalkeeper and skipper Chigozie Agbim, defender Azubuike Egwuekwe, midfielder Joshua Obaje and forward Gbolahan Salami among 23 players that will represent Nigeria at the 3rd African Nations Championship in South Africa.

Usual suspects Solomon Kwambe, Francis Benjamin, Kunle Odunlami, Umar Zango, Barnabas Imenger, Daniel Akpeyi and Ifeanyi Ede also make the list, but former junior internationals Abdullahi Shehu and Christian Pyagbara also make the cut, with FIFA U-17 World Cup winner Dele Alampasu expectedly joining the big boys so early.

Nigeria take on host South Africa, Mali and Mozambique in Group A of the championship reserved for senior players plying their trade in the domestic League of their countries. The competition runs from 11th January – 1st February, 2014 in three South African cities.

In his quest to win the tournament just as he did at the full-strength Africa Cup of Nations staged in the same country early 2013, Coach Keshi has picked three goalkeepers, eight defenders, six midfielders and six forwards.

Agbim, Kwambe, Benjamin and Egwuekwe are integral part of Nigeria’s A Team, while Pyagbara and Shehu played for the Flying Eagles at the African Youth Championship in Algeria and the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey in 2013.

Alampasu was selected as the Best Goalkeeper as Nigeria’s U-17 side cruised to a record fourth win at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates October/November 2013.

: Chigozie Agbim (Enugu Rangers); Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland FC); Dele Alampasu (Abuja Football College)

DEFENDERS: Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars); Francis Benjamin (Heartland FC); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars); Ikechukwu Gabriel (Bayelsa United); Umar Zango (Kano Pillars); Bright Esieme (Enyimba FC); Erhun Obanor (Insurance FC)

MIDFIELDERS: Ugonna Uzochukwu (Enugu Rangers); Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars); Christian Pyagbara (Sharks FC); Ikenna Hilary (Sunshine Stars); Abdullahi Shehu (Kano Pillars); Joshua Obaje (Warri Wolves)

FORWARDS: Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers); Gbolahan Salami (Shooting Stars); Barnabas Imenger (Lobi Stars); Aliyu Ibrahim (Nasarawa United); Christian Obiozor (Enugu Rangers); Ifeanyi Ede (Enyimba FC)

Final list of of top 10 ranked players in Tennis, Formula1, Golf for the year 2013

Final list of of top 10 ranked players in Tennis, Formula1, Golf for the year 2013

As 2013 grinds to a halt, we bring a year ending list of top 10 ranked sportsmen and women in Tennis, Formula1, and Golf


Emirates ATP Final Top 10 ranking for 2013 (singles)

1 Nadal, Rafael (ESP)

2 Djokovic, Novak (SRB)

3 Ferrer, David (ESP)

4 Murray, Andy (GBR)

5 Del Potro, Juan Martin (ARG)

6 Federer, Roger (SUI)

7 Berdych, Tomas (CZE)

8 Wawrinka, Stanislas (SUI)

9 Gasquet, Richard (FRA)

10 Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA)

WTA Final Top 10 Rankings for 2013












1 Tiger Woods, USA

2 Adam Scott, AUS

3 Henrik Stenson, SWE

4 Justin Rose, ENG

5 Phil Mickelson, USA

6 Rory McIlroy, NIR

7 Matt Kuchar, USA

8 Steve Stricker, USA

9 Zach Johnson, USA

10 Sergio Garcia, ESP

11 Jason Day, AUS



01 Sebastian Vettel

02 Fernando Alonso

03 Mark Webber

04 Lewis Hamilton

05 Kimi Räikkönen

06 Nico Rosberg

07 Romain Grosjean

08 Felipe Massa

09 Jenson Button

10 Nico Hulkenberg


01 Red Bull Racing-Renault

02 Mercedes

03 Ferrari

04 Lotus-Renault

05 McLaren-Mercedes

06 Force India-Mercedes

07 Sauber-Ferrari

08 STR-Ferrari

09 Williams-Renault

10 Marussia-Cosworth

Happy New Year

A review of Nigerian Sports In 2013 By Oladimeji Oshode

A review of Nigerian Sports In 2013 By Oladimeji Oshode

364 days ago, the year 2013 ushered itself in, it never crossed the mind of
several Nigerian supporters that the year held a lot of fortunes for sports.

The year witnessed some ups and downs in the country’s sporting events
ranging from football to weight lighting to Super sand Eagles among other
sporting events.

2013 in Retrospect is an eventful year in the Nigeria scenes particularly
in football breaking a 19 year spell of winning the African Cup of Nations,
winning the U-17 world Cup for the fourth time and winning it with the
highest number of goals in the competition and also breaking another 14
year spell of getting a medal in the track and field event since winning it
last in Sellieve 99 IAAF and many more.

It all started in January when the African Cup of Nations kicked off in
south African but before then, Nigerians were left to contemplate a black
out of the matches on terrestrial television.

The Confederation of African Football {CAF} blamed the Broadcasting
Organization of Nigeria {BON} for the situation accusing it of making a
ridiculous offer for the rights to beam the games live.

But along the line, it was agreed upon that the finals of the Nations’ Cup
should be broadcasted live on our local television set.

Nigeria Super Eagles started the quest for their third AFCON title after
her success back in 1980 and 1994 if am not mistaken.

They started with a 1-1 draw against Burkina Faso, then followed another
draw against champions, Zambia and raised to a 2-0 win against Ethopia.

Finishing, Second in Group C, Nigeria faced Ivory Coast and they displayed
their best game to thrash Mali 4-1 in the semi finals.

A nervey 1-0 win over Burkina Faso was recorded in the final at the
National Stadium, Johannesburg on February 10.

The Super Eagles has since then been performing and have qualified for the
2014 FIFA World Cup Finals with a straightforward win and would face
Argentina, Bosnia Herzegovina and Iran in group F.

It was the fifth time Nigeria’s flag would be hoisted amongst the
congregation of the finest football nations in the world following previous
appearances in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2008.

A day after leading the Eagles, Keshi tendered his resignation but the
presidency intervened and his resignation was rescinded.

Also, Many thanks to Blessing Okagbare who showed her class when she won a
silver medal in the women long jump and a bronze medal in the 200m at the
IAAF World Athletics Championship in Moscow, Russia which was last won 14
years ago by Gloria Alozie and Francis Obikwelu who won Silver in 100m
hurdles and Silver in 200m respectively.

She also holds the African record in 100m Sprint.

Afterwards, Nigeria was drawn in Group B of the African U-20 championship
alongside Mali, Gabon and Congo DR.

Obuh boys finished as runners up in the group before the young pharoahs of
Egypt outclassed the flying Eagles 2-0.

Furthermore, Nigeria’s U-17 footballers began their own quest for the
fourth worls title and were drawn in Group F against Mexico, Sweden and
Iraq in the preliminaries.

A dominant display against Champions from the previous edition, Mexico
ended with Eaglets recording a 6-1 win.

A surprise 3-3 draw against Sweden in the second game merely represented a
temporary blip as the expansive Nigerians reckoned with a classy 5-0 win
over Iraq in the final group.

The Golden Eaglet ended in fashion as they sealed their place in the
quarter finals of the competition with a 4-1 win over Iran.

The Eaglet went for the title in UAE and a fine 2-0 quarter final win over
Uruguary set the stage for the 3-0 thrashing of sweden in the semi final
before going on to record another 3goals to wi the title against Mexico.

Not forgetting the Nigeria Super Sand Eagles {beach footballers} showed
their supremacy in beach soccer as they won all their matches of the 2013
Copa Lagos Beach Soccer Championships.

Others show of the year came up when Nigerian Wrestlers proved themselves
at the common wealth Championship in South African and Weightlifters who
won medals at the Common wealth weightlifting championship in Malaysia.


*Winner of AFCON after 19 years.
*Blessing Okagbare won the IAAF after 14 years.
*Winner of U-17 World Cup.
*Most goals scored in U-17 world Cup
*Dele Alapansu, Taiwo Awoniyi and Kelechi Iheanacho all won personal awards.
*Junior Championship in Mauritius
*Weightlifting team won 2013 Common Wealth Weightlifting.
*Nigeria Supremacy over Australia at both Junior and Senior level in global
Table Tennis.


*Blackout of matches on terrestial television.
*Keshi owed Salaries
*Plans of Clubs Owners to stop LMC before the turn around.

You can follow me on twitter @holla_dimeji on twitter or add Oshode
Oladimeji on Facebook to give your views and add your high and low points
of 2013.

But remember to bookmark the site http://www.sportthriller.blogspot.com.

Stakeholders urge continuity in sports, as Jonathan considers cabinet reshuffle


Stakeholders urge continuity in sports, as Jonathan considers cabinet reshuffle

As speculation is rife over President Goodluck Jonathan planned cabinet reshuffle, stakeholders in sports has called for continuity in the sector.
For the President, Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Ibrahim Muhammad, under the present leadership of the National Sports Commission (NSC), sports have witnessed a resurgence especially as grassroots level with special attention given to school sports, which came to fore at the last National School Sports Festival held in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Muhammad believes the Minister of Sports/ Chairman, NSC, Bolaji Abdulhai has shown that he is passionate about the grassroots sports with the setting up of a new board for the National Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM) chaired by Yemi Idowu.

“I want to say that any alteration in the leadership of NSC will surely bring us back to where we were coming from. Since assumption of office, the Minister has displayed some seriousness in reviving the fortune of sports, and this became obvious when he attended the last National School Sports Festival. Never in the history of the games that a serving Minister will attend the championship and this alone has given us hope that in few years, we will get back to our glorious days in sports,” the NSSF boss said.

He continued: “Changing the leadership at this point in time will not help sports generally and it will be counter productive. So I want to appeal to the Presidency to allow this present Minister to carry on with what he had started so that in few years, Nigeria can return to its rightful place in the world.”

For Muhammad, the National School Sports Festival had a private sector support for the first time and this he believes was made possible by NASCOM, a body reconstituted by the Minister.

“For us at school sports, we will forever be grateful to the minister because in the history of school sports games, we have never had it so good like what we had in Ilorin. Sterling Bank single-handedly sponsored the games while Nestle also made it support at the game. So for us, NASCOM has been a blessing because they had shown that they are really partner in progress. I must commend the leadership of NASCOM led by Idowu, who has shown that they are ready to compliment the efforts of NSC in its programmes,” he added.

However, NASCOM boss, Idowu agrees with the NSSF boss, saying there is no point changing a winning team as the Minister and Director General have worked together to lift sports.
He listed some of the achievement of the present leadership of NSC, as winning the AFCON 2013 and FIFA U-17 World Cup while Nigeria also returned to the global stage in athletics.

FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014; NFF appoints Wakanow as Official Travel and Tour Partner

FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014; NFF appoints Wakanow as Official Travel
and Tour Partner

The Nigeria Football Federation has announced the selection ofWakanow.com as the Official Travel and Tour Partner of the Federation for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals taking place in Brazil.

In this regard, Wakanow.com is officially licensed to arrange travel, accommodation and other logistics for Nigeria football family, fans
and supporters willing to go to Brazil for the finals. However, Wakanow.com will be able to do this for anyone or group only on
confirmation of match tickets purchased from the NFF/FIFA PAMAS platform.The list of persons or organizations who have confirmed match tickets purchased from the NFF/PAMAS platform will be sent to Wakanow.com for purchase of travel packages.

Already, tickets for the opening ceremony/match and other group phase matches are on sale, on the NFF/FIFA PAMAS website, and interested parties are to contact the NFF directly on this as well as for purchase of hospitality suites.
(Ticketing Officer: Tolu Abe +234-703-9003-476).

The NFF has also cautioned that match tickets’ confirmation from FIFA, as well as travel and accommodation documents are pre-requisite for visa procurement from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Brazil in Nigeria. For easier and quicker visa application process, persons or organizations who have purchased their match tickets from the NFF/PAMAS website and travel packages from Wakanow.com are advised to seek the assistance of Wakanow.com for their visa acquisition.

NFF’s Director of Marketing, Adama Idris, said on Monday: “We have chosen Wakanow.com as our Travel and Tour Partner for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 because we are convinced about their capacity to do a great job of it. This is a huge project and only an outfit with capacity, high competence and track record of service delivery can cope well enough.”

Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Products of Wakanow.com, Mrs Stella Obinwa said: “We are elated as a company to have this
opportunity to serve Nigerians willing to travel to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup finals. Our ability to deliver is not in question. As a company, we will put everything in place to ensure that Nigerians who travel to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup finals come back with
memorable experience of a positive nature all-round.”


The January Football Transfer Window. Necessity or distraction ?


The January Football Transfer Window. Necessity or distraction ?

Winter transfer window opens midnight today

The January football transfer window opens on the 1st of January 2014, and will remain so until the end of the month, this “window of opportunities” affords managers a chance to “rejig” their teams for the second part of the season. Unlike the “Summer” football transfer window that is open for over 3 months in the off-season, the “winter window” happens during the season and it’s only open for a duration of 1 month. For the Big teams looking to strengthen their teams, the biggest challenge they face is on how to get a good player that is not already cup-tied in Europe. For this singular reason a lot of people have already concluded that the Winter transfer window is not “that important” so we would mention a few transfers that took place in January and leave you to judge how relevant the January transfer can be to a team.

Fernando Torres

Liverpool FC accepted Chelsea FC record £50 million bid for Fernando Torres in the January of 2011

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez joined Liverpool FC from Ajax Amsterdam in the January of 2011 for a fee believed to be about £23 million

Andrey Arshavin

Andrey Arshavin joined Arsenal FC from Zenit St Petersburg in Russia in the January of 2009 for a fee believed to be about £15 million pounds

Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra

Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra both joined Man Utd in the January of 2006

Vidic’s deal is believed to be about £7 million while Evra’s deal cost Man Utd about £5.5 million

And finally we take a look at Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka moved to Chelsea FC from Bolton Wanderers in the January of 2008 for a fee believed to be around £15million.

So you be the judge of the January transfer window as the discussion continues on the importance of this winter window.

But staying with the transfer deals being already touted in the media might be a tough ask as rumours have already started flying about as to who needs whom and who is staying put where? But a few teams must do something about their personnel if they really want to win laurels.

Arsenal FC

The Arrival of club record signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid and the return of Flamini has given the Gunners something they have lacked for quite a while. depth. Now the gunners should at least add another striker to compliment the efforts of Olivier Giroud upfront. Plus the return of Lucas Podolski couldn’t have been at a better time

Chelsea FC

The blues have been linked with several Top strikers as this seems to be the only the department of the game that needs some strengthening. Chelsea’s strikers have been firing blanks lately and the bulk of their goals have come from the midfielder with defenders also getting in on the act

Liverpool FC

The reds have had an interesting season so far and the exploits of players like Luis Suarez and Countinho are worthy of note, not looking to slip up LFC have been strongly linked with a loan deal for FC Barcelona starlet Tello, the Reds have also been linked with German forward Sidney Sam

Manchester City

The Citizens under new manager Manuelle Pellegrini seem to look the real deal, Joe Hart’s recent drop in form as seen Costel Pantilimon replace him from time to time, City have been linked to a couple of high profile Goalkeepers but it remains to be seen if Pellegrini would want to splurge on a goalkeeper at this moment

Manchester United

David Moyes’s foray into the summer transfer market is best left in the past, his biggest battle is keeping his Big star Wayne Rooney from the clutches of other Big teams while trying to shore up his ageing defence line. The whole world seems to agree with the fact that the Red Devils actually need a creative midfielder, United’s pursuit of Leighton Baines has been well documented but it remains to be seen how moyes would handle Evra and Baines (that’s if he gets his man) perhaps he would convert one just like Gareth Bale was converted at Tottenham hotspurs.


English Premier League fixtures Wednesday 1st January 2014

The ever busy English Premier League games continue to come thick and fast and just like we had on Boxing Day all 20 teams will be involved come Wednesday the 1st of January 2014. While all the other major leagues across Europe take a break during the Yuletide season ( December 24 – January 6 ) The English league actually “kick it up a notch”. For football Lovers this is a great period but lately a couple of players and mangers have been clamouring for the English League to join the rest of Europe by taking a “winter break” but until that happens please find below the fixtures for Wednesday the 1st of January 2014.

English Premier League fixtures Wednesday 1st January 2014

Swansea City v Manchester City 12:45

Arsenal v Cardiff City 15:00

Crystal Palace v Norwich City 15:00

Fulham v West Ham United 15:00

Liverpool v Hull City 15:00

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur 17:30

Southampton v Chelsea 15:00

Stoke City v Everton 15:00

Sunderland v Aston Villa 15:00

West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United 15:00

Eagles, Pillars In Exciting Score Draw …Keshi, Abdulmakabi Happy…Amokachi Marks Subdued Birthday


Eagles, Pillars In Exciting Score Draw

…Keshi, Abdulmakabi Happy

Nigeria’s Super Eagles had perhaps their best test on Monday morning since camp opened three weeks ago, when they played out a 2-2 draw against back to back Nigerian Premier League champions, Kano Pillars of Kano.

The game which was played at the mainbowl of the Abuja National Stadium, attracted quite a few fans including NFF Director of Competitions, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, Pillars Management Committee boss, Dr Abba Yola and the national women’s U20 team known as the Falconets, complete with their technical crew and staff at the stadium.

The Eagles technical crew opted to start with the best possible squad available as Chigozie Agbim, Solomon Kwambe, Ebenezer Odunlami, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Ikenna Paul, Ugonna Izuchukwu, Benjamin Francis, Rabiu Ali, Abubakar Ali, Uzoenyi Ejike and Ifeanyi Ede all started.

With just five minutes on the clock, the Eagles forced a free kick after Uzoenyi was harshly brought down close to the vital area. He opted to take the kick himself and his deft left foot found the head of towering Egwuekwe, whose header was helped into the net by Abubakar Ali. Many thought it was going to be a goals feast for the Eagles but how wrong they were.

The league champions with Chief Coach, Abdulahi Abdulmakabi dishing out instructions regrouped quickly and five minutes later forced a penalty when their raid on the Eagles vital area was adjudged to have been palmed by one of the defenders. The resultant penalty was neatly tucked in by Bello Kofamata, who turned out to be the hatchet man for the league champions.

As the Eagles were thinking of a positive reaction, it was Kofamata, who struck again in the 21st minute when a quick throw from keeper, Joseph Ewuga found Saliu Nura who outran the Eagles defence to find Kofamata, who was too delighted to hit home. The Eagles reacted almost immediately when Rabiu Aliu and Abubakar Ali’s fierce challenge fell to the chest of Aliu who riffled home sweetly in the 40thminute. It was to be the final goal of an exciting encounter.

The second half inclusion of Christian Pyagbara, Barnabas Imenger, Ikechukwu Azubuike, Ejiro Etebor, Bright Esieme, Aliyu Obaje and goalkeeper Dele Alampasu brought sparkle but no goal. The game thus ended 2-2 , with Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi declaring that he was happy with what he saw of his boys.

Abdulamakabi, the Pillars’ handler declared that it was a testy duel and his players whom he said know all the Eagles stars gave their all. He added that the Eagles will go far at the CHAN tourney in South Africa.

Amokachi Marks Subdued Birthday

It was also a sort of celebration day for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, as Assistant Coach, Daniel ‘The Bull’ Amokachi added another year on Monday morning. The power playing forward in his hey days said he was not in the mood for celebration, even as he declared that God has been wonderful to him.

In the morning match against Kano Pillars, he stayed coy over the development until Team Administrator Dayo Enebi Achor, with the connivance of Media Officer Ben Alaiya, hinted Head Coach Stephen Keshi that his assistant was a birthday boy. Amokachi smiled away and acknowledged the fact but declared that having celebrated his 40th birthday in grand style he will wait for another milestone to celebrate.

“I must say I give thanks to Almighty God for always being there for me. He has blessed not only me but my family and even the team we work for, what more can one ask for except to thank Him and ask for long life and more prosperity. Honestly, God has been very good to me and I can’t ask for more from Him. I just want Nigerians to help me praise God on my birthday”, he said on Monday evening.


Statement from the IOC President on terrorist attacks in Russia

Statement from the IOC President on terrorist attacks in Russia

“This is a despicable attack on innocent people and the entire Olympic Movement joins me in utterly condemning this cowardly act. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims.

I have personally written to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to express our condolences to the Russian people and our confidence in the Russian authorities to deliver safe and secure Games in Sochi. I am certain that everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all the participants of the Olympic Games.

Sadly terrorism is a global disease but it must never be allowed to triumph. The Olympic Games are about bringing people from all backgrounds and beliefs together to overcome our differences in a peaceful way. The many declarations of support and solidarity from the international community make me confident that this message of tolerance will also be delivered by the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.”

Thomas Bach


Nigeria’s Sule qualifies for World Para Table Tennis Championship

Nigeria’s Sule qualifies for World Para Table Tennis Championship

Atlanta 1996 Olympics bronze medalist, Nosiru Sule has secured the ticket to the 2014 World Para Table Tennis Championships holding in Beijing, China.
Two Nigerian players – Sule and Ahmed Koleosho featured in the men’s class five and class three of the African Championships held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Koleosho failed to make to the qualifying stage in his event, but Sule made Nigeria proud when beyond all odds beat top rated players to the sole ticket in the category.
Five players took part in the class five of the event with one of them expected to qualify for the World Championships.
Egypt’s Ayman Zenati was seeded number one while his compatriot – Adel Ahmed Ahmed was rated number two with Nigeria’s Sule seeded number three among the five players.
To defy the odds, Sule won all his matches after beating Zenati 12-10, 12-10, 11-6, losing to Egypt’s Hassan Hefny 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11. But his top spot was ascertained when he defeated Egypt’s Ahmed 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8 as well as pummeling South Africa’s Tankiso Hata 11-4, 12-10, 11-4.
This performance automatically qualified Sule as the continent’s sole flagbearer in the men’s class five category at the 2014 World Championships.
An excited Sule said that he was happy making to China, while appealing to the National Sports Commission (NSC) to support him in his quest to bring honour to Nigeria at the global tournament.

Picture Caption: Nigeria’s Nosiru Sule (left); Egypt’s Ayman Zenati (right) and President, African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy at the African Para Table Tennis Championships held in Egypt…recently. The tournament served as the qualifiers for the World Championships holding in 2014 in Beijing, China


Former formula1 top driver Schumacher in critical condition

Michael Schumacher, seven-time Formula 1 world champion, is in “critical condition” after a ski accident, says the French hospital at which he is being treated.

The 44-year-old German “was suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival” the hospital in the south-east city of Grenoble said in a statement.

Schumacher’s management confirmed his critical condition, reports said.

He was skiing off-piste with his son in the Alps when the accident occurred.

Schumacher was wearing a helmet when he fell and hit his head against a rock, Meribel resort director Christophe Gernignon-Lecomte said earlier.

Source: bbc.com