Former Rangers assistant coach SylvanusÂ Okpala believes the inclusion of home-based players inÂ the team is a step in the right direction. The ex-Green Eagles playerÂ urged Super Eagles handlerÂ Shaibu AmoduÂ to continue to watch home-based players closely in order to get the best out of the themÂ for the forthcoming Nationâ€™s Cup in Angola next year.
Okpala, a member of 1980 Nations Cup winning squad, said in as much as the players are included in the 32 man listÂ for the upcoming competition,Â the coach needs to watch them closely.
â€œI think the idea of including the home-based players in his plan is a step forward, and this also is a welcomed development to the team, but some thingsÂ still needs to be done by the coach,Â this is the time he needs to watch theÂ players.
â€œI donâ€™t have any problem concerning the players he brought, because I believe he knows better than me especially as the head coach. All I want isÂ for him to keep close watch on players he included in his plan and see if they canÂ fit in.
â€œAlso, for us to do better in this competition, our boys need to up their game. That way our chances in the Nationâ€™s Cup will be bright. They just need to correct every wrong in their pattern of play ,â€ he said.
Ohakim to fete Heartland FC
Players andÂ Â officials ofÂ Heartland FC of Owerri will no doubt have a Merry Christmas as Imo State governor Ikedi Ohakim plans to fete the team during this yuletide season. Ohakim, it was gatheredÂ is so impressed with the performance of Heartland FC in the on-going Glo Premier League that he has planned to receive the team and chart the future of Heartland FC.
According to an insider, the Governor who has shown tremendous commitment and support to the team, wants to show his appreciation to Heartland FC for their performance so far in the Premier League.
â€œThe governor will receive the team during the holiday period.
Though the date has not been specified, he plans to fete the team and use the opportunity to encourage them to do more. It is obvious that he is impressed with our performance so far in the season and we are also glad that our efforts have not gone unnoticed by the government. This administration has in so many ways proven to be committed to our course and that is responsible for the good results the team have churned out since the season beganâ€, our source said.
Meanwhile, one of Heartlandâ€™s coaches will today be tying the nuptial knot in Owerri and Heartland players have vowed to storm the venue of the event. Cajethan Nkwopara, Media officer of the team said the players who were given a short break will spend most of the time attending official events.
Enyimba demystify Wolves in Oleh
Delta State PremierÂ Â League side WarriÂ Wolves wiining streak at home came to an end last Sunday when Enyimba demystified the Warri side 1-0 to go top of the league. Since the season began Wolves have proven to be invincible at home, winning virtually all its home matches with ease.
Last week when they played host to two-time CAF Champions League winners Enyimba of Aba, Wolves thought it was going to be another three points in the bag. But it turned out to be the direct opposite.
Wolves were mesmerizing as usual, the team which featured the likes of recently signed Richard Eromoigbe and other top signings held the Oleh fans spell bound with their performance and on few occasions almost found the back of Enyimbaâ€™s net.
Buoyed by the N2million bonus they got from Delta State Sports Commission boss Pinnick Amaju for thrashing Pillars and one other club few weeks back, Wolves came out smoking but the Enyimba defense thwarted every move by the CAF Cup campaigners.
When it looked as if both sides had settled for a draw, Enyimba scored in the dying minutes to dent Wolves image at home. Wolves General Manager Timi Ebikagboro took the defeat like a sportsman saying that they lost to a better side. But was quick to add that their chances of lifting the Premier League trophy was still bright.
No break for Enyimba
Although the Nigeria Premier League has announced a two-week Yuletide break for the domestic league starting this weekend, former champions Enyimba will not be turning their players lose.
Early this week, the NPL announced that Wednesdayâ€™s rescheduled games will be the last for the year and the League will resume on January 9.
But Enyimba Media Officer Tonnex Chukwu told KickOffNigeria.com that players of the Aba team will be spending the Yuletide in the clubhouse.
â€œOur players are not going on break. They will be here in camp so that they can continue to stay focused on the task at hand, which is to win the league title,â€ he said.
The 5-time champions currently lead the log, two points clear of Warri Wolves and are heavily favoured for the title, but Chukwu insists that the league still had a long way to run
â€œNobody can say who will win the League at this point.
Sunshine Stars go on Xmas break with fat pockets
As you read this piece, players and management officials of Ondo State Premier League side Sunshine Stars are on Christmas break and will not cause to complain about money. The team which went on break on Tuesday, did so with their pockets filled with cash as they were paid December salary and bonuses.
The Ondo State team , it was gathered were paid their salaries and bonuses so as to enable them have a merry Christmas. According to an official of the team, the Ondo State governor Olusegun Mimiko ensured that the players were not owed a kobo and even promised to pay their sign on fees when they resume next week (December 28th 2009).
The Akureâ€“based team has never had it so good. This season the team showed great commitment and fought hard for every point during the season.Â A feat that endeared them to the heart of the governor who has promised to ensure that the team emerges as one of the best teams in the continent