What! How! 2010 FIFA best player award and no Wesley Sneijder in the top three? An atrocity! What about Diego Forlan, the man who almost single-handedly inspired the achievements of Atletico Madrid and Uruguay in the same year? Not there too? Barbarity! Three Barcelona players? Scandalous! Why don’t they just have the ceremony at the Nou Camp.

Those are the kinds of slurs FIFA were subjected to when their nominee-list for the award of the best player in the award of 2010 was released. And those are the kinds of similar negative retorts the association would always get over their awards. How come Andres Iniesta never got a best player in award? How on earth did Thierry Henry never get crowned the best in the globe? What did he and he and he do to merit a FIFPRO XI spot? How come, FIFA, how come?

And it’s no different this year, first the outrage from some when Lionel Messi was omitted from the top three list, an insubordination in football, a downgrading on the game, many saw it. But what happens if Messi is included in the top three, then someone misses out who will create a similar surge in outrage; for instance: Mohammed Salah broke records, yet he’s not here; how did they have the audacity to omit Cristiano Ronaldo; or: what else would Luka Modric do to get recognition.

That’s the problem with individual awards, you can only give it to one, and you certainly won’t leave all to be content. Keep doing the awards and fingers are pointed at the detriments of handing out individual gold stars. Stop giving them and there’s talk about how the game doesn’t recognise talent and effort. The smears, though, were minimal- if any- this year, as Modric turned out to be the best player in the world, but that doesn’t mean FIFA didn’t leave itself open to shots of scrutiny and criticism.

FIFA were always going to get criticised no matter what went down on the night, but this time it seemed like it set itself up for failure, like it made a huge bet that it would receive a fair amount of condemnation. The first issue to be dissected and met with sneers was Mohammed Salah winning the Puskas award for the best goal of the year, for his strike last December against Everton.

Then came the slurs: Salah’s goal over Benjamin Pavard’s, or the audacious overheads of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale? Admittedly those are supposedly decided by votes, but try telling that to social media or the public, the sharks ready to jump on what they perceive as errors, however circumstantial, inadvertent or unavoidable.

And if the world was unhappy at Salah being given the best goal, you could only imagine their rage when they saw the FIFPRO XI. First, the case of Dani Alves, who's been injured for quite a while now, you'd be forgiven for thinking he's retired, yet the Brazilian was recognised by FIFA as the best right-back in the world.

Then the utter confusion over the eleven. David de Gea is the goalkeeper in the side, but Thibaut Courtois was awarded as the best goalkeeper in the world. Mohammed Salah was good enough to be among the final three nominees, yet wasn't good enough for the XI.

How do these add up? What were the criteria for making these decisions? Is one category voted for and another selected, are the different categories decided on by different sets of people?

FIFA's decision-making on its award would always raise more questions than answers, but this year's version was almost alien to logic.

Published in International Watch


FIFA has lost credibility for not shortlisting Messi - Fillipe Luis


Fillipe Luis has said FIFA omitting Lionel Messi from their top three shortlists for the FIFA Best Men’s player award has cost the organisation her credibility.


Though the Barcelona man had a below-par performance at the World Cup, his 45 goals last season made him emerge as the player with the most goals in all competitions In Europe Top 5 Leagues.


Luis believes the Argentine and Barcelona skipper should have made the top three cut, as he is the best player in the world presently.


The Atletico defender, as quoted by AS, “The award is for the best player in the world. For me, today, it’s Messi – just like in previous years.


“When he’s not there, it loses credibility.


“He does not matter, who wins the World Cup or the Champions League. He’s the best.”


Meanwhile, Luis fellow teammate at Atletico Madrid Antoine Griezman has branded the FIFA Award a shame for not including any of the French players that won the World Cup in the top three shortlist.


Published in International Watch

Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has given West African giants, Nigeria and Ghana seven days to settle their ongoing Federation brouhaha or risk a ban.

The world football governing body in a media statement, on Tuesday announced the decisions of Bureau of FIFA Council in relation to government influence in the affairs of both federations.

With Nigeria Female U-20 team currently participating at the ongoing Women’s U-20 World Cup, FIFA in the statement, said even if its hammer fall on the NFF, the team would be allowed to continue in the tournament.

The statement reads: “In line with art. 16 par. 1 of the FIFA statutes, the Bureau of the FIFA Council decided that if by Monday, 20 August 2018, at 12:00 (CET), the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) offices are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who was duly elected on 30 September 2014, the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect for contravening art. 14 par. 1i) and art. 19 as well as art 14 par 1a) of the FIFA statutes.

“The suspension would be lifted only once the NFF, under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices.

“Furthermore, the Bureau decided that if the suspension of the NFF takes effect, the Nigerian team currently competing in the FIFA U-20 women’s World Cup France 2018 will still be allowed to continue to participate in the tournament on an exceptional basis given that the tournament is underway.

“In Ghana, it is noted that formal investigation proceedings are currently being carried out by the chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee against Mr. Nyantakyi, who has been provisionally suspended by a decision taken by the Chairperson of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. However, the Bureau of Council considers that the petition introduced by the Attorney General to High Court of Justice to start the liquidation process of the GFA constitutes undue influence in the affairs of the GFA contravention of art. 14 par. 1i) and art 19 par. 1 of the FIFA statutes.

“Under these circumstances the Bureau decided that if the petition to start the liquidation process of the GFA is not withdrawn by Monday, 27 August 27 2018 at 12:00 (CET), the GFA will be suspended with immediate effect. The suspension would be lifted once the above mentioned petition is withdrawn and FIFA is given written proof.

Published in Awa Football

The embattled Nigeria Football Federation president yesterday, was appointed the first Vice President of the African football governing body.

The Federal Government of Nigeria had on Monday ordered Amaju Pinnick and his board to vacate their office.

The order was said to be in respect to a ruling by the Supreme Court, the apex court in Nigeria.

Pinnick, who after the court ruling on Monday was appointed FIFA match commissioner for the game between Sweden and Switzerland on Tuesday, yesterday, was announced as CAF’s first Vice President.

According to the CAF’s scribe, Amaju’s promotion was needed as a result of the resignation of Kwesi Nyantakyi , the first Vice President and former Ghana Football Federation President, who has been banned by FIFA, while under investigation for taking cash gift in a Ghanaian undercover media sting.

The letter of Pinnick’s appointment as the new CAF first Vice President was signed by the CAF’s Secretary General, Amr Fahmy.

The letter which dated July 5, 2018, read thus: “Following the resignation of the 1st Vice President, Mr Kwesi Nyantaky, CAF President after consulting the members of the emergency committee, appointed Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick as 1st Vice President.

“This decision is immediately applicable in accordance with article 27 para 2 of the statutes, which will be ratified by the Executive Committee in its session scheduled on the 27 and 28 September 2018.

“We thank you for taking note.”

Published in Awa Football

Life in its totality has only got two kinds of people (the blind and the sighted) while the sighted enjoys maximum benefits of all life has got to offer from independence to the ability to visualise the world and arrive at a personal and uninfluenced conclusion, the former lives a life of compulsory semi-reliance leading to a lack of independent, cognitive awareness of his immediate environment. Although not totally comfortable with the impediments that the disability brings, they are incapacitated and helpless in combating the distress life has thrown at them.

As distressing and unfortunate their situations may be, or seem like to you reading this piece, the blind individuals are not left out in the excitement rocking the footballing planet. Switching their disable status to (this abled) individuals, they push on and keep abreast with recent developments around the world and the world cup upon us in the land of Russia ain't an exception. So as you walk along the streets, in a train or in the mode of your early morning workout in the gym, don't get too fascinated if you bump in to a blind guy discussing or arguing the games as good as the great pundit (Gary Liniker).

Sipping on my glass of champagne and watching all who care about the beautiful game of football take their places in front of their television screens, booking tickets and taking their seat in the stadium, engrossed in discussions relating to the religion of football and some even placing bets. But what's for those who can't visualise the games with the complement of their both eyes, those people whom over time have been neglected, discriminated upon and relegated to the background and trampled upon?

You can bet as television sets, decoders and tickets witness a sell-out, all football loving blind individuals would be left with no choice than to scramble for a radio set - thanks to the efficient commentators who get paid to come to the aid of these individuals whom no one pays attention to, well! Probably because they aren't good for business and definitely won't offer FIFA and the Russian government the billions of dollars they crave.

In a world where inclusivity is preached like never before it's quite ironic that humans who find themselves in the blind world still experience a huge sense of exclusivity in showing and demonstrating and following their lovely game.

Individuals on this side of the divide can only bank on the expert analysis and descriptive abilities of the commentators alongside their extra instinct in order to drop in on discussions.

Please can someone help reach out to the television commentators and sound it in to their heads that there are people not enjoying the visual abilities of TV and rely on their commentary so they should wake up and stop their sluggish and annoyingly boring technique and try to serve the non-privileged minorities?

Furthermore, with a total inability to make use of their pair of eyes, their default sense responsible for keeping in touch with their immediate environment becomes the ears, in the spirit of the game, fans should be urged to maintain decorum when these people are around them trying to enjoy the game in the best way possible.

To the World Football Governing Body On the backdrop of the shout for women equality, racial integration and sexual identity acceptability, it won't be out of place for us to ask the football governing body for reserved stands dedicated to these disadvantaged once.

In case it interests you, the writer of this piece is a part of this community.

Follow on Twitter @mightygr8shawn


Published in International Watch

Football is no longer a game but an asset that keeps the economy together, says Shehu Dikko.

The League Management Company {LMC} Chairman made the statement at the lunching of the book titled “The History of Football in Nigeria,” authored by Wiebe Boer, which held at the Lagos Freedom Park, Victoria Island.

Dikko, who was saddled to give a football remarks at the event said we got so many things wrong in the past, which are now telling on how present day football.

According to him, Nigeria must fashioned her football along the line the path the UK is towing.

The LMC Chairman said, “We’ve lost the history and we did so many things wrongs before that’s why we are here.

“If in those days, the Abiola babes, the 3sc, the Stationary Stores have put the structure – put a sustainable structure in place, where there will be an institution, not just individual clubs, today there will be clubs, there will be things that will be moving our countries, and we’ll be counting the number of jobs that football will be putting on the table and what have you.”

He continued, “All the issues we have in our football today, they had it over there {UK} as well.

“But today, because football is more important in the UK for example the prime minister has to meet monthly with the head of football authorities to discuss – ‘is there any issue to be sorted? What is the issue? What can we do to make sure the system continues to work?’ because football is no longer a game today it’s an economy. It is something that is keeping their economy together.

“That is the focus we need to change our football in this country.”

Dikko, who charged all law makers to put all the relevant law in place to aid the development of football in the country added, “there is a bill now in the national assembly that is ongoing, where football is being now recognized as a national asset.”


Published in Awa Football

The Erstwhile goalkeeper of the Super Eagles as compared playing at the World Cup with going to the Holy Pilgrimage of Mecca.

Ike Shorunmu, who was behind the sticks for Nigeria at the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup said players got an unprecedented treatment playing at the World Cup

Describing the feeling of playing at the World Cup in an interview with Punch, Shorunmu said: It’s the Mecca of football. When you appear at the World Cup, it’s like a president visiting another man’s country with the kind of treatment you are given by the hosts.

“It’s very interesting. Believe me, you can’t compare it to any other competition; it’s a special tournament. From the airport, you get a welcome party to your hotel, the security and atmosphere are amazing.”

The 35 capped international, who missed out on making the Eagles’ squad to the 1994 and 1998 World Cup described missing out at the latter as the worst memories of the World Cup.

He added that keeping Super Eagles’ first game at the 2002 World Cup, a game Nigeria lost 1-0 to Argentina was his best World Cup moment.

”I missed the 1998 World Cup and it remains my worst because there was a lot of noise that I would be there,” Shorunmu said.

“There was advertisement and even a shooting session ahead of the competition but it was like I was destined not to appear at that World Cup.”

He added, “My best moment was playing our first game against Argentina at Korea/Japan 2002. The pressure on the team was on me, that “Ike, you are the one we are hoping on.

“But I couldn’t do it alone, it’s a team work. But I achieved something at the World Cup with my performances against the Argentines.”

Published in Awa Football

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed staging a new tournament, featuring eight international teams, every two years.

The tournament, known as the 'Final 8', would be the climax of a global Nations League competition, which is part of an ambitious plan to reform international football which FIFA believes could be worth $25billion in a 12-year cycle.

Infantino, according to Reuters, said an unidentified group of investors had proposed spending $25billion to secure the rights to the tournament, which would take place every October and/or November of every odd year starting from 2021.

The Confederations Cup, currently staged every four years in a year before the World Cup, would be abolished.

The letter did not clearly indicate how many slots would be allocated to each region.

The plans were sent by Infantino to the members of FIFA's decision-making Council which still has to approve them.

UEFA and its counterpart for North and Central America and the Caribbean, CONCACAF, have already set up Nations League contests in their own continents.

In both cases, the competitions involve all the national teams in their respective regions who are divided into divisions based on their rankings.

There is promotion and relegation between the divisions, as in conventional domestic club leagues. UEFA's inaugural competition will begin in September this year.

Other continents would have to set up similar competitions for the tournament to be viable.



Published in International Watch

The 1994 African Footballer of the Year claims he missed winning the FIFA World Player of the Year because he is an African.

Emmanuel Amuneke has revealed that he was denied of winning football most covetous award because he started his football career in Africa.

The 47-year-old who played for Barcelona from 1996-2000 made the statement during the unveiling of LaLiga Nigerian office in Lagos last weekend.

Amuneke, as quoted by Guardian.ng, “I usually tell some of my friends that if I had started my football career as a European player, maybe, I would have won the World Footballer of the year award.

“Unfortunately, I started from Nigeria and only God knows why.”

Spotkick reported last year that former South Africa and Blackburn Rovers forward claimed several African legends were snubbed for the FIFA World Player of the Year award because African players are not good for marketing.

McCarthy claimed that FIFA view African players as unmarketable – making the World Football Governing Body preferring European players for the award.

“We are not (African players) eye catching in Europe” Mcarthy, said. “We are players that they look past because they look for the more lucrative, worthy players that will sell more newspapers sell more magazines and be more of an attraction.

“If an African player wins it there is not a lot of attraction but, if Gareth Bale wins it, if Rooney wins it – it is World news, breaking news.

“Yaya Toure has been there but never been recognized, Didier Drogba has been there; never recognized, Samuel Eto’o has been there; never recognized, Jay Jay Okocha has been there; never recognized, Nwankwo Kanu … I could go on, the list can go on but we’ve not been recognized,” McCarthy concluded.

George Weah is the only African player to have won the FIFA Player of the Year Award.

The Liberian President achieved the feat in 1995 for his goal scoring and individual brilliance for both Paris Saint-German and AC Milan.


Published in Awa Football

The Super Eagles of Nigeria has given “football fans unforgettable memories” at the World Cup, says Federation of International Football Association ( FIFA ).

The three-time African Champions will be making their sixth appearance at the World Cup later this year in Russia and FIFA has paid tribute to Nigeria and some of her ex players who had lit up the World Cup in the past.

In a text to back some of the video clips of the Super Eagles at the World Cup shared on the FIFA website, the World governing body of football wrote: “The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ will mark Nigeria’s sixth appearance at the global finals. The African side made their debut at USA 1994, winning over supporters across the world with their exciting brand of football as they bowed out at the Round of 16 against eventual finalists Italy.

“…From Daniel Amokachi to Emmanuel Amunike, Sunday Oliseh to Jay-Jay Okocha, the high-flying Super Eagles have given football fans some unforgettable memories. We pay tribute to some of the Nigeria icons who have made their mark on the World Cup.”

The Super Eagles were the first side to qualify from the African continent and have been drawn in Group D against Croatia, Iceland and Argentina.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles forward Ahmed Musa has revealed that the team was prepared to make it pass the group stage as they’ve set a quarter final or semi-final agenda.

The Technical Adviser of the side, Gernot Rohr has also backed Musa stance – saying quarter final was the minimum the Super Eagles wanted to reach at the World Cup.

Published in Awa Football

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