Nigeria’s unusual Olympic angel

August 21, 2016 Articles 3 Comments

It is not often that I cross paths with a man that encapsulates the very best of humanity, in a planet that is seemingly determined to destroy itself, due to the naked greed of the rich and powerful, whose hands have a firm grip on the world’s political and economic levers. Dr Katsuya Takasu, a […]

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An afternoon with a living legend…

August 3, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

Winning three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles for Egypt in 2006, 2008 and 2010, a feat never achieved by any other coach or manager, since the inception of the tournament in 1957, Hassan Shehata has earned his place in the pantheon of legends. During my visit to Cairo in May, I met up with […]

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Bell: “Keshi was a big player, a big personality.”

July 31, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

A tribute to the late Stephen Keshi, from Joseph-Antoine “Jojo” Bell, the former Cameroon goalkeeper and 1984/1988 AFCON champion. I spoke with him on the telephone on Saturday, July 30th. He is currently in Atlanta, Georgia, USA: “I met Stephen for the first time at the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote D’Ivoire. He […]

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Stephen “Big Boss” Keshi is laid to rest

July 30, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

Stephen Keshi, the former Nigeria captain and manager, was buried on Friday in his country house at Illah, in Nigeria’s Delta State. Keshi won the Africa Cup of Nations as both captain (in 1994) and manager of the Super Eagles (in 2013). Affectionately known as ‘Big Boss,’ Keshi was twice voted as Africa’s top coach, […]

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Exclusive interview with the FIFA Secretary-General

July 29, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

On Tuesday, 26th July, Fatma Samoura, football’s top administrator, sat down with me for an exclusive interview, now being broadcast, on demand, on the “World Football” programme of the BBC World Service. Samoura, who was the representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria, before her recent appointment, talks about why she deserves […]

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Controversy brews over CAF’s deal with Total

July 27, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

The Confederation of African Football’s sponsorship contract with Total, the French Oil conglomerate, continues to provoke controversy, after a member of CAF’s executive committee (exco) said that it was not consulted before the eight-year deal was signed. The figures involved in the deal, rumoured to be about $250m for eight years, have not been publicly […]

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Infantino, Africa, CAF and realpolitik…

July 25, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

Seventeen African FA and Federation presidents, including CAF executive committee member, Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana, are in Abuja for “political consultations,” as FIFA President Gianni Infantino kicks off a one-day visit to Nigeria, which began on Sunday, July 24th.  Infantino, accompanied on this visit by Fatma Samoura, the FIFA Secretary-General, meets with Nigerian President Muhammadu […]

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A conversation with Isha Johansen (Part Two)

May 29, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

As promised, here is the concluding part of my conversation with Isha Johansen, president of the Sierra Leone Football Association – the only female president in Africa and just one of two amongst the 211 member nations of FIFA…  Osasu Obayiuwana (OO): So what attracted you to football? Why are you in football? Isha Johansen […]

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Westerhof remembers the Yekini legend…

May 11, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

Clemens Westerhof, now 75, remains the most successful coach in the history of the Nigerian national team. In his five years with the Super Eagles, between 1989 and 1994, Nigeria won every medal at the Africa Cup of Nations and qualified for the World Cup, for the very first time. Clemens knows Rashidi Yekini well […]

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A conversation with Isha Johansen…

May 10, 2016 Articles Leave a comment

Isha Johansen (nee Tejan-Cole), president of the Sierra Leone Football Association, is a rarity in the sport. As one of just two women FA presidents in the entire world – the other 207 national associations are headed by men – her uniqueness is a stinging reminder of the gross gender imbalance in football’s upper administrative […]

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Nigerians v NFF: The Seyi Akinwunmi defence

April 16, 2016 Articles Comments Off on Nigerians v NFF: The Seyi Akinwunmi defence

With Nigeria, three-time champions of the continent (1980, 1994 & 2013), now failing to qualify for two Africa Cup of Nations in succession – which has never happened since the country made its maiden appearance, at the 1976 tournament in Ethiopia, fans in the continent’s most populous country are furious with the Nigeria Football Federation, […]

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Africa made the wrong choice. Unsurprisingly…

March 7, 2016 Articles 3 Comments

Now that the battle for the FIFA presidency has been fought and won, members of the political class either bask in the euphoria of victory – if Gianni Infantino was their candidate – or are compelled to lick the sore, festering wounds of an agonising defeat, for supporting anyone but the Swiss-Italian. With Africa’s football […]

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