Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio,
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ahmed Musa  

Former Governor of Akwa ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio is excited with the  performance of Super Eagles of Nigeria, even as he revealed what happened to him in Volgograd arena, where super eagles recorded their first Group D victory against the Vikings of Iceland at the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Our Correspondent in Russia Aro Olaoluwa caught up with the distinguished senator of the federal republic of Nigeria at Volgograd international airport as he was leaving for another city in Russia, Moscow.

Godswill Akpabio revealed that "I feel very excited witnessing the first victory of super eagles in Russia. although the first half was flooded with errors but coming back from the first half Recess, i saw a new super eagles who were more purposeful to make Nigeria proud as good ambassadors. 

"Out of excitement, i actually fell on the floor and i had to be supported back to my feet immediately i knew the two goals from Ahmed Musa were enough for us to keep our hope alive in the quest to qualify for the next stage of this prestigious tourney" He further expressed grinning with all smiles.

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Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio,
at the Volvograd Airport enroute Moscow

Godswill Akpabio who is the senate minority leader further described super eagles as Spartans due to massive support gathered by Iceland fans, at Volgograd arena.

"It feels so worth but sadden in the stadium as we were playing against over 47,000 people and not 11 players from Iceland, but the entirety of Iceland as a country is  very small and that somehow prompted their moves into Volgograd arena to show uncommon supports for their players as  the country is not far from Russia.  

"Despite that super eagles commitment level was on the high side for Iceland to truncate because i   believed one goal would keep the Iceland fans quite even as eagles extended  it to two goals, and Africa was  obviously elevated so also the  spirit of  Nigerians risen  with great  performance of our darling team Super eagles, as i even lost my voice due to the uncommon victory" Akpabio disclosed 

Earlier before the match against Iceland Senate president Bukola Saraki, Senator Goodwill Akpabio and some selected Distinguished Senators of The republic of Nigeria, who  were invited by Russia Parliament / Council of Russian federation,  on   a parliamentary mission ( inter parliamentary visit) used the opportunity to visit  the  super eagles camp, in Volgograd  to give them moral supports as patriotic Citizens even as they joined other spectators to witness eagles victory over Iceland.     

The super eagles of nigeria are placed 2nd in group D below Croatia  as Iceland and Argentina are 3rd and 4th respectively going into the last group matches  of Russia 2018 World cup.

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Ahmed Musa Lifted High in Celebration
of the Victory over Iceland
The Super Eagles and Vikings of Iceland faced each other for the first time in an international tournaments, and it was the super eagles of Nigeria with the upper hand after two intelligent goals from Ahmed Musa to give Nigeria a 2-0 victory in their World Cup encounter in Volgograd.
Nigeria offered nothing during a lackluster first half but Musa turned on the style after the break, first finding the roof of the net with a brilliantly-taken half-volley before a fine individual effort doubled his side’s advantage.
A point against Argentina could now be enough for Gernot Rohr’s team to qualify from Group D while Iceland – who missed a penalty through Gylfi Sigurdsson during the latter stages – must beat Croatia to maintain any hope of progression.
After Argentina’s defeat to Croatia on Thursday night, both teams were aware that three points would go a long way to securing a place in the last 16 and it was Iceland who looked to force the pace.
Sigurdsson saw a free kick tipped over the crossbar as early as the second minute before the Everton playmaker squandered a good opportunity on the edge of the box with his weak curler being easily dealt with by Francis Uzoho.
However, Iceland failed to build on their start and with Nigeria content to keep hold of the ball without showing much intent to force the issue in the final third, the remainder of the first half featured very little goalmouth action.
A temperature of 32degree Celsius played a major part but just as it appeared that the first half would peter to a close, Iceland found a second wind with Alfred Finnbogason failing to apply a decisive touch when meeting Sigurdsson’s set piece from the right.
During two minutes of added-on time, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson also wasted an opportunity with the Reading forward heading wide of the far post after getting on the end of a corner delivered to the back post.
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Nigeria had offered nothing during the opening 45 minutes but the Super Eagles quickly opened the scoring at the start of the second half, with Victor Moses bursting down the right before finding Musa who took a touch before lashing a half-volley into the roof of the net from 12 yards.
Iceland were still offering plenty in the final third but Nigeria were looking dangerous on the counter-attack, and Wilfred Ndidi almost added a second with a 30-yard strike which was tipped over the crossbar.
Up the other end, Rurik Gislason curled off target from around 20 yards out and it quickly became apparent that Nigeria were beginning to control the game and Leon Balogun almost added a second with a glancing header which went over.
Musa then rattled the crossbar with a long-range strike but moments later, the out-of-favour Leicester City man netted a sublime second as he outpaced Karl Arnason and rounded Halldorsson before firing into an empty net.
Iceland looked a beaten team but with 10 minutes left, they were awarded a penalty – thanks to VAR – after Tyronne Ebuehi brought down Finnbogason inside the penalty area.
However, Sigurdsson directed his spot kick well over the crossbar, and it left Nigeria in a position to comfortably see out the rest of the fixture with minimal fuss and leave their World Cup fate in their own hands.
NIGERIA (4-2-3-1): Uzoho; Omeruo, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Idowu (Ebuehi 46′); Mikel, Ndidi; Moses, Etudo (Iwobi 91′), Musa; Iheanacho (Ighalo 85′)
ICELAND (4-4-2): Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Arnason, R.Sigurdsson (Ingason 65′), Magnusson; Gislason, Gunnarsson (Skulason 87′), G.Sigurdsson, Bjarnason; Finnbogason, Bodvarsson (Sigurdarson 71′)

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President Buhari having a handshake with the
Captain of the Super Eagles John Obi Mikel 

President Muhammadu Buhari has also sent his heartily congratulations to the Super Eagles on their victory Friday over the national team of Iceland in their second match at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The President expresses particular delight at the confidence, discipline, team-work and indomitable spirit displayed by the young Nigerian players.

President Buhari urges them not to limit themselves but sustain the current winning momentum by going all out against their last group opponent, Argentina, next week.

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According to the Special Adviser Femi Adesina in a statement released, he confirmed President Buhari said,

“I am confident that if our players believe in themselves, they can qualify out of their difficult group and even go very far in the tournament,” adding that “with determination, nothing is impossible.”

The President urges all Nigerians to continue to rally round the Nigerian ambassadors with their prayers and other forms of support.

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino and
NFF President Amaju Pinnick

NFF president Amaju Melvin Pinnick was a special guest of FIFA president Gianni Infantino as both sat, to savour Nigeria's brilliant performance against Iceland on Friday in Volgodrad

Twice, the cameras caught both men exchanging pleasantries on the big screen as they  discuss key issues on how to improve the  round leather game at the World level. 

Pinnick, a CAF executive committee member and one of the strongest FA presidents in Africa, played a massive role in the emergence of the Italian as FIFA president and was key in the election that brought  Ahmad Ahmad as president of the confederation of African football CAF. 

All three, have built a very  solid relationship that cannot be easily penetrated but can only be admired by stakeholders of the beautiful game.  

No wonder Infantino insisted during the game, that Pinnick sits by his favoured left hand side, a position reserved for special people on big occasions. 

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Gianni Infantino Salutes the courage of Super Eagles players
After the match, the FIFA president walked straight to the Super Eagles dressing room closely followed by his beloved friend  Amaju Pinnick, NFF first vice president Seyi Akinwunmi and second Vice president Shehu Dikko. 

They were there to  congratulate the Nigerian team, the second African side that has shown lots of promise so far at this tournament by winning their first match in a  convincing manner. Two African teams, Morocco and Egypt have been eliminated leaving just three left in the race.  

Infantino shook hands with players and officials of the Super Eagles and watched as the celebration continued even in the tunnel. 

Today's victory has further raised Nigeria's profile as one of the Super powers of World football and has catapulted the West Africans to second on the group D log with 3points from two matches.

Two times world champion Argentina sits bottom of the log with one point and minus three goals.

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Super Eagles Players after Croatia's defeat
in Russia 2018 World Cup 
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have arrived in the southern Russia town of Volgograd ahead of Friday’s win-or-bust FIFA World Cup Group D encounter against Icleand.

The Brazil 2014 Round of 16 berthers flew from their Essentuki base on Thursday morning and were settled in their Hampton-by-Hilton Volgograd Hotel.

Focus has been on the encounter with the Euro 2016 quarter finalists since the loss to Croatia in Kaliningrad on Saturday, as victory against the feisty Scandinavians will renew hope for a place in the knockout rounds while defeat would mean early and unflattering elimination from the quadrennial showpiece.

Coach Gernot Rohr told the media in Essentuki on Wednesday that he had been drawn to a plethora of suggestions in the media space on best formations, patterns and appropriate player-position-cum-strength postulations following the reverse against Croatia, but that he knows what is best for the team and will deploy same on Friday.

“We have watched the game against Croatia again to see our mistakes so that we can correct them. It will be a tough game. We have to be at our best and be more professional with our defending especially from set-pieces.

“We have to be fully focused and not lose concentration all through the game. I believe with hard work we can get a good result. In truth, there is no need to add to the pressure we have now. More pressure on the team will not necessarily translate to better results.”

Captain Mikel Obi, widely analyzed not to have functioned effectively in the advanced midfield role against the Croats, said he would be ready to feature in any position for the team as determined by the coach.

“I am ready to play in any position the coach wants me to play. I am comfortable with either role: offensive or defensive. The most important thing is the team.”

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Super Eagles Players applauding the fans in Russia
Friday’s win-or-bust situation is expected to bring the best out of this new generation, with victory guaranteed to be a statement of strong mentality and capacity for turning around adversity, which would do career progression and equity at national team and club levels no harm.

Allthe players in camp are fully fit, meaning Coach Rohr is presented with an opportunity to pick among all 23 players, and to cobble together the combination and formation that he believes will best guarantee victory.

It was also established that Nigeria’s number three man, Senate President Bukola Saraki, will attend the big match. Also certain to be on ground to support the three –time African champions at the 45,000- capacity Volgograd Arena are the Ambassador of Nigeria to the Russian Federation, His Excellency Professor Steve Davies Ugbah, the Permanent Secretary in the Youth and Sports Ministry, Mr. Olusade Adesola, Nigeria’s IOC Member Habu Ahmed Gumel and a full complement of the NFF Executive Committee led by the President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick.

There will also be distinguished Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, Members of the NFF Congress, Directors in the Ministry, NFF Management and Staff, football stakeholders including former presidents and secretaries-general of the NFF, and a large number of members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club and Nigerians resident in Russia.

Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad and which is 940 kilometres to the south of Moscow, extends alongside the Volga River and has a population of 1 million people. The unforgettable ‘Battle of Stalingrad’ was a turning point during the Second World War, with about 2 million persons said to have been killed and German expansionist mission decisively aborted.

Victory today (Friday) would be a turning point in Nigeria’s 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign.

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D'Tigers Players in training
D’Tigers held their first training session ahead of the 2019 FIBA Men’s World cup qualifiers at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos under the tutelage of Alex Nwora and his assistant, Ogoh Odaudu.
The 9 players made up of Emenago Obinna, Omoerah Keith Saido, Braxton Ogbueze Jai, Mbamalu Bryant, Agada Caleb Apochi, Moses Kingsley, Mehinti Tosin and Okosun Obehioye had a light workout with special focus on offensive moves and ball works.
According to Nwora, tomorrow’s training will be more comprehensive and explosive with the arrival of 3 members of the team on Wednesday evening.
Team captain Ike Diogu who currently plays for Sichun Blue Wales in China flew in from his base as well as Zanna Talib from Italy.

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One of the oldest members of the team who was part of the 2015 Afrobasket winning squad, Aminu Abdul Alade who currently plays for Nanterre of France has also arrived and is expected to be part of Thursday’s training.
The arrival of the 3 experienced players brings the numbers of players in camp to 11 with Jordan Nwora, Akindele Ayodeji, Lawal Olasheni and Ben Uzoh still being expected.
Speaking at the end of their training session, Nwora expressed satisfaction with the physical condition of the players.
“We have seen some of the boys and we are trying to shape them into what we are looking for. It’s too early to say how soon the team can be in top shape, because this is our first training session.”
The team will hold another training session at 9am tomorrow.

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D'Tigers camp has continued to swell with the arrival of 7 new players on Tuesday ahead of the 2019 FIBA men’s World Cup qualifiers holding in Lagos. 

Head coach,  Alex Nwora,  Team Manager,  Musa Adamu and France based Emenago Obinna were the early birds after reporting to camp on Saturday while the Assistant coach,  Ogoh Odaudu arrived camp on Sunday bringing the number of players in camp to 8.

Omoerah Keith Saido who plies his trade with Baerum Basketball club in Norway,  Charlotte University's Braxton Ogbueze Jai and Mbamalu Bryant who plays for CD Vildivia in Chile were some of the 7 players who arrived on Tuesday.

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Others are Prat of Spain player,  Agada Caleb Apochi, Antwerp Giant of Belgium power forward, Moses Kingsley, Lavrio of Greece power forward, Mehinti Tosin and Okosun Obehioye. 

The players were received by staff of the Nigeria Basketball Federation on arrival in Lagos and ferried straight to their hotel. 

The team's first training session will hold on Wednesday.

Other players are scheduled to arrive in camp same Wednesday before the team's departure to Abidjan for the tune up games against Cote d'Ivoire on the 23rd and 24th of June, 2018.

Nigeria is grouped alongside Uganda, Mali and Rwanda.

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Super Eagles Players in Aso Rock Abuja
The First Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi reiterated on Tuesday that the Super Eagles have put behind them the disappointment of defeat by Croatia and now ready to go for the maximum points in their remaining encounters in Group D at the FIFA World Cup.
Akinwunmi, also Chairman of the NFF Organizing Committee and Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, told a gathering of the cream of Nigeria’s media representatives in Saint Petersburg that the NFF expected a match –winning performance from the three –time African champions against Iceland on Friday.
“Like all Nigerians back home, and like the team itself, the NFF was not happy with the loss to Croatia. But the Eagles have climbed that cloud now and ready to conquer. They have put behind them the defeat and looking ahead with determination to the remaining two games.
“I can confirm to you that the team is not lacking motivation in any way. Our agreement with them was that they would get their entire money for the group phase once they qualify; it is not a match-by-match basis. So, they are aware that if they win the remaining matches or just achieve the minimum to qualify from the group, they will still earn the money for all three matches.”

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NFF 1st Vice President Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi
Akinwunmi praised Sports and Youth Development Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung for rallying Nigerians behind the team and staying behind in Russia to support the team in the remaining matches.
“We cannot fully express our appreciation to the Sports Minister, who has called on Nigerians to keep supporting the team and personally expressed belief in the team’s ability to reach the knockout rounds. We still have him with us here in Russia and he will lead the delegation to the match against Iceland in Volgograd.
“The Sports Minister led a Federal Government to Russia and led the delegation to Kaliningrad for the first match. Alongside, the Nigeria Ambassador, Professor Steve Davies Ugbah, he called President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to talk to the team before the match. Government support is total for the team, and motivation is huge, so they have no reason not to go all out on Friday.”
Barrister Dalung also greatly inspired the Eagles during the qualifying race, personally leading the delegation to the matches in Zambia and Cameroon and being also on ground in Uyo for all the home matches against Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
“It is now left for the team to go all out and give Nigerians joy by winning their remaining games,” Akinwunmi added.
He also disclosed that the Eagles will depart their Essentuki team base camp in the Stavropol region of Russia to Volgograd on Thursday, ahead of Friday evening’s clash.

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 Team Manager and coach of Black Haus FC, Prince Adedeji Olusanya
and Olatoye Olawale
Team Manager of Black Haus FC, Prince Adedeji Olusanya has called on the fans of the team to support the team, morally and financially ahead of their first league appearance in the 2018 Ikeja League which kicks off later this month. 

Speaking to newsmen after the draw was made on Monday, Prince Adedeji shared the aim of the club owned by Seun Kuti and what they intend doing in the next few years to come. 

"Black haus FC is a grass-root club and our aim is to get youth on the street out of social vices. The Club was founded four years ago, and owned by Popular Musician Seun Kuti, who is also the main sponsor of the team. We are taking the bold step to start with the Ikeja League which kicks off later this month and gradually we will find our way up there". 

"We urge the fans of the club and Seun Kuti, to support us morally and financially, because we still have some challenges with our training". He concluded. 

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Coach of Black Haus FC, Olatoye Olawale
Coach of Black Haus FC, Olatoye Olawale also discussed the situation of his players in preparation for the upcoming Ikeja League, later this month. 

"We are still not fully prepared, because we played a game last Sunday and we really struggled through the game from the defence but it's a marathon league with 18 games to play and we will take the game as they come. 

"Mentally, we are not there yet, they are inexperienced players and this is probably their first time in playing a league, however we are working on their psychological aspect of it, concentrating more on the tactical and technical abilities which most grassroots team have ignored". 

 "I believe that, after we might have played three to four games, the players will be able to see the bigger picture of the League, and conclude that it's a big deal. We will not be pushovers in this league and will be the surprise package of the League".

Olatoye concluded by speaking on the support from the Owner of the team, Seun Kuti who has shown so much believe in the team. 

"The CEO of the team is trying his best, and you can hardly find such a support from an individual towards a grassroot club. We have about 30 players, who get paid with monthly and match allowances . Thumbs up Seun Kuti for his massive support for this team so far, it has been immensely felt and hopefully we repay that support by winning the 2018 Ikeja League". 

Black Haus will kick-start their 2018 maiden Ikeja League season at home against Orobo FC.

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