BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE


Bitnob, a company on a mission to redefine how financial services are built and delivered leveraging the bitcoin network, has signed a multi-year partnership with the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), managed by the League Management Company (LMC) as an Elite sponsor, making it the exclusive Fintech partner for the league.

Bernard Parah, the CEO of Bitnob said the partnership is a vehicle to reach the people who need their solutions in business and wealth creation and at the same time provide the company the opportunity to contribute to the development of the domestic league which is a national asset.


According to Parah, “this partnership takes us to the people that need our solutions and helps us work with the NPFL to develop our league for more possibilities. Bitcoin, just like football, is about hope, oneness, and freedom, and at Bitnob, we are excited to be making this happen to inspire hope and showcase possibilities in our own league. If we don’t believe in what is ours, then who will?”

Bitnob has established itself as a trailblazer and a company that sits at the cutting edge of leveraging bitcoin to solve everyday problems. On her website, Bitnob says one of its core values is crazy, and that means they think limitless, break barriers and do the impossible. With this partnership, Bitnob further strengthens this core belief by going where no one else in their industry has gone. 


After signing the contract, Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC), Shehu Dikko described the partnership as a marriage of football and technology which is critical to the next phase of global football.

“We are excited to see young minds choosing to invest in the growth and development of our domestic league. Football is a major passion point in the country, and we believe that the marriage of football and technology is critical to the next phase of football in our nation,” says Dikko.

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In 2021, Bitnob achieved some groundbreaking feats, such as pioneering in Africa the lightning network, a layer 2 bitcoin protocol that enables instant and almost free bitcoin transactions for everyday monetary exchange.

Also, Bitnob was the first company in the world, partnering with Bitwage, to process the world’s first bitcoin payroll on Lightning and was the only African Bitcoin native company to appear at the largest Bitcoin summit in the world in Miami earlier this year.

The unveiling ceremony which held at the luxury Radisson Blu Hotel in Ikeja was graced by Amaju Pinnick, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Davidson Owumi, CEO of LMC, Salihu Abubakar, COO of LMC, Danladi Isaac, Chairman of NPFL Club Owners Association and Harry Iwuala, LMC Head of Special Projects.

The Bitnob team included Adenale Osideinde, the COO, Isioma Onyegikei, Head of Customer Experience, Abubakar Nur Khalil, Recursive Capital, an investor in Bitnob.

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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE 


36 Lions FC of Lagos prodigy, Azeez Oseni have signed for European Club side, FC Spartak Trnava of Slovak,The Lagos based club announced the new deal on Tuesday though the duration of the contract was not revealed.

In a statement, the Owner and Chairman of the club, Hajj Gafar Liameed noted that getting Azeez to sign for the former Slovak league champions was a deliberate but herculean and successful task.


In his words," Signing with European clubs as a No.10 is a herculean task; it’s a top class position but Azeez is also a top class talent, a Champions League material.

" FIFA Agent Cem Sagar later took the center stage and struck this Spartak’s deal with respect to collaborations of Dusan Vrto, Hillary Azodo, Coach Austin Jibrin and Voja Gligorijevic. It is indeed a massive football division of Labour.”

" He was always laid-back so we deliberately delayed his move to Europe for 16 months to sharpen him up and now he understands life better. His case is not only forcing the horse to the stream but also shoving a gallon of water down the horse’s throat. This is another result of eight years’ patience and rigorous developmental processes,” he said.

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It was also gathered that Azeez’s father, Coach Musbau Oseni the proprietor of MS Success Football Academy, registered him with 36 Lion since age 12, Head Coach Akinshola Akinrele (Baba Arigo) nurtured him for over 8 years and turned him to a Versatile and Intelligent player.

Azeez, 20, is one of the tens of players the 36 Lion Football Club have produced and taken to European countries to further their careers.

FC Spartak Trnava is a Slovak professional football club based in Trnava. Historically, it is one of the most successful clubs in the country, having won the Czechoslovak First League five times and the Czechoslovak Cup on four occasions.

They reached the semi-final of the European Cup once and the quarter-final twice. More recently, the club won the Slovak league title in 2018 and Slovak cup in 2019. The club was founded on 30 May, 1923

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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE 


The Nigeria Football Federation on Sunday announced the appointment of Mr Joeé Santos Peseiro as the new Head Coach of the Senior Men National Team, Super Eagles. The appointment is with immediate effect, subject to the signing of agreed terms between the NFF and Mr Peseiro.

José Vitor dos Santos Peseiro, 62 last month, is a Portuguese who played as a striker in his days and has wide and varied experience coaching top Clubs and National Teams across four different continents, namely Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. 


An educationist with a degree in physical education/sports sciences, Peseiro has top-level coaching qualifications/training, and has coached at Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucharest, Sporting Braga, Victoria Gumaraes, Al-Hilal, Al-Wahda, Al-Ahly Cairo, Sharjah FC and Real Madrid (assistant coach during the Galacticos era), as well as serving as Head Coach of the Saudi Arabian and Venezuelan National Teams.

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Peseiro is expected to lead out the Super Eagles for the first time during the upcoming tour of the United States of America, during which the three –time African champions will slug it out with Mexico and Ecuador ‘A’ Teams in prestige friendlies. 

The Eagles will tango with the El Tri at the AT & T Stadium in Dallas, State of Texas on Saturday, 28th May before flying to New Jersey to confront Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison on Thursday, 2nd June.

The NFF also announced that former Nigeria international forward, Finidi George will now be 1st Assistant to Peseiro, with Salisu Yusuf now to be 2nd Assistant as well as Head Coach of the CHAN and U23 National Teams. Usman Abdallah is 3rd Assistant while Eboboritse Uwejamomere will be the Match Analyst and another former Nigeria international, Ike Shorounmu will be the Goalkeepers’ Trainer.

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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE 


As things stands today, a group of stakeholders took the Nigeria Football Federation to court with a claim that the almost ending tenure is illegal. Very unfortunate that they realized this after more than three years of the existence of the Nigeria Football Federation Executive Committee that came into being after the Katsina Elective Congress.

The claim no matter how real and genuine is belated, all that I suggest should be the focus now is how we all as stakeholders set the Nigeria Football Federation Elections process ball rolling.

There is another claim that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Congress is not well composed and does not give a full representation of all stakeholders.

According to the Ekiti State FA Boss, he feels opposite is the case and that the NFF Congress as at today, represents majority of the stakeholders within the Nigeria Football Ecosystem.


In his Words, " The Players Union, Referees Association, Nigeria League Bodies and the Coaches Association all have their representatives while the States Football Ecosystem (Referees Councils, State chapters of Players Union, etc.) are also represented by the State Chairmen and Secretaries.

The claim that the State Football Associations have an unfair advantage over others is to me, quite untrue.

This inference is drawn from the fact that the smallest functioning unit of Association Football in a nation (Nigeria Football Federation), is the Local Football Council (LFC). Each of the LFCs are expected to have been composed of all the major football stakeholders right from the local government level (e.g. Referees Societies at the LGAs). Apart from the ones stated earlier in this write up, military and paramilitary, local club owners, supporters club, football event sponsors, etc. are expected to have been part of the composition of the Local Football Councils (LFCs), where two representatives, that is, the chairman and the secretary of each bodies, go on to join their colleagues to form the State FAs.

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It is therefore erroneous to myopically deduce that State FAs composed of representatives, in this case, the chairmen and the secretaries of all local and state football stakeholders, have not captured all that are being suggested by some to have presence in the NFF Congress of Executive Board.

As at today, there are State FA Chairmen that are ex international footballers (Patrick Pascal, MON), Bauchi State), he is also a member of the Players Union, irrespective of the fact that the union still have representation (Mr. Tijani Babangida, MON) in the NFF Congress. Also, there are State FA Chairmen who are lawyers and have been part of football at local level until they rose to state level and some, now at the Federal level. 

I as an example have my background as a long standing member of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (14 years) and then went on to establish and fund a local club (Phoenix Athletics Sports Club) which makes me a club owner from where I rose to become the State FA Chairman. 


My angle is that, State FA Chairmen evolved from the local level, the core unit of the football system itself, there are lawyers, teachers, civil servants, club owners, supporters club members, local football competition financiers, ex footballers, sports writers, etc. How then won't this group be the main body of the Football Federation?

If all the leagues in Nigeria should have representatives at the Nigeria Football Federation Congress, as suggested by some, then Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) will have twenty (20), Nigeria National League (NNL) teams will have forty six (46), Nigeria Women Football League and Nationwide League One will have a combined representatives of more than one hundred (100) teams. What a NFF Congress that would be, alarming right?

In conclusion, the drama and charade currently exhibited by the players union is a hindrance rather than a facilitator to the change requested for by many Nigeria football stakeholders. The case currently in the Bayelsa State court has put a hold on the Nigeria Football Federation Annual General Assembly where the process for NFF Elections would be set in motion, hence, me thinking that there might not be any elections after all.

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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE 


The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare informed the Nigeria Football Federation to reshuffle the recently appointed technical crew of the Super Eagles as the senior male national team get set for the forthcoming International friendlies games in United States of America.

According to information gathered by a reliable source on the condition of anonymity said that Mr. Sunday Dare has  given what seems like matching order to the Nigeria Football Federation, that Finidi George who is currently learning the ropes of coaching in Nigeria with Nigeria Premier League most successful Club, Enyimba FC as his first testing ground to be Super Eagles First Assistant Coach ahead of Coach Salisu Yusuf who has served in that capacity for good eight years and understand the football terrain better. 


The source further revealed that no reason was given for that decision to reshuffle, but has made it clear that Finidi George be made the first assistant coach while Salisu Yusuf despite his years of experience be the second assistant and remain Home Based Eagles Head Coach.


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The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and Ministry of Youth and Sports have both declined comments regarding this new developments.  


According to reports, football federation will make the official announcement of a new  Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles in a very short time and would be available for the friendly games in United States of America.  

The Super Eagles are billed to play two international friendlies in the US against Mexico and Ecuador before taking on Sierra Leone in June as the 2023 AFCON qualifiers get underway. 
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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE 


Super Eagles’ First Assistant Coach, Salisu Yusuf has released a list of 30 players, including Captain Ahmed Musa and forward Moses Simon, ahead of the prestigious international friendly matches against the ‘A’ Men National Teams of Mexico and Ecuador in the United States of America.

The three –time African champions will clash with CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico at the AT & T Stadium in Dallas, State of Texas on Saturday, 28th May, before flying to New Jersey to tackle Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison on Thursday, 2nd June.


Yusuf, who is also Head Coach of the CHAN and the U23 teams, has included eight home–based professional players, including goalkeepers Adewale Adeyinka and Ojo Olorunleke, defender Ibrahim Buhari, and forwards Victor Mbaoma and Ishaq Rafiu.

Only 25 players will make the final list for the tour, which is preparatory to next month’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Sierra Leone in Abuja (9th June) and São Tomé & Príncipe in Marrakech, Morocco (13th June).

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Goalkeepers: Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands); Adewale Adeyinka (Akwa United); Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba FC)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Isa Ali (Remo Stars); Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ibrahim Buhari (Plateau United)

Midfielders: Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Watford FC, England); Chiamaka Madu (Rivers United); Babatunde Afeez Nosiru (Kwara United); Azubuike Okechukwu (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey); Samson Tijani (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria); Alhassan Yusuf (Royal Antwerp FC, Belgium)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Ademola Lookman (Leicester City, England); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Emmanuel Dennis (Watford FC, England); Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord FC, The Netherlands); Victor Mbaoma (Enyimba FC); Ishaq Rafiu (Rivers United)
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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE 


Sensational, phenomenal, one would need more of those adjectives to described the person of SGFC Athletics SC Striker and Talisman, Joseph Donatus.

The prodigy, who scored hattrick when his team demolished Fehinty FC 7-2 in the matchday 7 of the NLO was the Cynosure of eyes at the Main bowl of Kwara State Stadium Complex

Speaking to newsmen after the game, the goal poacher expressed his delight over the achievement and revealed the inspiration behind his super man display.


" Today, I told my teammates that I am going to score two goals and by God’s grace I eventually scored hattrick, so it was a happy moment for me”

" From the training, the Coach was pushing me to score more goals and I took that mentality to the game and said if I can play the way I played in the training, I will play well”

Asked whether his achievement would bear some pressure on his level of delivery, Joseph who has four goals and one assist to his credit in the current season stated that he will continue to work hard to help the team.

" I will just be working hard and be prayerful so that If I have any chance I will be able to use it”.

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Like many other players, The Ikeja Cantonment trained talent noted the support he has received from his family and hopes to take his career to the next level.

" I am seeing myself at the next level. Very soon, I want to see myself in the top league side whether in Nigeria or Europe- that’s my aim”

" My family gave me that opportunity and support me, where I grew up from- it’s not an area where you can play ball but my mummy and sisters gave me that support”

Recalling some bitter moments, he reminisced stormy scenes he had with his father while trying to pursue a career in football.

" My Father didn’t really allow me to play football. Sometimes, he will seize my boots, punish me and I will even missed school because of football- I only have that support from my Mother and my sisters- and that support alone gave me the spirit to continue to fight on, it’s been rough though”

While thanking his Coach for the opportunity and his teammates for their support, Donatus pledges to continue to give his best to help the team achieve its goals and objectives.

" I am very grateful especially our Head Coach- From day one, he has that believe in me that I can really achieve what I want and My teammates are always there to encourage me to, even though I lose goals they will tell me i can do better than what I am doing-So I want to thank everyone of  them for supporting me” he concluded.
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BY: OLATOYE OLAWALE 


It was an impressive performance from SGFC Athletics on Thursday as they ran riot over Fehinty FC in a Nine goal thriller encounter.

Amid cheering fans and spectators alike, the home side, in a grand style pummeled their visitors 7-2 in the Matchday seven of the Nationwide league one played at the Kwara State Complex Stadium Ilorin.

Joseph Donatus, who scored an hattrick in the game began the goal rush in the first minute with Nelson Sunday also netting a brace to the admiration of many.

While Bright Etaghara, who was arguably the man of the match got a goal for himself to compliment his efforts, Anthony Jegede put the icing on the cake as he netted his first goal of the the campaign for his side to conclude the rout.


Speaking after the game, elated Coach Jamiu Issah also known as the Future One described the display from his lads as fantastic and maintained that they will continue to work hard to keep the momentum.

" I am excited with the way we played and the results we got, it was a fantastic display from the lads”, he told to newsmen.

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The gaffer noted that Fehinty FC unbeaten records in their last six games had placed a lot of stake on the game, saying the hard work that has gone in to their training session inspired the victory.

" We thought it was going to be difficult game because they’re the team topping our group and not just only that- the statistics also speaks volume for them.

" We’ve been preparing psychologically and tactically, what you saw today didn’t just happen- it’s what we’ve been working hard on with endless and sleepless night , especially how we can be tactically superior than our opposition.

Issah stated that the team will not give room to complacency but will continue to work hard to improve their game.

" We won’t dwell too much on this results but we’ll build on this and continue to work hard to achieve our target for the season”, He concluded.

SGFC Athletics will look to continue their impressive run of form when they travel to Ondo for their matchday eight clash against Osopadec.
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