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Eagles’ new goalkeepers’ trainer arrives as FIFA announces officials for Cameroon games


Enrico Pionetti

‘NFF committed to Nigeria’s qualification’

Super Eagles’ new goalkeeper trainer, Enrico Pionetti has arrived in the country to begin work on the national shot stoppers, starting with the quartet in the CHAN squad.

The 62-year-old Italian arrived in the country alongside Nigeria’s Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr yesterday. He is expected to work with Alloy Agu to build the confidence of the goaltenders.

Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chris Green, who announced the arrival in the country of the new coach, reiterated the federation’s commitment to Nigeria’s qualification for the Russia 2018 World Cup. He assured that all arrangements and preparation for next month’s crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Cameroun will be accorded high level of seriousness.

“Everyone involved in one arrangement or the other with regards to the matches, including the technical crew, are working in tandem. We are approaching these matches with the seriousness it deserves.
“The Camerounians are the reigning champions of Africa; we respect them for that but that is where it ends. We have no reason to fear them. A few years ago, we were also the champions of Africa. We are in one accord with the players and the technical bench to achieve victory in both matches.”
Green admitted that last month’s acute leukaemia diagnosis and on –going treatment of first choice goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme slightly jolted the Nigeria camp, but reiterated that the technical crew is on the right curve to have a capable and confident first choice and deputy on show for the two matches.
“When Ikeme’s matter came up, we quickly moved to put heads together to salvage the situation. We will give him all the support to go through the treatment and come back strongly, but in the meantime, we have to come up with a couple of guys who can always rise to the occasion.

“That is why we have a new goalkeeper trainer to work with our own man, Alloy Agu, to see how to make world–class safe hands out of the goalkeepers in camp now in Kano for the African Nations Championship qualifying matches against Benin Republic.”
He revealed that players released by Coach Salisu Yusuf to play Matchday 32 games for their Nigeria Professional Football League clubs have returned to the camp in Kano, ahead of next week’s trip to Cotonou.
Meanwhile, world football ruling body, FIFA has appointed Egyptian top official, Ghead Grisha and respected Gambian, Papa Gassama to take charge of the two potentially explosive encounters between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun.
Grisha, full name Ghead Zaghloul Ibrahim Selim Grisha, has been designated to be at the centre for the big clash between the reigning African champions and the three –time African champions in Uyo on September 1. He will be assisted by Redouane Achik (Moroccan, Assistant Referee 1), Waleed Ahmed Ali (Sudanese, Assistant Referee 2) and Mahmoud Zakaria Mohamed (Egyptian, Fourth Official).

Former FIFA referee, Felix Onias Tangawarima from Zimbabwe has been assigned as Referee Assessor, with Congolese Jean Médard Kossa as Match Commissioner. The match will start at 5.00 pm Nigerian time at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.
For the return leg scheduled for the Stade Omnisports, Yaounde on September 4, Papa Bakary Gassama will be at the centre, to be assisted by Jean Claude Birumushahu (Burundian, Assistant Referee 1), Aden Marwa Range (Kenyan, Assistant Referee 2) and Maudo Jallo (Gambian, Fourth Official).
Jerome Kelvyn Damon, a former FIFA referee from South Africa, will be Referee Assessor, while Sudanese Osama Ataaelmanan Hassan will be Match Commissioner. The match starts at 6pm Cameroon time.

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