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Veteran Coach Gernot Rohr makes World Cup bow with Nigeria

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With more than 45 years in the game both as a player and as a coach, Franco-German Gernot Rohr will be at the World Cup for the first time after he qualified Nigeria for the finals against the odds.

After coaching Niger, Gabon and Burkina Faso, Rohr took up a much more daunting job with the Super Eagles in August 2016.

This happened after the three-time African champions had failed to qualify for a second straight Africa Cup of Nations and had been drawn in a tough group along with reigning African champions Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia for a place in Russia.

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Rohr had promised Nigeria World Cup qualification after he signed a two-year contract.

“I am enthusiastic to get to work. This is a big challenge because Nigeria has big players everywhere and have the ability to do well internationally,” he declared.

A 2-1 win in Ndola, Zambia, in October 2016 set the tone for a successful qualifying campaign as the Eagles recorded crucial home wins over Algeria and Cameroon before wrapping up qualification with a late Alex Iwobi winner against the Zambians in front of a home crowd in October 2017.

Runaway group winners Nigeria were not troubled even after FIFA docked them three points for fielding the ineligible Shehu Abdullahi in a final qualifier in Algeria which finished in a 1-1 draw in November.

The highlight of Rohr’s coaching career was leading Bordeaux to the final of the UEFA Cup in 1996 when they lost both legs to his former club Bayern Munich.

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Rohr, now 64, restored self-belief, introduced several young players and brought tactical organization for Nigeria to reach a sixth World Cup.

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“He’s a great and wonderful coach,” said Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.

“First thing (with him) is the solidarity of the group and that is really helping the team,” he said.

“I can see that everybody is trying to bond, you don’t just think about yourself, but the whole team. We are like a family.”

Source: The Punch

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Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong signs for Italy’s Udinese in a €3.3m deal

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Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong has joined Italian side,Udinese in a deal worth €3.3m from Turkish side, Bursaspor.

 

The 24-year-old centre-back who played three games for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia completed the move this afternoon.

 

After signing for the club, William took to Instagram to confirm the move. He wrote: ‘Very happy to sign for @udinesecalcio in the @seriea!.’

 

Udinese’s technical director, Daniel Prade told the club’s official website : “Ekong is a player with an important physical structure. He is good in the air, can defend very well and support the attack as well.

“We talk about an aggressive central defender, strong in contrast and with an excellent game reading: a thoughtful, non-instinctive leader who always tries to play the ball, all characteristics that go very well with the game of our coach (Julio Velazquez).

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Mourinho: I wanted to play Martial

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Manchester United started the Premier League season with a 2-1 win over Leicester. Captain Paul Pogba scored from the penalty spot before Luke Shaw scored his first career goal to double the score. Substitute Jamie Vardy scored a late equaliser.

After having such little time with the first team following the World Cup, with many of the players returning to first team training as recently as Monday, Jose Mourinho acknowledged that his players were tired and not match fit.

Anthony Martial, whose agent has claimed on more than one occasion this summer that the player wants out of the club, was an unused substitute but Mourinho claims he wanted to play the forward.

I needed six changes not three, three weren’t enough for me. I want to play Martial for Mata or Alexis but I couldn’t. Paul Pogba couldn’t play 90 minutes, Fred the same. I needed more changes, but I couldn’t so it was not easy to manage the game from the touchline point of view.

I feel I wanted more attack and I feel that Martial coming into the game in the last 20 minutes for Alexis could have given us the second goal to kill the game. But I couldn’t make that change, so it was really hard. But the players gave everything, they gave what they had. I told them to give everything they had. You have 10 minutes, you give 10 minutes. Marouane told me he couldn’t give me more than 10 minutes, okay but give me 10 minutes. Everybody did that in a fantastic way.

 

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Manchester United Vs Leicester: Why I Handed Pogba Captain Band – Mourinho

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Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho has explained why Paul Pogba was handed the team’s captain band in their Premier League game against Leicester City on Friday.

Mourinho started the French midfielder in Friday night’s Premier League opener after just a few days’ training.

Pogba scored from the penalty spot to give United the lead in the first half with Luke adding the second goal late in the second half.

Pogba had his first training session on Monday but impressed to such an extent with his application and physical condition that he was picked to start.

The Portuguese coach handed Pogba the captaincy.

Asked about the significance of making Pogba captain, Mourinho told Sky Sportsm, “Last season, he was captain a few times.

“Valencia is captain, but Valencia is not here.

“Paul is one of the options, third season, made in the academy, understands the club, the culture, good relationship with his teammates and a good example today putting himself in the team.”

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