Nigeria have moved on since Swansea City striker Tammy Abraham opted to play for England even though they are shopping for strikers since qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia. President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick spoke of a “positive” meeting in London with the young striker, whose father is Nigerian, and his agent to change his international allegiance to Nigeria after he has represented England at age-grade levels.
However, just hours after that announcement, Abraham himself put out a statement saying he will consider a future with England instead. Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has now said he is not bothered the England U-21 striker will not consider a future with Nigeria.
Abraham has scored four goals in the Premier League this season for Swansea on his loan deal from champions Chelsea. “Rohr is not losing sleep over Tammy Abraham’s decision to play for England instead of Nigeria,” said Eagles spokesman Toyin Ibitoye. “Things might change in the future, but the man is not worried over Tammy’s decision and won’t be losing sleep over him. The coach is focused on looking for players who are ready to play for Nigeria out of their own volition. He said he is looking for players who are ready to give him 200 % when they play for the national team.”
Last month Chelsea’s Ola Aina, switched allegiance to Nigeria after he has played for England in age-grade levels. He made his official debut against Zambia earlier this month. And in recent times, Victor Moses and William Troost-Ekong also changed their international allegiances.
Messi to have third child
Five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi is to become a father for the third time, the Barcelona star’s wife Antonella Rocuzzo confirmed yesterday. “Family of 5 #Blessed,” Rocuzzo posted on Instagram alongside a picture of Messi and the couple’s two sons Thiago (four) and Matteo (two). Messi, 30, and Rocuzzo, 29, got married in their native city of Rosario, Argentina, in July.
Mourinho hails magical PSG
Jose Mourinho will always seek new experiences and will one day move on from Manchester United to coach elsewhere, he told weekly French television show Telefoot in an interview aired yesterday. The former Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid coach refused to be drawn directly when asked if he would soon be working at Paris Saint-Germain however.
“What I can tell you is that I’m a coach with concerns, with ambitions and desires to do new things,” the 54-year-old Portuguese said in slightly halting but fluent French. “I’m sure that I will not end my career here (at Manchester United),” he said.
“The other day my son decided to go and watch a match in Paris rather than Manchester. Why Paris? Because right now Paris has something special. There’s a magic about the place, youth and quality. It’s fantastic.”
Paris Saint-Germain secured the services of Brazil’s Neymar and new French wonderkid Kylian Mbapppe this summer and boast a star-studded line up. The Parisians experienced something of a hiccup last season, letting slip a first leg 4-0 lead to Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and having to watch Monaco romp to the French title.
While many thought their Basque coach Unai Emery would be fired the club kept faith in him, but his contract runs out in June. Mourinho, who once worked at Barcelona as coach Bobby Robson’s interpreter, has a contract with United until June 2019, which he said in September he would run down rather than renew.
Morocco to host CHAN
Morocco will replace Kenya as hosts of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN), organisers announced yesterday. The emergency committee of the African Football Confederation (CAF) met Saturday in Lagos and unanimously decided to give Morocco the green light ahead of Equatorial Guinea.
A third candidate, Ethiopia, was not considered because it did not provide a letter of guarantee from its government. Original hosts Kenya fell behind with five-venue preparations for the biennial 16-team tournament, which runs from January 12-February 4, leading them to be stripped of the hosting rights last month.
Morocco have not hosted a senior CAF competition since the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations. They were scheduled to stage the same event in 2015, but withdrew fearing visiting supporters could bring the deadly Ebola virus into the north African kingdom. Equatorial Guinea successfully replaced Morocco at short notice, having co-hosted the Cup of Nations with Gabon three years earlier. CHAN is restricted to home-based footballers, giving them international exposure otherwise largely denied because most African national squads are packed with professionals playing in Europe.
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