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Nigeria’s Kano Pillars To Unveil Frenchman as New Coach



Frenchman Lionel Emmanuel Soccoia has arrived in the Northern Nigerian city of Kano ahead of his unveiling as new Kano Pillars manager. The club recently announced the appointment of the coach ahead of the new Nigeria Professional League season scheduled to begin on 15 November 2020, as well as the preliminary rounds of the CAF Confederations Cup which will also commence next month.

Soccoia’s appointment comes in response to a recent directive by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that all participating clubs in the 2020/2021 CAF club football competitions must hire coaches that possess CAF ‘A’ coaching licenses or its equivalent. The directive effectively disqualified Pillars present technical Adviser, Ibrahim Musa who holds CAF ‘C’ and ‘B’ licenses. Musa led Pillars to the 2019 Nigeria FA Cup title and is expected to keep his post under Soccoia.

The Kano State government had set up a 3-man committee saddled with the responsibility of recommending a new technical adviser for the 4-time league champions. Soccoia was reportedly picked from a five-man shortlist. Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has approved the appointment.

Pilars had also reportedly been negotiating with former Nigeria national U-20 coach Manu Garba.

Soccoia has plenty of experience of working on the African continent after stints in South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroon, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire and Benin Republic. His last job was as head coach of South African club Black Leopards in September 2019.

He had a term to forget as coach of the PSL side, amassing just four points in 5 games, despite money splashed to sign experienced players like Thabo Matlaba, Thuso Phala, Mogakolodi Ngele and Cuthbert Malajila among others.

Kano Pillars were founded in 1990 by Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, a former president of the Nigeria Football Association and a former commissioner for sport in Kano Stae. The club came into existence following the merger of WRECA FC, Kano Golden Stars and Bank of the North FC and is today regarded as one of the leading clubs in the NPFL.

The four-time league champions are also one of the most widely supported teams in Nigeria, regularly filling out their 16,000 capacity Sani Abacha Stadium.

CAF has announced that player registrations for the 2020-21 club competitions will be open from October 21 to November 19, with the first leg of the preliminary rounds for both the Champions League and Confederation Cup set for November 20-22. The second legs will take place a week later.

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Sanusi Scores As Porto Beat Sorry Marseille 2-0



Nigeria’s left-back, Zaidu Sanusi, got his name on the score sheet as Porto defeat beat Olympique de Marseille 2-0 away on Wednesday to move to the brink of qualifying for the Champions League knockout phase.

Sanusi’s goal and Sergio Oliveira’s penalty put Porto on nine points from four games in Group C while Marseille, who became the first team to lose 13 straight games in the competition since it was launched in 1992-93, were eliminated with zero points.

Manchester City advanced with a perfect four wins from four group games with a 1-0 victory at Olympiakos, who with three points have a remote chance of leap-frogging Porto into second place.

Both teams finished with 10 men after Porto’s Marko Grujic and Marseille’s Leonardo Balerdi were sent off, in the 67th and 70th minutes, respectively.

After a minute’s silence in memory of Argentina great Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday, Porto soaked up the pressure in the opening stages before taking control of the game.

They were rewarded six minutes from the break when Sanusi netted from the rebound after his first attempt had been saved by goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

Marseille were thrown a lifeline when Grujic was sent off for a second bookable offence, but they quickly wasted their chance.

Balerdi soon received a second yellow card for bringing down Marega, and Oliveira doubled Porto’s advantage by converting the resulting penalty.

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More Than 30 Africans Involved In UEFA Champions League Matchday 4



Nigeria's Zaidu Sanusi scored for FC Porto

More than 30 Africans played some part in matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League, with Nigeria’s Zaidu Sanusi getting on the scoresheet.

Sanusi scored FC Porto’s first goal in their 2-0 win against Olympique Marseille.

Liverpool duo, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane were denied a celebration of their nomination for the FIFA TheBest Player of the Year award. Both players featured as Liverpool suffered their heaviest defeat at home under Jurgen Klopp, losing 2-0 to Atalanta in Anfield.

Austrian giants, Red Bull Salzburg listed at least four African internationals in their 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich. If Karim Adeyemi, an 18-year old German youth international of Nigerian descent is included, the number of Africans featured in the game will soar to five.

Majeed Ashimeru

Zambia’s Enoch Mwepu, 22 started the game, while Ghanaian international, Majeed Ashimeru came on in the second half. Malian youngsters, Sekou Koita and Mohammed Kamara also featured in the game with Cameroonian Jerome Onguene not getting a feel of the action.

In Ajax’s clash against FC Midjtylland, Cameroonian goalkeeper Andre Onana featured, with Burkina Faso’s Lassina Traore and Morocoo’s Noussair Mazaraoui playing a part in the game.

Nigeria’s Frank Onyeka and Guinean Kaba Sory were listed for the reigning Danish champions as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to the Dutch giants.

In Manchester City’s slim 1-0 win against Olympiacos, the Greeks listed Senegalese Ousseynou Ba and Papy Abou Cisse. Guinean international, Mady Camara also featured in the loss to the Citizens.

Abraham Frimpong, Ghanaian was in the Ferencvaros team that lost 2-1 to Juventus. Also listed for the game were South Sudan’s Tokmac Nguen and Ivory Coast’s Franck Boli.

Borussia Dortmund ran out 3-0 victors against Belgians Club Brugge. Brugge listed at least five Africans for the game comprising; Ivorians Odilon Kossounou and Simon Deli, Senegal’s Krepin Diatta and Youssouph Badji, and Nigerian David Okereke.

In Lazio’s 3-1 win against Zenit St.Petersburg, Ivorian Dave Akpa-Akpro came on in the second half to have a taste of the encounter.

Mali’s Amadou Haidara was also involved in Red Bull Leipzig’s 1-0 loss to PSG. Senegalese Demba Ba played in Istanbul Basaksehir’s 4-1 loss to Manchester United, while Moroccan international Youssef El-Nesyri was involved in Krasnodar’s loss to Sevilla.

Five Africans were involved as Chelsea earned a late 2-1 win against Stade Rennes. The game had Senegalese goalkeepers at both ends of the pitch, with Amigo Gomis in goal for Rennes while his former teammate and compatriot, Edouard Mendy was in goal for Chelsea.

Edouard Mendy

Mali’s Hamari Traore, Senegal’s Mbaye Niang and Moroccan, Hakim Ziyech completed the African representatives in the game.

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African Stars, Etoo, Drogba Pay Tributes To Maradona



Ivorian football legend, Didier Drogba and his Cameroonian counterpart, Samuel Etoo Fils have paid tributes to Diego Maradona.

Maradona, arguably the best footballer ever seen was announced dead on Wednesday, after he suffered a heart attack.

The world has been praising the genius of the ‘Golden Boy’ whose football artistry was mouthwatering to see.

Etoo, in his tweet said the year 2020 has taken too much away from the world, as he hailed the impact of El Pibe.

Drogba, on his part said Maradona made him take up football as his shirt was the first he wore as a kid.

The Argentine football legend was one of the figures in football who sparked excitement and reservations at the same time.

Drogba however had only good words for the legacy set by the former Napoli star.

Other African stars who reacted to Maradona’s death were Ivorian Yaya Toure and former Ghanaian star Michael Essien.

Maradona passed away at the age of 60.

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