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Nigeria has sensationally left out Olympique Marseille defender Taye Taiwo from next month's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at home to Madagascar.

NFF technical committee chairman, Dominic Iorfa, announced a 26-man squad for the match against Madagascar with Taiwo conspicuously missing.

Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi leads several England-based stars like Danny Shittu, Dickson Etuhu, Joseph Yobo, Sam Sodje and Osaze Odemwingie for the September 4 clash fixed for the Abuja national Stadium.

Other Europe-based stars for the match are Obafemi Martins and Chidi Odiah.

There is also a return for Netherlands-based midfielder Oluwafemi Ajilore and Michael Eneramo from Esperance of Tunisia.

Several players from the domestic league like Bayelsa United goalkeeper Akpan Bassey, Eneji Otekpa and Emmanuel Anyanwu from champions Enyimba as well as Europe-bound Ahmed Musa have also made the squad.

Meanwhile, Augustine Eguavon will remain coach of the Super Eagles until negotiations between the NFF and Samson Siasia are concluded.

Eguavoen will therefore along with former international defender, Benedict Iroha will be in charge of the team for their CAN qualifier against Madagascar.

Nigerian squad:

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei-Yehuda), Bassey Akpan (Bayelsa United)

Defenders: Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow), Sam Sodje (clubless), Terna Suswan (Lobi Stars), Danny Shittu (Bolton Wanderers), Emmanuel Anyanwu, Valentine Nwabili (Enyimba), Joseph Yobo (Everton), Promise Onu (Niger Tornadoes), Ugwu Uwadiegwu (Enugu Rangers)

 

Midfielders: Mikel (Chelsea), Kalu Uche (Almeria), Otekpa Eneji (Enyimba), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham), Oluwafemi Ajilore (Groningen),Fengor Ogude (Warri Wolves)

Strikers: Ahmed Musa (Kano Pillars), Obafemi Martins (Rubin Kazan), Osaze Odemwingie (West Bromwich Albion), Michael Eneramo (Esperance), Moses Bunde (Lobi Stars), Joseph Akpala (Club Brugge), Solomon Okoronkwo (FC Saturn), Ayo Saka (Heartland)

 

 ASAMOAH'S AGENT ADMITS PLAYER COULD STILL MOVE

Ghana international Kwadwo Asamoah could still make a move from Udinese despite ruling himself out of an exit from the Serie-A.

The 21 year old has been tagged the natural successor to the Black Stars No. 10 shirt which is currently held by skipper Stephen Appiah.

The left footed players however struggled to replicate the form he shown at the Nations Cup at the World Cup which alerted many European clubs of his potential.

His agent Claudio Vagheggi is reported to have told Asamoah not to give up his dream on a possible move to Arsenal which in his view coul happen before the transfer window shuts.

"There are several interested teams, in England there is Arsenal," he said.

"In Italy, Fiorentina like him and there is also a big Serie A club who is interested in Kwadwo.

"Although for the moment there is nothing concrete, we must wait and the next few days will be decisive. Asamoah is happy but if the right offer comes in he will consider it."

However the midfielder has disclosed earlier of his intention to staying at struggling Udinese, who finished 15th in Serie A and have lost some of their best players.

"I was expecting some news on my return from the World Cup," said Asamoah, "but I’m still here. I will still be there for one season at least. I am happy here. I can still get better."




BOATENG SHARES THOUGHTS ON DREAM MOVE TO MILAN

 

Kevin-Prince Boateng has described his surprise move to AC Milan as "a dream come true" and is eager to win titles with the Rosseneri.

The 23 year old arrives to Milan on a season long loan deal shortly after sealing a reported 6.5m Euros transfer deal from Portsmouth to Genoa and is alreadu in the frame to make his debut for Milan on Sunday when they play Juventus in the Luigi Berlusconi cup.

Interviewed in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Boateng said: “Playing for this club was a dream and now I have realised it. I want Milan with all my power.

“I knew of their history. So I knew that I was coming to the most important club in the world. Milan are in first place ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“Milan have fantastic players, there is nothing to fear. My objective is to help this team do well and get the chance to show my worth in exchange.

“I am a normal 23-year-old guy who loves playing football. I know I have this hunger and I ask for only one thing: judge me on what you see on the pitch.

“The past is the past. Right now I am only thinking about doing well here.”

 

AFRICAN STARS IN EUROPEAN ACTION

Ten matches were played over two says in the final qualifying round of the Uefa Champions Leage, Afrikansoccer brings a summary of how African players fared with their clubs in battle.

The first match of the final qualifying round saw Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg defeat French club Auxerre 1-0 at the Petrovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.

Auxerre had three African players on display from the start, but Adama Coulibaly (Senegal), Dennis Oliech (Kenya) and Delvin Ndinga (Republic of Congo) could not prevent their side from slipping to defeat.

Anthony Annan (Ghana) was on the winning side in Norway as Rosenborg beat Danish side Copenhagen 2-1. He will however be missing in the return fixture for accumulated yellow cards.

Copenhagen's Dame N'Doye (Senegal), however, was unlucky to be on the losing side but could not make an impact in attack during his 90 minutes on the pitch.

Momodou Ceesay (The Gambia) found the back of the net as Slovakian club Zilina upset the odds by beating Sparta Prague 2-0 at the Generali Arena in Prague.

Ceesay scored in the 51st minute to break the deadlock before Tomás Oravec rounded off the scoring in the 73rd minute. Leonard Kweuke and Bondoa Adiaba (both Cameroon) could do little as the home side slipped to a hard-to-take loss.

Tottenham Hotspur recovered following a nightmare 30-minute spell at Young Boys to grab two away goals in a 3-2 defeat.

Henri Bienvenu (Cameroon), who picked up a caution in the 72nd minute, found the back of the net in the 13th minute for the home side, with his strike coming either side of goals from Senad Lulic and Xavier Hochstrasser in a 30-minute blitz.

Spurs managed to recover thanks to a Sébastien Bassong (Cameroon) header shortly before half-time and a late piledriver from Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Benoît Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon), who was so impressive for Spurs against Manchester City over the weekend, was hauled off after just 36 minutes after a shocking personal display, which included a yellow card.

Thierry Doubai (Ivory Coast) played the full 90 minutes of the match and was excellent in midfield for Young Boys.

Mounir El Hamdaoui (Morocco) played 90 minutes for Ajax away at Dynamo Kyiv as the two sides drew 1-1.

Tough midfielder Eyong Enoh (Cameroon) also started the match for the visitors but was replaced in the 69th minute by Christian Eriksen.

Badr El Kaddouri (Morocco) came on as a second-half substitute for the home side but failed to make much of an impact.

Hapoel Tel Aviv goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria) scored the opening goal from the penalty spot as his Israeli club defeated Red Bull Salzburg 3-2 at the Red Bull Arena in Wals-Siezenheim.

Bevan Fransman (South Africa) also featured for the winning side but only for a few seconds as he came on as a 91st-minute substitute.

Rabiu Afolabi (Nigeria) and Ibrahim Sekagya (Uganda) both started the match for Red Bull Salzburg, with Sekagya captaining the team, while Louis Ngwat-Mahop (Cameroon) came on as a substitute in the second half.

 

Gilles Yapi (Ivory Coast), Samuel Inkoom (Ghana) and Jacques Zoua (Cameroon) all started for Basel as they defeated Sheriff Tiraspol 1-0 at St. Jakob-Park in Basel.

Fwayo Tembo (Zambia) came on as a second-half substitute for the home side, while

Benjamin Balima, Florent Rouamba (both Burkina Faso) and Amath Diedhiou (Senegal) all started for the away side but failed to make an impact.

Cheikhou Kouyaté (Senegal) played 90 minutes for Anderlecht as they claimed a 2-2 draw at Partizan.

Braga put in a fantastic performance as they defeated favourites Sevilla 1-0 at the Estádio Municipal de Braga.

Albert Meyong (Cameroon) was an unused substitute for the home side, while Didier Zokora (Ivory Coast) and Frédéric Kanouté (Mali) could do nothing to save their team from defeat.

The match between Werder Bremen and Sampdoria ended with the Germans winning 3-1 at home. There were no African stars on display in this encounter.

The second leg of all matches will be honoured next weak with all away teams playing at home this term.

 

FIF PRESIDENTS HINTS AT APPOINTMENT OF ZAHOUI AS ELEPHANTS COACH

Francois Zahoui is likely to be appointed the new coach of Ivory Coast on a permanent basis, according to Ivorian press reports on Thursday.

The former Nancy player, who currently manages Ivory Coast's youth teams, reportedly has the backing of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) to succeed Swedish coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Eriksson presided over the Elephants' first round exit at the 2010 World Cup but stepped down afterwards over wage demands.

Zahoui took charge of Ivory Coast for their first post-World Cup game on August 10 and oversaw an impressive 1-0 friendly defeat of Italy in London.

"I saw some great play and my satisfaction will be sustained by this level," said FIF president Jacques Anouma.

"The environment, the quality and maturity of our players and our current political objectives could lead us to choose a local coach.

"Today the question is about Francois Zahoui. I admit he has the profile and a good understanding of global football. But we'll have to put the right organisational machinery at his disposal if the choice falls upon him."

The FIF were previously thought to be keen on a foreign mentor and were reportedly in 'very advanced' discussions with Frenchman Gerard Gili.

Gili assisted Henri Michel during his spell as Ivory Coast head coach and went on to lead the West Africans at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Gili also coached the Ivorian under-23 side and helped them qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Despite his credentials, Gili recently told French sport daily L'Equipe that the top players in the Ivory Coast squad were opposed to his appointment and had expressed their reservations in a letter to the FIF.

ZAMBIA NAMES SQUAD FOR COMOROS ISLANDS TEST

New Zambia coach Dario Bonneti has named a strong Chipolopolo squad for their opening Group C CAN qualifiers next month.

The former Italy international's first competitive assignment since taking over the reins last month is to play less fancied Comoros Islands who are playing in the Nations Cup preliminaries for the first time. 

The club-less trio in the squad is made up of goalkeeper Kalililo Kakonje and midfielder Noah Chivuta, both recently released by AmaZulu and Maritzburg United respectively, and midfielder Rainford Kalaba, who has not played competitively since featuring for Zambia at the last Nations Cup finals in Angola in January. He was last playing club football in Portugal and Egypt.

Winger Jonas Sakuwaha, based in France with Lorient, is recalled after a 12-month hiatus, even though he has had little game time in Ligue 1.

Two other Congolese-based players – Hichani Himonde and Stopilla Sunzu of Mazembe – were left off because of injury, but could be included if they recovered in time, the Football Association of Zambia said.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Kalililo Kakonje (unattached), Kennedy Mweene (Free State Stars, South Africa)

Defenders: Kampamba Chintu (Bidvest Wits, South Africa), Francis Kasonde (Al Hadez, Saudi Arabia), Emmanuel Mbola (TP Mazembe Englebert, DR Congo), Joseph Musonda (Golden Arrows, South Africa)

Midfielders: Noah Chivuta, Rainford Kalaba (both unattached), Christopher Katongo (Xanthi, Greece), Felix Katongo (Al Ittihad, Libya), Sebastian Mwansa (TP Mazembe Englebert, DR Congo), William Njobvu (Hapoel Kiryat Shmone, Israel), Jonas Sakuwaha (Lorient, France), Fwayo Tembo (FC Basle, Switzerland)

Strikers: James Chamanga (Dalian Shide, China), Signs Chibambo (Al Masry, Egypt), Emmanuel Mayuka (Young Boys Berne, Switzerland), Jacob Mulenga (FC Utrecht, Netherlands), Roger Kola (Moadon Sport Ashdod, Israel), Given Singuluma (TP Mazembe Englebert, DR Congo)