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‘We’re a great nation’ — Tinubu hails Eagles performance at AFCON

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President Bola Tinubu has hailed the performance of the Super Eagles at the just concluded 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire.

The Eagles lost 2-1 to Côte d’Ivoire in the final game of the tournament played on Sunday night.

In a statement, Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, quoted Tinubu as saying that the event should not “dispirit us” but bring the country together.

The president said his administration would ensure that dreams come true for millions of Nigerians.

“Let this passing event not dispirit us, but bring us together to work harder. We are a great nation bound as one by the green-white-green banner of resilience, joy, hope, duty, and untiring love,” he said.

“To those cherished Nigerian youths expressing their gifts in communities, drawing lines in the sand as they play football in their humble rectangles of play, you can be our heroes tomorrow, do not relent in your pursuit.

“My administration is here to make dreams come true.”

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JUST IN: Jose Peseiro resigns as Super Eagles head coach

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Jose Peseiro has announced his departure from his Super Eagles head coach role.

In a post on his X account on Friday, the Portuguese said his contract with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had run out, and no new deal had been agreed on.

Peseiro, appointed Eagles head coach in 2022, described his tenure as “22 months of immense dedication, sacrifice, emotion, and enormous enthusiasm”.

He expressed gratitude to the players and top brass at NFF, adding that “we will always be there for you, no matter where you are”.

“Yesterday, we concluded our contract with the NFF. It was a pride and honour to coach the Super Eagles. It has been 22 months of immense dedication, sacrifice, emotion, and enormous enthusiasm. We feel a sense of fulfilment,” the tweet reads.

“We would like to express our gratitude to Sir Amaju Pinnick (the president who signed us), President Ibrahim Gusau, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, Secretary Dayo Enebi, the NFF, all the Staff, and especially all the PLAYERS, with whom leading has been a great pleasure.

“Guys, we are thankful; it has been a privilege to be part of this family. We will miss you, but we will always be there for you, no matter where you are. A big hug to all of you.”

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Ronaldo gets 1-match ban for obscene gesture to fans chanting ‘Messi’

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The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has banned Cristiano Ronaldo for one match for his obscene celebration on Sunday.

Ronaldo scored in Al-Nassr’s 3-2 win away to Al-Shabab in their Saudi Pro League match, leading to chants of Lionel Messi, his perennial rival, by the home supporters.

This provoked a response from Ronaldo who cupped his ear before repeatedly pumping his hand forward in front of his pelvic area.

His action appeared to be directed at the rival Al Shabab supporters.

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Although the celebration was not captured on local broadcasts, a fan uploaded the video on social media.

The footage was thereafter presented to the disciplinary and ethics committee of the SAFF who stated that the Portuguese striker violated article 57-1 of the disciplinary and ethics regulations.

Ronaldo was also asked to pay a fine of 10,000 Saudi riyals ($2,666) to the Saudi Football Federation and 20,000 riyals to Al Shabab to cover the costs of the complaint filing fees.

In a statement on Wednesday, the committee said the decision is not subject to appeal.

It is the eighth disciplinary action of Ronaldo’s storied career and his first since joining Al-Nassr. He was previously fined and banned for two matches in November 2022 by the English FA for smashing the mobile phone of a young fan during his second spell at Manchester United.

Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr on a free transfer from Manchester United in December 2022. He has scored 20 goals in 22 league games this season for Al-Nassr.

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Super Eagles’ friendly game against Argentina cancelled over visa problems

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The scheduled friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Albiceleste of Argentina has been cancelled.

In January, The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) announced that the country’s men’s senior team will be playing Nigeria in March.

The reigning world champions were scheduled to play the Eagles at the Olympics Sports Center stadium in Hangzhou, China, as part of a tour between March 18 and 26.

However, in a statement on its website on Tuesday, AFA said the fixture has been moved to the US, and the Super Eagles will not be participating.

The statement added that “an administrative problem with visas” ruled Nigeria out of the friendly match, and Costa Rica has been drafted as replacement.

“Due to an administrative problem with visas, the Nigerian National Team will not be able to play its match against the Argentine National Team, scheduled for the double date in March in the United States. That is why the Costa Rica National Team will replace the African team on the stipulated schedule,” the statement reads.

The Super Eagles finished second at the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire. Nigeria lost 2-1 to the hosts in the final.

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