Wales v Republic of Ireland - UEFA Nations League
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

It never ends.

Neco Williams was conspicuously missing as Wales took to the field against Finland last night… and now we know why. According to Welsh interim manager Rob Page, Williams took “a kick to the foot” on Sunday’s rather physical game against Ireland, and was rested as he was still feeling sore from it.

Obviously, this is worrying for Liverpool FC fans, as Neco was supposed to deputise for Trent Alexander-Arnold while the latter was out. It’s likely that Neco will be okay after a few days, but the most patchwork defence of all time sure could use some good news instead of another name being added to the injury list.

Either way, we’ll be glad there won’t be another international break until March. Between injuries resulting from this packed schedule and the coronavirus, this has been a panic-fuelled season like no other. Prayers up for Neco Williams. We need you kiddo.

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Poland v Holland -UEFA Nations league
Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images

Get this man a new contract.

Liverpool FC iron man Georginio Wijnaldum has been on something of a hot streak lately. After scoring two goals for the Netherlands on Sunday, Gini once again came out of the bottle, and he made some magic happen again. He started the comeback against Poland by winning a penalty, which Memphis Depay duly converted. Then he finished the game off with a nice flicked header off a corner, sealing the game in the 83th minute for the Dutch. This means the Dutch are on a two-game winning streak, the most since Frank de Boer took over… which fans of clubs that FDB has managed will attest to, isn’t an easy feat.

Another Liverpool attacker who scored was Harry Wilson. Playing at his current loan home of Cardiff, Harry opened the scoring for Wales in a 3-1 win against Finland in the Nations League. Neco Williams was an unused sub. Speaking of unused subs, Caoimhin Kelleher too remained on the bench as Republic of Ireland played out a 0-0 stalemate at home against Bulgaria.

Roberto Firmino played all 90 minutes in a 2-0 World Cup Qualifier win against Uruguay. Alisson Becker was given a rest.

Our left-backs Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas both played full games for their countries. Greece toiled through a goalless draw against Slovenia, while Robbo returned from injury to play in Scotland’s 1-0 loss at Israel.

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Liverpool FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Growing support for five substitutes among PL managers may lead to re-instituting the rule.

The English Premier League is currently the only major football competition in Europe that is not allowing teams to use five substitutions per match. Though they did allow it for the remainder of the 2019-20 season when play resumed after the initial COVID-19 induced lockdown, the league’s clubs voted not to continue the use of five subs for this season on two separate occasions.

The bigger English clubs, such as Liverpool and Manchester City, voiced strong support for continuing to allow extra substitutions out of fear that fatigue during the current compressed campaign would result in increased injury rates. However, many of the smaller clubs saw it as another advantage for the richer clubs who can afford deeper benches and voted against it.

As injuries have begun mounting across the league in recent weeks due to the fixture congestion that many predicted would be disastrous, calls for a return to allowing five substitutes, led primarily by LFC and City managers Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, have grown substantially.

The English Football League, another holdout, decided to join the rest of the continent today as they announced England’s second, third, and fourth tiers would begin allowing managers to use five subs starting on Friday.

According to The Guardian, the Premier League may finally be coming around as well. Though the leaders of many of the English clubs may still be against the change, it appears as though there is widespread support among PL managers to once again move to five subs.

At a recent meeting with premier league executives, the managers apparently pushed the league to reconsider the rule, which means many of them will have expressed opinions in contrast to their clubs’ official positions on the matter.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Though club executives may be more concerned with the money that comes with their league position, the managers are much more concerned with the well-being of their players, and managers such as Ralph Hasenhüttl (Southampton), Steve Bruce (Newcastle) and David Moyes (West Ham) have publicly spoken in favor of five subs in recent days.

Since it’s ultimately up to club executives, not managers, if the Premier League will join the rest of Europe on this issue, it remains to be seen if this will be enough to sway the clubs to vote in favor re-instituting five substitutions.

There is also some argument about how much it will actually help alleviate the injury woes so many clubs are facing. Ultimately, the problem is the dangerously congested schedule, and while more substitutions would be a positive, it may prove to be little more than a band aid on a growing wound.

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Victor Osimhen has been ruled out of Napoli’s league meeting with AC Milan due to shoulder injury he sustained while with national team.

A test carried out in Rome on Wednesday confirmed Osimhen’s shoulder dislocation, and he’s expected to be out for some weeks.

 

However Football Italia, reported that the 21 year-old did not require surgery on the injured shoulder after leaving Rome’s Villa Stuart, where he underwent tests.

 

It will be recalled that the Napoli striker injured his shoulder in Friday’s African Cup of Nations qualifying game between Nigeria and Sierra Leone at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin-City.

 

The injury occurred in the second half of the encounter and he was replaced by Paul Onuachu.

 

Osimhen scored in the game, but the injury kept him out of the return leg in Freetown on Tuesday.

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Enyimba FC Coach Fatai Osho has said they will not underrate their CAF Champions League opponents, FC Rahimo.

Enyimba will take on FC Rahimo in the first round as they begin the quest for a third African title.

 

The Aba Elephants have played a few pre-season games ahead of the tournament and Osho said his target is to use the games build a formidable side for the new campaign.

 

“I believe after this competition we will be able to produce a formidable team,” said the Coach.

 

“We have been working hard to perfect some loopholes observe at each game played.”

 

 

Osho also assured that Enyimba FC won’t underrate Rahimo FC, a side they defeated 5 – 0 on aggregate last season.

 

 

“Rahimo FC of Burkina Faso is a very good side and also a creative ball-playing team despite the fact that we won by 5 goals when we met last season, it’s still enough to say the game will be easy but we will work hard to ensure that we make the fans and Nigerians proud,” He said.

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Wilfred Ndidi returned to training on Wednesday after spending two months on treatment table.

Ndidi was spotted in Leicester City’s training on Wednesday as he continued his recovery into full fitness.

 

He has been sidelined for the past two month after undergoing abductor surgery back in September.

 

The 24-year-old has now return to training ahead of this weekend’s clash with Liverpool clash, but it’s unclear if he will feature in the game.

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Nigerian Striker Cyriel Dessers is targeting a return to the Super Eagles squad.

Dessers made his debut for Nigeria in a friendly match last month against Tunisia, but he was surprisingly left out of the squad for the AFCON qualifiers against Sierra Leone.

 

Speaking to Tubantia, the former Hercules Almelo striker said he was snubbed by the technical team, but hopes to get a future invitation.

 

“Thirteen internationals are missing, last time Paul and I went together, this time I was not called up. I understand that. I hope and assume that I will be back in the future.”

 

The 25-year-old joined Gent from Heracles this summer and has scored just three goal so far this season.

 

He has also failed to hold down a regular place in the starting eleven, but the Belgian born forward is eager to know how his time at his childhood team pans out.

 

“Genk has met me with a plan, so I am curious about how things will go shortly,” He said.

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Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare has questioned the competence of Super Eagles Manager Gernot Rohr.

Dare made this known via his social media handle on Wednesday, reacting to the outcome of Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Sierra Leone.

 

The Super Eagles failed to beat the Leone Stars over the two meetings in Benin or Freetown, and the Minister described the results as “unacceptable”, even suggesting a decision will be taken regarding the future of the coach.

 

“The performance of the Super Eagles from their last two matches calls to question the suitability and competence of Technical Adviser, Rohr. Nigerian football deserves better. The needful will be done. Apologies to all football lovers.” He tweeted.

 

Gernot Rohr was employed in 2016 and qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He also led the team to a third place finish at the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

 

The three times African champions also sit top of their 2022 African Cup of Nations qualifying Group on eight points with two games left to play.

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Former Super Eagles goalkeeper Peter Rufai says Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is ‘not getting it right’ with the irregular invitation of new players to the team, adding that ‘the national team is not a place where you keep changing players’.

Rufai in a chat with brila.net stated that Rohr has struggled to present a familiar first team since taking charge in August 2016 and has often invited new players especially those born and bred abroad to the team, which many sports (football analyst) also suggested is the problem of him (Rohr) not having a comprehensive first team till date for Nigeria.
Ahead of last month’s friendly matches against African champions Algeria and Tunisia in Austria, the former Gabon, and Burkina Faso coach handed fresh invitations to eight new players including Matthew Yakubu, Kevin Akpoguma, Chidera Ejuke, Zaidu Sanusi, and Frank Onyeka. Lugano goalkeeper Sebastian Osigwe was also a fresh invitee as Nigeria drew two matches against Sierra Leone in a recently-concluded 2021 AFCON qualifying double-header.
But the 57-year-old ex-Eagles captain, who was in goal for Nigeria at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, says Rohr is following a wrong path.
“At this point, we are really not getting it right when it comes to players that ought to be called to the national team,” the former Deportivo de La Coruna goalkeeper said.
“The national team is not a place where you keep changing players; one match, another player, next match, another player after two months, another player after three months. No.
“National team positions are positions given to the best players in such positions, and those players can be substituted only when there are needs. And before these needs arise, the coaches and technical team must have screened round the country to find alternatives and communicate with the coach who trains these players and collect a report of assessment from these coaches about these players, not about what he (the national team coach) is seeing.”

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Nigeria’s minister of youth and sports development Hon. Sunday Dare says Super Eagles’ performance in the last two games calls to question Gernot Rohr’s suitability and “competence”.

In a post on his Twitter page on Wednesday, the minister also revealed that “the needful will be done”.

 

Dare was reacting to the under-par performance of the Nigerian team in the double-header against Sierra Leone in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

 

The three-time African champion threw away a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 in the first encounter at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Friday, before recording another draw (0-0) in Freetown on Tuesday.

 

The outcome of the encounter made Dare tender an apology to Nigerians and he also assured that Rohr’s ability as the technical adviser will be questioned.

 

Nigeria remains at the top of Group L despite the draw with eight points after four matches.

 

 

They are a point above second-placed Benin while Sierra Leone is placed third with three points and Lesotho are at the bottom with two points.

 

 

 

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