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Club Owners congratulate NFF boss on his birthday

The Association of Nigeria Premier League Club Chairmen and Managers (Club Owners) have sent a congratulatory message to the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari as he celebrates his birthday.
According to the statement, which was made available to KickOffNigeria.com, signed by the Acting Chairman Barr. Isaac Danladi and the Acting Secretary Alloy Chukwuemeka, the Association described the birthday celebration as symbolic and special as it coincided with Nigeria celebration of victories in the on-going FiFA world cup finals in Brazil.
The statement further described the NFF boss as one who has devoted major part of his life to the growth and development of football in Nigeria, with his tenure as helmsman of the federation recording an unprecedented successes and achievements as well as stability, growth and development of the round letter game.
The statement read in part: “Sir as we celebrate with you on this special day of yours, it is our prayers and desire that the Super Eagles surpass our previous records at the Mundial, to serve as a birthday gift to you”
The Club Owners prayed God to continue to grant Maigari long life and successes as he steers the ship of the football house in Nigeria. (kickoffnigeria)
Toure says the Elephants are to blame for their elimination
Ivory Coast defender, Kolo Toure feels his side only have themselves to blame following the Elephants’ group stage elimination from this year’s World Cup.
Needing a just a draw to progress, Ivory Coast found themselves a goal down at half-time, but drew level thanks to Wilfried’s Bony’s finish on 74 minutes. Yet all dreams of a first Last 16 berth in their history were dashed as a Georgios Samaras injury-time penalty sent the Greeks through.
And defender Kolo Toure feels his side gave the opponents the victory.
“We gave them the stick to beat us, we gave them the match,” Kolo told L’Equipe after the game.
“We first managed to hold on, but all of us must defend. People often question Côte d’Ivoire’s defence, but we saw it again today.
“When there are thirty seconds remaining, we must have eleven players within our own 18 meters.
“Unfortunately, this is the problem of the African teams, we don’t think enough.”
The Liverpool centre-back then admitted this was his last-ever Mundial.
“I do not want to jump to conclusions and tell you whether I carry on with the Elephants, but this is for sure my last World Cup,” said the 33-year-old.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast head coach Sabri Lamouchi has left his post as manager of the Elephants.
“My journey with Côte d’Ivoire ends tonight,” Lamouchi said. “I was under contract until this World Cup and you will understand why there will be no renewal.
“It makes sense as we failed at the African Cup of Nations and at the World Cup.”
Greek counterpart Fernando Santos was ecstatic with his side’s victory over his African rivals.
“The best team won; the one with the best strategy, most desire and most chances on the night,” he said. “We scored twice and hit the bar three times.
“The win was deserved and we showed what we can do. We showed we know how to attack too.
“I told the players this morning this would not be our last match.
“We are very happy and know that everyone in Greece is delighted.” (kickoffnigeria)
Italy devastated by World Cup exit
Italy was left devastated following the 1-0 loss to Uruguay and the resulting group stage exit from this year’s World Cup.
Diego Godin scored the winner for Uruguay ten minutes from time in a match marred by controversy as Azzurri midfielder Claudio Marchisio was sent off in the second half, while Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is under investigation by Fifa for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
And the Italian defender was left enraged after the match.
“It’s a shame,” Chiellini said. “The referee decided the match. Suarez bit me, the referee did not see it, but if you don’t want to see things…”
The Juventus defender continued, “Today everybody will talk about our elimination, but people should also talk about a match decided by a referee, by decisive moments.
“Marchisio’s red card is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the red card that Suarez did not receive.
“People will talk of failure, but I do not agree. There was only one team that deserved to progress to the last 16 and that team was us.”
Italian captain Gianluigi Buffon was left distraught.
“It’s a disaster,” said the 36-year-old, who was most probably playing his last World Cup.
“I am sad for the team and for the whole country.
“We will all have to think about our responsibilities.”
Italy’s administration will under-go drastic changes as both Italian coach Cesare Prandelli and FA President Giancarlo Abete resigned following the defeat, which left a bitter taste in Prandelli’s mouth.
“You have to accept defeats, but when they are decided by wrong decisions it is hard to accept,” he said.
“There was no need to show a red card. It caused a downward spiral that changed the match and led to us being eliminated from the World Cup.”
Prandelli refused to blame anyone but himself after Italy’s early exit from the Mundial.
“I take all responsibility for our failure, which, among other things, is down to our limitations in quality,” he said.
“It’s useless for me to sit here and say I could have done it differently.
“This is why I’m resigning.” (kickoffnigeria)
Keshi says Nigeria won’t play for a draw against Argentina
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi says the Super Eagles will not play for a draw against Argentina today.
Nigeria currently lie second behind Argentina, and require only a draw to reach the round of 16.
Victory over Argentina would see the Super Eagles finish as group winners, but a loss, and Iran victory over Bosnia could potentially lead to elimination.
Keshi, however, has no intentions of holding back. “I never said I’m playing for a draw,” said the Nigeria boss.
“We are ready to come out and play football and that’s what we are going to do tomorrow.”
Iran almost escaped with a point against the Albiceleste by sitting deep, but Keshi says he won’t be looking to emulate their tactics.
“Every game has its own character. Both teams will play different. I might take one or two things out of their game against Iran.
“But I’m not going to take whatever they did against Argentina because I’m sure tomorrow will be a different style, a different character of the game.”
The game will be played at the Arena Beira Rio in Porto Alegre, and kick-off is at 1PM local time (5PM Nigeria time). (kickoffnigeria)

Fifa probes Luis Suarez ‘biting’ incident

Football’s world governing body has opened disciplinary proceedings against Uruguay striker Luis Suarez after he appeared to bite Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match.
The Liverpool forward, 27, and the Uruguayan Football Association have until 17:00 Brazilian time (21:00 BST) on Wednesday to respond to Fifa.
Suarez clashed with Chiellini during Tuesday’s Group D game, which Uruguay won 1-0 to qualify for the last 16.
The referee took no action at the time.
The maximum ban Suarez could face if Fifa takes retrospective action is 24 matches or two years.
Suarez has defended himself in an interview with Uruguayan television.
“These are just things that happen out on the pitch,” he said. “It was just the two of us inside the area and he bumped into me with his shoulder.
“There are things that happen on the pitch and you should not make such a big deal out of them.”
Chiellini, 29, described Suarez as “a sneak”.
He added: “I’d love to see if Fifa has the courage to use video evidence against him. The referee saw the bite mark, but he did nothing about it.”
After the clash between the players, Suarez went to ground holding his mouth, apparently suggesting he had been elbowed.
Chiellini ran after Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez in an attempt to show him the alleged bite mark, pulling his shirt down to bare his left shoulder.
As he did so, Uruguay forward Gaston Ramirez tried to stop him by pulling the Italian’s jersey back into place.
The incident occurred towards the end of the game, shortly before Suarez’s team-mate Diego Godin scored the only goal of the match.
Godin’s winner eliminated four-times champions Italy from the World Cup and secured Uruguay, semi-finalists in South Africa four years ago, a match against Colombia in the next round. (BBC Sport)
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