San Jose, May 15: The squad to represent Costa Rica in the 2018 World Cup witnessed very few changes from the unit that reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 tournament in Brazil.“There are players with characteristics for certain moments. The coming friendly matches will be tough and that will be the way to bring the lads toward the intensity we need,” coach Oscar Ramirez told the media on Monday. The core of the roster is the starting 11 from 2014: goalkeeper Keylor Navas; defenders Oscar Duarte, Johnny Acosta, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Cristian Gamboa; midfielders Yeltsin Tejeda, Christian Bolaños, Celso Borges and Bryan Ruiz, and forwards Joel Campbell and Marco Ureña.Ramirez said he expects the 2018 World Cup, set to begin a month from now in Russia, to be a competition “of much dynamism”.He pointed to Spain, defending champions Germany, France, Brazil and Argentina as the pre-tournament favourites. IANS
“I was happy we emerged champions of the league. I wasn’t following the statistics; it was when people were talking about it that I realised the enormity of what we have achieved.“When I took over, I had people praying for me and we had prophetic declarations that we were going to be champions. That was our major objective and not the Albanian Cup, but if we win, it will be double joy.“On the Champions League next year. It is the dream every fan, player and coach for their club to play in Europe. The Stadium atmosphere is electric, the fans, the melodious anthem. We are not going there only to enjoy the anthem but to win and reach the group stages,” Egbo who took over reigns of the Tirana when they were down to the 8th position said.In a chat with THISDAY via telephone, former Julius Berger safe hand, Christian Obi, hailed Egbo for this rare achievement, while calling on him to work harder to sustain his feat.“Egbo joined Julius Berger after I had left the club, but I knew him to be a hardworking and serious-minded person, therefore, what he achieved never came to me as much of a surprise. There is no doubt about the fact that he has made a big mark by doing the unthinkable in faraway Albania, which will go a long way in helping Nigerian coaches to be reckoned with even outside the shores of the country,” Obi said.The 2005 World Youth Championship bronze medalist, said Egbo’s achievement was a victory for Nigerian coaches.“He is a pride to Nigerian coaches all over the world and it is high time Nigeria Football Federation starts looking inwards in their choice for national team coaches, there are many Egbos in Nigeria and abroad,” the former Heartland of Owerri goalkeeper trainer said.Obi, however, charged Egbo to be ready to work harder as he was now a goldfish with no hiding place.“Getting to the top is one thing, but sustaining it is another. He should, therefore, be ready to put in extra effort to sustain his achievement as all eyes are now on him,” he noted.For proponents of home-grown coaches to take charge of the senior national team, Egbo’s feat with KF Tirana is just a justification for what they have been clamouring for- a Nigerian coach to be in charge of the Super Eagles.Indeed, former national team captain, Segun Odegbami is of the opinion that some former Super Eagles players were better qualified to coach the national team than the current handler, Gernot Rohr.According to the man fondly called ‘Mathematical Odegbami’ in his days, former Eagles stars like Finidi George and Emmanuel Amuneke were more qualified for the national team’s job than the Franco-German tactician.“I don’t think any white coach should come and coach us anymore, not after the generation of Stephen Keshi, Sunday Oliseh, Jay Jay Okocha who played at every level.“If they can get the basic qualification which is not essential in my own estimation, but people insist that they must have it, they are qualified. Finidi George and Emmanuel Amuneke have the qualifications Gernot Rohr does not have,” he said.It would be recalled that ahead of Nigeria’s 2010 World Cup campaign, another strong voice, if not the strongest, of Nigerian coaches, Adokie Amiesimaka criticised the Nigeria Football Association, as the federation was then known, for hiring a foreign coach- Lars Lagerback when we had a better local coach in Shaibu Amodu. He severally warned that the Swede had nothing to offer Nigerians.The ex-Green Eagles winger has constantly harped on the need to look inwards in solving the national team’s coaching problem.After watching the Eagles lose to Greece, a feat that gave Greece their first World Cup win, Amiesimaka was simply livid.“Why on earth did Lagerback take Obafemi Martins and Nwankwo Kanu to South Africa, if he knew he was not going to use them? I have said it over and over again; we do not need a foreign coach.Please Patrick Ekeji should explain to Nigerians why they hired Lagerback. Samson Siasia could have done better than the Swede whom they wasted millions of naira on,” Amiesimaka had said after Super Eagles lacklustre performance at the African Mundial.The proponents of Nigerian coaches for the senior national team may however be getting close to having their say if the words of Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick are to be believed.Giving reason for the appointment of Joseph Yobo as Super Eagles assistant coach, the NFF boss said it was to position him to take over from Rohr as the national team manager.Pinnick believes the 39-year-old would add value to the Super Eagles and hope he would follow the footsteps of former international Stephen Keshi, who guided the side to their third Africa Cup of Nations title in 2013.“When Yobo was captain of the Super Eagles I saw inborn leadership character in him. His charisma and the way he carried other players in the team was exceptional. Yobo is a born leader. This is why the federation decided to appoint him as one of the assistants in the Super Eagles team. “We are looking up to Yobo to manage the Super Eagles in future and being part of the team’s technical crew will give him that opportunity to coach the Super Eagles in the nearest future,” Pinnick had said.However, Egbo’s feat remains the loudest voice in the call for local coaches to take charge of the national team.Egbo became the first African coach to qualify a European club side to participate in the prestigious Champions League after he led Tirana biggest club in Albian to win the 2020 League title with seven points clear. They are also in the final of the Albanian Cup.Egbo, 46, made 12 appearances for the Super Eagles between 1999 and 2002 during which time he manned the goal for Tirana, winning three trophies with the club.Following his retirement from playing in 2011, Egbo went into coaching, becoming the goalkeeping coach of another Albanian side, Bylis, before returning to Tirana in 2014 in the same capacity.In 2019, the ex-Nigerian international was promoted to become Tirana’s head coach and he has now done remarkably well; winning the league title in his first year in charge.Interestingly, KF Tirana who will be celebrating their 100th anniversary this month will have a chance to clinch a domestic double on August 2, when they face Teuta Durres in the Domestic Cup final.But while they wait for what would be the icing on the cake for them, Tirana fans are all in the joyous mood already having ended their decade-long wait for a league title.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Each time a foreign technical adviser is employed to take charge of the Super Eagles, there is always a running battle between the Nigeria Football Federation and some Nigerians that feel employing a foreigner for the national team as sheer waste of funds when there are Nigerian coaches, capable of doing the job even better. With the recent achievement of former Julius Berger of Lagos goalkeeper, Ndubuisi Egbo in faraway Albania, where he led KF Tirana to win the Albanian League and book a place to next season’s Champions League, the campaign for Nigerian coaches to take charge of the senior national team has gained more traction, writes Kunle AdewaleEmmanuel Egbo last weekend led his team, KF Tirana, to win the 2019/20 Albania League title, becoming the first African to win a title with a European league side.In addition to winning the league, Egbo automatically booked a place in next season’s European Champions League campaign and he says he is not going to the competition to sing the anthem.
London: Boris Johnson promised British lawmakers that he will work “flat out” to meet the October 31 Brexit deadline and called on Brussels to rethink its opposition to renegotiate a more acceptable deal in his first speech as Prime Minister in the House of Commons on Thursday. Johnson, who took over from Theresa May after a leadership election fought on the basis of getting Brexit done with or without a deal, reaffirmed his stance on striking a better deal with the European Union (EU) within 98 days’ time. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “Our mission is to deliver Brexit on the 31st of October for the purpose of uniting and re-energising our great United Kingdom and making this country the greatest place on earth I will work flat out to make it happen,” Johnson said, delivering a parliamentary statement in his characteristic exuberant style. “There is every chance that in 2050, when I fully intend to be around, though not necessarily in this job, we will look back on this period, this extraordinary period, as the beginning of a new golden age for our United Kingdom,” he said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls While Brexit was at the heart of Johnson’s first Parliament address, he took questions from MPs on a range of subjects and pledged extra police on the streets, investment in education and healthcare. On the sticky issue of immigration, he confirmed that he will be launching a radical review of the visa system to introduce an Australian-style points-based system. “No-one believes more strongly than me in the benefits of migration to our country. But I am clear that our immigration system must change. For years, politicians have promised the public an Australian-style points based system I will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to conduct a review of that system as the first step in a radical rewriting of our immigration system, he said. But the bulk of his first parliamentary address was focussed on Brexit, including a categorical stand against the controversial Irish backstop which has deeply divided all sides of the Commons. “The Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by my predecessor has been three times rejected by this House. Its terms are unacceptable to this Parliament and to this country If an agreement is to be reached it must be clearly understood that the way to the deal goes by way of the abolition of the backstop,” he said, addressing the most controversial aspect of May’s Brexit agreement which led to its repeated defeat in Parliament and ultimately ended her premiership. In a clear message to Brussels to return to the negotiating table, the new Prime Minister said his team was ready to negotiate an alternative in good faith, with provisions to ensure that the Irish border issues are dealt with in the negotiations on the future agreement between the UK and the EU. “For our part, we will throw ourselves into these negotiations with the greatest energy and determination and in the spirit of friendship. And I hope that the EU will be equally ready and that they will rethink their current refusal to make any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement,” he said, renewing his warning of being ready to leave the 28-member economic bloc without a deal in place. “If they do not, we will of course have to leave the EU without an agreement under Article 50. The UK is better prepared for that situation than many believe. But we are not as ready yet as we should be. In the 98 days that remain to us we must turbo-charge our preparations to make sure that there is as little disruption as possible to our national life, he said. Reiterating something he had already laid out in his first speech on the steps of Downing Street on Wednesday, Johnson hinted at holding back the 39-million pounds so-called divorce bill agreed by May as part of the Withdrawal Agreement in the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit. As part of his agenda to reflect his seriousness over leaving the EU with or without a deal, the new prime minister has appointed a former foe-turned-friend Michael Gove as the minister in charge of planning for a no-deal Brexit. Gove, who is effectively the head of the UK Cabinet Office with the official title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, had campaigned for Brexit in the June 2016 alongside Johnson but the duo had fallen out after he decided to stand for the post of Prime Minister in the wake of David Cameron’s resignation. But the old friends are now back together to oversee the Britain’s exit from the EU. The UK Parliament is set for its summer recess from Friday until early September. Johnson and his new Cabinet, meanwhile, are expected to be working through what is usually a holiday period in the UK, often referred to as “silly season” for the lack of political activity. However, Johnson does not seem to be planning any holiday and spent most of Wednesday finalising his top team, which involved a brutal cull of 17 ministers from the previous May Cabinet who were not seen as loyalists or fully committed to his do or die Brexit mission. His Cabinet team, dubbed the most diverse in history, includes three Indian-origin ministers Priti Patel (Home Secretary), Alok Sharma (International Development Secretary) and Rishi Sunak (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) alongside former prime ministerial hopeful Sajid Javid as Chancellor and staunch Brexiteer Dominic Raab as foreign secretary.