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Tactics: U.S. defend deep

Tactics Board

CAF's best push UEFA teams to the limit

Five Aside
 By Colin Udoh

Nigeria's long descent into ignominy culminates with another ANC flameout

The ESPN FC crew discuss the last of the teams to qualify for the African Nations Cup tournament which will be hosted by Equatorial Guinea in January.

For the second time in three tournaments, Nigeria's Super Eagles have failed to qualify for the African Nation's Cup after drawing 2-2 with South Africa in a must-win final game of qualification. This failure is not a coincidence; it is not even bad luck. It is a gradual descent into ignominy that has been at least two decades in the making.

Since winning the African Nations Cup title in 1994 and reaching the World Cup Round of 16 later that year, as well as claiming Olympic gold in Atlanta two years...

 By Colin Udoh

Why Stephen Keshi had to go as Nigeria head coach

Stephen Keshi guided Nigeria to the second round of the World Cup, but is now out of a job.
Stephen Keshi guided Nigeria to the second round of the World Cup, but is now out of a job.

It was always going to happen. Stephen Keshi's forced departure as Nigeria coach had always been a matter of when, not if.

As a matter of fact, were it not for the crisis which engulfed the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) immediately post-World Cup, where the body was split in two leading to a FIFA ban that was later lifted, the former Super Eagles captain would have been relieved of his job way earlier.

Outsiders will be taken aback at the firing of a man who delivered Nigeria the African...

Nigeria looking for answers after African Nations Cup loss to Sudan

Nigeria's John Obi Mikel, left, defends Sudan's Muhannad El Tahir on Saturday. Sudan defeated Nigeria 1-0.

The juxtaposition of the words in the expression, "The King is dead, long live the King," can come across macabre on first hearing. The first half of the phrase is about the end of a life, the second about the extension of another. It is only when you realise two different lives are being discussed that the lines unblur and succession becomes the real subject under scrutiny. After this weekend, that is what Nigerian football will be thinking about.

Their 1-0 defeat to Sudan on Saturday has left...

Road to the African Nations Cup is seldom easy

Algeria head coach Christian Gourcuff has admitted he needed more time to prepare his team for their African Cup of Nations Group B qualifying match against Ethiopia on Saturday.

African teams have begun their journeys to the next year's African Nations Cup (ANC) as the first group of away teams jetted off to their respective destinations ahead of the opening round of matches this weekend. Some travelling parties contained notable absentees, others struggled to get off the ground, and one left carrying little more than hope for a dream to come true.

Two goalkeepers are among the men missing out on the initial exchanges and one, Itumeleng Khune, could face a longer period...

The chance that will haunt Nigeria

Nigeria missed out an excellent opportunity to take the lead in the Women's U-20 World Cup final after Asisat Oshoala's header was tapped in on the goal line.

Germany won the Under-20 Women's World Cup in extra time on Sunday night, 1-0 at the expense of Nigeria.

But oh, how different it could have been.

Nigeria had the chance of all chances to put in the winning goal in the 85th minute, but were whistled for offside on a play that will haunt the nation's dreams.

Loveth Ayila gathered a rebound and shot past the German keeper. The ball was about to cross the goal line when Asisat Oshoala gave it an extra kick for good measure. 

But she was whistled...

Falconets gear up for U-20 final

Nigeria are one step away from winning the Under-20 Women's World Cup.
Nigeria are one step away from winning the Under-20 Women's World Cup.

The player who tops the goal-scoring list at the ongoing Under-20 Women's World Cup trains underneath a motorway on a dirt pitch, teaches most of her teammates the nuances of the game, and identifies herself by a hashtag #happygirlalways. Asisat Oshoala has netted seven times for Nigeria on their way to the final, including four times in the semifinals and twice in the quarterfinals to stamp her authority on a tournament that an African side has yet to win.

Oshoala learned her game in Port Harcourt,...