Last weekend could well be best described as the country’s worst outing in continental club soccer in decades. Three out of the four club sides representing the country, Lobi Stars, Heartland and Kano Pillars, crashed out ignominiously in the CAF inter-clubs competitions, with only Enugu Rangers scaling through to the second stage. The sad episode began on Friday, April 5, when Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi, Benue State scandalously lost 1-7 to their Mozambican opponents, Muculuma, in the second leg first round match of the CAF Confederation Cup played in Maputo.
Congratulations Aminu on emerging as top scorer of the 2013 African Youth Championship. Did you expect this personal accolade?
To be honest with you, I did not expect it, but I’m very happy that I won it because it was not easy and this was only my first international outing. It is a massive boost for the entire team because I could not have won it without the support of my teammates and coaches.
You scored four goals in four matches. Looking back now, do you think you could you have scored more goals in Algeria?
They appear to have been drawn in a favourable group. Nigeria’s intermediate national team, the Flying Eagles were lucky not to be drawn in what analysts term the ‘group of death’. They are in group B which has former title holders, Portugal, Cuba and Korea Republic.
Despite their lacklustre performance at the just-concluded AYC in Algeria, bookmakers still believe that the John Obuh coached side will emerge from the group and proceed to the next stage of the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey.
Before the March 23 encounter between the Super Eagles and the Harambee Stars of Kenya in the campaign for the 2014 World Cup finals billed for Brazil, many soccer commentators had given the match to the Eagles .This optimism, especially on the part of football-loving Nigerians was largely informed by their exploits at the just-concluded African Cup of Nigeria, AFCON in South Africa where they eventually lifted the coveted trophy.
Europe’s most exciting football competition, the UEFA Champions League enters the crucial stage with eight teams vying for the ultimate prize.
Incidentally, three clubs from that 1995/96 UEFA Champions League quarter-final lineup are also in the quarter-final. They are: Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and Madrid. The other five are: AFC Ajax, Legia Warszawa, FC Nantes, Panathinaikos FC and FC Spartak Moskva.
During an exchange of correspondence, with a well known and well informed personality in refereeing, who has handled top-level matches in Africa and around the world, including CAF Champions League, Cup of Nations and FIFA games, he made a telling statement that left me deeply concerned about how corruption and match-fixing has impacted on the continent. “It seems an accepted norm in Confederation of African Football, CAF, that people know that bribery exists. But it appears that they cannot or do not want to deal with the matter,” he said.