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UPDATE: Keshi Makes U-Turn, To Continue As Eagles Coach

Coach Stephen Keshi has decided to continue with his job as Super Eagles coach.

Keshi had tendered his resignation to the NFF, after leading the Super Eagles to their first Africa Nations Cup triumph in 19 years.

“I gave them (NFF) my letter of resignation immediately after last night’s game, but I haven’t heard from them yet,” Keshi told a South African radio station, Metro FM Monday night.

However, barely twenty-four hours later, keshi made a U-turn, saying all issues that led to his decision to quit the job had been resolved.

In a statement on Tuesday in Johannesburg, Keshi said: “My attention has been drawn to reports in the media that I have resigned my appointment as the Head Coach of Super Eagles of Nigeria.

“While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the AFCON 2013, which my team won by the grace of God, especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation.

“ I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned. I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job,’’ Keshi said.

He also thanked the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift intervention in the issues he raised the NFF concerning his position and the future of the team.

Keshi’s running battle with the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) heightened in South Africa following the team’s poor performance in the first two matches of the just concluded nation’s cup.

The minister of sports had told NAN in Johannesburg that in normal course relations there could be differences between an employer and employee when things are not going well.

“Keshi is one of Nigeria’s football legend who has made history as a player and a coach having won the nation’s cup as player and coach. Nigeria is very proud of him and will continue to support him in the task of building an enduring national team,’’ Abdullahi said.

He, however, said that he would ensure that all outstanding issues concerning Keshi and team are resolved amicably.

“I do not Nigeria to be cited as a country that won the nation’s cup and failed to qualify for the second round of the competition in the next competition. We want Keshi and we like Keshi, he has recorded remarkable achievement as a player and coach,’’ Abdullahi said.

Meanwhile, FCT minister Bala Mohammed will today receive the Super Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Eagles are returning home in a chartered flight after their victory over Burkina Faso’s Stallions by 1-0 at the just-concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.

A statement by the chief press secretary to the minister, Muhammad Sule, indicates that the minister will receive the Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at 1pm, after which they will make a stopover at the Abuja National Stadium for a mini reception. The statement says the team will later depart for the presidential villa where they will be hosted to a grand reception by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Additional report from NAN

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News, Politics

Catholics Mark Ash Wednesday

Catholics all over the world will on Feb. 13, mark this year’s Ash Wednesday, signifying the commencement of the 40-day Lenten season.

Msgr. Gabriel Osu, spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

According to him “Ash Wednesday ushers in the Lenten Season.

“A forty-day period of penance, reflection and fasting prepares us for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

“It is a period of conversion, self- denial, renewal, reconciliation, change and growth; it is about denying self for the life of others.”

He said that the hall mark of Ash Wednesday was the marking of the forehead of Catholic faithful with ashes, making the “sign of the cross” as a reminder of their sinful nature.

Osu said that in the Archdiocese of Lagos, the Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, would be expected to lead other clergies to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and administer ashes on the foreheads of the faithful.

“Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the church and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

“The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year; christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense.

“The ashes symbolise penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts,” he said.

Osu urged Christians to take advantage of the season to draw nearer to God and seek His mercy and forgiveness.

“Christians are obliged to fast, pray and abstain from heavy meals and other bad habits as well as give alms,” he said. (NAN)

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Cover Stories, News

UPDATE: Pope Benedict XVI To Resign Feb (Read full Speech)

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday said he plans on resigning the papal office on February 28th. Below please find his announcement.

“The pope announced that he will leave his ministry at 8:00pm (7pm UK time) on February 28,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

The reason for the resignation, cited by the Pope himself, is “advanced age”.

Full text of Pope’s declaration

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013



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News, Politics

AFCON: Eagles’ Victory, Confirmation Of A New Era In Nigeria – PDP

The Super Eagles’ victory at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa is a confirmation that Nigeria has entered a new era of possibilities, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said.

This is contained in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja and signed by Mr Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the party.

The statement said the victory was an indication that the nation would surmount its challenges under the current dispensation.

It said the fact that the team won the trophy, which has eluded the country for many years, “shows that nothing is impossible for the country”.

The statement added that the victory had opened the doors for the nation to achieve other goals.

“It is an indication that there is nothing impossible and that collectively we will overcome all the challenges we are facing as a nation,” Metuh said.

The Super Eagles on Sunday beat the Stallions of Bukina Faso 1-0 to win the trophy for the third time.

Nigeria won the cup for the first time in 1980. It last won it in 1994. (NAN)

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Football, News, Sports

2013 AFCON: Malians Satisfied With Team’s Performance – Coach

Mali’s head coach Patrice Carteron has said the citizens of the troubled West African nation are satisfied with the performance of its senior national team, The Eagles, at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nation in  South Africa.

Mali finished third after beating one of the pre-tournament favourites Ghana 3-1 in the third place match on Saturday.

Mali also finished third at the last edition of the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea last year.

“I’m proud of the achievement of my players. They worked hard to get the bronze medal.

“I think the people back home will be very happy with the team’s performance,’’ the Frenchman said after the match.

Malian players had expressed their willingness to perform well at the tournament to make their compatriots back home happy.

That was in view of the situation in the country where armed Islamist groups have been battling the country’s forces – assisted by an international intervention force.


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