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Star pumps up celebration for Eagles’ Semis ticket

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Star pumps up celebration for Eagles’ Semis ticket

Music, thunderous applause and much more in a carnival-like atmosphere greeted the Super Eagles’ splendid qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final on Wednesday across the Star Fan Parks.

The Super Eagles confirmed their supremacy over South Africa; beating them 2-1 in the quarter-final game played at the Cairo International Stadium.

Samuel Chukwueze who had a shining performance and was rightly adjudged man-of-the-match gave Nigeria the lead in the first half.

Though Bongani Zungu gave Bafana Bafana a lifeline when he equalised in the 70th minute, the Super Eagles soared into the semi-final with the late winning goal from Willaim Troost-Ekong.

Since the beginning of the continental football showpiece in Egypt, Nigerian Breweries’ Premium brand, Star Lager beer has been making the AFCON a worthwhile experience for its loyal customers and passionate football fans with its Shine On Naija Campaign.

However, with the Nations Cup now at its business end, the Official Beer for the Super Eagles have increased the tempo with more prizes and entertainment for all, at the various Star Fan Parks across the country.

At the National Stadium in Lagos, many fans went home with authentic Super Eagles jerseys after been selected in the raffle draws conducted at half time and also at the end of 90 minutes.

Other mouthwatering prizes were also won during the semi-final match.

Most of the lucky fans have vowed to wear their new jerseys on Sunday as they reckon that Star Larger is now synonymous to good luck for the Super Eagles

“I am confident the Super Eagles will keep shining with Star Lager until they win that trophy, trust me, the Cup is coming home,” Stephen Echezona one of the lucky prize winners stated.

Some of the other winners who went home with prizes include; Victor Emmanuel, Bamidele Nwachukwu, Victor Sesan, Humble Egesimba, and Mayowa Aje among others.

Since the beginning of the tournament, Star Lager beer has provided wonderful viewing experiences in various locations across Nigeria at the Star Fan parks, thrilling consumers for hours on match day nights with notable D‘jays on ground to entertain the crowd.

The Super Eagles will be battling for a place in the AFCON finals on Sunday still at the Cairo International Stadium where Egyptian fans have adopted Nigeria as their own since the elimination of the Pharaohs of Egypt.

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Eagles land in Abuja, as FG welcomes bronze winning team

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Eagles land in Abuja, as FG welcomes bronze winning team

Super Eagles of Nigeria arrived the country on Friday morning after participating at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

 

The players and their officials touched land in Abuja, the country capital amid fanfare as they were welcomed by different dance group and a delegation of the Federal Government.

 

Despite the expectation of Nigerians for the team to win the title, they have to settle for the bronze medal after losing their semifinal game against Algeria 2-1 before defeating Tunisia 1-0 in the third place match.

 

A chartered Air Peace aircraft that flew the delegation from Egypt landed in Abuja about 10.40am, led by the NFF First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi, including the 2nd Vice President Shehu Dikko, General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, Members of the Executive Committee, and players and officials of the Eagles.

 

The Federal Government had lauded the bronze medal –winning effort of the team, as a team led by the Secretary to the Federal Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, received the Nigeria delegation to the finals in Egypt, on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. In his remarks while receiving the team on arrival, Mustapha said the Government of Nigeria was appreciative of their efforts in finishing third in a 24 – team Africa Cup of Nations, the biggest in the history of the championship.

 

“We commend you for finishing third best in the whole of the African continent,” he said.

 

“We all wanted the first position but this is football where things sometimes do not go as you plan.

 

The government of Nigeria is quite happy with your level of discipline and professionalism and how you comported yourselves creditably as Nigerian ambassadors. “The fighting spirit and resilience you demonstrated in Egypt is a reflection of the never-say-die spirit of the Nigerian.

 

We want you to keep it up. I congratulate the technical crew led by Coach Gernot Rohr, the players and the staff of the team.”

 

On behalf of the team, Ahmed Musa thanked President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and the Federal Government for the support given to the team before, during and after the AFCON 2019, promising that the Super Eagles will endeavour to do better at the next championship

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AFCON: Eagles did well, can do better

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AFCON: Eagles did well, can do better

In all spheres of life, Nigerians are very difficult to please.

 

The 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations ended on Friday (yesterday) in Egypt with the final match between Senegal and Algeria. They earned the berth on merit because they were the best two in the competition while Senegal are the current number one country in the rankings of the world football body, FIFA. The Super Eagles lost 2-1 in the ssemi-final 1but many followers of the game believe they should have gone all the way to emerge the champions.

 

Against a well-organised Algerian team, Eagles struggled and conceded a late freekick to give the North Africans a ticket to the final. Nigeria eventually settled for the bronze after beating Tunisia 1-0 in the Third Place match. It is important to stress that strong countries like Morocco, Egypt, Cote d Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Cameroon did not make it to the last four stage.

 

In fact Cameroon, the defending champions, lost to Nigeria in the second round while South Africa eliminated hot favourites, Egypt, also in the second round. For the 2015 and 2017 editions of the competition, the Eagles failed to qualify. So much has been said on the performances of Gernot Rohr and the Eagles in Egypt but it is sad that many believe the only result Nigeria deserves in AFCON was the first position. How?

 

The current Eagles team is an emerging team yet to blossom and that is why the expected cohesion was not there. In the first two games, the Eagles struggled and were lucky to have beaten Burundi and Guinea. In the knock out games against Cameroon and South Africa, the team did very well with the 3-2 win over the Lions and the 2-1 win over Bafana Bafana. It was a different issue against Algeria because the Foxes were better overall. The three strikers upfront interchanged to confuse defenders and there was no hiding place for the Eagles.

 

Only an element of luck could have made the encounter go the other way. Before the competition, there were issues raised about the goalkeeping department and this manifested at the AFCON. Francis Uzoho, the country’s number one at the World Cup in Russia, became number three at AFCON but Daniel Akpeyi is not better. The three keepers lacked the quality of a great number one like Vincent Enyeama, Peter Rufai and a host of others.

 

The defenders too were barely average considering the kind of goals conceded through schoolboy errors. The free-kick Riyad Mahrez scored in the semi-final was a result of poor defending.

The ball should have been cleared better to avoid the free-kick. In defending it, Akpeyi was behind his defenceline and the other side was free for Mahrez. In the midfield, Alex Iwobi tried his best but it was evident that the team needed more creativity to flourish better. Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo did well generally but they did not help in creating chances for the strikers.

 

Ndidi was committing fouls in dangerous areas. Some of the changes made by Rohr were poor except in the two games against Cameroon and South Africa. When Eagles were chasing the game against Madagascar, he did not bring in a striker. He should have introduced Victor Oshimen against Algeria while Ahmed Musa took a bow but that did not happen. Coaches do make mistakes and so Rohr is only human.

 

It was learnt that he did not work well with his assistants in taking crucial decisions in Egypt and that was bad. After bringing a keepers’ trainer to join Alloy Agu, we were unable to get a quality keeper for AFCON. There are quality keepers in the country, the coaches should work hard to fish them out. Skipper Mikel Obi cannot be at the next AFCON and so Ndidi is the best option as captain because of his position and current form.

 

The team should be moulded around him. The Technical Department of the Nigeria Football Federation should function, ask questions and provide direction for Rohr. He should be allowed to continue to make the team stronger. The plan of the NFF to send Rohr to Bayern for refresher course is good but two or three Nigerian coaches should follow him to gain knowledge.

 

Samuel Chukwueze was great at AFCON and it is expected he will get better together with other younger elements in the team. Nigerians should embrace the spirit of sportsmanship; the Eagles cannot win every competition. To place third out of 24 teams is good enough but certainly, there are obvious areas where better quality players are required.

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Don’t fire Rohr, Balogun begs NFF

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Don’t fire Rohr, Balogun begs NFF

Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun has made a passionate appeal to the Nigeria Football Federation not to fire their manager Gernot Rohr. The German’s future with the Nigerian team has been thrown into doubt following the Eagles’ elimination in the semi-final of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.

 

They surrendered to a 2-1 loss in the hands of Algeria. Balogun said the team was developing under the former Gabon coach, insisting that changing of guards could disrupt the steady growth of the squad.

 

He enjoined Nigerians to be patient with the 2019 AFCON bronze winners under the charge of the German tactician, stating that the manager would lead them to a greater performance in the future.

 

“I think continuity is always the basis for success in the long run; if you keep changing coaches then you are always going to have different ideas and that will distruptive continuity in the team, I think it is better we keep it the way it is now,” he said. The Brighton defender insisted that the team would dominate football on the continent and they had learnt so many lessons from the campaign in AFCON 2019. “Of course we have improved from the World Cup, most of the players from then are still together, I think we matured a little bit.

 

We were disappointed with the way we were eliminated here but we are young team, we are strong, we are learning, we are developing that is the greatest lesson we are taking away from this campaign,” he said. He said although the team’s ambition was to win the title, they were still happy to have ended the campaign on a high with a bronze medal.

 

“We are glad that we have something to take back home; we deserved to leave here with something and we got it. This was a long campaign and you can see we can smile again,” he said.

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Nigerians deserve better than bronze medal from Eagles –Garba Lawal

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Nigerians deserve better than bronze medal from Eagles –Garba Lawal

Ex-international, Garba Lawal, has said the performance of the Super Eagles at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations cannot be termed a good outing as Nigerians back home want their team to win every competition, especially the AFCON. “Getting to the semi-finals is not news again, Eagles have been to that position on several occasions,” he told our correspondent.

 

“They have won the silver and bronze especially on several occasions, what we all want is for them to win the gold and the title.

 

“If they say the mandate for them was to get to the semi-finals, then I will say Nigeria is bigger than that, whenever we go for any championship, the people back home will want the team to win the trophy especially a competition like the AFCON.

 

“Nobody wants you to get to the sem-ifinals and say you are out. A lot of people didn’t watch the third-place game compared to if the Eagles were playing in the final. Nigerians want the cup but getting the bronze, we will have to take it like that.”

 

He added that going for the AFCON, everyone expected the Eagles to get the gold, but coming back with the bronze medal is a good thing as the team didn’t come back empty handed.

“The bronze is better than nothing. We should stop the blame game as they all win and lose together as a team. We need to forge ahead from now.”

 

The Super Eagles defeated Tunisia 1-0 in Cairo on Wednesday night to win Nigeria’s eighth AFCON bronze medal.

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Eagles have no stars like Okocha, Kanu –Rohr

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Eagles have no stars like Okocha, Kanu –Rohr

‘I want to win 2021 AFCON with Eagles’

 

Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr in this interview with our correspondent AJIBADE OLUSESAN expressed his disappointment at the team’s inability to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He revealed his plans to shop for new players to fortify his team as they look forward to qualifying for the 2021 AFCON and 2022 FIFA World Cup.

 

The 2019 AFCON tournament has come and gone, how will you describe the competition?

 

It is a very good tournament; because of the expansion of the tournament all the best teams were here and you could see that from the round of 16 big teams emerged. And then we saw a lot of surprises.

 

When you consider a team as favourties against a supposed weaker side but it was not always the case in terms of results, like we saw in the Morocco game against Benin Republic.

 

We also saw how the home team and big favourites Egypt lost to a team that finished third from the other group, South Africa. A lot of surprises were here; it was not easy for big teams to show that they were the best, by the round of 16 three fa- vourites were out already, Morocco, Egypt and Cameroon.

 

What is your impression of the standard of play, from a tactical and technical point of view?

 

We saw a lot of games with only one goal or goalless; there was a match day with three goalless draws. This was a disappointment for people who like football with so many goals. We played 1-0 with Burundi and Guinea but we did one interesting game with Cameroon with five goals; I think it was one of the most spectacular matches in the competition.

 

Generally, I think the level was very high, everybody prepared especially for their first round of matches.

 

Congratulations on winning the bronze medal match against Tunisia.

Just like many Nigerians, the players and you the coaches are disappointed that the team didn’t win the tournament but what is the future of the team?

 

The future is very bright; we have young players who can still progress and can still improve.

 

There’s a very good spirit in the team; they learnt a lot in the World Cup and here in the AFCON. If this team can improve in specific positions, let’s say in the next two years, the team can be the AFCON winners. That’s the target but I don’t know if it’s with me.

 

True I have a contract but I can go out of this contract, there’s a clause. I will think about what happened last month, last year. I love this team, I love Nigeria but there were some problems. I have to take a little bit of rest and rethink if I will continue with Nigeria.

 

The 2019 AFCON is gone but up next are the qualifiers for the 2021 edition as well as the World Cup qualifiers. You have some players who might not be available as well as the young ones. How do you intend to manage the situation?

 

At first, it has to be certain if I will continue or not, this is the condition.

 

If we continue together, I know what to do because I know the team very well now. I need to specify what we must do to better. I see which positions we must find other players. Our offensive department is good, it’s young.

 

We have a good goal scorer but I’m not sure if he will continue too. Playing in China, coming to Nigeria, injuries, this is a problem. We have to find other midfielders also. Our three midfielders played all the matches. Mikel Obi was injured in the end and I’m not sure if he will continue.

 

Then we have to find new defensive midfielders; John Ogu is one of them but then he didn’t play so much because he was exhausted playing in his club and friendlies. But here he played only 45 minutes against Madagascar and we saw that he needs competition like other players such as Leon Balogun and Francis Uzoho who are not playing in their clubs.

 

We need players who are playing in their clubs all year long. We have players who are playing in clubs but not in big clubs in the class of Riyad Mahrez for example, like goalkeeper Andre Onana of Cameroon who played in the Champions League; we don’t have any Champions League player. Our strength is the collective; good work together, to be close to each other.

 

We have to find other players. Oghenekaro Etebo has to play in the top league, not in the England second division. The only thing is that the players have to grow and play in good clubs.

 

That will help because most of the work is done in the clubs and not in the national team; it’s exceptional to have them like some weeks to a competition.

 

Looking forward, what are your plans for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and AFCON 2021 qualifiers?

 

The players have to play in good clubs; they have to do a lot of work, some of them should find better clubs now, players like Moses Simon, Etebo and of course Uzoho who is still young, he can still improve.

 

They have to start looking for better teams, it is not my job to do that for them. I am not their agent, I can’t promote them, but they need to play all through the year to deserve places in this team.

 

You can’t come in here without being fit; we don’t have time to keep you fit, so we need those who already are fit to fall into our plans. With this performance in AFCON, these players should get new clubs; they have worked hard for it, and they deserve it.

 

They have good character, they are young, they are fresh and agile. We have to keep our eyes open to find new players like we found Jamilu Collins, Samuel Kalu, to find Nigerian players wherever they are and of course to follow the league as well. We need to look for goalkeepers in Nigeria, something like education for goalkeepers, these are important.

 

This is supposed to be for the future and then infrastructure, you can see the pitches they have here in Egypt, very good pitches, and we need to have that in Nigeria too.

 

And again, there should be some kind of harmony between the sports minister and the federation, If you want to move forward and there is no infrastructure and solidarity among stakeholders it will be very difficult.

 

You have led this group to two major competitions, the 2018 World Cup and this AFCON, what lessons have your players learnt from these tournaments?

 

They have learnt a lot; they learnt to have better communication on the pitch, they learnt to play efficient football , to be realistic, they learnt that they can bounce back after a little shock like the game against Madagscar and like they did after the half-time in the game against Cameroon. They also learnt to be stronger mentally, they have to be strong.

 

Look at the game against South Africa, we conceded a goal but we came back to score and win it and again after the unfortunate defeat to Algeria we had to be ready to win the third place match against Tunisia.

 

I think in this department, they are progressing a lot mentally. What we have to work on is individual mistakes; we conceded some goals due to that. William Troost-Ekong against Algeria, the deflected goal from Wilfred Ndidi in the loss to Madagascar and the back pass from Balogun in that match. When you have players that you like, you have to let them know they have to cut down on the mistakes t h e y make.

 

You have faced a lot of criticism on the job, some even blame you for not always shouting at the touchline but most of the time you smile, why is this so?

 

I usually laugh because I have got the nerves; when I was a player, I didn’t like c o a c h e s who were too aggressive. I think a p l a y e r n e e d s a coach who is r e l a x e d , cool and also a   fighter like we are; when a coach is calm there is also the possibility that the players are also calm, there won’t be so much of nervous attitude or red card, you can see that we didn’t get any red card, I think we had one suspension from Chigozie Awaziem.

 

We help the player to be calm and concentrate on their work. I don’t expect to be friends to everybody but I earn my respect, life is too short, you need to smile.

 

What kind of team are we going to have in the next two years if you continue on this job?

 

If I continue, I have my plans; I have got my ideas which is to make sure that we progress in each department. I want to have more goalkeepers, defenders, especially the full-backs, defensive midfielders even offensive ones and up to the strikers.

 

We have team spirit, whatever I asked the players to do they comply, we have solidarity, which is a big value in the group; we have mental strength and the feeling to be happy together.

 

Even as we leave now, we will be happy to see everybody again, it is not only about winning but about human relationships.

 

The loss to Madagascar was one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, what did you say to your players after that shock defeat?

 

 

Mistakes are part of the game; when you score a goal, we score together and when you make a mistake, then the whole team commit that blunder.

 

Odion Ighalo is the top scorer of the tournament, he could have made mistake and all of us have to tolerate the mistake, that is our solidarity, what we need to do is to react in a more positive way, I am very impressed with the co-operation in the team, that is our strength.

 

You have always talked down the chances of your team but you reached the semi-final of a big tournament like this, what is the secret?

 

 

I have always said there is a difference between the past teams and now; we don’t have any big stars in the team, maybe only Mikel Obi and he was on the bench. You can’t say that other players are stars because we don’t have players playing in the Champions League, you want to mention Ahmed Musa but he is playing in Saudi Arabia.

 

We had one of the youngest teams in the tournament, Nigeria used to have great talents like Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Okocha, Victor Ikpeba but we don’t have such talents here only Alex Iwobi is playing in Arsenal but even then he is not playing all the times, most of the time he is a substitute. We were young, we were hungry, we were able to play good football; that is our solidarity.

 

 

 

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Mikel The exit of a commander

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Mikel The exit of a commander

Just a few days after a podium finish at the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt the satisfactory outing of the Super Eagles ordinarily ought to have dominated the headlines as footfall fans carry out a post-mortem on Gernot Rohr’s team.

 

However, that seems to have been overshadowed by the news of Mikel Obi’s retirement from the international stage on Thursday. While announcing his retirement on Instagram, the 32-year-old former Chelsea star partly wrote: “Egypt is a country where I’ve started and have finished my national career. In 2006 I played my first official championship for my country.

 

[The] 2019 Africa Cup of Nations marks my last championship for national team with Super Eagles. “Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my country for all the trust, support and love you’ve shown me over the past 13 years.

 

“Am out!” To underline his great talent, he even as a teenager, became the subject of transfer imbroglio between English giant sides, Manchester United and Chelsea before he settled for the London club where he enjoyed trophy-laden 11-year spell before moving to China in 2017.

 

Now with Turkish club Trabzonspor, Mikel, in Nigerian colours, at best, would be remembered for his role in the Under 23-teams bronze-winning campaign at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where he put on a patriotic act footing the bills of the team who had run into hitches due to administrative lapses as the team fine-tuned their preparation for the multi-sports extravaganza.

 

That incident made the former Plateau United, Lyn Oslo, Tianjin to Teda and Middlesbrough midfielder very popular among Nigerian football fans. Mikel, who had 88 caps for Nigeria, scoring six goals, featured in just two of Nigeria’s seven matches in Egypt and with the team winning and losing one each, it was not surprising by close followers of Nigerian football that the end was near regarding his service in the team.

 

This is not to say that the five-time AFCON campaigner was irrelevant in the team as he was greatly missed in the 2-0 home loss to South Africa in the qualifiers for Egypt 2019.

 

 

Perhaps Mikel, who’s first major senior tournament for Nigeria the Egypt 2006 AFCON, was expecting a script-like ending to his Super Eagles career as he hoped to join Christian Chukwu, Late Stephen Keshi and Joseph Yobo to lift the Africa’s football showpiece top prize but that dream did not materialize but with an AFCON gold and bronze among his collection of medals, Mikel surely has made a footprint as one of the most successful midfielders Nigeria has ever produced.

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Algeria crowned AFCON champions for the second time

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Algeria crowned AFCON champions for the second time

Algeria have won the Africa Cup of Nations for just the second time in their history courtesy of a 1-0 win over Senegal in the final of the competition in Cairo on Friday night.

 

The Greens last won the tournament on home soil in 1990, but have now secured another trophy by beating a Senegal side that were looking for their first ever AFCON title.

 

Algeria made the breakthrough in the second minute of the contest when Baghdad Bounedjah saw his strike from the edge of the Senegal box hit defender Salif Sane before dropping into the back of the net.

 

It was somewhat of a freak goal with the ball initially looking to be heading over the crossbar, but it was the perfect start for Algeria, who threatened a second in the sixth minute following a dangerous free kick into the Senegal box.

 

Aliou Cisse’s side were missing key centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly through suspension and there did appear to be a lot of panic inside their penalty area when Algeria had time and space to deliver.

 

Henri Saivet was the player making things happen for Senegal in the final third, but Les Lions de la Teranga were struggling to fashion clear opportunities. Cheikhou Kouyate did have a half-chance in the 14th minute, although his header from a Saivet free kick drifted harmlessly wide of the post.

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John Obi Mikel: Poor ending does not damage legendary status

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John Obi Mikel: Poor ending does not damage legendary status

The Super Eagles captain has called time on his international career in rather inauspicious circumstances, but that does not detract from his legacy As Nigerian football came out of its golden age in the latter part of the noughties, the larger-than-life personalities that had defined that era began to recede.

 

On the one hand, it meant reports of indiscipline and wilful indulgence became rarer; on the other, there were fewer polarizing figures and, as such, fewer players capable of provoking any kind of strong emotion in the minds of the public.

 

In that sense, John Obi Mikel is both distinct and a throwback, in that he is one of the few Nigerian footballers of the last 10 years able to elicit an impassioned reaction, one way or another.

 

He was present as the previous era slipped into senescence, and so it is difficult to define precisely what time period he belongs to. Perhaps, in much the same way he, at his best, seemed to have a couple of seconds more than most others on the pitch, he was a man entirely out of time.

 

However, as the timing of his retirement shows, the concept is not lost on him.

 

From his declaration on the eve of the Africa Cup of Nations that he has never been “one to overstay [my] welcome”, it was clear that if he felt he could no longer be relied on, he would push before being jumped.

 

That moment has finally arrived, brought home by the manner in which he was excluded entirely following the inglorious defeat at the hands of Madagascar.

 

It’s a real shame that Mikel’s final international cap was that abject match against Madagascar.

 

Deserved much better ultimately, but at the end of the day, it’s on him. It was a painfully unglamorous way to exit the scene; surely, the World Cup might have provided a better backdrop. For so long, it seemed like it might, as he took a hiatus from international football to focus on his physical wellbeing. Instead, the Pyramids will have to do.

 

Which is fine; for the symmetry of it, if nothing else. It was in Egypt that it all began, of course: Mikel making his AFCON bow in 2006 as the bright young thing, the future of the national side.

 

There is no question of the decision coming too soon. However, the jury is still out on whether, in those 13 years, that potential has quite been fulfilled.

 

That really is at the core of why he is such a polarizing figure: for some, Mikel’s medal collection is the perfect response, for others there are quibbles over his ambition and his commitment to the cause.

 

Of course, being a part of only the third Nigerian team in history to win the Afcon helps to dispel some of that latter concern.

 

That really was his golden moment: 2013, when he came closest to the level most people expected of him, scoring at the Confederations Cup, winning the Europa League with Chelsea a year on from winning the Champions League, and finishing second in the African Footballer of the Year vote. It was a level he never arrived at often enough, but one which he showed he was capable of.

 

What would it have meant if he had?

 

Perhaps not a lot more: playing in the age of Yaya Toure, there was little chance of him ascending the throne that no other Nigerian has done since Kanu in 1999.

 

That is no mark against him: he pretty much achieved everything else, and is by any measure a true legend of the African game. Not even an underwhelming final act at AFCON 2019 could rob him of that.

 

Source: Goal.com

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FIFA tips Nigeria to host 2020 U-20 World Cup

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If indications are right, Nigeria may be given the hosting rights by the Federation of International Football Associations to stage the 2020 U-20 Women’s World Cup; this is coming 10 years after the country last hosted a FIFA World Cup event.

 

This is according to a report by Premium Times, an online news portal. Sources close to FIFA disclosed to the news portal that officials from the world body are already planning an inspection exercise to Nigeria to ascertain if the country would be fit to host the second biggest women football event on the FIFA calendar.

 

“Officials from Zurich are expected in August for a four-day inspection tour and some of what they would be looking out for during the planned visit is what Nigeria can offer in terms of infrastructure/ operations, security, medical and the likes,” the source said. It was also gathered that the world football governing is planning to spend as much as $4m on the event which effectively takes off a huge chunk of the financial burden from Nigeria, if finally given the hosting rights.

 

The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is an international association football tournament, organised by FIFA for national teams of women under the age of 20.

 

No African country has ever hosted the event and Nigeria is looking set to be the first, having been pencilled down by FIFA to stage the 10th edition of the biennial football event. Interestingly, Nigeria has made it to the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on two occasions in 2010 and 2014 but was defeated by Germany both times.

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2019 AFROCAN: NBBF charges D’Tigers to aim for glory

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As the home-based D’Tigers file out on Saturday for their Group B match of the inaugural edition of FIBA AFROCAN against Kenya, President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Musa Kida, has charged the team to reach for the sky. In his message to the team, Kida urged the players to collectively put smiles on the faces of Nigerians whose passion for sports is insatiable.

 

The NBBF president who was with the team in camp before their departure on Thursday said, following the recent achievements of Nigeria on the international stage, there is a minimum standard already set by Nigerians. “All over the world, all eyes will be on you because with what we have achieved in the last 2 years, we have gained a new global status,” Kida said.

 

“As our representative in the AFROCAN, you must be aware that there are minimum requirements expected from you.

 

“In the last 2 years, what we have done has been short of very remarkable by way of bringing basketball to the global map and Nigerians are expecting you to continue this run of form.”

 

He alerted the team about the fierce competition that awaits them with all participating teams out to outplay and record decent results against the D’Tigers.

 

Nigeria is paired alongside Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo in Group B Meanwhile, D’Tigers’ coach, Alex Nwora, has arrived in San Domingo with 15 players for the two-legged test match with fellow World Cup bound Dominican Republic on July 20 and 22. Regulars, Ben Uzoh, Iroegbu Ike, Ike Diogu, Talib Zanna alongside Tosin Mehinti, Obekpa Chris, Aminu Alade and Akindele Ayodeji have all been selected ahead of the test match.

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