Nigeria’s U20 team, the Flying Eagles, qualified for the semi-finals of the men’s football event of the 12th African Games after a hard fought 2-2 draw with hosts Morocco on Friday evening at the FAR Sports Complex in Rabat.
The result meant the Flying Eagles garnered five points from three games behind Burkina Faso who topped the group, and ahead of both Morocco and South Africa.
The Flying Eagles fell behind after Morocco profited from some slack defending to allow Mohsinne Abba to head home the opener in the 12th minute.
Morocco looked the better side for much of the first half but Nigeria came back strongly towards the close of the first period and was duly rewarded when Ahmad Ghali was brought down in the box.
Team captain, Ibrahim Abubakar stepped forwarded and slotted home the spot kick at the second time of asking, after the Moroccan goalkeeper saved his initial effort.
The first half ended 1-1 but Morocco was soon back in the saddle from another spot kick as the referee ruled that Habibu Yakubu had handled in the box.
The hosts scored to lead 2-1 after 72 minutes as Nigeria faced elimination.
Coach Paul Aigbogun threw on lanky striker Chinonso Emeka and it proved a good decision, as the striker scored with just a minute left of regulation time to put Nigeria through to the last four.
Gernot Rohr: No more’ goalkeeping concerns for Eagles
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has said the team’s goalkeeping concerns are over as the country looks forward to the qualifying rounds of the next Africa Cup of Nations in November.
The Manager said this in an interview on NFF twitter handle after the team was held to a 2-2 draw by Ukraine in Dynipro that the problem that had plagued the goalkeeping department of the national team was now a thing of the past.
Since Vincent Enyeama retired, the Super Eagles have struggled to find a decent replacement, with the likes of Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi failing to impress.
Although Francis Uzoho did better than those two when he was given the chance, his form dipped since he moved to Cyprus due to lack of activity at his club.
However, after switching clubs last summer, he is back playing regularly and that showed in his performance in Nigeria’s match with Ukraine last Tuesday.
The former Bordeaux Manager said in NFF twitter handle that “Our goalkeeper, Uzoho, is much better, because he is playing in his club, and even in the goalkeeper positions we had problems, but we see that, we have already the answer.”
Rohr went on to say that the team will be playing friendlies against African teams in the next round of international break because of the AFCON qualifiers which begin in November.
When asked about possible opponents of the team in October, Rohr said: “We have to play against African teams, because the qualifiers are against African teams.”
He said the Super Eagles would play Benin at home first and then go away against Lesotho hence his the decision to play African sides in friendly.
Crisis hits Falcons’ camp over NFF’s interference
Omission of Super Falcons skipper’s name Desire Oparanozie is causing ripples in the camp of the team preparing for a two-legged second round 2020 Olympic football qualifier against Cote’d’Voire on 30th September and 6 October.
It was learnt that former Super Falcons coach, Thomas Dennerby, has threatened to quit the team if he is not allowed free hand to pick his team.
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF on September 13 published the names of invited players for the qualifiers with many questioning the exclusion of captain of the side, Desire Oparanozie, from the list of seven overseas players for the match.
The exclusion of the captain has raised eyebrows in some quarters with many arguing that the list is a suspect.
Our correspondent leant that Coach Thomas Dennerby did not prepare the list as he left the team immediately after the second leg qualifiers against Algeria in Lagos under acrimonious circumstances and agitations over unpaid bonuses led by the captain.
“I can confidently tell you that the list was not prepared by the coach (Thomas Dennerby). Someone else did but I do not know. You cannot have a match of this magnitude and not invite your team captain.
“This tells you that NFF is divided. Some persons frustrated the coach. They did not allow him to invite players he needs and they would want to impose players on him. This is some of the reasons he abandoned the team,” the source said.
The NFF according to report has asked Falconets’ Head Coach, Christopher Danjuma, to take charge of the team for the Cote d’Ivoire game.
However, in a message on the Sports Minister’s Twitter handle, Sunday Dare revealed that he would intervene to ensure Dennerby who was appointed in 2018 continue as head coach of the Super Falcons.
“I have personally stepped into the matter of Thomas Dennerby, the Coach of Super Falcons. I received a brief this morning and will proceed to seek a quick resolution to ensure he continues to Coach Nigeria’s female team,” Dare tweeted on Monday.
Kalu emerges Europe’s top dribbler ahead Pepe, Di-Maria
Samuel Kalu is the best dribbler in Europe top five leagues, ahead of PSG’s Angel Di Maria, Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe and Real Betis’ Nabil Fekir.
The 22-year-old winger, who is in his second season with Bordeaux, has the highest dribble percentage in Europe.
Kalu played a vital role in Bordeaux’ 2-0 victory over Metz in Saturday’s Ligue 1 clash at Matmut Atlantique.
A product of GBS Academy, he has been a regular in Paulo Sousa’s side following his move from Gent in 2018 – a team he joined from AS Trencin.
The Nigeria international has successfully executed 22 dribbles out of 47 attempted, putting him ahead of some of the world’s most talked-about players known for that.
Just behind Kalu is Arsenal’s Pepe, who has completed 19 dribbles despite his barren run at the Etihad Stadium.
The 2018 World Cup winner Fekir, who plays for Real Betis, is just behind that at 18 out of 25 with PSG’s Di Maria’s 18 over 41 dribbles rounding out the top four.
The Girondins are ninth in the French top-flight with eight points from five outings.
They host Brest in their next outing on September 21.
GOtv Boxing Night 20: Scorpion, Baby Face promise explosive ring return
West African Boxing Union (WABU) welterweight champion, Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, and national super featherweight champion, Ridwan “Scorpion” Oyekola, have promised to return to the ring in an explosive fashion at GOtv Boxing Night 20, scheduled to hold on 12 October.
The two shinning stars are billed to fight at the event slated for the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos. In his last fight at GOtv Boxing Night 19, Baby Face famously knocked out Ghana’s Eden Biki, who was punched into unconsciousness in the 10th round. The WABU champion next opponent is Jafaaru Suleiman.
Speaking in Lagos on Monday, the WABU champion said he’s already looking beyond Sulaimon, whom he said he plans to use as preparation for the African Boxing Union title bout.
“Sulaimon is not an opponent in the real sense. He’s a training apparatus. I’m looking beyond the fight, as my target is the ABU title,” he said.
Oyekola, whose last engagement saw him dethrone long-reigning champion, Taofeek “Taozon” Bisuga at GOtv Boxing Night 18 in Ibadan, said his next opponent, Sikiru “Omo Iya Eleja” Shogbesan, will suffer the same fate as Bisuga, who suffered a first-round technical knockout after falling thrice. The Ibadan-based boxer, who spoke in a phone chat, advised Shogbesan to pull out of the bout or risk being beaten legless.
“There is no dispute about me being the best in my category. Bisuga is well placed to tell Shogbesan how I made him see stars. If Shogbesan ignores my advice, the walls of the Indoor Sports Hall will appear to him as wobbling by the time I finish with him,” said Scorpion.
GOtv Boxing Night 20 will be headlined by the much anticipated pairing of ABU lightweight king, Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph, and WABU champion, Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, who face each other in the ABU title bout. Also on the card is the national bantamweight title bout between Sadiq Adeleke and Opeyemi “Sense” Adeyemi.
Okowa pre-season tourney: Rivers Utd, Lobi Stars hit semis
Rivers United and Lobi Stars on Monday qualified for the semifinal stage of the Gov Okowa Pre-Season Tourney following a 1-1 draw with MFM FC and 2-1 win against Remo Stars respectively in their final group matches.
MFM FC under fire since the competition got underway went in front courtesy of a 4th minute spot kick from Clement Ogu, they were however given warning of what to expect when Chigozie Ihunda’s penalty kick came off the bar and they were pegged back by Bakari Bamba 85th minute equaliser.
A delighted Stanley Eguma, the head Coach of Rivers United said after the game that the main reason for taking part in the competition was to give some of their new players’ game time.
“We took part in the Gov Okowa Pre Season Tourney with a view of giving some players some test games,” he said. “And this has paid off as we now know the quality of each and every player.”
Rivers United got eight points from four matches in Group A as their opponent got a solitary point as they exited the competition in the group stages.
Goals from Chinedu Udeagha and Abdulkareem Mumini secured a 2-1 win for Lobi Stars against Remo Stars on Monday – with nine points guaranteeing their place in the last four.
For Remo Stars, they bowed out of the competition with some positives despite picking a point and suffering three defeats.
FG to adopt camping system to nurture youths
In furtherance of the goal and objective of the creation of the National Youth Games to discover and develop young athletes into podium performances at future competitive sporting events, locally and internationally, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will introduce the Camping System of nurturing the skills of the U-15 athletes to attain national aspirations for Youth and Sports Development.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, gave this policy direction at a media interactive session at the University of Ilorin, venue of the ongoing 5th Edition of National Youth Games.
While pouring encomiums on the vision behind the NYG, Dare opined that the Games is a renaissance of real grassroots sports development in the country.
He added that it is the deliberate plan of the ministry to turn over the discovered talents of the Games to the Federations for subsequent and proper management of Skills of the U-15 talents through the Camping System.
Dare recalled the earlier meeting he had with the States Director of Sports recently, as he praised their collaborative efforts, stressing, without them, the Games would not have been possible.
Furthermore, the minister said that the Ministry will in collaboration with the States strive to improve the capacity of Athletic Coaches through enhanced capacity building programme to achieve the vision and objective for high performance in Athletics generally.
3×3 FIBA Africa Nations Cup teams begin camping in Abuja
The senior men and women’s 3×3 teams and the under 18 boys and girls have commenced camping at the Package B of the National Stadium, Abuja in preparation for the 2019 3×3 FIBA Africa Nations Cup which comes up in Kampala, Uganda from November 7th to 11th, 2019.
Kano Pillars duo of Okoh Lucky Subel and Godwin David were invited alongside Abuchi Ibe Agu and Anyaoha Wisdom of Gombe Bulls.
Koko Victor Antony (Rivers Hoopers) and Ndibe Emmanuel complete the list of invited players for the camping which opened on Sunday, 15th, August, 2019. They hope to improve on the bronze won in the 2018 edition.
First Bank’s Okoro Ifunanya coming from a solid performance at the African Games in Morocco earned another call up to camp alongside team mates , Kelani Sumbo (First Bank) and Umeh Gloria (Plateau Rocks).
Agbotan Success (Delta Force), Okah Chinwe Hope (Air Warrior) and Theresa Mac-Dangosu (Abuja) complete the list of players invited for the women’s team.
The u-18 boys team include Oyebanji Mustapha (Kwara Falcons), Odufuwa Kanyinsola (Hoops and Read), David Adetutu (Abuja City Chiefs), Emmanuel James (Abuja City Chiefs), Godwin Peace (unattached), Samaila Antibas (unattached), Michael Ayodele (unattached), Oyedokun Olamilekan (UNILAG) and Akomolafe Oyekanmi (UNILAG).
The u-18 girls comprise Onuorah Chika (First DeepWater), Agba Agatha (Benue Princes), Joseph Godgift (MFM), Ezebilo Grace (MFM), Gbihi Cynthia (Dolphins) and Okeke Chidinma (Dolphins) who were all invited after a strong showing at the recently concluded second phase of the Zenith Women Basketball League.
Linda Adejoh (Blackgold Queens), Omaga Olivia (Air Warriors), Ubi Majomary (Dolphins) and Nwachukwu Ifunanya (First Bank) complete the list of 10 players invited to the u-18 girls camp.
Acha Chris, Christopher Okoh, Juliana Akhere and Nnorom Mark will be in charge of the teams while Simon Evbuoman has been picked as the accompanying referee.
Why I joined Everton – Iwobi
uper Eagles midfielder Alex Iwobi says he has no regrets over his Everton move as he feels at home, although he still struggles with the scouse accent.
The Nigeria international joined the Toffees from boyhood club Arsenal on deadline day for a reported 35m pounds. Iwobi has spent a majority of his 23 years on earth with Arsenal but he has no regrets over his decision to leave.
Speaking on why he decided to leave, the Super Eagles star told Skysports in an interview that he wanted to improve himself as a player.
He said “It’s so far, so good, I feel like I’ve got a new home and I’m really comfortable here. “I got a few phone calls [about the deal] and spoke to my agent – it took about a day of talking to the manager and talking to Marcel Brands. It wasn’t really hard and I got convinced.
“I was very comfortable [at Arsenal] and I was on holiday so I didn’t think about any move. I got the call and thought about if this would be a better chance for me to improve myself as a player. I thought that this was a big opportunity and I shouldn’t turn it down. I’ve got no regrets about the decision”
He also added that Marco Silva’s vision also convinced him to join the club and he wants to be part of the success. “The ambition that Marco Silva has also persuaded me to come – the drive, what he wants to achieve and the way he saw me in his plans, I feel like I’m able to help him do that,’ he said
National Youth Games: Ondo athletes, coaches protest unpaid allowances
ndo State athletes and coaches yesterday protested against the leadership of the state’s sports council following the non-payment of their allowances at the ongoing National Youth Games currently being held in Ilorin, Kwara State.
It would be recalled that the NYG
which is a 10-day event for athletes whose ages are not more than 15 years started on September. 7 and will end on 17.
One of the coaches, Moses Usifo, who spoke with journalists on behalf of the aggrieved athletes and coaches, accused the state government and the management of the sports council of negligence.
According to Coach Usifo, the act could simply be described as “wicked and barbaric.”
“Its still shocking that most of our athletes at the ongoing national youth games in Ilorin are starving, yet competing,” he said.
The boxing coach revealed that the athletes and coaches had not been given a dime since the commencement of the event and efforts to solve an imminent crisis proved abortive.
“We were told to wait till the month end before we get the allowances but we have resolved to stop competing and remain in Ilorin until we are paid,”
The national youth games tagged ‘Kwara 2019’ ends on Monday.
Reacting to the development, the Commissioner for Sport and Youth Development, Dotun Owanikin, said “To the best of my knowledge, this information is not true.
“I know you will discover at the end of the day that the remainder of the officials allowances had been scheduled for payment shortly after the games while the athletes had been fully paid.
“Fully paid. l mean all athletes. The officials will receive their balance of allowances when they return to Ondo state.”
Spain trounces Argentina to win FIBA World Cup
pain started on fire and put the shackles on Luis Scola to crush Argentina, 95-75, for the gold medal in the FIBA World Cup at the Wukesong Sports Arena in Beijing, China, on Sunday, September 15.
Ricky Rubio delivered 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists to lead 6 players in double figures as Spain reclaimed its place at the basketball summit by recapturing the World Cup crown it won 13 years ago.
Spain jumped to a 14-2 lead, ended the maiden period up 23-14, and never looked back from since by limiting Argentina star Scola to 8 points on atrocious 1-of-10 shooting from the field.
Chalking up a game-high 28 points in their semifinals win over France, Scola was expected to come up big for an Argentina team seeking to complete unfinished business after settling for silver in the 2002 World Cup.
Scola, though, found no openings on offense and was kept scoreless in the first half – with his first points coming off a pair of free throws with 3:29 minutes left in the third quarter and Spain leading 60-41.
Argentina managed to narrow the gap to 12 points, 66-78, before Rubio – who clinched the final and tournament Most Valuable Player awards – knocked down the foul shots that restored order for Spain.
Rubio then sank the proverbial dagger from long distance with 1:31 minutes left to give his side a 93-72 cushion.
Marc Gasol – who was named into the World Cup All-Star 5 with Rubio – finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, while Rudy Fernandez put up 11 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Sergio Llull fired 15 points as brothers Willy and Juan Hernangomez added 11 points apiece for Spain.
Gabriel Deck paced Argentina with 24 points, Nicolas Laprovittola chipped in 17 points, while Facundo Campazzo had 11 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals in the loss
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