As Nigeria’s Super Eagles play her first match tomorrow in the 27th edition of African Nations Cup against two times defending champions, Egypt, in Angola, football analysts, fans and administrators have expressed their opinions and feelings against the match.
In his reaction, former youth international Benebi, ‘Carlos Numa said the match against Egypt would not be easy, because as defending champions, they will like to prove their pedigree.
According to him, Nigerians should not be in a haste to conclude that the Super Eagles would lift the trophy.
“I can draw conclusions when I see the performances of Super Eagles in their first two matches, particularly against Egypt, I am saying this because everybody knows how we qualify for the 2010 World Cup”, he said.
Numa continued that Coach Shaibu Amodu should understand that his team is playing against a good side that is tactically and technically sound. Consequently, should ensure that his defence is very tight.
The 1985 U-17 World Cup winner in China advised the Super Eagles to be careful in their tackles because of the antics of on the North Africans.
He further advised the Eagles to put in their best in the game, saying that determination and commitment are the keys to success.
Benjamin Wiko, chief coach of the Pioneers FC, Port Harcourt described Egypt as a strong team apart from being two times champions, so, Coach Amodu should field players that would be ready to make sacrifice for the nation and not manage any player no matter his pedigree.
According to him, Egypt play fast football and the Super Eagles should try to slow down the game and take their chances as they came.
“I know that our Super Eagle’s will definitely win the Pharaohs, but we should be careful with them because in football anything can happen” he warned.
James Onoja, a renowned sports analyst, in his contribution said the match against Egypt would be a very tight one for Nigeria because Egypt’s failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup would spur them to compensate themselves with the nations cup by lifting it again.
Onoja predicted that the least Eagles would get is a draw in the game. He observed Eagles performed below expectations during the past two editions of the tournament and need to raise their game.
He used the forum to call on Coach Shaibu Amodu to concentrate more on his strike force, because it is goals that are needed not fancy displays that we used to see in most of the Eagles matches.
Otis Asonye, chairman Dolphins FC Port Harcourt Supporters Clubs, in his opinion tipped Super Eagles to win the match.
He, however, expressed fears over the inadequate preparation of the Eagles. He suggested that the authorities concerned should ensure that Nigeria have a full squad of home based Super Eagles team to complement the foreign based players because right now, there is no good team work in the Super Eagles team.
Simeon Ojoko, the Chief Coach of Gateway International Church Football Academy, advised Super Eagles players to take the Egypt match seriously, because playing with defending champions, is a high profile match, especially, in an opening game.
Former Rivers State Commissioner for Sports Hon. Alwell Onyesoh believes that the opening match of the group C could go either way given the pedigree of both teams in African football.
Onyesoh remarked that the encounter would be keenly contested and interesting to watch, but, would record a low score line at the end of the day.
He noted that Egyptians teams are known for their good mid field play, thus, he would not be surprised to see the Eagles and Pharaohs play out their hearts.
Tonye Orabere and Nancy Briggs
RSG Restates Commitment To Youth Dev Via Sports
The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Chief Aribitonye Okiri, has said that the state government-led by Chief Nyesom Wike, is committed to develop youths in the State through sports.
He stated that it is not in doubt that the State has hidden talents at the grassroots that are yet to be discovered.
Chief Okiri, said this at the finals of the National School Sports Competition held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
According to him, Governor Wike is poised to reach out to young ones in all the local government areas, in the state and engage them with sporting activities in a bid to discover hidden talents.
“As I speak, the governor has reiterated his desire to reach out to the children in all parts of the state and unearth their talents through engagement in sports, believing that all Rivers children are talented” Chief Okiri said.
Also speaking, the second Vice President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, thanked Governor Wike, for proving a worthy partner of NSSF and appeal to other corporate organisations to emulate Nigeria Breweries Ltd in partnering NSSF in sports development.
At the end of the final competition, Community Secondary School, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, dominated the medal table.
24 States Set For Lagos Athletics Championship
The Lagos State Athletics Association has confirmed the entry of 24 states and some clubs for its lucrative Athletics Meet fixed for Thursday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship made the disclosure at the weekend even as he hinted a few other states may still join the already confirmed 24 states and clubs.
He said: “Yes, we are very much on track for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship which will be coming up this Thursday.
“Right now, we already have 24 states and some top racing clubs that have confirmed their participation, a few more may join before we close the window.”
The Lagos Open Athletics Championship is a one-day meet simultaneously serving as another qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
In the past days, Lagos has been a beehive of activities with the National trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sporting complex and now the train is moving to the heart of the city in Surulere as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics continues to gather momentum.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters.
There would also be top-quality action across the relay events including; the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been penciled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Already, the top three finishers across all the events have been assured mouthwatering prizes by the organisers.
Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials
Blessing Okagbare will be heading to Tokyo Olympics in the best form of her life after running the second fastest time in the world this season.
The 32-year-old ran 10.63 seconds to win the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Thursday.
The 10.63 seconds time saw her tie with Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’ best time in 2021 ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Okagbare ran 10.99 seconds in the semifinal of the event to set a new championship record , and before clocking 10.63 seconds in the final to set a new record. The scorching 10.63 time is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster. The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season.
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