Most Nigerian football fans have commended the performance of the Super Eagles in their first match of the ongoing 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Despite falling to the superior fireworks of Argentina 0-1 in their first match in Group B, the fans agreed that the Nigerians put up an impressive display remarkably different from their lethargic performances at the 2010 Africa Nations Cup in Angola and the qualifying series for the World Cup.
They were however, unanimous that goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was the difference between a total humiliation by the Argentines and the respectable loss recorded in the match.
Overall, however, the Super Eagles display was econcuraging enough to inspire hope that they can still get the result that will see them through to the next round.
From Nigerians based in South Africa to football fan at home, the loss to Argentina was bearable.
Honour Sirawoo, chairman of Sport writers Association of Nigerian, SWAN, Rivers State branch said that the Super Eagles showed some promises that can be built on in subsequent matches.
“With a little adjustment and concentration, the Eagles can go far, Sirawoo said.
Ponwang Abari, a civil servant, said that the Nigerian side gave a good account of themselves even though they were unable to convert their scoring chances.
Another Nigerian, Joseph Apollo, a trader, said the out come of the match should galvanise the team’s handlers to devise strategies that would ensure victory in subsequent matches.
Ocheya Obida, a student, said the future of the Nigerian side in the World Cup was bright and called for cooperation from all stakeholders for the country’s success.
Similarly, fans in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State also commended the efforts of the Super Eagles rating them above average in the encounter against Argentina
“I believe the Super Eagles played very well. In fact, they out-played the Argentines in the second half but for the early goal conceded,’’ Alhaji Abdulkadir Kwakwatawa said.
Tidesports source in South Afrcia said that a population of Nigerians who could not obtain match tickets, converged in a popular Nigerian eatery in the locality to watch the match on a big screen.
At the blast of the final whistle, they tropped out on Rockey Street, where the eatery is located, singing and dancing to the admiration of passers by.
Mr Adebayo Ogun, a trader among the cheering crowd said.
“We showed them African soccer; it was just unfortunate we conceded that early goal which made the difference.
“I was happy to see a new Super Eagles and I know there is very high hope that we will still make it to the next round,” Ogun said.
Another fan who simply identified himself as Kabiru, said he felt sad about the loss but said there was still cause to have hope with the team’s performance.
“We will make it against Greece and Korea,” he said, explaining that having watched both teams in their encounter, the Super Eagles had a better chance of qualifying for the next round.
“We can now say Nigeria has a team,” he said, adding that they showed better cohesion and gave hope for better results in their subsequent matches.
“It was unbelievable. I never expected such a performance from the Eagles. They played well beyond the expectations of many Nigerians.
He said the team’s loss was due to ill-luck through wasted scoring chances by Yakubu Ayegbeni and Chinedu Obasi, and lack of midfield firepower.
“The duo of Ayegbeni and Obasi should have scored earlier and later on in the first half. If that had happened, and we had played better in the midfield, the score line would have been different,’’ he added.
Wei Xiangnan, the Abuja-based Chief Correspondent of China Radio International, also told our source that the Eagles’ performance was inspiring and had given more hope to Nigerians.
“I think the Eagles played well, and beyond expectations. They were just unlucky, especially late in the second half.
“But I believe they have given many Nigerians more hope about the World Cup now, and I believe they will do better in their next matches,’’ he said.
Meawhile, the Black Stars of Ghana yesterday in Pretoria recorded Africa’s first victory in the first round of matches of the 2010 World Cup played so far.
The Stars pipped Serbia 1-0 in the first match of Group D to put themselves in good stead for qualification for the second round stage.
Before their victory, three African representatives had taken to the pitch, recording one draw and two losses.
Host Bafana Bafana of South Africa kicked off the world cup seen by many as Africa’s tournament with an impressive 1-1 draw with Mexico on Friday
Nigerian’s Super Eagles and the Fennecs of Algeria failed to match the South African performance narrowly losing 0-1, to Argentina and Slovenia on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
With Ghana’s victory, it is hoped that the road had been cleared for an African success in subsequent matches.
Asamoah Gyan, scorer of Ghana’s first World Cup goal at Germany 2006, was again on hand to open the account in South Africa through a well taken 85th minute penalty, after Serbia’s Kuzmanovic deliberately handled the ball inside the box.
Despite playing with a one man advantage, Ghana though impressive in their game, failed to break down the resilient Serbian defence, until the defensive howler provided the penalty opportunity.
Gyan could have double the score later on but his effort rebounded off the upright after the goalkeeper was well beaten.
Another African team, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun will take to the stage this afternoon in a group match with Japan
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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