Ghana and Nigeria played out a 0-0 scoreline yesterday in a friendly at the Vicarage Road in Watford.
The match gave Black Stars coach Goran Stevanovic a chance to look at some new faces ahead of the 2012 African Nations Cup.
Stevanovic handed Massawudu Alhassan his senior debut at left back as he made six changes to the team that started in Ghana’s previous game, deciding to rest Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari, Samuel Inkoom and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu while also giving Mohammed Abu and Albert Adomah a rare start.
Both sides headed into the game with contrasting fortunes after the final day of 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers with Ghana earning their spot while Nigeria failed to qualify.
And it was Ghana who dominated the early exchanges with Adomah sending a dipping 20-yard volley over Austine Ejide’s bar after seven minutes.
Prince Tagoe followed up with a drive from the edge of the area straight at goalkeeper Ejide.
It took Nigeria 21 minutes to test Ghana goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey when he came out to gather a shot across the face of goal.
Nigeria, finally fought back as they looked to have put their qualification disappointment behind them and looked more dangerous going forward as Brown Ideye hit a shot that cannoned off the crossbar and Ikechukwu Uche saw his shot blocked by Kwarasey to end the half.
Ghana made a raft of changes at the start of the second half, bringing on Gyan, Muntari and Agyemang-Badu.
With the game slowing down, both sides occasionally pushed for the breakthrough but were left to share the spoils of the game.
The game though, did not match the efforts of the fans as after a first half that suggested goals could be forthcoming after the break, the predictable flurry of substitutions helped lessen the game as a spectacle to the extent that it fizzled out.
The Black Stars continued to dominate and Tagoe head the next opportunity, hitting a right-footed drive from the edge of the area straight at the keeper.
Nigeria gradually started to come into the contest in an attacking sense as the midway point of the half approached and their opponents were nearly the architects of their own downfall when John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah both left a low cross from Ikechukwu Uche, keeper Adam Kwarasey didn’t come and then watched nervously as the ball drifted wide of his left-hand post.
But that was to be the catalyst for a good spell of Nigerian pressure. First Dynamo Kiev striker Ideye Brown hit a 20-yard shot that had Kwarasey beaten only to rebound off the bar and then his forward partner, Real Zaragoza’s Uche, forced the Norwegian-based stopper into a smart stop low to his left.
That was to be the last chance of note before the interval, although both sides continued to be positive and play at a decent tempo.
Ghana made three changes at the start of the second half, including bringing on star striker Asamoah Gyan, but it was their opponents who had the first chance after the break, with Joel Obi firing over from the edge of the area.
Gyan had his first chance to impress in the 52nd minute when Leicester City’s John Pantstil burst forward from right-back and crossed, but the striker, on loan to UAE outfit Al Ain from Sunderland, headed over.
The second half became increasingly scrappy though, as the substitutions continued with the all too predictable effect on proceedings.
However, Obinna Nsofor created an opportunity for himself with 19 minutes remaining when he cut in off the left, easily beating Mensah to open up a decent chance, only to get his finish all wrong and drag the ball harmlessly wide of the near post.
Ghana had another half chance soon after when a poor free-kick from the right was partially headed clear to the on-rushing Anthony Annan, who did well to strike a left-footed drive first time but Ejide was not unduly troubled.
Annan had similar effort from closer range blocked soon after but that was as close as either side got to scoring as the game petered out.
Ghana: Kwarasey; Pantsil, Vorsah, Mensah, Alhassan (Addy 66); Mohammed (Badu 54), Annan; Adomah (Adiyiah 54), Asamoah (Muntari 46), Owusu-Abeyie (Inkoom 46); Tagoe (Gyan 46). Not used: Agyei, Frimpong and Boateng.
Nigeria: Ejide; Ambrose, Yobo, Adeleye, Taye; Musa (K Uche 60), Ogude, Obi (Mikel 70), Nsofor (Obasi 80); Brown (Emenike (74), I Uche (Utaka 86). Not used: Ekpo, Ekigho, Chigozie, Gege and Echiejile.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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