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S’Africa Gives Up Lead, Falls To Algeria

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Faouzi Ghoulam scored
his first international goal as Algeria completed a dramatic fightback to beat South Africa 3-1 in the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.
Christian Gourcuff’s Algeria side, the top-ranked national team in Africa, is among the favourites to win the tournament but looked to be heading for defeat when Thuso Phala gave Bafana Bafana a deserved second-half lead at Estadio de Mongomo.
South Africa striker Tokelo Rantie then missed a penalty a few minutes later and that was to prove costly as Algeria fought back to win their Group C opener.
Thulani Hlatshwayo’s own goal pegged Shakes Mashaba’s men back and Napoli defender Ghoulam added insult to injury by putting Algeria in front five minutes later.
Islam Slimani then sealed the points with a third goal, which goalkeeper Darren Keet should have kept out, as South Africa were left to reflect on what might have been.
South Africa did not allow their opponents to settle in the first half and they were unfortunate not to be in front when captain Dean Furman rattled the crossbar with a rasping long-range drive 22 minutes in.
Bafana Bafana then suffered a blow when they lost a distraught Rivaldo Coetzee to injury, meaning Siyabonga Nhlapo entered the fray after only half an hour.
South Africa looked increasingly threatening and had two great chances to take the lead just before half-time as Algeria rode their luck.
Algeria were unable to live with the pace of Bafana Bafana and Mashaba’s men should have doubled their lead two minutes later, when Aissa Mandi clattered into Vilakazi as he raced into the area and referee Noumandiez Desire Doue pointed to the spot.
Mandi was somewhat fortunate to escape with only a yellow card and Algeria were given another let off when Rantie’s penalty hit the crossbar and went behind for a goal-kick.
Algeria responded and Keet denied Slimani, who reacted quickly but saw his header palmed onto the post by the South Africa keeper.
Gourcuff’s men were then gifted an equaliser when defender Hlatshwayo could only head Yacine Brahimi’s cross into his own net after 67 minutes.
And worse was to come for South Africa five minutes later, when Ghoulam surged into the penalty and found the back of the net with a left-footed strike that Keet ought to have done better with at his near post
Slimani then stole in to add a third goal seven minutes from time, as Keet had another moment to forget by allowing a tame shot to squirm under his body and into the net.

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‘Super Eagles Coach Lacks Class’

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Former Nigeria international, Victor Ezeji, has slammed Gernot Rohr, describing the German as a coach who has not improved the Super Eagles, with reference to their style of play and talent management.
Rohr recently helped the three-time African champions qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon after their third-place finish at the 2019 tournament in Egypt.
Despite the team’s success, the former Enyimba striker said the tactician, who has been at the helm since 2016, has not impacted the Super Eagles with a particular style of football and he lacks the class to co-ordinate the players.
Ezeji expressed his frustration after Rohr’s men failed to score a goal in their twin friendlies against Cameroon. They suffered a 1-0 loss against the Indomitable Lions last Friday before playing out a goalless draw on Tuesday.
“I have never been a fan of Gernot Rohr but the truth is, sometimes it is not even about the result and sometimes, your team can play very well and lose, people could say they lost and there is prospect for the team,” Ezeji told news men.
“But in the case of this Gernot Rohr’s team, they are not playing very well and they are not winning; so, people will definitely complain. We have known our Super Eagles to have flair when playing, but that has not happened under him, whichever way he wins his game.
“There is no flair in their game, I think he is done with the team if you ask me because he is not showing anything, no class. We’ve got the players but I think what we lack is who co-ordinates them.”
Last year May, Rohr agreed on a two-and-half-year contract extension to remain as Super Eagles coach with the target of guiding the country to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar and also win the 2022 Afcon.
Ezeji argued that the former Bordeaux manager has not been a success in Nigeria and he recalled how indigenous coaches Christian Chukwu also led the country to a third-place at 2004 Afcon before Stephen Keshi’s side triumphed at the 2013 edition in South Africa.
“I don’t know what his contract with the NFF looks like but personally, I don’t think he has achieved anything because even our indigenous coaches got to third at Afcon and we became the continent’s champions,” he continued.
“In his own case, third-place is not enough at all with the kind of personnel and abundant of talents we have in Nigeria presently, he should do better. As I stated earlier, it is not about winning the cup but it is about playing good football and there are ways you do that.
“Remember Imama’s [Amapakabo] U23 boys’ game against Libya in Asaba [U23 Afcon qualifier in March 2019], we needed three goals to go through but after the first-half, everybody was like even if they did not get through we are satisfied with their performance but the boys got the result and advanced.
“We need to start seeing that kind of performance in our Super Eagles, nobody has any confidence now that even if we play market women they will win. We need to have that confidence in our team and be rest assured of good football against any opponent.”

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350 Golfers Set For IBB Golf Captain’s Tourney

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No fewer than 350 golfers and 50 tennis players will be competing in the inaugural IBB Golf and Country Captain’s Tourney in Abuja.
The tourney which is expected to tee-off from Friday, June 10, to Saturday 11, 2021 at the IBB Golf and Country club which will see professional golfers battle in the Handicap 19 to 36 event while the amateur will clash in the Nest event.
According to the Chairman Organising Committee of the 2021 Inaugural IBB golf Captain’s club, Olabanjo Obaleye said preparations are in top gear to host a successful tournament.
He also noted that the golfers and officials would be in adherence to all the COVID-19 protocol towards ensuring the safety of all Stakeholders.
“This tournament is to usher in the new Executive Members of the IBB golf and Country, which is done after every new executive Member is elected.
“We have gotten some sponsors for the tournament and I can tell you that they would be mouthwatering prizes for the winner and consolation prizes for best loser.
We will also have a dinner on Saturday where the prizes will be presented to the winners.
“Also we have put some modalities in place to ensure the safety of all players and Officials for the tournament.” Olabanjo said.

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HiFL: UNIBEN Royals Tackle UNICAL Malabites

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Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, the organisers of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), has released the draws for the round of 16 games at an event held in Lagos. The games are scheduled to be held between June and September 2021.
In Week 1, AAUA Luminaries will play OAU Giants in Ondo, FUTA Tigers will tackle UNILAG Marines in Akure, LAUTECH Hunters will attempt to hunt down the FUTMINNA Transformers in Ogbomoso while KSU Steelers engages UNILORIN Warriors.
For the week 2 games, Uniben Royals will play defending champion UNICAL Malabites, IAUE Minders will tackle UNN Lions in Port Harcourt, ABU Nobles will confront UAM Tillers in Zaria while BUK Stallions slugs it out with UNIMAID Desert Warriors in Kano.
Speaking at the draws, Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, Sola Fijabi acknowledged the efforts of all participating schools and encouraged them to maintain their sportsmanlike conduct as the games go on. “We are now at a very exciting stage of the league. What was witnessed during the qualifiers was the tip of the iceberg. The schools are ready and what we assure lovers of collegiate sports is double excitement. We appreciate the support of NUGA and our sponsors Nivea Men and Minimie for their trust in HiFL and as we deliver value to all our stakeholders,” Fijabi said.

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