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2017 AFCON: Spate Of Draws, Low Scorelines Worries Fans

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Soccer fans in Ebonyi have expressed worry over the spate of draws and low scorelines recorded at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon.
Tidesports gathered that after 10 matches so far in the competition, only four wins have been recorded through Cameroon, Senegal, DR Congo and Ghana.
Six draws have also been recorded in the five day-old competition as no match has been concluded with more than a 2-0 scoreline.
Some fans who spoke to newsmen yesterday in Abakaliki expressed regret that the competition was turning into a defensive-minded one which negates the tenets of attacking football.
Chinedu Chukwugbo, a former Golden Eaglets goalkeeper, said that the development painted a poor image of African football.
“An overview of the matches show that the teams are more concerned to get results which make them employ cautious tactics not to concede goals.
“It seems their priority is not to get eliminated and not to be adventurous to score but most of them in tight corners currently have realised that only goals can bail them,’’ he said.
Jacob Udude, a South African-based Football Agent, blamed the development on poor technical abilities of African players and tactical deficiency of the coaches.
“Most of the foreign-based players on parade don’t feature for big clubs in Europe where they are exposed to modern intricacies involved in goal-scoring.
“The few ones such as Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang of Gabon, Sadio Mane of Senegal among others don’t receive the sort of attacking support obtainable in their clubs from their less-fancied national team compatriots,’’ he said.
Chika Nwangele, Ebonyi United FC of Abakaliki Skipper, noted that the situation affected the competition’s standard and renewed calls for its review.
“It is time CAF reviews the period of organising the competition and consider extending it from two to three or four years’ interval such as the UEFA and COPA America competitions.
“This will enable the teams to prepare adequately, eliminate undue club engagement pressure on the players and arouse the desired hunger in all participants to organise and excel at the competition,’’ he said.
A Teacher and soccer enthusiast, Mrs Eunice Ibe, however, noted that it was too early to make conclusions on the competition as it was still in its “early days’’.
“The competition as was the case in the past, may increase in tempo from the quarter-finals and improve in all areas of lapses.

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Falcons Needs Overhauling – Ex-NFF Players

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Following the Super Falcons embarrassing 4-2 defeat to South Africa at the recently concluded Aisha Buhari Invitational tournament, former players of the team have unanimously agreed that the team needs an overhaul.
Two penalties and an own goal by defender Michelle Alozie handed the Banyana Banyana a famous win in the final played at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos on Tuesday.
Speaking with Newsmen Stella Mbachu who starred for the Falcons from 1999 to 2014 and won six Africa Women Cup of Nations titles with the team said Randy Waldrum’s team lacked fitness and were out of sort in the finals.
“That was not a good game, it was obvious the Falcons were not in their right frame of mind,” she said. 
“The game was a bad one that is not the team I know. The entire team didn’t play well.
“They need to put this behind them and work harder to perform better during the Africa Women’s Qualifiers.
“They need to overhaul the team and reassemble a new team. The Falcons need to be worked on. They lacked fitness as a coach in my own opinion and that was why the South Africans out ran them.
Tidesports source reports that on Waldrum’s tactics, Mbachu said  she does not know his pattern since he arrived maybe he needs more time with the team. He needs to study the players more particularly those playing in the Nigeria Women Football League.
The Nigerian Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick also agreed that the Falcons needs a rejig as the defeat to South Africa exposed the weakness of the team.
“We are all disappointed by the performance of the Super Falcons, especially on a day we claim to be celebrating the Girl Child,” he said.
“The whole essence of this competition for us as NFF has been achieved. We have a qualifier against Ghana in the next few weeks so we needed these matches to test the readiness of our players for the task ahead.
“The Banyana Banyana team has exposed the weaknesses in our team. They came to Lagos with so many young players and gave our girls some football lessons on the day.
“For me, the lesson here is that, we need to inject more players from the NWFL into the team. As you can see, the outstanding players in Nigeria’s two matches against Mali and South Africa are home based players and that is the more reason why we must invest more in the Nigeria women’s football league to expose more of these hidden talents.”
Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation, Austin Eguavoen, also agreed on the overhaul but added it must be gradual.
“The whole crowd was shocked with the result. They are not playing well and that is why it is tagged the Aisha Buhari International friendly and it is an opportunity for the coach and the entire Nigeria especially football stakeholders to start looking inward.
“But we cannot wipe these girls out completely, it is impossible and that’s why it has to be a gradual process,” he added.

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Akwa United Boss Rues Elimination From CAF Champions League

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Head Coach of Akwa United Football Club Kennedy Boboaye has admitted that his team were eliminated from the CAF Champions League by the Algerian Champions CR Belouizdad, who were more technically superior.
Tidesports source reports that the Nigerian champions crashed out at the preliminary stage of Africa’s premier competition after losing the second leg 2-0 in Algiers last Sunday and are out of the competition on a 2-1 aggregate score.
In a reaction to his team’s defeat and elimination from the competition, Coach Kennedy Boboye said “The moment we won by just one goal in Uyo on September 12th, I knew it will be difficult for us to get a favourable result in Algiers, but at the same time it wasn’t an impossible task for us. 
After a careful study of the first leg, I realized that our opponents (CR Belouizdad) were technically better than us and that was why we came to Algiers with a game plan which, unfortunately, didn’t work for us.
“Two of my players Charles Okafor and Marshal Johnson had passport issues, one player Denis Nya sustained an injury during the warm-up and that altered the plans we had. We needed to move Dare Ojo to the centre back position, which he did very well but we missed his experience in the midfield and it affected our game plan.
“Having won the first leg, we knew that they (CR Belouizdad) will come out to attack us so our plan was to get at least a goal in the first half but we came up against a very good team. The way they played, one can tell that they have been playing together for a very long time. The first goal they scored was a good goal but the penalty against us wasn’t a good one, but that is football.
“We have to go back and start preparing for the new NPFL season and I think that the exposure and experience we have garnered from these two games will help the coaching crew and the players in subsequent outings both in the league and at the continental level” Boboye assured.
The Promise Keepers who won the Nigeria Professional Football League title for the first time in their history returned home on Tuesday.

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FIFA Confirms Venue For S’Eagles, CAR Double-Header

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FIFA has confirmed venues for the 2022 World Cup qualifying double-header between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Les Fauves of the Central African Republic.
The Super Eagles will host Raoul Savoy’s men in a matchday three encounter at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on October 10.
The reverse fixture will take place three days later at the Stade De Japoma, Douala, Cameroon.
The Super Eagles started their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win against the Lone Star of Liberia last month.
Gernot Rohr’s charges then defeated the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde 2-1 four days later in Mindelo.
The three-time African champions top Group C with six points from two games.
The top team in the group will proceed to the final play-off for the final round.

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