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2017 AFCON: Cranes Need To Make Ugandans Happy …As Defending Champions, Ivory Coast Crash Out

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Uganda Cranes coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has said they need to make Uganda happy by winning the last Group D game against Mali today.
“We want to give our best and make Ugandans happy,” said the coach who also made it clear that he still has a contract with Uganda to 2018.
The Serbian born coach has been linked to the South African coaching job that is vacant.
He, however, said he is happy with the way the Uganda FA is handling his contract and added that he is now looking ahead to the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers where Uganda is in the group stage.
Sredojevic said although they lost narrowly 1-0 to Ghana and by the same margin to Egypt – he is glad that his team has learnt a lot and will never be the same again after playing in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Team captain Geoffrey Massa also pointed out that the team is hungry to come out of the tournament with a win.
“Expect big performances from the players,” added the South African based professional.
Interestingly the Ugandan team is staying 75km away from the Stadium in the town of Oyem that will host the game.
Meanwhile, Mali midfielder Mamoutou N’Diaye has explained that his team will do everything to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Eagles take on Uganda in their final Group D match on Wednesday night, knowing that they need to win and hope that Ghana defeat Egypt in the other match.
“All matches are important but this one will be special because we play for our qualification, God willing,” N’Diaye declared.
“We will do everything to win as we have no choice but victory or else we will have to get into calculations for goal-difference.”
Similarly, the defending champions, Ivory Coast yesterday crashed out of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Gabon, after losing their last Group C game by a lone goal to Morocco.
Morocco beat Ivory Coast 1-0 to reach the AFCON quarter-finals and knock out the champions.
Rachid Alioui scored with a terrific shot from 24 yards to earn the win for Morocco and their coach Herve Renard, who led the Ivorians to the 2014 title.
Ivory Coast needed a win to go through but gave a listless performance, creating only two notable chances.
Wilfried Zaha shot weakly from 12 yards, while Salomon Kalou’s header from a tight angle clipped a post.
The Elephants lacked urgency in their play and will now go home after appearing not to put up a fight.
Even after going behind, they were unable to cause the organised and disciplined Moroccan defence any problems.
Morocco went into the game knowing that a draw was very likely to be enough to qualify from Group C and their game plan from the start was to stay compact and hit on the counter-attack.
It served to frustrate their opponents, who opted for the long-ball approach but failed to find any penetration.
Morocco could have added a second goal on the counter-attack but 19-year-old full-back Hamza Mendyl shot into the side netting after running half the length of the pitch.
They will play the winner of Group D in the last eight on Sunday.
Our correspondent also reports that DR Congo reached the AFCON last eight as Group C winners with a victory that eliminated Togo.
Tournament top scorer Junior Kabananga converted Chancel Mbemba’s pass for the opener, his third goal in three games.
Kabananga hit the post with a flicked header before Ndombe Mubele doubled the lead after the break, looping the ball over the keeper amid static defending.
Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba’s tidy finish gave Togo hope, but Paul-Jose M’Poku’s free-kick secured a deserved DR Congo win.
DR Congo will go on to play the Group D runners-up in the quarter-finals, which will be either Mali, Ghana or Egypt.

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Infantino Reveals How Nigeria Can Host FIFA Competitions

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FIFA President, Gianni Infantino last Thursday, in Abuja, revealed how Nigeria can be made a destination for top Grade A football matches and FIFA competitions.
Infantino gave the insight when the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare took him on a tour of the renovated main bowl of the MoshoodAbiola National Stadium.
The FIFA boss, who was visibly happy with the re-grassed pitch at the stadium, said well-maintained stadia with good pitches were key to hosting grade A matches.
He said FIFA was ready to work more closely with Nigeria to develop the game and host more grade A matches in the country.
“We (FIFA) have to make sure when a country, when a government with the President, the minister and private persons are investing in football, in stadia, we work with them to give something back.
“It’s obvious that stadiums like this (MoshoodAbiola stadium) and others in Nigeria deserve the best quality games.
“They deserve top national team games, top club games and it’s not just about Nigerian football or African football, it’s about global football.
“We are working together to see what kind of new opportunities, competitions we can bring for men and women to fill this stadium and make the heart of the stadium beat for the fantastic spectacle that all of the Nigerian love, which is football,” he said.
Earlier, the minister said the Federal Government will continue to invest in sports development and facilities.
Tidesports source reports that the FIFA President, in the company of the minister, had earlier visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Statehouse, as part of his engagement.

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Why NFF Must Offset Rohr’s Salaries, Bonuses  – Aikhomogbe

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Former Nigerian goal keeper, Andrew Aikhomogbe has called on the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to resolve every outstanding salaries and bonuses owed to the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr before the next World Cup qualifiers against Central Africa Republic (CAR).
Aikhomogbe made this known on the backdrop of the football body’s recent deal with Baba Ijebu.
Although the financial details of the deal was not disclosed, Aikhomogbe in an interview with Newsmen from his base in Cairo, Egypt, stated that the NFF should use this platform to offset Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“It’s a big delight to know that the Nigeria Football Federation have signed a deal with Baba Ijebu and this will serve as an opportunity for them to use part of the money to pay Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“There is no better time to motivate him than now before Nigeria’s next 2022 World Cup qualifiers against the Central Africa Republic (CAR) on October,” he said.

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Enyimba Players Vow To Support  Finidi

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Enyimba FC Goalkeeper, John Noble has stated that the players of the People’s Elephants will be key to the success of the newly appointed coach of the team, Finidi George.
Finidi, signed a two-year deal with Enyimba and oversaw his first full training session with the team on Thursday after a cameo appearance on Wednesday.
Speaking in a chat with Tidesports source, Noble  gave his assessment of the coach in his first session under the manager and believes the former Super Eagles winger has what it takes to lead the team to the next level.
He added that the Enyimba players will be the ones to hand Finidi George his success at the club.

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