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Rangers Manager Urges Players To Beat 3SC

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Rangers Team Manger Ameobi Ezeaku has urged the players to ensure victory over 3SC of Ibadan in their Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Match Day 28 in Enugu on Sunday.
Speaking to yesterday in Enugu, Ezeaku said, the match against Shooting Stars Sports Club was a must win in the club’s bid to secure a continental ticket.
“Our next match is against our traditional rivals and we are looking forward to seal the three points against them.
“Remember they beat us 1-0 in Ibadan and in that match, we missed a penalty toward the end of the game.
“Our players, technical crew have given an account all that happened in Ibadan and this time around, I believe we are not going to let our fans down.
“In fact, the players have vowed to give their best and we are going for nothing less than the three points,’’ he said.
The coaches, management and the players are working assiduously to ensure that we bring smiles on the faces of our supporters at the end of  the 90 minutes.
“In that, we will show the state government that we appreciate its total support,’’ he said.
He expressed regret that the club missed three points in Markudi against Lobi Stars, saying that the dynamism of football could not be over emphasised.
“Well the dynamism of football cannot be over emphasised, we went to Markudi with a team we trusted, we got early chances but we could not convert them and Lobi Stars utilised their chances against us”.
“The players fought gallantly as the Rangers we know but at the end we were not able to selvage even a point,’’ he said.
who is fit and back in training.
“We also have Nana Bonsu who is at the verge of full recovery, there is no course for alarm and we are assuring our fans that Rangers goalkeeping department has no issue,’’ he said.
He urged the players to start another unbeaten run from the match against Shooting Stars.
“Rangers will travel to Kano Pillars after Shooting Stars and then back home for Kastina United,’’ the manager said.
Ezeaku said that the six points in their next two home matches is vital to whatever ambition the club has in this ongoing season and must dig deep for it.
The defending champions occupy the 12th position on the competition’s log after 27 matches with 35 points.

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European Clubs Distasteful, Disrespectful Over Afcon – Ikeme

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Former Nigeria goalkeeper Carl Ikeme has described the reaction of European clubs to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as distasteful.
Ikeme, who made 10 appearances for the Super Eagles before his early retirement in 2018, weighed in on the issue of releasing players for the tournament during the European season and he described it as disrespectful to African football.
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers star believes the foremost African football competition is just as important as the European Championship and that players derive joy in representing their countries in a major event like Afcon.
“I don’t think it is professional, I think it is distasteful. I don’t think it helps the reputation of African football, I think it is disrespectful,” Ikeme told Tidesports source.
“Whether you are playing for England, Spain, Nigeria or Egypt, there is no difference. These players find pride in wearing their national team jerseys.
“When I was playing, it was the biggest honour I had in my career, playing for my national team and nothing can be compared to it.
“To think any player who is looking at Afcon as a burden is wrong because they love representing their countries, as you can see when Iheanacho scored Nigeria’s goal against Egypt, how Nigerians in Cameroon celebrated.

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AFCON 2021: ‘Good Times Are Back For Nigeria’

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Good times are back for the Super Eagles declared Nigerian legend Jay Jay Okocha after the team wrapped-up their Group D campaign with a perfect record on Wednesday.
Nigeria made it three-out-of-three following a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau on Wednesday to see the two-time AFCON champions march on to the last 16 with a 100 percent record after topping Group D on 9 points, scoring 6 goals and conceding just one in the process.
Okocha said it was even more gratifying to see Nigeria coach Augustine Eguavoen make a massive eight changes in Wednesday’s game.
The highlight saw striker Sadqi Umar score in his first AFCON start when he netted the opening goal in the 56th minute before Nigeria captain William Ekong wrapped-up the match in the 79th minute.
“He has got a great team of not just eleven good players but also twenty-something good players that he can rely on,” Okocha stated.
“There is nothing better for the coach than giving a player a chance and him paying you back by restoring his confidence in you.
“I think it is good to see that we are flying high but the game today is gone, the most important one is the next one and we can only justify our performances so far if we go on and win the next one.”
Nigeria returns to action this Sunday and await the best third place finisher from yesterday’s night’s tight Group E and F encounter’s.
“So every next game is the toughest one for you and the one you have to win,” Okocha said.
“I hope we will carry on the good job that we are doing so far.”

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Nigeria, Egypt Tipped For AFCON 2021 Title

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Sudan coach Burhan Tia has tipped Nigeria for a long run at the Africa Cup of Nations following the Super Eagles’ strong group-stage campaign.
The Falcons of Jediane were defeated by both the West African giants and Egypt’s Pharaohs during their brief stint in the competition, and has seen enough from both sides to expect great things from them in the fixtures to come.
“Could Egypt or Nigeria be champions?” Tia asked rhetorically. “Both teams are very good and both played good football in the group.
“They are two teams who could go very far in the competition.”
The Super Eagles faced off with Sudan in their second group match, having dispatched Egypt 1-0 in their opener.
The result was a 3-1 triumph for Augustine Eguavoen’s men, with Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and Moses Simon netting the goals to confirm Nigeria’s passage to the Last 16.
The West African giants subsequently downed Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in their final group game on Wednesday to ensure they reach the knockout stages as the only team in the tournament with a 100-percent record.
It’s the first time since 2006 that Nigeria has navigated a Nations Cup group stage with maximum points, fuelling expectation that the West African giants can go the distance in the tournament for the first time since 2013.
Sudan’s campaign ended with a narrow 1-0 defeat by an unconvincing Egypt side in Yaounde on Wednesday, although coach Tia was downhearted with his side’s performance.
“We were concentrated on our game and we did as much as possible to see to it that we could put up a good fight,” he continued. “It wasn’t perfect but we tried our best.”
Ex-Al-Merreikh boss Tia was not happy with the mistakes his team made as they tried to keep their North African rivals at bay in the Nile Derby, but believes his side can hold their head high as they exit the competition.
“We played our game as much as we should have, we played quite well but I think that we had a number of mistakes as far as our players are concerned,” he concluded. “We will get better and we will try as much as possible to try and correct our mistakes.
“It was possible for us not to make them, but it was an important game for us, and we made effort and tried our best.

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