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AFCON Qualifier: Super Eagles Fail To Win In Freetown

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Super Eagles’ qualification for Cameroon 2022 Africa Cup of Nations was put on ice as Nigeria and Sierra Leone played out a goalless draw in their Group L Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the National Stadium in Freetown, yesterday.
The Leone Stars, who mounted a stunning fightback to draw 4-4 with the Super Eagles last week, put up another gritty display to frustrate their more illustrious opponents and deny them an early ticket to the AFCON finals.
The result leaves the Super Eagles top of the standings on eight points, with Benin (seven), Sierra Leone (three) and Lesotho (two) all still alive as far as qualification for Cameroon 2022 is concerned.
Nigeria started the encounter on a promising note and offered their first threat at goal in the third minute, with Kelechi Iheanacho shooting on target direct from a free kick, though his effort was no trouble for Sierra Leone goalkeeper, Mohamed Kamara.
The Super Eagles had another chance on 16 minutes when Samuel Chukwueze curled an effort just wide of the mark, before the Leone Stars had their first chance through Alhaji Kamara, who was denied by a fine save from Maduka Okoye.
The visitors suffered an injury blow a few minutes before the interval when midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo limped off and was replaced by Shehu Abdullahi. The half-time whistle saw the teams locked at 0-0 – a far cry from the eight-goal thriller they produced last Friday night.
Nigeria again created the better chances after the restart, with Iheanacho shooting high and wide on 51 minutes after great set-up play from Chukwueze, while the Leicester City striker found the back of the net just after the hour mark but had been flagged offside.
Midway through the second half the Super Eagles threatened again when Alex Iwobi shot just over from long range, with Gernot Rohr’s team beginning to build some consistent pressure in attack.
However, the hosts’ defence stood firm with some help from goalkeeper Kamara, who made another fine save on 82 minutes when he parried away Iheanacho’s shot from the edge of the penalty area.
In another encounter, Sudan scored a last-gasp winner to edge past visiting Ghana in Group C of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, yesterday.
The result means that Ghana will have to wait to qualify for the finals having started the day knowing a draw would see them progress.
The game at the Al Hilal stadium in Omdurman was a physical affair with both sides picking up two yellow cards each in a goalless first-half.
Ghana was playing without their injured captain Andre Ayew, who scored both the Black Stars goals in the 2-0 win over the same opponents last Thursday, as well as suspended first-choice keeper Richard Ofori.
Their replacements both played their part with Caleb Ekuban causing trouble for the Sudanese defence and Fatua Dauda making some crucial saves at the other end.
Meanwhile, defending champions, Algeria gave away a two goal lead as they were held 2-2 by hosts Zimbabwe.
Despite the draw the Algerians have confirmed their place at the next Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, which have been delayed until 2022.
After goals in the 34th and 38th minutes, including a fine solo effort from Riyad Mahrez, it looked like Algeria would make it four wins from four.
In the 34th, Reda Halaimia whipped in a long cross from the right and an unmarked Andy Delort had a straightforward header to score his first goal for Algeria.
Moments later came the brilliance from Manchester City’s Mahrez as he flicked the ball past one defender and then cut into the area before twisting and turning to wrong-foot two defenders and firing home.
The Warriors pulled a goal back two minutes before half-time as striker Knowledge Musona curled in a free kick from the edge of the area to beat Rais M’Bolhi.
That seemed to galvanize Zimbabwe and they created the better chances after the break and were rewarded when Tanzania-based Prince Dube scored the equaliser in the 82nd minute, seconds after coming on as a replacement.

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NPFL : Eguma Urges Rivers People To Keep Faith

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The Technical Manager of Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, Stanley Eguma, has called on Rivers State people to be faithful and support the team, saying that they would not let them down this Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) season.
He said that, all the players in the team are hungry for success this season, adding that, he is planning with the players that have winning mentality.
Eguma said this on Sunday in his post match interview with sports journalists shortly after they saw off Kwara United with 3-0 in the match day six of the NPFL, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
He appreciated his players for the victory, adding that initially the game was a bit difficult.
According to him, his players were more technical on the ball, pointing out that he had to change the tactics of the game.
“Rivers people should still have faith and support the team because we will not let them down this season.
The league is a marathon one; it is not yet time to sing songs.
It is still work in progress.
We started well but we still have hope that the team will improve more on their performance because every club in the league is very strong,” Eguma stated.
He noted that his team last season did not change but the approach and mentality of the players have changed the game.
He disclosed that the team is highly motivated and taking care of, saying, most of the players want to deliver and make name for themselves.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Chukwu Blames Rohr For Not Developing NPFL Players

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Former Nigeria Super Eagles Captain Christian Chukwu, has blamed former National Coach Gernot Rohr for not developing the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) players.
He disclosed that Rohr was employed to build the NPFL players for them to get opportunity to play in European clubs rather than concentrating on foreign- based players.
Chukwu said this on Monday in a television programme monitored by Tidesports in Port Harcourt, adding that Rohr was supposed to base in Nigeria to enable him get in touch with the home base players.
According to him, Rohr failed for the development of the home-based- players, adding that, before now, all other coaches gave the home-based players the opportunity to showcase themselves in the national team.
Chukwu who had also coached the Super Eagles team, explained that Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) did not believe in Nigerian coaches, adding that, he is happy with what the interim coach, Austin Eguavoen is doing with the Super Eagles within the short period of time.
” Rohr was employed to develop our national players but he concentrated on foreign- based players.
We have players in the NPFL who are very good but they were not giving opportunity under Rohr to play in the national team.
All the players we have before now were home- based players”, Chukwu stated.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Eguavoen To Effect Changes Against Guinea-Bissau

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Super Eagles interim coach, Augustine Eguavoen has revealed that he would be making some changes in the final group match against the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau tomorrow so as to give players who have not tested action some game time.
Tidesports source reports that Nigeria currently tops Group D with six points from their opening two games, after beating Egypt and Sudan and are guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages of the competition.
“Obviously, we will make changes for the last group game against Guinea-Bissau.
“We have depth in the team and it’s a good opportunity for the other players to play, we will play to win the game and I trust the players to do a great job,” he said.
Eguavoen also warned his players against complacency and taking their chances in front of goal in subsequent matches.
“No game comes easy. We knew it was going to be tough and tried as much as possible to be ready for any opponent that comes our way.
“So it’s a little bit difficult to say whether we were complacent in the Sudan game or not but we will discuss this with the boys going forward,” he added.

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