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AFCON 2021: S’Eagles Neutralise Salah, Sink Pharoahs

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria last night in Garoua, Cameroon began their quest for a fourth African Cup of Nations title on a good note with an impressive lone goal victory over seven-time champions and one of the favourites for the title, Egypt, at the nascent 33rd edition of the African Cup of Nations.
The Nigerian team under the guidance of interim coach, Augustine Eguavoen, who was appointed less than two months ago, did not only answer doubters, who gave them little chance over the Mohamed Salah led Egypt, they made a strong statement of intent as far as the current championship in Cameroon is concerned.
From the blast of the referee’s whistle, the Eagles asserted themselves and kept the Pharoahs on the back foot in the opening match of Group D. All fears of potential massacre and annihilation from the boot of Salah and company vanished barely 10 minutes into the game as Nigeria controlled Egypt with spirited and purposeful performance.
Salah and his mates were effectively caged and neutralised by the Eagles’ defence marshaled by Kenneth Omeruo, Troost Ekong, Zaidu Sanusi and Ola Aina. Wilfred Ndidi and David Aribo were magnificent in the midfield, while Kelechi Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi were impressive in attack. Just as Moses troubled Pharaoh on behalf of Israel in the Bible, Moses Simon was a thorn in the flesh of the Egyptians from the right flank with powerful penetrating runs time after time.
Iheanacho put Nigeria ahead after half an hour, controlling and finding the top corner of Egypt’s goal off a header and cross by Aribo and Simon, respectively. The Eagles were unfortunate not to get more goals their efforts deserved, especially, Iheanacho, Awoniyi and Chidera Ejuke, who all missed some good chances.
Egypt were lacklustre for much of the proceedings, managing just one shot in the opening 70 minutes.
Liverpool star, Mohamed Salah, who has reaffirmed his desire to stay at Anfield, repeatedly found himself isolated up front as Nigeria dictated the match’s tempo.
The forward was played through by substitute Ahmed Sayed with 20 minutes remaining but his mishit shot was saved by the legs of Nigeria keeper, Maduka Okoye.
As Egypt searched for an equalizer with an improved performance in the second half, the Eagles battled hard to restrict them to long range efforts and half chances. In the end, Salah was restricted to only one clear chance that was saved by the keeper.
Indeed, Eguavoen and his wards with their performance against Egypt have shown that they mean business in Cameroon and must build on it to try to go all the way in the competition.
Nigeria still has Sudan and Guinea Bissau as opponents to surmount en route dominating Group D.

By: Gabriel Nwanetanya

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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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