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AFCON 2021: S’Eagles Target Perfect Record Against Motivated Guinea Bissau

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Despite being assured of qualification and top position in Group D at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021, the Super Eagles of Nigeria, who are expected to ring some changes in the starting eleven, would still go for the kill and maximum points against the African Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau in today’s last group match.
The Eagles, apart from chasing a 100 per cent haul of points would want to match a record of winning all group matches in the tournament, set on only two previous occasions while playing under the same Coach Austine Eguavoen.
Two wins in as many games have set the Eagles up for the round of 16 but today’s game with Guinea Bissau is an opportunity for Eguavoen, while keen on victory, to test run some players yet to be fully tested at the championship.
Interim Coach Augustine Eguavoen has already admitted that he will be rotating players for this match: “Everybody in this team has a chance to play in this tournament, so with qualification secured, we will be giving some players the opportunity to play in the next game.”
Though the coach would like to remain competitive in the game, players like Wilfried Ndidi and Joe Aribo are likely to be rested for Kelechi Nwakali and Frank Onyeka to prove their mettle. Also, Samuel Chukwueze and energetic Moses Simon may give way to Alex Iwobi and Chidera Ejuke to try to expresss themselves and provide confidence on squad depth going forward.
It remains to be seen if Umar Sadiq will come in for Taiwo Awoniyi, although you are inclined to give the Almeria frontman significant minutes despite the ongoing criticism over cameos against Egypt and Sudan.
Admittedly, making a glut of changes has its demerits, including a lack of rhythm for the incoming players owing to a dearth of game time, the risk of an incoherent display and preferred starters losing momentum.
The Super Eagles may have played themselves into reckoning with their performance in the two previous matches, Guinea Bissau, who drew their first match 0-0 with Sudan and lost narrowly 0-1 to seven time winners, Egypt in controversial circumstances may pose a potential banana peel for the Eagles.
According to one of their midfielders, Pele, “It is our ambition to qualify and we are not giving up on that, we must do everything to defeat Nigeria because it is very important for us,” said the Monaco player. “We will fight with everything we have and if we played as we did against Egypt, we will qualify. We want everyone at home proud of us.”
This is why the Eagles, their handlers and whoever gets the chance to play today must not take anything for granted. The team has evoked great expectations from Nigerians and their fans, they must not lower the standard already reached.
While today’s game does not change the Eagles’ fate, Eguavoen will hope that the stand-ins flourish as they look to end the group stage without a blemish. Nine points from a possible nine for the first time since 2006 has a nice ring to it.
Meanwhile, Sudan will seek an upset win over old rivals Egypt when the teams meet in the other Group D clash at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde today.
Sudan heads into this clash sitting bottom of the log after a 0-0 draw with Guinea-Bissau and 3-1 loss at the hands of Nigeria this past weekend.
The Falcons of Jediane are still in last 16 contention, but they must beat Egypt to have a chance of snatching second place or being one of the top-ranked third-place finishers.

By: Gabriel Nwanetanya

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Rivers FA Cup: 15 Clubs To Battle For Glory

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A total of 15 clubs  are participating in this year’s Aiteo Cup Competition in Rivers State, despite the fact that two clubs are to represent the state at the national level, as Rivers Angels do not have an opponent in the female category.
This year the number of registered clubs was far below the previous year’s, where the number of registered Clubs got up to 30 or more. This may not be unconnected with the short time given for registration by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Earlier, the Acting Chairman of Rivers State Football Association (RSFA), Ibigoni Benjamin Akobo, has called for  the readjustment of the time table.
According to him, the deadlines given to State FAs to register clubs, preparation of licences,  commencement of the  competition and conclusion were really short and tasking.
“ For them to have waited from January, for only last week to make a statement and send timetable for the competition was a near failure.
We are not expected to commence registration without given a go ahead” Akubo said.
He equally said that this was exactly what happened last year and finally came up to say that states should submit one team each.
“ Last year too, they came up with this delay manner and ended up saying that states should produce one team each” he stated.

By: Tonye Orabere

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Edo Set To Host NWFL Super Six

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All  is now set for Edo State to host the best of the Nigeria’s Women Football League, the Super Six Tournament, billed for Monday, May 16 to Sunday, May 22,  2022.
Six giants in the fast developing women league will battle for the sole ticket to represent Nigeria at the regional second edition of the CAF Women Champions League .
The six participating  teams  are host state team, Edo Queens , defending champion, Rivers Angels, Bayelsa Queens, new comers, Naija Ratels, Nasarawa Amazons and runners up in the first edition,  Delta Queens .
The teams qualified from two groups, based on their placement in each group in the regular season.
While Nasarawa Amazons, Edo Queens and Naija Ratels emerged the three best teams from their group, Bayelsa Queens, Rivers Angels and Delta Queens, outwitted other teams to pick the three available tickets from their group .
Edo Queens, who narrowly lost the top spot by a point to Nasarawa Amazons at the conclusion of the 2021/2022 regular season is poised to clinch the top prize going by  preparations , motivation by the state government and support by the home fans in Benin.
The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and the University of Benin Sports Complex are the two venues with three matches  scheduled daily .
Two games will be played simultaneously  by 10am and 4pm respectively.
The hosting of the Nigeria Women Football League  Super 6 is a pointer to the fact that Edo State is a sports hub and preferred destination for stakeholders as well as investors in the sports industry, with state of the art facilities .
No wonder , the state successively hosted   the Aiteo Cup for male and female categories, the Betsy Obaseki pre-season women football  tournament , the 20th National Sports Festival and now set to host the 2nd edition of the Super 6.

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Eguma Blames Players Over 2-0 Loss Against Heartland

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The Technical Manager of Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, Stanley Eguma has blamed his players for the defeat of the team by Heartland Football Club of Enugu. Heartland had defeated Rivers United 2-0 at the weekend, in match day 28 of the ongoing Nigeria Football Professional League (NFPL).
“We would have gotten two goals before the end of  first half but my players could not convert their chances,  but  Heartland made use of theirs,” Eguma said.
He further attributed the loss to the poor state of the pitch, saying that his players could not pass the ball effectively due to the poor nature of the pitch.
Eguma said this in a post match interview with sports writers. However, he stressed that the technical crew will go back and work on the grey areas.
“ I commend Heartland, they won two zero, that is football, you don’t take chances,” he stated.
In his response, the chief coach of Heartland, Erasmus Onuh said the team will continue to improve in every match.
“ As I came, one of things I requested was to relocate the team from Orlu and the result has started coming.
I  am under pressure but later I will explain that,” Onuh said.

By: Tonye Orabere

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