West African rivals Nigeria and Ghana will play each other for a place at the 2022 World Cup, in arguably the pick of a number of dramatic-looking ties following the deciding draw at the weekend for Africa’s five places in Qatar.
The two powerhouses were paired up just days after Ghana finished bottom of their group at the Africa Cup of Nations after suffering a 3-2 defeat against first-time qualifiers Comoros.
Former Liverpool forward El-Hadji Diouf was one of the people performing the draw and commented that one of Liverpool’s current star strikers Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah will be guaranteed a place at the tournament after Senegal were paired against Egypt.
Cameroon, the hosts of the ongoing Nations Cup, was drawn against the current holders, albeit already eliminated from this year’s tournament ,Algeria.
DR Congo, who last qualified for the World Cup in 1974 when the country was known as Zaire, has a tough challenge if they are to make it to a second tournament, as they will face Morocco.
Meanwhile Morocco’s neighbours, Tunisia will get through if they overcome the only team in the draw to have never been at a World Cup in any form, Mali.
Meanwhile, ex- international, Mutiu Adepoju has said that Ghana’s failed expedition at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations can play into Nigeria’s hands when both teams meet in the 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off. The Super Eagles are hoping to qualify for the global football showpiece for the seventh time in their history, albeit, they must negotiate their way past their cross-country rivals.
For the Black Stars, they are still fresh from a disastrous outing in Cameroon where they crashed out of the group stage without recording a win after three matches.
The aftermath saw the Ghana Football Association show Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac the exit door as the West Africans are expected to name a replacement in the coming days.
Assessing Nigeria’s chances towards qualifying for the World Cup billed for Qatar, the La Liga ambassador, who represented the senior national team for 12 years, was asked if the state of football in Ghana could mar the Black Stars’ hopes, and Adepoju answered.
”Sure! that can play into the Super Eagles’ advantage and it is good for us, but we should do our homework well and the players must be ready and prepared for the big game.
“However, having disappointed at the Africa Cup of Nations and following their absence from the 2018 edition in Russia, the Black Stars will do all it takes to return to the big stage.
“Even at that, the quality in our team and with a positive mindset, I strongly believe that Nigeria will triumph.”
To some, pairing either DR Congo or Mali would have been an easier matchup, but the former Real Madrid star did not agree with that assertion, insisting the teams that made the play-offs are of equal strength.
“Any team that we are paired with would not have been easy because all the countries worked so hard to reach this stage,” he continued.
“That being said, the rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria has been very strong over the years and I don’t expect the Super Eagles to have it all smooth.
“If we get our act right and prepare very well, we will beat them to qualify for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.”
Ghana will hold the first leg while the Teslim Balogun Stadium is likely to host the reverse fixture, also in March.
RSFCA Holds Coaching Clinic In PH, Today
The Rivers State Football Coaches Association (RSFCA) has concluded arrangements to organise a coaching clinic tagged: “Continuous Professional Development Coaching (CPD),” aimed at developing football coaches in the state.
Chairman of the local organising committee (LOC), Coach Raphael Akunna revealed that the coaching clinic is being organised in conjunction with Bright Stars Sports Agency United Kingdom which will hold at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium starting from tomorrow, and last for two days.
Wuga Birabe, Co/Director MW Sporting World Limited London, England, United Kingdom and other invited instructors are expected to deliver key note lectures.
Dignitaries expected at the opening ceremony today include Sir Honour Sirawoo (Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Sports and President of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria), Barr Chris Green (Special Adviser to Rivers State Governor on Real Madrid), Mr Benjamin Akubor (RSFA), Sarah Davids (Chairman Sports Writers Association of Nigeria Rivers State), Chairman Nigeria Referee Council Rivers State) and other invited guest.
It would be recalled that the Rivers State Football Coaches Association (RSFCA) has conducted a number of coaching courses over the past three years.
The latest was the NFF/NLO/Berackiah Football Grassroots Coaching Clinic course that took place March 7 – 11, 2022 and attracted about 40 participants
Super Six: Why Nasarawa Walked Over Ratels – Chairperson
Chairperson, Nigeria Women’s Football League, Aisha Falode, says Naija Ratels were walked over at the ongoing NWFL Super Six tourney in Benin City, the Edo State capital, after they failed to respect the sponsorship deal for the event.
New girls Ratels were scheduled to clash against former champions Nasarawa Amazons at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Monday before they were walked over.
The NWFL had sealed a N16m sponsorship deal for the championship, with all six teams to wear shirts branded by the sponsors.
But Naija Ratels reportedly flouted the rule book, preferring to wear their own jersey branded by another sponsor.
“We walked them over for flaunting the rule of being the club that has not worn the official jersey. We will work on the fixtures and move on, this is what the rule is all about,” Falode said.
“We told them (clubs) each team would get N1m each, while there would be N5m for the winners, N3m for the runners-up and N2m for the second runners-up, meaning N16m was going back to the league.
“This man (Ratels owner), who just qualified for the league for the first time, who is playing in the Super Six for the first time, has come to disorganise what we have done. We have a responsibility; we have a duty to the organisation and those who appointed us to manage this league.”
Falode added, “If you have a shirt sponsorship, you are supposed to write to the league board and as a matter of fact, a percentage of the sponsorship is supposed to come to us but we are not aware they have any sponsorship deal.
When asked if there would be stiffer punishment aside the walkover, the ace sports journalist added, “one step at a time.”
Also, the NWFL Chief Operating Officer, Modupe Shabi, noted that Paul Edeh, Ratels proprietor, contravened the NWFL Statutes on sponsorship.
“Article 7.8 states that all rights contracts to be entered into by any club shall first is subject to the writing and approval of NWFL, before execution,” she said.
Ban On Basketball Bad For Nigeria – Chairman
The Chairman of Retired Basketball Players in Port Harcourt, Fubara Fibika has said that the ban of basketball in Nigeria from international competition by the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, would cripple the game at the grassroots.
According to him, the best thing to do was to formulate a programme on how to develop the game instead of the ban.
Fibika said this on Monday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt, saying that basketball is one of the fastest developing games in the country.
The veteran explained that he has respect for the Sports Minister for his initiative on sports development, but his recent action is not fair at all.
“Bringing politics in Sports will cripple the industry.
What we should think of now is how to promote and develop the game in our locality” Fibika said.
He advised the Sports Minister to rescind his decision, narrating that the ban is not good for the game.
By: Kiadum Edookor
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