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Ghana Leads Africa Train To S/Africa

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With just two matchdays remaining in the third and final round of African World Cup qualifiers, a clearer picture is emerging as to who will be boarding the plane to South Africa in June next year.

Here is a special report from Fifa.com that takes you through the groups to see who has missed out and who still has qualification in their sights.

Which teams are already through?

With four wins out of four, seven goals for and none against, Ghana’s progress in this third qualifying round has been flawless. With qualification secured, the Black Stars can now aim to build on their debut performance at Germany 2006.

Which teams are out?

Still winless after four games, Rwanda (Group C) and Sudan (Group D) are no longer in the running for the big event in South Africa. Despite faring somewhat better, Mali and Benin are in the same situation in Group D, as are Guinea and Malawi in Group E.

The permutations

Group A: This is by far the most open of the five groups, with all four teams still in with a shout, although Cameroon are in the driving seat after recent back-to-back wins over second-placed Gabon. If they beat Togo and Morocco win in Gabon on the next match-day, the Indomitable Lions will join Ghana in the finals. For the other three teams, their fate is out of their hands.

Group B: Two solid performances against main rivals Nigeria (0-0 in Rades and 2-2 in Abuja) mean that Tunisia will qualify if they record a home win against Kenya in October and Nigeria fail to beat Mozambique. The Super Eagles will need to win their two final matches and hope other results go their way if they are to finish top.

Group C: Twenty-three years after their last Fifa World Cup appearance, Algeria has never been closer to a return to the world stage. With an unblemished home record (three wins out of three), the Fennecs need only to better Egypt’s result on the next match-day to wrap up qualification.  Failing that, all will be decided when they face off against the Pharoahs in November.

Group D: With Ghana safely through, all that remains is for Mali, Benin and Sudan to battle it out for second place in the two outstanding rounds of fixtures.

Group E: Although qualification is not yet a mathematical certainty, with 12 points out of 12, Ivory Coast have done all the hard work. A single point from their two remaining games, in Malawi and at home to Guinea, will be enough to see the Elephants through, four years after their maiden Fifa World Cup.

What about second and third place?

This last round of qualifiers in Africa doubles as the qualification tournament for the 2010 African Cup of Nations. The top three teams in each group will book their passage to the finals in Angola in January, just a few months before the Fifa World Cup itself kicks off. Algeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast are already assured of a place, while the others still have everything to play for in the last two match days.

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21st NSF: Team Rivers Hopeful Of Good Outing

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About halfway through the ongoing 21st National Sports Festival, Asaba 2022, Team Rivers is struggling to make impression on the medals table, given that there are still many events on preliminary stages, there is still hope and expectation that the team Rivers would finish impressively on the medals table.
As at press time, Team Rivers has won one gold, two silver and four bronze  medals, currently occupying  the fifth position on the official medals table, after failing to losing out in three events it qualified for the gold medal rounds yesterday. The State’s athletes had chances to pick gold medals in swimming 50metres Backstroke, 100metres Breaststroke and 200metres freestyle but failed to make any hit.
But speaking in an interview, the Head Coach of Para-tennis, Peter Simeon Ambakaderemo, yesterday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium shortly after one of their events, said he was still optimistic that his team would give the State at least three gold medals.
However, he complained about poor organisation and frequent changing of draws and time.
“Honestly, to me the organisers of the festival are not trying at all because they keep on rescheduling draws that have been made.
It is disheartening to note that Delta State officials meet the referees and change draws and schedules. This has severally caused arguments and fight between coaches.
I have not experienced such a thing before at any sports festival, in fact I am tired of the whole thing,” Ambakaderemo said.
Also speaking, Team Rivers Handball Coach, Loveday Ikiriko, expressed sadness as their male team  lost massively to Lagos State 30 – 12 in their first preliminary game.
According to him, there is still hope to clinch a medal before the end of their event, either from the male or female category.
“One of our major problems is that  we didn’t prepare on time, we only entered into camping one week to the event and that was not enough for a major festival of this nature.
I plead that arrangement should be made  subsequently for us to be in camp early, because in any competition,early preparation is important,”  Ikiriko said.
Also speaking, the Head Coach of Shooting, Mary Ikpeamaeze, expressed optimism that her athletes will give Team Rivers at least two goal medals.
According to her, already they had won one bronze medal and some events are still on the way.

By: Tonye Orabere

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Kano Pillars FC Appoints New Technical Adviser

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Kano Pillars of Kano have unveiled Evans Ogenyi as the club’s new Technical Adviser for the 2022/2023 football season.
The new technical adviser was unveiled at Kano State sports commission hall by its Chairman and acting chairman Kano Pillars FC,  Ibrahim Galadima.
He said a total of 31 applications were received from within and outside the country for different positions, among them are five from foreign countries, including three from Africa i.e; one from Cote d’Ivoire two from Ghana and one from Turkey and the other one from Mexico, northern American country as well as Nigerian coaches.
Fourteen coaches applied for the job and one of those interviewed was from Cote d’Ivoire.
“ What the club needs as for now is dedication, commitment and sacrifice is what is needed from the management and technical crew  in order to revive the club”, Galadima said.
In his speech, the Kano Pillars FC’s new technical adviser pledged to overcome  all difficulties and build on what he met on ground to achieve great results.
Other members of the technical crew are Ibrahim A Musa as coach, Ahmed Garba Yaro Yaro Assistant coach, Gambo Mohd assistant coach II, Abbas Auwalu Sola goalkeeper trainer and Sani Lawan as team manager.
Among many clubs he has managed in the past, Coach Evans was a former coach of Warri Wolves football club, Enyimba FC of Aba, Jigawa Golden Stars, Lobi Star and Nasarawa United of Lafiya two consecutive times.

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21st NSF: Nasarawa Targets Top Position

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The Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Nasarawa State, Amb. Lucky Yargwa, has reiterated that mouth watering reward would be given to any athlete or coach that wins medal at the on ongoing 21st National Sports Festival (NSF) holding in Asaba, Delta State.
He stated that his team will finish within the top ten at the end of the competition, saying that already they have won three medals, one Silver from Para-Table Tennis and two Bronze coming from Taekwondo.
Amb. Yargwa, said this  on Saturday while briefing sports journalists at the media centre of Stephen Keshi Stadium,  Asaba.
Nasarawa started to attend NSF in 1998 and in 2021 edition hosted by Edo State, a total of 22 medals: five gold, four silver and 13 bronze were garnered by the state.
According to him, the State is taking part in 27 sporting events at Asaba 2022, adding that they will surpass their previous records on the medal table.
“In all of these sports, we are very confident of surpassing our previous medal records.
“So far, Team Nasarawa has won three medals – one Silver from Para-Table Tennis and two Bronze coming from Taekwondo Events.
“Some of our athletes are already at  the verge of winning medals in some sports, and before the end of today, we should have more medals in our cabin.
“But I want to assure you that before the end of the Festival, Team Nasarawa will be among the top ten highest medal winning States.” Amb. Yargwa said.
The number one sports man in Nasarawa state revealed that Governor Abdullahi Sule  has redeemed his N16.5million naira pledge to athletes who won medals at the 2021 NSF held in Benin City, Edo State.

By: Tonye Orabere, in Asaba

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