As Nigeria’s Super Eagles play her first match tomorrow in the 27th edition of African Nations Cup against two times defending champions, Egypt, in Angola, football analysts, fans and administrators have expressed their opinions and feelings against the match.
In his reaction, former youth international Benebi, ‘Carlos Numa said the match against Egypt would not be easy, because as defending champions, they will like to prove their pedigree.
According to him, Nigerians should not be in a haste to conclude that the Super Eagles would lift the trophy.
“I can draw conclusions when I see the performances of Super Eagles in their first two matches, particularly against Egypt, I am saying this because everybody knows how we qualify for the 2010 World Cup”, he said.
Numa continued that Coach Shaibu Amodu should understand that his team is playing against a good side that is tactically and technically sound. Consequently, should ensure that his defence is very tight.
The 1985 U-17 World Cup winner in China advised the Super Eagles to be careful in their tackles because of the antics of on the North Africans.
He further advised the Eagles to put in their best in the game, saying that determination and commitment are the keys to success.
Benjamin Wiko, chief coach of the Pioneers FC, Port Harcourt described Egypt as a strong team apart from being two times champions, so, Coach Amodu should field players that would be ready to make sacrifice for the nation and not manage any player no matter his pedigree.
According to him, Egypt play fast football and the Super Eagles should try to slow down the game and take their chances as they came.
“I know that our Super Eagle’s will definitely win the Pharaohs, but we should be careful with them because in football anything can happen” he warned.
James Onoja, a renowned sports analyst, in his contribution said the match against Egypt would be a very tight one for Nigeria because Egypt’s failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup would spur them to compensate themselves with the nations cup by lifting it again.
Onoja predicted that the least Eagles would get is a draw in the game. He observed Eagles performed below expectations during the past two editions of the tournament and need to raise their game.
He used the forum to call on Coach Shaibu Amodu to concentrate more on his strike force, because it is goals that are needed not fancy displays that we used to see in most of the Eagles matches.
Otis Asonye, chairman Dolphins FC Port Harcourt Supporters Clubs, in his opinion tipped Super Eagles to win the match.
He, however, expressed fears over the inadequate preparation of the Eagles. He suggested that the authorities concerned should ensure that Nigeria have a full squad of home based Super Eagles team to complement the foreign based players because right now, there is no good team work in the Super Eagles team.
Simeon Ojoko, the Chief Coach of Gateway International Church Football Academy, advised Super Eagles players to take the Egypt match seriously, because playing with defending champions, is a high profile match, especially, in an opening game.
Former Rivers State Commissioner for Sports Hon. Alwell Onyesoh believes that the opening match of the group C could go either way given the pedigree of both teams in African football.
Onyesoh remarked that the encounter would be keenly contested and interesting to watch, but, would record a low score line at the end of the day.
He noted that Egyptians teams are known for their good mid field play, thus, he would not be surprised to see the Eagles and Pharaohs play out their hearts.
Tonye Orabere and Nancy Briggs
How Day Six Lifted Rivers At NYG
Team Rivers added six more medals to their total haul on Day 7 of the National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State. The medals include two gold and four bronze.
In 4×400 metres male, the quartet of Michael Aniche, Benjamin Progress (both 13), Willngton Majesty and Daniel Caleb (both 14) returned a time 3 mins, 26 secs to pick the gold medal.
In 4×400 metres girls, four 14-year-olds Osinachi Miracle Sunny, Queen Nwika, Esther Barasin and Valerie Amapakagbo, came third behind Delta and Anambra to get bronze.
Still in the relays, this time in the 4×100 metres for boys, 14-year-old Itoemugh Kingsley teamed up with Daniel Caleb, Michael Aniche and Gauis Expensive for yet another bronze medal performance.
Gaius Expensive, a 14-year-old SS3 student of Community Secondary School, Ogan-Ama narrowly surrendered second place to his Akwa Ibom counterpart to land his second bronze of the day, in the 200 metres boys, while age-mate Honest Dike of Baptist Vocational College, Ahoada also landed bronze in the 800 metres boys, behind Taraba and Gombe.
The second gold medal of the day for Team Rivers came in the final of baseball for boys. The team found themselves one run down before rallying to beat Kwara by 4 runs to 3.
The game which was almost marred by trouble was disrupted when the crowd, solidly behind the Rivers side perceived some fowl officiating.
However, the team, which according to Coach Fineface Fate and manager, Shaibu Adamson has been together for about a year, came from behind to win, with runs from Abdulkadiri Idowu, Yusuf Sodiq, Abdulfatai Abdullahi and Matthew Ayoola.
The games ended yesterday with the closing ceremony.
Bakery Worker Secures Gold For Anambra In Asaba
Anambra State Karateka, Goodluck Njoku defeated Joshua Ehiozubue from Lagos State with 7-0 points on Friday to win a gold medal in the 50kg boys karate event at the ongoing National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State.
The newly crowned 50kg champion revealed that he works in the bakery to support himself and to avoid social vices.
The 13-year-old said that it was while he was on his way to work that he met Sensei Godwin Okoro who introduced him to karate. Making his debut at the 2023 Youth Games,
Njoku promised not to disappoint the state in future national championships, noting that this is just the beginning.
“I want to thank God Almighty for his goodness and mercies in my life. In my category, I was the shortest, and I still won the gold medal. During the holidays, I work in the bakery to support myself and my parents because I do not want to remain idle.
“I attend Okpoko Community Primary School, and after closing hours, I still go to the bakery to make a little money. One day, Sensei Godwin Okoro saw me and decided to introduce me to karate. I do not know what he saw in me, but I thank God he took me in.
“The state has given me the necessary exposure at the National Youth Games, and this is an opportunity to give back to the state via winning medals. I want to assure you that this is just the beginning of the success story,” he said.
Squash Top Seeds Show Class At Classics
Top seeds, Onaopemipo Adegoke and Rophiat Abudulazeez showed class after winning the maiden edition of the Bolatito Adeyemo Squash Classics held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium at the weekend.
Top 16 players made up of eight men and eight women competed at the two-day tournament.
Adegoke who recently won his first Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournament, defeated Gabriel Olufunmilayo 3-2 to clinch the men’s trophy.
Abudulazeez defeated Jadesola Olatunji 3-0 to reach the finals, while Adegoke defeated Kehinde Samuel by 3-0 to advance into the finals.
Abudulazeez defeated Mistura Durosinlorun 3-1 as she maintained dominance in the women’s category.
For her feat, Abudulazeez went home with N100,000 while Durosinlorun took N60, 000 home while Olatunji and Isaac humbly went home with N30,000 each.
“My trip to Namibia really got me tired but we can’t just ignore this tournament. My game in Namibia also helped but I’m really fagged out,” she said.
Adegoke said that training hard and having played in highly competitive tournaments in recent times have helped to keep him in form.
“Winning my first PSA title in Namibia was a dream come true, there was minus zero support from the audience but with God’s grace and a healthy mental strength I was able to keep it together,” he said.
Prize money for the men’s category is N130,000 while the second position goes home with N80,000 while the third position and fourth position goes home with N40,000 and N20,000 respectively.
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