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Angola 2010: Super Eagles Back On Track …Struggle Past Squirrels Of Benin …1Egypt Qualifies For 1/4 Final

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Yakubu Ayegbeni converted a penalty three minutes from half time as Nigeria got their African Nations Cup campaign back on track with a 1-0 win over West African neighbours Benin Republic.

Under pressure following Tuesday’s 1-3 defeat to Egypt. Nigeria were desperate to haul themselves back into contention. and under-pressure coach Shuaibu Amodu duly rang the changes.

Out went defensive trio of centreback Obinna Nwaneri. left back Taye Taiwo and defensive midfielder Yusuf Ayila. In their place, Amodu handed a Nations Cup debut to left back Elderson Echiejile, and brought back Danny Shittu to take Nwaneri’s place at the heart of defence.

Osaze Odemwingle, who has shaken off a flu infection. came back into the side at the expense of Ayila, with Kalu Uche moving deeper into a midfield role.

The changes looked to have done little to stabilise Nigeria’s brittle-looking defence when Yobo miscued a ball and was then nearly taken out of the play by Razak Omotoyossi, but the Everton man, despite being flat on his butt. kept his head and conceded a corner Instead.

Nigeria were the more composed side, for most of the half. but It was their less illustrious neighbours who almost drew first blood.

Ogunbiyi squeezed out space inside of Dicksonb Etuhu to lay a lovely ball for Stephane Sessegnon, but the PSG man squeezed hiS shot Just wide of Enyeama’s post.

Played in behind by a delicious Uche ball, Yakubu found himself played onside by Boco, but contnved to side-foot the ball wide, to the collective groan of the Nigerian nation.

Nigeria continued to create half chances, exposing their offensive failings with an inability to apply finishing touches. yakubu then found himself with another chance to open his account, but failed to dig the ball out from under his foot and just poked it to Uche, who was robbed before he could so much as look at the ball.

And then Nlgena’s defensive problems almost cost them tWice within two minutes. First, Mikel and Echiejile passed themselves Into trouble on the left side, and needed to be rescued by Shittu, whose ticking off for the pair could only be classified under a PG file

Vincent Enyeama’s crossbar.

And then Nigeria found the breakthrough.

Mikel won a freekick as he was upended out in one of his marauding raids upfront. His low freeklck was touched on by goalkeeper Chitou and missed by Yakubu, Uche and Odemwingie, only to cause half a dozen different sorts of trouble for goalkeeper Chitou and fall for Obasi.

His cutback to Osaze’s head was on its way in when it was handled and Nigeria given the spotkick. Yak made no mistake from the spot.

Shittu could have extended Nigeria’s lead five minutes into the second half, as Chitou again had difficulty dealing with a low daisy-cutter. but Yak and Uche again arrived too late to take advantage.

Nigeria skipper Joseph Yobo was forced to go off with a hamstring injury seven minutes shy of the hour mark and his absence almost led to an equaliser. But his replacement Onyekachi showed strength and awareness to keep the raiders at bay.

Both sides continued to trade punches, and Benin hit the post again.

But in the end, the Super Eagles held on for their first victory of the campaign, to take some of the pressure off coach Amodu.

Meanwhile, the Pharaohs of Egypt moments later beat Mozambique 2-0 to book a quarter final sport.

An own goal early in the second half and a thumping finish by Gebo ensured that the two time defending champions established an unassailable six points with one game o go in the group.

Now, Nigeria must not lose against the Mambas of Mozambique in the decisive final group match and hope that Benin does not upset Egypt to advance to the next stage.

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2021/2022 NPFL Season  Starts, Dec 17

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The 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season  is expected to  kick off on December 17th across 10 centres.
Defending champions, Akwa United, will start their title defence  at home in a Match Day 1 fixture against Kano Pillar at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo
Elsewhere,  Gombe United hosts Shooting Stars Sports Club to the Pantami stadium in Gombe in both teams’ first game of their returned season to the top flight.
The Pride of Benue, Lobi Stars, will host Rivers United at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi with the club’s Manager, Eddy Dombraye, leading his side against his state for the first time in many years.
The first oriental derby match of the new season is among the opening fixtures with Enyimba FC playing host to their arch-rivals Abia Warriors in Aba, while Enugu Rangers travel to Katsina to face the Changi boys, Katsina United.
Niger Tornadoes will welcome Plateau United at their temporary home ground in Kaduna while there will be a reunion, sort of in Akure when Sunshine Stars face their former manager, Kabiru Dogo and Fuad Ekelojuoti who are now with Wikki Tourists at the Ondo Sports Complex, Akure.
Another matchday one fixture will see Kwara United host Dakkada in Ilorin. Kwara United almost won the league title last season, before Akwa United secured the title with seven points gap, while the Olukoya boys, MFM FC, will host regional rivals, Remo Stars, at the Agege Stadium.
The Solid Miners, Nasarawa United will travel to Owerri to face Heartland in another opening day tie.

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Delta Principals Cup: Sponsor Splashes Goodies On Finalists

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The sponsor of the on-going Delta State Principals’ Cup football competition, Zenith Bank, has promised that loads of goodies will be given to the finalists of the annual event.
The competition,  now in its 5th edition, is a developmental football competition organised for all secondary schools in the state.
Zenith Bank’s Group Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu,  said that the last four teams will be rewarded with various ranges of gift items as part of the final day activities.
“We are very committed to developmental pro-grammes in various ways. For sports, we believe in our catch them young initiatives, of which the Delta Principals’ Cup is one of them.
“I congratulate all the finalists for the 2021 event and wish to show that they are all winners, all of them will go home with attractive gift items on final day next week,” Onyeagwu said.
Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, will host the final match between Osadenis Mixed Secondary School and  School of Com-merce  on November 30.
Alaka Grammar School, Ozoro and Ovwor Mixed Secondary School will clash in the Third Place match billed to be the curtain raiser before the final match involving the defending champions, School of Commerce and Osadenis Mixed School.

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US-Based Okorie Plans Maiden South-East Sports Festival

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United States-based Nigerian former athlete, Victor Okorie, is planning to stage a maiden Southeast Sports Festival in 2022 to prepare athletes in the region for the national sports festival billed to hold in Asaba, Delta State.
Okorie, who is the Performance Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), said he would meet with governors and some stakeholders in the region soon, as part of his arrangements for the event.
Before his emergence as the Southeast zonal representative on the AFN board during the elective congress held in Abuja on June 14, Okorie had sponsored a competition for track and field athletes through his pet project, the South East Sports Foundation.
The competition, which held in Enugu, saw athletes from Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi compete for prizes in sprint events, throw and jump.
The foundation also plans to organise competitions for the physically challenged athletes in the zone in line with Okorie’s view of taking physically challenged athletes in Southeast away from the streets, as well as integrate athletes in volleyball, handball, wrestling, and other sports on the same level with their foreign-based counterparts.
Speaking with newsmen, from his base in Tennessee, USA, Wednesday, Okorie, who won a silver medal for Nigeria at COJA 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, said that the maiden Southeast Sports Festival would give the states chance to raise formidable squad for Asaba 2022.
“Sports are one major avenue governors in the southeast states can use to empower youths in the region,” Okorie said.
“I will meet with them and other stakeholders soon, on how we will stage a successful Southeast Sports Festival, which will serve as selection ground ahead of Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival. There is the need to re-awake sports campaign in the Southeast zone. Maybe, the next host of the national sSports festival will come from the Southeast after Asaba 2022,” he added.

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