Nigeria’s Technical Adviser, Lars Lagerback made an instant impression on members of his squad when he met them for the first time on Thursday afternoon.
Lagerback, appointed in March to replace Shuiabu Amodu, was introduced to the squad by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, and immediately proceeded to shock the players by calling each by name and then showing them individual video highlights of their performances.
Forward Osaze Odewmingie was pleasantly surprised.
“When I saw the video it was unexpected. But it shows he has been doing his homework,” the Lokomotiv Moscow forward stated.
But it was not only at the team meeting that Lagerback won brownie points with his players. His training session was also well received.
“This first session was very important, and the way he talked to everybody, I can say that every one of us enjoyed it. And we are ready to work and to give hundred percent,” Kanu said.
“It was fantastic, we were relaxed. It was almost like he had been in Nigeria for one year already. Now, the most important thing is for us to work and make sure that we can do what he wants us to do.”
His assistant Joseph Yobo agreed.
“I think it is good for the first day. His pedigree speaks for itself. He’s been coaching Sweden for a long time. Hopefully, he brings that experience here.
“Everyone enjoyed the first training session and we are all looking forward to the remainder of the time and what he will bring.”
The team’s honeymoon period continued on Friday as the squad got down to the grind with a closed session in the morning.
Lagerback declared that the short time is not something that unduly troubles the Swede, as he says all other teams are in the same both.
“We have the same time as every team going to the World Cup. For me, I was happy to get a chance to meet with the players and to start work.
“We have to understand the philosophy and practise well and use the friendly matches very well because they are very important,” he said
Nigeria open their World Cup campaign with a daunting confrontation against Diego Maradona’s Argentina led by red hot World Player of the year Lionel Messi, but Lagerback says his players must play without fear.
“We cannot go into any match with fear. We must go there with the belief that we can win every match we play, it doesn’t matter whether it is Argentina, or Brazil or Greece.
“If we practise well, and play with hard work and confidence then we can win and we can go far in the World Cup.”
How Are the African Teams Faring in World Cup 2022?
Now that the first round of group game matches at World Cup 2022 have all taken place, we’re starting to see which teams have come racing out the traps under the Qatari sun, and which are looking like they might wilt in the heat. Obviously we all know how sad us Nigerians are over the Super Eagles absence at this tournament, but there’s still plenty of exciting football for us to feast upon in the coming weeks.
So, let’s take a quick look at how the five African nations that did qualify this time round have done after the first round of matches and see if they’re doing the continent proud over in the Middle East.
As they’re in Group A, the AFCON champions were up first, with a tough fixture against European powerhouses, the Netherlands. Unfortunately, Senegal lost their star-man, Sadio Mane, to injury in the lead-up to the tournament, and with him out of the side, pundits worried that they would struggle to fill the gap left from his momentous presence up-front.
That seemed to be the case in their 0-2 loss to the Dutch, where they battled valiantly for 84 minutes, but were just not able to finish any chances, and then were hit by two sucker-punch goals.
Next up, in Group D, were Tunisia, who had to face-off against many people’s ‘dark horse’ for this World Cup, Denmark. The Carthage Eagles clearly weren’t feeling overwhelmed though, as they took the fight to the Scandinavians, earning a 0-0 draw. They even forced a couple of great saves by the Danish keeper, Kasper Schmeichel, which could’ve tipped the tie in their favour.
They’ve even shown they have luck on their side, as they survived a late VAR scare, which saw the referee actually overturn a Danish penalty decision for handball.
When it comes to disorderly build-ups to a World Cup, Morocco’s has to be right up there. They fired their previous coach just three months before the tournament kicked-off, but the replacement, Walid Regragui, seems to have installed some tactical nous in that short amount of time.
This is because they played the 2018’s World Cup finalists Croatia in their first match in Group F and impressively looked their equal, with the result ending all square in a 0-0 draw. This result will have many experts scratching their heads, as they expected the European side to blow away Morocco.
That’s the beauty of football, though, and why it’s such a popular sport for bettors in many countries, as there are always many upsets. This is true for India, where the best football betting sites in India are served up over on Asia Bet. These carefully selected online bookmakers allow you to bet on everything to do with the beautiful game, from local Indian leagues all the way to the biggest matches at this World Cup. Plus, there’s a clear rundown of Indian betting laws, so users can easily navigate gambling in the country.
The Indomitable Lions have a proud World Cup history, with this being their eighth appearance on the biggest stage in world football. Cameroon is in Group G this time round, and it looks like being a tricky task for them to make it out, as they lost their first game to Switzerland.
It was a narrow defeat, with them only losing by a single goal, and the player that got the winner was actually born in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde. The attacking-midfielder Breel Embolo, moved to Switzerland when he was young, though, and gained his Swiss citizenship eight years ago. You could tell it was an emotional moment, scoring against his birth nation, and he refused to celebrate.
You might have noticed that no African side has managed to score yet in the first round of fixtures at World Cup 2022. It was up to the last to play, Ghana then, to make sure the continent didn’t go completely goalless, and the good news is that the Black Stars were up to the task. Captain Andre Ayew tapped home a lovely low cross, and then substitute Osman Bukari managed to power a brilliant header into the net.
The bad news is that they were up against a talented Portugal side in their opening Group H game, who managed to score three times and take the victory. Nevertheless, Ghana should be emboldened by their stirring performance going forward and look like the strongest African side so far.
U-23 AFCON: Bosso Invites 40 Players To Camp
The Head Coach of the U-20 Boys’ National Team, Isah Bosso, has called up 40 players to begin camping in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from today in preparation for the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations finals in Egypt
This is according to a statement by the Nigeria Football Federation Communications Department, obtained on Saturday.
The list is made up of five goalkeepers, nine defenders, 13 midfielders and 13 forwards. The players will stay at the Serob Legacy Hotel in the Wuye area of the nation’s capital.
The seven-time African champions triumphed at the WAFU B U-20 Championship held in Niger Republic in May and thus qualified to represent the zone at the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations to be staged in Egypt from February 18 to March 12.
All four semi-finalists at the U-20 AFCON will fly Africa’s flag at next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup finals holding in Indonesia.
Delta Insists To Host Best Ever NSF Opening Ceremony Nov 30
After months of preparations, the 21st National Sports Festival tagged Delta 2022 will finally begin on November 30, with the State government insisting on delivering the best ever Games in history of Nigeria sports.
With two brand new indoor sports hall, a new swimming pool, new tartan track, new shooting range all within the Stephen Keshi Stadium as well as new hockey pitch at Okpanam and new hostel facilities at the NYSC camp at Issele-Uku, the Secretary of Local Organising committee (LOC), Chris Anazia declared yesterday that Delta would leave a legacy that will be difficult to surpass in the nearest future.
“Whenever Delta agree to do anything, we always go for the best,” Anazia said. “We are not just going to host a sports festival, but the best ever in the history of the Games. I am sure by the time the festival ends on December 10, all Nigerian athletes and officials will praise the government and people of Delta State for a job well done.”
Apart the hostel facilities being put in place at NYSC camp at Issele-Uku, headquarters of Aniocha north local council, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is also building hostels in some schools in Asaba to serve as accommodation for the athletes.
According to Anazia, arrival date for State contingent in November 28 and 29, while the opening ceremony will hold on November 30.
Meanwhile, the Adviser to the LOC, Chief Solomon Ogba, has revealed that the Festival Torch of Unity, which has been moving round the country will arrive Delta State on November 28, and will travel round all local government headquarters for chairmen and council officials to have a feel.
Ogba, a former Sports Commissioner, ex-President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently the First Vice President of the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), stated that the Festival Torch of Unity would arrive Asaba on November 30, the day of the opening ceremony.
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