There was pride in defeat for Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac after his side’s World Cup dream was shattered by Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out at the quarterfinal stage.
The winning spot-kick was converted in audacious style by Uruguay’s Sebastian Abreu after Diego Forlan had cancelled out Sulley Muntari’s first-half opener.
“The whole of Africa supported us,” said Rajevac. “We didn’t deserve to lose this way.
“It’s difficult, but we’re proud of what we achieved”.
Ghana were bearing the hopes of a continent and the weight of a history showing that no African side has ever made it beyond the last eight of the World Cup.
Yet they twice looked poised to eclipse the achievements of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.
Ghana’s first glimpse of glory, which came when Muntari fired in from 35 yards in first-half injury time, was snuffed out by Forlan’s 55th-minute equaliser.
Their second came in the dying moments of extra time, when Luis Suarez handled on the line and the referee, Olegario Benquerenca awarded Ghana a penalty.
As Africa held its collective breath, Asamoah Gyan stepped up, but could only skim the crossbar with his spot-kick.
“I think we had more opportunities than our opponents, but that’s football,” added Rajevac, the wily Serbian who has sought to add European pragmatism to Ghana’s natural flair.
“We really had good support and it would have been a fairytale, but I would like to congratulate Uruguay. I’m very proud.”
Ghana defender John Pantsil warned Gyan not to let the spot-kick miss have a long-term affect on his future.
“We said to Asamoah that anyone can miss a penalty and it is part of football and it was the only mistake he made,” said the Fulham defender.
“In fact, it was not a mistake at all. It is part of football and he kicked it from his heart and we all wanted to win the game. We have been talking to him. He is feeling bad about that. It is not easy just to forget about something like that.
“As his team-mates, we have to keep him with us and talk to him about it so he can forget about it as soon as possible.
Obuah Lauds Nwabali Over Chieftaincy Title
The proprietor of Go Round FC , Bro. Felix Obuah cups he was on cloud nine seeing his former ward, Super Eagles’ first choice goalkeeper at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire, Stanley Bobo Nwabali, being conferred with a chieftaincy title at his Egbema Kingdom home in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) of Rivers State .
The 27-year-old Chippa United goalie was led to the ceremony on Sunday by Bro. Obuah as he first paid a courtesy call to the ONELGA council headquarters where the Chairman, at the Nzeobi’s palace in Aggah-Egbema, HRM Eze Everestus Amuda conferred the chieftaincy title ‘Ugo Egbema 1 of Egbema Land’ which means the Pride of Egbema on the Chippa United goalkeeper.
Amuda eulogised Nwabali for his performance especially his penalty saving heroics which he noted, engraved him in the hearts of many Nigerians both home and abroad.
Sir Vincent Job announced a cash gift of N5 million in addition to a street being named after .
At the Nzeobi’s palace in Aggah-Egbema, HRM Eze Everestus Amuda conferred the chieftaincy title ‘Ugo Egbema 1 of Egbema Land’ which means the Pride of Egbema on the Chippa United goalkeeper.
Amuda eulogised Nwabali for his performance especially his penalty saving heroics “This is the dream of every father, that his son or daughter makes it to the top. When we started, I had the dream that one day if they put in their best, they will reach the zenith of their careers,” Bro Obuah said.which he noted , engraved him in the hearts of many Nigerians both home and abroad.
A grand reception was later held in Nwabali’s honour at the Community Primary School, Okwuzi where top dignitaries including Sir Job, Chief Whip of the Rivers State House of Assembly and member Representing ONELGA Constituency I, Hon Franklin Nwabochi as well as member representing ONELGA Constituency II, Hon Dcns Nkemjika Ezekwe showered encomiums on the Super Eagles shot stopper.
Rivers Hoopers Coach Sure To Make Statement
Rivers Hoopers head coach Ogoh Odaudu says his team will face a huge task after Thursday’s 2024 Basketball Africa League draw.
Hoopers were drawn against former champions US Monastir, APR of Rwanda, and Senegal’s AS Douanes in the Sahara Conference.
Top two teams will advance to the BAL playoffs scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from May 24 to the first of June.
There will also be a slot for two best third-placed teams from across the three conferences (Kalahari, Nile, and Sahara).
“The group is obviously a very tough one, Odaudu said.”
‘’Former champions US Monastir, APR who defeated the Rwandan team (REG), who were at the BAL last year; they are a very tough team too. Of course, last year’s finalist, AS Douanes, is in that group, so we have been placed in the group of death.
While the other two conferences will hold in March and April, the Nigeria Premier League Champions won’t play until May 4.
Odaudu added, ‘’Notwithstanding, we have enough time to prepare and be there. We will overcome once the jump ball comes.’’
Since the inaugural edition in 2021, Rivers Hoopers and Kwara Falcons are the only Nigerian teams who have played in the BAL, and neither have gone past the group stage.
The former Nigeria international wants his team to be the first Nigerian team to make it to the playoffs of the Basketball Africa League.
“First and foremost, getting out of the group is our target for this year’s BAL. We are tired of just going to participate and coming back home after the first round.
“For us this season, we want to ensure we get to Kigali and be in the playoffs. Whatever happens from there on is a bonus.
SWAN Gets New Leaders In Rivers
The Rivers State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has elected a new leadership.
On Monday, February 19, Peter Abaje of DAAR Communication was voted Chairman alongside other executive members: Vice Chairman – Deinma Abaku; Secretary, Ekpor Temple; Financial Secretary, Bath Ndubuwa, and Eyo Kelvin, Welfare Officer, who will pilot the administrative activities of the association for three years.
While other officers were elected unopposed, Mr. Abaje beat the out gone Chairman, Ms Sarah Atonye David by 10 votes to five to emerge.
The election was held under the supervision of Mr. Gabriel Nwanetanya National Ex Officio, who represented the Zonal Vice President, Azuka Chiemeka.
Inaugurating the newly elected officials, Mr. Gabriel Nwanetanya described the electoral process as peaceful and orderly and charged the Executive members to live above board by re-positioning the association in the state as no excuses would be given for non-performance.
He encouraged them to be creative and look inward to discover and showcase the abundant sports talents existing in Rivers State and also appealed to them not to apply personal interest to move the association forward.
In his inaugural speech shortly after the election, Peter Abaje, the newly elected Chairman of SWAN in Rivers State, said that the conclusion of this election signaled a new dawn in the state chapter of the association and vowed to lift the association to greater heights.
The Chairman also promised to carry every member along in the scheme of things as well as operate an open-door policy.
“The new leadership under my watch would collaborate with the private institutions and Rivers State Government to promote and develop community sports as well as encourage the education of members in areas of sports journalism, he assured.
Members of the association who voted and witnessed the election process, applauded the SWANECO for delivering a hitch-free, fair and transparent election.
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