Super Eagles Will Target Nations Cup Trophy –NFF
Nigeria returned to the African Cup of Nations in emphatic fashion when the Super Eagles pounded the visiting Lone Star 6-1 at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar on Saturday.
And at the final whistle, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Aminu Maigari pledged that the Federation will deploy all resources to ensure the team is well prepared to lift the Cup of Nations trophy in South Africa in four months.
Following a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Monrovia last month, the Liberians dream and set about the countdown for the return leg with a touch of comedy.
Tidesports learnt that the Liberians had informed the Nigeria Football Federation that they would arrive in a chartered flight on Thursday evening, they accused Nigerian aviation authorities of denying their aircraft landing right, when in fact, they had not concluded arrangement with the airline.
After they somehow managed to seal a deal with another airline on Friday, the arrival time kept changing, and eventually the contingent landed in Calabar at midnight and wanted no Nigerian near them.
They opted for a different accommodation other than the Channel View Hotel reserved for them, shunned protocol assistance and transportation and generally kept to themselves.
Before the match, superstition was in the air as all previous matches involving Nigeria handled by South African centre referee Daniel Bennett had ended in draws.
All that counted for nothing as Scotland-based defender Efe Ambrose scored in the first minute, and then Ahmed Musa increased the tally eight minutes before half-time.
The match was, to all intents and purposes over after Victor Moses swept in a great pass, and further goals by John Mikel Obi (penalty), Ikechukwu Uche and Moses himself only underscored the gulf in class and enriched the Eagles further with Pamodzi, official marketer of NFF, paying $1000 for each goal.
An overjoyed Maigari, who was in company with Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, Minister of Sports/Chairman, National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Chairman of Senate Sports Committee, Senator Adamu Gumba, Chairman of House Sports Committee, Hon. Godfrey Gaiya and members of his Executive Committee and Management, simply said: “Words are inadequate to express my delight.
“We will do everything to ensure that the team prepares well, very well to go to South Africa and lift the trophy, which is what His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) has charged us to do.”
The match was watched by a full house at Canaan City, who supported the Eagles all the way and were rewarded with a rain of goals.
A year ago, Maigari and his NFF team watched shell-shocked as Guinea equalized with 30 seconds left in the final qualifier in Abuja, rendering the Super Eagles ineligible for the 2012 finals co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
AATF President Lauds Aruna’s Performance At WTT In Singapore
President of Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, has commended Quadri Aruna for his exploits at the just-ended World Table Tennis (WTT) Singapore Smash.
Aruna made it to the quarterfinals of the Grand Smash series in Singapore, beating some top seeds on the way to becoming the first African to reach that stage at the WTT.
Remarkable was the Nigerian top seed’s defeat of Japanese star, Tomokazu Harimoto, who had beaten Aruna on three occasions. The Nigerian eventually fell 4-0 to the superiority power of World number four, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano.
For reaching the quarterfinals in Singapore, Aruna will earn 350 ranking points, which will also raise his rating at the next ranking by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
El-Salhy stated that the Nigerian has continued to set the pace for Africa at the Olympics, World Championships and now WTT.
“Congratulations for your fantastic show-up in Singapore, especially for the great win in the round of 16 against Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto to qualify for the quarterfinal.
“I will like just to pass to you my full appreciation on behalf of the ATTF Executive Council (EC) as the main ambassador of African table tennis in ITTF super events. We wish you to continue to make the continent proud and a great ambassador of your country and Africa,” he said.
Again, Aruna has been picked to compete in the world elite table tennis stars, WTT Champions $800,000 prize money in Xinxiang, China next month.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Para Table Tennis team arrived from Italy, yesterday, where it featured at the ITTF Lignano Masters Para Open 2023. The team won two silver and bronze medals.
As NFF Denies Allegation
The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) may clash with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following the ‘sack’ of Super Eagles’ assistant coaches, Finidi George and goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorunmu.
The duo were barred from Super Eagles’ camp, allegedly, on the request of head coach, Jose Peseiro, as the team prepares for Friday’s 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea Bissau at the MKO Stadium, Abuja.
The NFF, has however, denied the sack saying: “As part of cost-cutting measures instituted at the beginning of the new administration, we established a rotation policy among the assistant coaches, based on the high number, which was agreed with all of them. The last time that the team had a programme, Mr. Finidi George was the person who travelled for the friendly match in Portugal. This rotation policy is only for matches. When there is a tournament, all of them will be with the team.”
The Federation claimed that Finidi knew he would not be in the team for the games against Guinea Bissau, saying that the current trip is for Usman Abdallah.
“The other person, who could have been contending, Mr. Salisu Yusuf, has been sent to the U23 team. There was no victimisation, sleight of hand or any disrespect meant to our illustrious ex-international players.
“The case of goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorounmu, is somewhat peculiar, as the former Nigerian goalkeeper showed a clear lack of desire to be in camp for the matches against Guinea Bissau.
CAFCC: Rivers United Secures Quarter Final Ticket, Eyes Trophy
Nigeria representative in CAF Confederation Cup Football competition, Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, has secured one of the quarter final tickets in the competition with a game left in the group stage.
Rivers United, the Pride of Rivers, as fondly called, on Sunday at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, forced their visitors, Motema Pembe of DR Congo to a 2-2 draw to top group B, with ten points.
This is the first time in history, United has reached the quarter final stage of the competition and vowed to make the State proud by bringing the trophy home.
In his post match interview, the technical manager of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma, said the game was a tough one, saying that their opponents have the permutation that if they win there are chances for them to qualify.
“ The game was a very tough one because our opponents have the permutation that if they win us, they have chances to qualify, that is why I was not surprised when they scored the first goal but I thank my players for showing a good character in the second half and went ahead and unfortunately they equalised.
“ In the dressing room, I have to talk to players to boost their morales. I commend our opponents for their impressive performance , they are a good side”, Eguma said.
Also speaking, the Coach of Motema Pembe, Tumba Mukanda Djene, attributed the draw to poor officiating, saying that referee was really against his side.
As it is, Rivers United top group B with ten points, three goals advantage over ASEC Mimosas that also has ten points but one goal advantage.
Rivers United will play her last game with ASEC Mimosas April 2nd, in Ivory Coast, but draw or win will make United finish top.
By: Tonye Orabere
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