Mixed reactions trailed the Super Eagles 1-1 draw with the Harambee Stars of Kenya in Calabar at weekend.
The Super Eagles forced the Harambee Stars to a draw in the World Cup qualifier at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
Some soccer stakeholders and fans in Abuja told Tidesports that they were disappointment over the outcome of the match.
Mr Moroof Oluwa, the Secretary-General of Nigeria Football Referees Association (NFRA), expressed concern over the ability of the Super Eagles to take their chances in front of goal.
“The boys really need to wake up from their slumber and put the victory of the Nations Cup behind them.
“The World Cup is the biggest stage of the game and it will really be a shame if we don’t qualify,” Oluwa said.
Mr Godwin Bamigboye, the Chairman of the Nigeria Coaches Association (NCA), FCT chapter, said that the game was tough because the Kenyans came to defend.
“Well, the Kenyans came to defend but were caught napping in the final minute of the game.
“There is a likelihood that when the Eagles’ go for the return leg in Kenya, the Harambee Stars will come out to play; then the Eagles’ could create more scoring opportunities.
“I really do hope we can convert more of our chances to goals in our next match because our strikers were really wasteful today,” he said.
Dimeji Salami, a business man, said that the Super Eagles were lucky to have escaped defeat after throwing away many scoring chances.
“They missed a lot of scoring opportunities and could have paid dearly for it today but for a last gasp effort from Nnamdi,” he said.
Another soccer enthusiast, Audu Yisa, said the last minute goal was a big relief.
“The draw was bad enough. A defeat would have been worse.
“The boys need to put more effort into their next match because the Kenyans will be tougher to beat at home,” he said.
Mr Chidi Nwogwugwu, an estate surveyor, however, said that although the Eagles drew the game, hope was not lost.
“We are still on course; we have a very good chance of qualifying,” he said.
And from Lagos, Fatai Amao, a former Head Coach of 3SC, expressed gratitude to God for the draw and said that the shock given by the the Harambee Stars was an indication that no team should be underrated.
“The game of football is not predictable at all but we thank God that the game ended in a draw because Kenya came here to surprise us.
“I want to salute the courage of our boys not giving up until the end of the game, this is highly commendable,’’ he said.
Joe Erico, a former Assistant Head Coach of Super Eagles, said that he was taken aback by the result of the game.
Erico said that the Harambee Stars would have succeeded in beating the Eagles had they given up.
“I was apprehensive but thank God for the draw. I believe the team will convert all their missed opportunities to goals in Nairobi,’’ he said.
Erico said that there was no complacency on the Eagles side as the team played well.
He expressed optimism that the Eagles would convert all the missed chances to goals in the return leg to enable them to qualify for the World Cup.
But Ali Reham , the Kenyan Team manager, accused the referee of assisting the Eagles to equalise the game.
“The referee from Bostwana did not do well, he added extra time to enable Nigeria equalise.
“We played well and likewise Nigeria played like Africa Champions and kept the pressure until they equalised.
Scholarships Up For Grabs For 10 Winners At MTN Champs
The grand finale of the MTN Champs will commence from today and end on Sunday at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja where 10 winners will bag scholarship and financial benefits.
MTN CHAMPS is a program in Nigeria that aims to unearth and foster athletics talent across the country.
It is modeled after the Jamaican High school CHAMPS and is poised to become the primary platform for identifying and nurturing promising athletes who could go on to represent Nigeria in prestigious international competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships.
Before the finals in Abuja, the track and field event was held in three different regions namely: Uyo, Benin and Ibadan where over 7,000 athletes have competed and 42 finalists emerged.
Speaking at the MTN Champs Press Conference held on Wednesday in Abuja, the General Secretary of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Rita Mosindi appealed for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the young athletes.
“ I want to appeal for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the kids to educate them on the side effects of taking dope substances.
“These are raw talents that we can manage and nurture them to stardom.
“My advice is to do seminars concerning this just as we have started doing as a federation to reduce doping cases in Nigeria.”
Founder and CEO of Making of Champions (MoC), Bambo Akanni, who is the brain behind the MTN Champs revealed that 10 young athletes from the championship will get special scholarship in the USA and Jamaica.
“MTN Champs involving Secondary School Championship is to discover future Olympians for the country, building youth to excel in sports and academics. This is in line with MTN history of supporting local athletes for global aspirations.
NBPL Final Four: Winning Tournament Excites Rivers Hoopers Player
Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt player Effiong Abel has expressed joy for winning the just concluded Nigeria Basketball Premier (NBPL) League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the game was not an easy one, adding that they were going through a hard training before the competition.
Effiong disclosed his excitement last Saturday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports shortly after Rivers Hoopers defeated Nigeria Customs basketball team 77-57 in the final game of the four of the NBPL in Port Harcourt.
He stated that it was a team work that saw them through, adding that he was very happy winning the tournament in the front of his fans.
“ I feel very excited today for winning the Nigeria Basketball Premier League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
“ It was not an easy one because of the type of training we were undergoing to ensure we get victory in the tournament.
“I give kudos to my teammates and the coaching crew, they were awesome.
“ Also kudos to the fans, they came out in numbers to support us” Effiong said.
Effiong personally took charge at some point of the game delivering three pointers which eventually created a lee way for a sumptuous finale.
By: Kiadum Edookor
MOC Makes Appeal Over Age Cheats
Organisers of the ongoing school athletics competition, MTN Champs, Making of Champions (MoC), have appealed to all athletes who have participated in the three legs of the championship, as well as their schools, parents, coaches and everyone connected to them to support the body in its efforts to eradicate the systemic age cheating in Nigeria’s athletics by committing to use their real ages at the Abuja grand final and in future.
“MTN has provided a historic opportunity for Nigeria to finally tackle the pressures that our athletes have long faced to cut their ages,” MoC said in a statement made available to news men.
“Never in our nation’s history has there been a nationwide series of championships that has provided three age groups cutting across ages 11 to 19, to give everyone possible opportunity to compete fairly in their own age groups, and we have even relaxed the junior age group from U-20 to U-23.
The grand finale will hold in Abuja from December 1 to 3.
The MoC statement added: “Despite the fact that appropriate age groups have been provided for everyone, we have seen widespread age discrepancies across all three age categories – Cadet (U-14) and Youth (U-17) categories, which are strictly for secondary schools only and juniors (U-20), which is open to all other teenagers.
“For example, we have seen a systematic pattern of an unusually high number of SS2 and SS3 students claiming to be 13 and 14 years old respectively. We have seen athletes who were 14 in 2021 claiming to still be 14 now, 18-year-olds who have finished secondary school already claiming to be 13 so that they can run against the cadets, and we have seen many athletes competing for schools they are not part of and in the wrong age categories as well.
“One of such schools, which was biggest offender in this area, is currently in the process of being disqualified, which will be announced shortly.”