After a first leg 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits in Milpark Stadium Johanessburg, Nigerian giants Enyimba are on the cusp of a group stage place in this year’s CAF Confederation Cup.
Diane Klate scored early to give Bidvest a surprise lead but Ibrahim Mustapha was on hand to stun the PSL champions minutes later, leaving the tie delicately balanced for the return leg on Wednesday in Calabar.
With victory needed to secure a last eight berth, club boss Felix Anyansi Agwu has demanded for a front-foot, hard-working and determined team. Citing famous turnarounds in European club football recently, he cautioned against complacency and a lack of desire as a result of the first leg draw.
“We cannot go into this game with our mind on the 1-1 result of the first leg, no. We must go into it ready to give everything, with no thought of the first leg. We must go in to win and win convincingly so we go into the group stage unbeaten.”
“This is a turning point in our season, we must decide whether to emerge as group stage players or the team that crashed out at home. In modern football, teams are no longer worried about results from the first leg because they know they can turn a tie around in the second leg, so we must not give in to over-confidence or errors or fear. We must rise to the moment and earn the victory we deserve, the victory Nigeria deserves.”
“We must be united in our belief, we must be united in our desire. We have the great support of our Abia State Governor, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu and he has demanded that the gates be thrown open on Wednesday, in appreciation of the good people of Cross River State and to encourage you, so the fans can turn out in large numbers to cheer you”, he declared.
“So on Wednesday you have to play with pride for the club, with pride for Nigeria and with pride for yourselves. We have a chance to rise to the next level and we must seize the opportunity. Ultimate victory is the objective in this competition and we must be ready to fight and achieve our dreams,” he concluded.
Anyansi Agwu further commended the efforts of the technical crew and reiterated his belief in their work.
Wednesday’s game is at 4 pm inside the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
‘NBA Determined To Dev B’ball In Nigeria’
The NBA has said it is determined to grow the next generation of talented basketball players in the country.
The NBA Africa Vice President and Country Head, NBA Nigeria, Gbemisola Abudu, made this known in Abuja on Wednesday at the ninth edition of the Power Forward games.
Abudu said part of the vision of the NBA was to influence the basketball ecosystem in the country.
The Power Forward Project, organised in collaboration with ExxonMobil and PanAfricare ,has expanded over the years to include 40 schools in Abuja, with over 200,000 youths impacted positively since 2013.
Speaking during the finals of the event, Abudu said, “Power Forward is an incredible programme. It is focused on young adults in Abuja for them to acquire life skills through the lens of basketball. The goal is to roll out an expanded programme like this to other parts of the country because when it comes to talent development, it starts from a very young age.
This is part of a big plan for the NBA. The NBA opened its third office in Africa in Lagos at the beginning of last year. This demonstrates the commitment of the NBA and the belief it has in the Nigerian market, that is, from the talent development perspective. In the history of the NBA, we have had about 120 players of African heritage, and more than half of those have been Nigerians. That has signalled year-in-year-out the importance of Nigeria to the NBA.”
The PanAfricare Country Director for Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Adah, said, “This project has produced alumni who are making impact. It has impacted them and made them achieve their aims in life. We have also produced some basketballers in Nigeria, who have participated in various championships. It ignited their interest in basketball.
Coach Bosso Drops Four Players Ahead Of U20 AFCON
Head coach of the U-20 team, Ladan Bosso, has further reduced his squad as he prepares to drop his final list for the 2022 U-20 AFCON in Egypt.
The four unnamed players were dropped before Tuesday’s training session, which also afforded Bosso and his coaching crew the chance to test some overseas-based players who arrived camp over the weekend.
Ademola Ola-Adebomi of Crystal Palace, Joel Ideho of Arsenal, Michael Ologo of Istanbulspor and Abel Ogwuche of Trelleborgs were all involved in a test game that ended in a draw.
During the session, the Ideho and Ogwuche were particularly impressive, just as Ologo showed composure as a topflight player. Ola-Adebomi was also imposing in the test game, but it appeared the 15 minutes game time he got wasn’t enough to show his real abilities.
As the Flying Eagles continue their preparations for the tournament in Egypt, the Nigeria Football Federation has penciled a two-legged friendly against Zambia on Friday and Sunday.
Seven-time champions Nigeria have been drawn with hosts Egypt, Mozambique and Senegal in Group A of the tournament.
The 2023 U-20 AFCON, which will be played from February 9 to March 11, will serve as qualifiers for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Sports Commissioner Blames NFF Over Stadium Rejection
Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Chris Green, has fingered the Nigeria Football Federation over the rejection of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt to host group stage matches of Rivers United in the CAF Confederation Cup, Tidesports source reports.
Less than a month to the start of the club’s campaign on the continent, reports went viral last week that the NPFL champions had adopted the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo for their home matches, suggesting that the Port Harcourt stadium failed to meet the requirements of the Confederation of African Football.
Having played its preliminary games at the stadium, the club shared updates about upgrades at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, but in the wake of the latest development, Green alleged that the NFF failed to show up for the inspection of the facility.
“The NFF is in a better position to answer. Yes, we upgraded (the stadium) but NFF officials were supposed to inspect it, but they didn’t come,” Green told Tidesports source.
NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, declined comments on the issue, saying, “I can’t be discussing issues like this in the media, but NFF has done its job.”
According to the fixtures released by CAF, Rivers United will begin their campaign on February 12 against ASEC Mimosas away from home, before playing their first home game against the same opponents on February 19.
The fixtures also revealed that other home games against DC Motema Pembe and Diables Noirs will be played on March 8 and 19 respectively in Uyo.
The Godswill Akpabio International Stadium hosted last season’s CAF Confederation Cup final match between RSB Berkane and Orlando Pirates.
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