Rivers United forward Ishaq Rafiu has shared his happiness over making his debut for the Super Eagles in their 2-1 loss to Mexico.
Rafiu has had a stellar campaign with the Pride of Rivers, scoring 14 goals and assisting two in the Nigeria Professional Football League. He has been brilliant all season, and he stands in good stead to win the Golden boot.
Rafiu got rewarded for his performance with a call-up to the National team for the friendly games against Mexico and Ecuador.
The 21-year-old finally got his time in Nigerian colors ten minutes from time in the Super Eagles’ 2-1 loss to Mexico.
Rafiu gave a good account of himself, making brilliant runs forward, and showing readiness to take on defenders. However, he failed to make any meaningful impact as the Super Eagles fell to a 2-1 defeat.
The Rivers United man took to social media to share his excitement at the feat.
“It was indeed a dream come through to represent Nigeria with lots of memories that will remain evergreen,” Rafiu said.
“Now, it’s time to focus on the NPFL and finished the good job we have started with Rivers United FC and chase the top scorer’s gong.”
Rafiu failed to make the squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month. Still, he would look to rise from the disappointment a d continue banging in the goals for Rivers United as they push for the league title.
LMC Explains 30Mins Added Time In Katsina Utd, Remo Stars Clash
The League Management Company (LMC), custodians of the Nigerian Professional Football League (LMC), yesterday, explained that the referee in the Matchday 35 game between Katsina United and Remo Stars, at the weekend, was forced to add extra minutes to the game to make up for the time wasted when fans encroached on the pitch.
In a statement sent to Tidesports source, the LMC said it became necessary to correct the impression created by some social media accounts that have been spreading information that the match had over 30 minutes of added time.
It said: “The match was disrupted by players of Katsina United, who protested Remo Stars second equalising goal late in the game. In the process of the players contesting the referee’s decision, there was an encroachment on the field of play and it took some time before the encroachment was cleared and normalcy was restored.
“The goal stood and the match duly restarted to conclude the remaining added minutes. However, most of those commenting, including some sports journalists followed the match on online live game trackers such as Livescore, Betway, flashscore and it needs to be pointed out that these platforms hardly indicate that a game was inactive and most times leave their match clock active throughout the match.
“It is not possible for a referee to allow 30 minutes of added time in a 45 minutes half. We appeal to fans and the media to always verify the information they share, especially such that are detrimental to the health of the brand.”
The LMC recalled that on “MatchDay 33, there was a similar incident in the match between Lobi Stars and Heartland, which had several stoppages due to injuries and time wastage right from the first half. The game was not concluded on time and the same Internet websites/blogs reported the match as having 27minutes of added time, which was totally not correct but also created similar confusion.
“Furthermore, it must be emphasised for the general public to note that only the match official is in charge of the official timing of a match and not any online websites/blogs. The LMC is, therefore, awaiting the official match reports on the encroachment at Katsina, so as to take appropriate actions/sanctions on any party found to have erred pursuant to the stipulations of the NPFL framework and rules.”
LOC Unveils NSF Logo, Mascot In Asaba
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 2022 National Sports Festival has unveiled the logo and mascot for the 21st National Sports Festival, NSF, scheduled to commence in November this year.
Speaking with journalists, Secretary of the LOC, Sir, Chris Anaziah said the logo and mascot would be unveiled in Asaba at the Government House Unity Hall with His Excellency,, the Executive Governor of Delta State, and the People’s Democratic Party’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa as the chief host of the event.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare with other members of Main Organising Committee (MOC) headed by the Sports’ Ministry Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Isma’il Abubakar, will also be present that the unveiling ceremony.
The LOC had earlier through its Chairman and Secretary to the Delta State Government, (SSG) Chief Patrick Ukah, reiterated Delta’s commitment to the hosting of the 21st National Sports Festival as the best of the festival since its inception.
He had asserted that the Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival will be the best of its kind as it will be second to none since the inception of the games in the country since 1973.
He noted that Delta, as a major sporting state in the country, is committed to providing the best of facilities for citizens of the country and not just Deltans alone.
Delta 2022, will be the first time perennial champions, Delta State, will be hosting the “National Olympics”
NPFL Can Become Best In Africa – Coach
Super Eagles Coach, Jose Peseiro, is thrilled by the quality of talents in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), saying the league has the potential to become Africa’s best.
Speaking after watching a Matchday 35 game between Akwa United and Plateau United at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Peseiro described Nigeria as a country full of talented players, who have proven themselves at the highest level of football, while commending the organisers of the league and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for upholding high standard to discover and nurture football talents in the country.
The Portuguese said he enjoyed the quality of play by the teams, as well as the fans’ passion, promising to go round all the football venues next season to see the players and also know where he can contribute to the development of the league.
“This is my second time watching the NPFL game… first was in Kwara, now in Uyo and so far, I can say the quality of the league is high and the players are committed.
“The season is almost over, but from next season, I will go round all the football venues and watch the players and see how many we can bring into the national team. After the game, I interacted with the coaches, gave my assessment and also asked them how I can improve my team.”
He reiterated his promise that the Super Eagles are open to everyone, regardless of where they play.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has congratulated Rivers United for winning the 2021/22 NPFL.
Rivers United have officially been confirmed the champion of the 2021/2022 NPFL season following Plateau United’s 1-2 away loss to Akwa United last week.
A statement by Wike’s Special Assistant (Media), Kelvin Ebiri, said the governor commended the players and coaching staff of the club on Sunday, following the memorable victory, which ended their five-year title wait.
Wike attributed the achievement to the talented team’s determination, adding that it is most heartening that by virtue of the league win, the club will represent the country at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League next season.
He added that Rivers United’s triumph at the 2021/2022 NPFL has brought a wave of joy and happiness to the people of Rivers State and the country at large.
“I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to the coaching staff, particularly, the capable players of Rivers United for the valuable efforts they made to emerge the winner of the 2021/2022 NPFL.
“The government and good people of Rivers State are very proud of the team’s exploits following their dogged performances and resilience display throughout the 2021/2022 season. It is worthy to note that over the years, Rivers United has brought so much joy and happiness to football fans and supporters all over the country. This victory, no doubt, marks a major milestone in Rivers State football’s history.”
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