Reactions have started to trail the performances of African teams at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar, which started on Sunday.
The african continent has five representatives in the World biggest Football tournament, with the African Champions being Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana and Cameroon.
So far, no African country has gone beyond the quarter final stage in the tournament but only Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana had secured the quarter final ticket but crashed out at that stage.
In recent times, many countries have improved in football as no country can be described as total underdogs.
Consequently, some upsets have already been recorded at the ongoing World Cup, where you see Saudi Arabia beat number one Football nation Argentina, while Japan beat another Football giants Germany.
In the continent, football enthusiasts have tipped any of the African teams to go beyond quarter finals and probably win the World Cup.
Former Super Eagles Captain, Sunday Oliseh, has earlier expressed confidence in Senegal and Ghana, saying that they will make Africa proud in the tournament.
According to him, their commitment, pattern of play and the quality of players have convinced him that they will go far.
“ I have confidence in Senegal and Ghana, they are committed and play good football, so I tip them to go beyond quarter finals and perhaps win the trophy,” Oliseh said.
Former African Footballer of the Year, Samuel E’to, has also said that his country Cameroon, will lift the World Cup.
According to him, his country has the potentials to win the tournament following the quality of players in their team.
“ We are going to this World Cup with the intention to win the trophy, because we have good players and determined to win all our games”, E’to said.
Former defunct Sharks FC player, Ibe Orlu, said despite the fact Senegal lost 2-0 in their opening game against Netherlands he is still optimistic that they will surprise the World.
“I believe that African teams at the ongoing World cup will perform better than they did in the previous editions. For me, Senegal and Morocco will be exceptional in their second games,” he said.
In his reaction, Manager of a popular viewing Centre, at Hospital Road, Old Port Harcourt township, Ibiba Harry, said looking at North African teams’ performance in Qatar 2022, he believed that they will give good account of themselves in the competition.
“ The North African teams will surprise people in this World cup.
“I watched Senegal and Morocco teams and saw them going beyond quater finals of the competition,” Harry said.
A strong football fanatic, Prince Emmanuel, also said that African teams will dominate as the tournament progresses.
He said in spite of the fact that the Super Eagles did not qualify for the World Cup, he has so much confidence in the five countries that are representing the continent.
“Even though my country (Nigeria) did not qualify for the competition, I will support the other Africa teams in the tournament,” Emmanuel said.
Head coach Shining Stars Football Club in Oyigbo Local Government Area, Rivers State, Gift John, said he did not expect any good performance from the african teams.
“I do not really see any African team putting up an impressive performance at the World Cup.
“We can see that most African players are representing various countries in Europe instead of their countries in Africa, take the likes of Bakayoko Saka, Tammy Abraham and many others. These players are expected to make impact in their countries, so I do not really see any African team going beyond the knock out stage “, John said.
A sports enthusiast, Ekene Nwachukwu, disagreed with Gift John. He said, African teams will do well in the 2022 edition of World Cup, holding in Qatar.
He noted that from the recent friendly matches played between African teams and European teams, it is apparent that they will perform impressively in the tournament.
“I believe that the African teams will reach the finals or even become the World Champions, because they have quality players that will win the world Cup,”Nwachukwu said.
By: Tonye Orabere with reports from Kiadum Edooko & Ogolo Alali
Sambo: Nigeria Names Four-Man Team
The Sambo Association of Nigeria has named a four-man team for their debut at the 13th African Games in Ghana from March 8 to 23.
Sambo is an offshoot of judo, jujutsu, boxing, folk wrestling and is currently recognised by the International Olympic Committee although it is yet to be listed for demonstration at the Olympics.
The contingent is made up of two men and two women, namely Jonah Kajido (79kg), James Chegwam (58kg), Fatima Ogbonyomi (65kg) and Charity Jatau (59kg).
Ahead of what will be the first appearance of the event at the Games, Vice President of SAN, Sheriff Hammed, expressed excitement about the prospect of Nigeria participating in the event.
“We carefully selected these athletes to represent us at the African Games based on their knowledge of the sport and Sambo being one of the demonstration sports in Ghana, we want to ensure that we are well represented in the event.
“This is the first time that Sambo will be part of the African Games as the sport is gaining ground across the globe and Nigeria should not be an exception. For now, the athletes are camping in readiness for the games as we are not just going there to add to the number but to make our presence felt in the event,” he said on Tuesday.
Hammed, who is also the joint Secretary, International Association of Combative Sports (Africa), said participating in the Games would give more people the opportunity to appreciate the uniqueness of the sport, being one of the fast-growing sports in the world.
We are hoping that taking part in the Games would give us the chance to popularise the sport among Africans and Nigerians. More African countries are now embracing the sport and hopefully, it will be part of the Olympics sports very soon with the way it is growing across the globe,” he added.
Nwabali Receives Hero’s Welcome At Chippa United
Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, received a warm welcome back at South African club, Chippa United, on Tuesday, following his remarkable performance at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Upon arrival at Port Elizabeth Airport, the 27-year-old was greeted by hundreds of Chippa United fans.
In a video shared on Tuesday, he was seen engaging with supporters, taking selfies and participating in singing the club’s anthem.
Chippa United, via their social media handle, celebrated his return with the message, “He’s Back #NwabaliBobo.”
Nwabali’s standout performance during AFCON 2023 earned him cash gifts, a national honour, and a chieftaincy title in his hometown.
Due to his success, Nwabali has been linked with potential moves to other clubs like Kaizer Chiefs and Union St Gilloise.
Ayienugba Claims Women’s Tennis Gold Medal In Police Games
Winners have emerged in the tennis event at the ongoing 14th biennial Police Games tagged ‘Oluyole 2024’ at the Ibadan Recreation Club with Funke Ayienugba of Zone 2 claiming the women’s singles gold medal.
In a one-sided match, Ayienugba defeated Dike Osinachi of Zone 4 6-0, 6-0 to emerge champion, while in the men’s doubles final, twins Paul and Peter Alakwem of Force Headquarters defeated duo Idris and Aminci of Zone 2 6-1, 6-1 to win the gold medal.
Also, Agnes Ogar and Charity Philips of Zone 7 defeated Adedayo and Oyelowo 6-0,6-0 to emerge champions in the women’s doubles.
In karate individual kata (female category), Rita Edejoh emerged champion, while Zinab Absalam clinched the silver medal, with duo Hamzat Olayinka and Holiness Iyoba ending up in third and fourth positions respectively.
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