U23 AFCON Qualifier: Coach Invites 16 Overseas-Based Players
Head Coach Salisu Yusuf has invited 16 overseas-based players to the team’s camp in preparation for this month’s U23 AFCON final qualifying fixture against Guinea.
The Olympic Eagles trade tackles with their Guinean counterparts in a first leg encounter scheduled for the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja from 4pm on Wednesday, 22nd March, with the return set for the Complexe Sportif Prince Heritier Moulay Al Hassan from 7pm Morocco time on Tuesday, 28th March. Guinea does not have any venue approved in the country for international matches.
Yusuf’s list of invitees is headed by team captain Success Makanjuola, whose two converted spot kicks against Tanzania earned the 1996 Olympic gold-medallists passage to this final round. There are also midfielder Abiodun Ogunniyi and Bello Babatunde, as well as Belgium-based new headline-grabber Gift Emmanuel Orban.
As happened against the Tanzanians in Dar es Salaam and Ibadan in October last year, Makanjuola is expected to lead the charge against the Guineans in Abuja on Wednesday, perhaps alongside Orban, with Babatunde and Ogunniyi (nicknamed Omo-Jesu) pulling the strings from the middle.
The winner on aggregate will qualify for the Africa U23 Cup of Nations scheduled for Morocco later this year, at which Africa’s flag bearers at next year’s Men’s Olympic Football Tournament will emerge.
Guinea’s delegation for the encounter in Abuja is expected to arrive in Nigeria on Saturday evening.
Insurance, Doma, Sunshine Through To FA Cup Q’Finals
Bendel Insurance carried on their impressive run in the Nigeria Professional Football League to the Federation Cup, after advancing to the quarter-finals of the competition with a 1-0 win over Heartland at the Awka City Stadium, Tidesports source reports.
In-form striker, Ismael Sarki, scored the only goal of the game in the 47th minute after lashing onto a lay-up from Stephen Adodo.
In Abuja, Doma United also booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over second-tier Edel FC. Bidemi Owoku and Daniel Barnabas saw off their opponents with just four minutes between their goals in the first half.
Meanwhile, 10-man Sunshine Stars secured a nervy 3-2 win over another NNL side, EFCC FC, in Benin.
After a cagey opening, the NPFL side broke the deadlock through Samson Olasupo in the 42nd minute while Jide Jimoh made it two in the 82nd minute with a stylish finish after beating his marker from outside the box.
EFCC, however, pulled one back a minute later, before Emmanuel Ogbuagu scored the third for Sunshine.
Sunshine ended the game with 10 men as Udom Ekerete saw red, while EFCC pulled one back in stoppage time.
Nigerian Pupil Set Guinness World Record On Skipping
Another 17- year-old pupil of Oyemekun Grammar School Akure, Ondo State, Philip Solomon, has been declared the Guinness World Record holder for most skips on one foot in 30 seconds.
On January 24, Solomon officially recorded 153 skips on one foot in 30 seconds to outdo former record holder Rasel Islam of Bangladesh whose record was 145.
His record was officially confirmed by the Guinness World Record on Tuesday, four months after his attempt.
“Solomon was inspired by the previous holder of this record title Rasel Islam after seeing a video of his record attempt. He has been training to achieve the record and was honoured to attend a skipping world championship,” Guinness World Record announced on its website.
Solomon has joined his Ijapo High school, Akure counterpart, Gbenga Ezekiel, who was in February declared the world record holder for most skips on one leg in one minute with 265 skips, to increase Nigeria’s rope skipping Guinness World Records to two.
The senior secondary school three students also said he was inspired by the feat of Gbenga Ezekiel earlier this year.
Heinken Fans Campaign Shakes Warri, Abuja, Others
Abuja and the oil-rich city of Warri were pumped up with excitement as the Heineken ‘Cheers to All Fans Campaign’ train made a big splash in the two cities.
With fans across the world already eager to know the finalists in this season’s Champions League, the brand gave passionate fans in Abuja and Warri something extra to look forward to.
In the end, it was a spectacular show, on and off the pitch for the fans and loyal Heineken consumers, who thronged the De Clouds Lounge in Warri and then the Papiees Meatro in the heart of Abuja.
In Warri, the attention was on the Milan derby, where Inter were looking to complete a double over their city rivals, while AC Milan were hoping to turn the tables after a 0-2 deficit from the first leg.
Most fans on the night in Warri were neutral; unanimously wishing the better side to pick the ticket and that better side turned out to be Inter who won the second leg again.
Laturo Martinez got the goal that saw Inter progressed on a 3-0 aggregate scoreline and ended their 13-year wait for a chance in the Champions League final.
As jubilant Inter fans partied into the night at San Siro, it was the same festive atmosphere in Warri as Heineken pumped up the excitement for the fans, who gushed over the unique viewing experience.
Cheers to all fans were evident as there was a high turnout of female football enthusiasts, who commended the brand for their deliberate inclusivity drive.
“I like football a bit but tonight, Heineken has made me even like the game the most. This unique experience is so fantastic and I really enjoyed myself with my friends,” a Warri resident, Sandra Achi said after the match.
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