Binnabook Magazine: Sports Reviews


Showing posts with label Sports Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports Reviews. Show all posts

AFCON 2021: Deadly Stampede Reported At Cameroon Stadium, 6 Football Fans Killed

 Six people are reported to have been killed and dozens hurt in a crush outside a stadium hosting an Africa Cup of Nations match in Cameroon.

Video footage showed football fans struggling to get access to the Paul Biya stadium in a neighbourhood of the capital Yaounde.

Naseri Paul Biya, governor of Cameroon's central region, said there may be more casualties, AP News said.

Another report said a number of children had lost consciousness.

The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but because of Covid restrictions it was not meant to be more than 80% full.

Match officials were quoted as saying that some 50,000 people were trying to attend.

Nurse Olinga Prudence told AP that some of the injured were in a "desperate condition".

The Confederation of African Football, CAF said in a statement that it is "currently investigating the situation and trying to get more details on what transpired".

The last 16 match between Cameroon and Comoros took place despite the incident and ended with a 2-1 win for the hosts.

We Will Compensate Nigerians With World Cup Ticket – Simon Moses

 Nigeria crashed out of the 33 rd Africa Cup of Nations after an unfortunate 1-0 loss at Roumde Adjia stadium Garoua, to Tunisia on Sunday. One of the major actors on the night was winger Simon Moses, whose exploits in the group stages made him a target for opposing defenders.

Indeed he received most of the attention from the Tunisians that he could hardly do any of those things he used to do in previous matches. Simon was clipped and the Super Eagles suffered.

He spoke with Sports Vanguard at Hotel Le Ribadou in Garoua yesterday. “Football is team work. I am used to it. What I used to do for my club is what I also do for the national team, even though they are two different entities,” the Nantes forward answered to a question on what he felt he could have done to save the team. “We all worked hard, it was only unfortunate that things didn’t go our way.”

He was full of apologies to Nigerians, Moses said, on the flip side, ”it is good because it is an experience I will learn a lot from. Same for the team. It happened so that everyone can learn from his mistakes and work on how to correct them.”

He confessed he was in tears, like most of his other colleagues because he couldn’t swallow the loss. “I thought about the Nigerian fans, I thought about my family and thought about myself and I said, this was not what we thought to do. We did not prepare for this. We wanted to go forward, but it did not turn out that way. The entire scenario was dampening.“

The nimble-footed winger said the Eagles were determined to compensate Nigerians with the 2022 FIFA World Cup ticket.

“Nigerians should be hopeful because our hope is to go to the World Cup. That is the only thing that can gladden their hearts and lift their spirits. I believe we will do everything within our powers to be at the World Cup.

Real Madrid Eden Hazard And Lessons For Nigerian Youths

Eden Hazard And Lessons For Nigerian Youths

Hashim Yussuf Amao

"To my Chelsea friends and family. You now know that I will be joining Real Madrid. It’s no secret that it was my dream to play for them since I was a young boy just scoring my first goal… Now, the Clubs have reached an agreement I hope you understand I had to pursue my next chapter, just as each and every one of you should when you have the chance to pursue your dreams.”

After seven years, 352 games and 110 goals for the Chelsea, Eden Michael Hazard, one of the finest footballer of his generation bid a farewell to a Club that made him a star and and shot him to global sight. Warm streak of tears almost made its journey down my cheeks as I read his heart-melting farewell message. You would be wrong if you think I'm a Chelsea fan. Well, I hope you take it as a normal football banter if I tell you Chelsea is a team I loathe - no thanks to the irking noise and hooliganism of their fans, many of whom would not only have painted the sky blue; but the soil, hills and every other creations, were they powerful to do that. A reason they are fondly addressed "Agbero FC" - a football club of raggedy bus conductors/hooligans.

The unmatched trio of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez in 2008 had successfully arrested my initial interest in football, that I found myself nursing deep affection for Man U, a team that housed three destructive fronts who makes defenders suffer and got many nets pregnant. What triggered my emotions for Hazard was what would trigger that of many other football lovers - sheer emotional football moments. Seeing a full-fledged player like Hazard who coupled as a king among his peers leave his comfort zone, typically, would call for emotion.

Fit. Flexible. Technical. Tactical. Hazard did not only made football a pleasure to watching fans, he was also a toast of his fellow players. "Hazard has a lot of quality. He is a different football player who can unbalance [defences]..." said Lionel Messi, the second best player to kick the ball. The best to have, Cristiano Ronaldo, also lauded Hazard when he listed him among 10 other outstanding players who could succeed him. So exceptional Hazard was, that his former teammate, Nnemanja Matic said "Whenever I don’t know what to do with the ball I just give it to Eden! He usually finds a way to create an opportunity." But then, what made Hazard, a once lion in the game who roars hardly become a powerless dog who could no longer go for a successful kill?

Following his (£86/$120m) massive transfer from Chelsea in 2019, Eden have only contributed four goals and seven assists to the Blancos cause, and has rather been graduating from one injury to the other. A funny moment I recall, when a Nigerian football enthusiast, who like many other emotional Nigerians, made an emotional stance that Hazard could be having series of injuries because "the player who benches him at Real Madrid, Vicius Jnr is a Brazilian, and you know Brazilian deals alot in voodoos". So my funny friend said. Well, his emotional stance was wrong but his assertion about Brazil and voodoo could be right. According to New York Times, a fact-driven website, Brazil had developed many cults practices and diasporic spiritual beliefs which had spread throughout the country like the Candomblé, which came on board via the syncretism of the West Africans, who were at a point, slave captives in Brazil. That they take advantage of the venerated "orixas" for occultistic attacks. The fact, however, would not jettison the fact that Nigerians maintain a notable share in emotional talks and are quick to attach spiritual sentiments to human difficulties; but would it be fair to say a young Vicius Jnr could be so mean that he had attacked Hazard spiritually? I couldn't contain this laugh. My dentition is currently widely-open. Lol. Do not mind me. But, the emotional sentiment was an unhealthy spit that shouldn't remain in the mouth, so I let it out and rather seek the "fact" that wins over emotions, anytime.

While Hazard should have rather made a tap from the success principles of footballers like Messi and Ronaldo who he looked up to, Eden wrecked his own career with careless and not-too-good intakes for a footballer who seek fitness and consistent appearances. Pizza, Burger, Bun and other junks which are liable to cause injury or affect a footballer's fitness were what Hazard found solace in consuming, time to time. Despite the many warnings he received. On his own choice of foods, listen to what he said while recovering from a calf injury that he suffered in late-February 2021: "The sauce on burger was my favourite thing. I'm trying not to eat a lot. I'm trying not to go into the pantry to eat a lot of buns, but it's not easy" he told RTBF. His former Chelsea teammate and Chelsea Goalkeeper, Marcin Bulka, also revealed Hazard's penchant for some greasy junk food: "He loves hamburgers and pizza, I saw him all the time in pizzerias,” he said, as per Goal. “He doesn’t care about anything other than football and having a good time. In Chelsea, this was not a problem, but at Real, especially with the recent injury, he probably went a bit overboard with the weight.”

Away from Hazard's junks, he is also a lazy player who was described as the "most lazy player I've ever played with" according to his former Chelsea teammate, John Obi Mikel. The reportedly lazy Hazard has been listed among his Former teammate, Felipe Luis as one of the best players he (Filipe) has ever played with, but his laziness has not really helped him. Hear Filipe: "Eden, along with Neymar, are the best players I have ever played alongside - up there with [Lionel] Messi. But He didn't train well. Five minutes before the game he would be playing Mario Kart in the dressing room. He would warm up without tying his bootlaces up." Luis told the Daily Mail. Hazard's former coach, José Mourinho also lamented his laziness. Hear José: "The truth is what you see from him, he is an amazing player with awful training. When he gets onto the pitch you don’t see the reflection of a week of work, you just see a reflection of his talent." Mourinho said during an interview with talkSPORT.

Unprofessional intakes and laziness had wrecked Hazard's fitness and career, that he got to Madrid with extra five kilos overweight and have faced series of debilitating injuries. Right to say he brought himself fame but ruined his game with careless enjoyment and laziness. He watched his own talent get clipped, shorter than he had wished. Like Hazard, like Neymar, the duo of who were kings in their games and supposed successors of the two best players in football history - Ronaldo and Messi - but ended up watching their talent recede because of unprofessional enjoyment and laziness. Like Hazard, Like Neymar, Like Nigerian Youths. Many of the latter who have unlimited stream of talents, but watch it vanish like vapour with their careless enjoyment and laziness. They spared no listening ears to John C Maxwell's message that, "Talent Is Never Enough". Everlasting professionalism is never gifted on platter of gold; it requires relentless works, determination, sacrifice and many other principles.

6 out of 10 talented Nigeria would rather blame the Government for their shinning penury, even while they have thrown hardwork and success principles through the window. Success without patience, result without consistent hardwork have overwhelmed their thoughts. The others would rather take all sort of hard substances, unhealthy junks and everything that could mar their health, sanity and profession, all in the name of enjoyment, forgetting there could be negative effects to all they consume. But in the end, all blames fall back to the Government. This makes it expedient to remind Nigeria Youths that many of what they take or decision they make today will either make or mar their future and career. Laziness or careless enjoyment spoils longtime dream. Like I asserted in one of my quotes, "Hardwork is sweet and fulfilling, laziness is sh*t and wrecking".

Before I sheathe my pen, I hope Nigerians would rather tap success inspiration from Ronaldo/Messi who maintained their fitness and professionalism at the riddance of laziness and careless enjoyment, and not Hazard and Neymar who watch their talent recede because of laziness and unprofessional intakes. Longlasting success requires hardwork, sacrifice, principles; and not "anyhowness".

Hashim Yussuf Amao

Austin Eguavoen Speaks After Super Eagles Afcon Defeat By Tunisia

 Super Eagles coach, Austin Eguavoen has spoken about Nigeria's loss to Tunisia in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 which took place on Sunday January 22, Newspremises reports.

Recall that Alex Iwobi was shown a red card in the 64th minutes, after the referee upgraded his yellow card to a red one following a VAR Review for a bad attack.

Eguavoen in a post match conference, said that Iwobi didn't deserve to be sent out of the match since he was a first time offender. He also said the attack wasn't intentional so shouldn't have amounted to a red card.

The interim coach added that Wilfred Ndidi was mashed right in front of the referee but he didn't call a foul even though Ndidi complained.

Eguavoen also congratulated Tunisia for qualifying for the quater finals adding that the Super Eagles did their best even though they were knocked out by The Eagles of Carthage.

Super Eagle Coach Austin Eguavoen

Watch the video below:

Tunisia stun Nigeria with last-16 win in latest Afcon upset

 The Super Eagles went down to 10 men in the second half of the last-16 tie and were unable to pull off a come back

Nigeria have been eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations at the last-16 stage after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Tunisia on Sunday.

Youssef Msakni scored the decisive goal two minutes into the second-half, while Alex Iwobi was sent off just seven minutes after being substituted on, making it difficult for Nigeria to come back against their Covid-19 stricken opponents.

Immediately after the match, Augustine Eguavoen stepped down from his role as interim coach.

What has been said?

Tunisia boss expressed his pride in his team for their valiant effort against the Super Eagles.

He told reporters: “As we said before, we had prepared well; we had mastered our skills to counter the Nigerian team. We believed in ourselves.

“We had the desire to win and knew we had to put in a lot of efforts. We tried to win to score a goal and succeeded in doing that.

“We knew Nigeria had fast wingers and we came up with specific tactics and had to put pressure on the wingers.

“We trusted the group despite the Covid-19 cases. We didn’t need players but competitors. We wish Nigeria well but we deserve to win,”

Nigeria boss Eguavoen stepped in to take charge of the team after Gernot Rohr's recent sacking, but has given up his role following his team's shock exit.

Match Highlight

AFCON: Tunisia Head Coach, 12 Players Contract COVID-19, To Miss Nigeria Clash on Sunday

Ahead of the round of 16 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) clash with the Super Eagles, several Tunisian players and Mondher Kebaier, the head coach, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Kebaier was absent during the pre-match press conference on Saturday at the media centre of the Roumdje Adjia Stadium, Garoua.

Jalal Al-Qadri, Tunisia’s assistant coach, addressed journalists during the press conference.

He said Wahbi Khazri, captain of the Carthage Eagles, and eleven others have contracted COVID-19 and will not be available for the game.

The other eleven players are Aissa Laidouni, Dylan Bronn, Ghaylène Chaalali, Ellyes Skhiri, Anis Ben Slimane, Mohamed Romdhane, Ali Maâloul, Ben Hmida, Aymen Dahmen Yoann Touzgha and Issam Jebali.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha is suspended for the game.

Tunisia qualified for the round of 16 after finishing as one of the four best losers in the group stage.

They won their first game 4-0 against Mauritania and lost their remaining two matches.

The Carthage Eagles last met the Nigerian side during the third-place game at the 2019 AFCON in Cairo, Egypt.

Qatar 2022: FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Ghana vs Nigeria

 The final draw for the play-offs of the FIFA World Cup to be hosted in Qatar 2022 for African teams gave football fans some mouth-watering fixtures.

The draw saw ten teams placed in two different pots, the first pot which consists of the highly ranked teams while Pot 2 consisted of lower-ranked teams. Teams in Pot 1 includes Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Nigeria while teams in Pot 2 includes Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali and DR Congo.

The teams were divided into two pots based on the ranking released by FIFA in November 2021

See Full Fixtures:

Egypt vs Senegal

Cameroon vs Algeria

Ghana vs Nigeria

DR Congo vs Morocco

Mali vs Tunisia

NFF Considers Appointing Eguavoen Permanent Super Eagles Coach

 NFF Considers Appointing Eguavoen Permanent Super Eagles Coach

The Nigeria Football Federation is considering the possibility of appointing Augustine Eguavoen permanent Super Eagles coach, reports

Eguavoen was named to the post last month in an interim capacity after the NFF fired former coach Gernot Rohr on the eve of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The NFF later appointed Portuguese Jose Peseiro as the new head coach of the three-time African champions.

Peseiro is expected to take charge of the team after the AFCON finals in Cameroon.

Eguavoen put himself in the frame for the job after guiding the Super Eagles to three successive wins in Cameroon.

“He is not in Cameroon because we have not signed a contract with him yet,” a member of the NFF executive council who does not want to be named, told ESPN.

“If he had signed a contract, he would have definitely been in Cameroon as planned.”

“We are managing the public trust. So we have to look at what the people want and we also know what we want as well,” added the official.

“What we all agree on is that we want the team to do well, to play good football, to make Nigerians happy and to win trophies.

“It doesn’t matter who the coach is, what matters is the objective. If that objective can be achieved with Eguavoen as we can see now, then why not?

“We removed Rohr because Nigerians were not happy with the play and we were not blind to see that we were not going in the right direction the way we were playing.”

AFCON 2021: Super Eagles beat Guinea-Bissau to maintain 100 percent win record.

 Austin Eguavoen's men sealed their dominance in Group D with another win at the Roumde Adjia Stadium on Wednesday

Nigeria defeated Guinea-Bissau 2-0 to finish their group campaign at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with a 100 per cent win record.

After a goalless first half, goals from Umar Sadiq and William Troost-Ekong helped the three-time African champions grab nine points after three games in Group D.

Following victories over Egypt and Sudan in previous games, Eguavoen made eight changes to his starting XI on Wednesday which included Sadiq, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, Semi Ajayi, Chidera Ejuke and Kelechi Nwakali.

Guinea-Bissau made an inspiring start to the encounter with Mame Balde using his first touch to beat Ajayi but an onrushing Uzoho kept the ball out of danger with his save.

In the 15th minute, Nigeria had their first chance at goal with Nwakali’s cross from a set-piece situation but Ajayi’s header was wide off target.

It did not take long for the Super Eagles to split the Djurtus’ defence with Iwobi’s lobbed pass to Sadiq in the 20th minute but the striker’s initial touch ended the attack.

Another chance came through Nwakali to Sadiq in the 20th minute but the Almeria striker, in a one-on-one situation, tried to dribble goalkeeper Maurice Gomis and he was eventually dispossessed by Opa Sangante.

Nigeria's first shot on target came on the half-hour mark when Iheanacho found a little bit of space following Nwakali's corner-kick but his strike went directly to Gomis’ hands.

The Super Eagles started the second 45 minutes as the better side and they were rewarded with the opening goal through Sadiq in the 56th minute after a fine left-footed pass from Iheanacho.

Immediately after he scored his maiden goal for Nigeria, the 24-year-old made way for Peter Olayinka to make his international debut while Simon replaced Ejuke.

Simon boosted Nigeria's attack and quest for a second goal with his runs and dribbles which paid off in the 75th minute.

Following his individual brilliance into the Guinea-Bissau defence, the Nantes winger fired a stunning shot that hit the crossbar and fell in the path of Troost-Ekong to put into an empty net.

It took a lengthy VAR check to verify if the captain was not in an offside position and the goal was eventually passed by Kenyan referee Kamaku Waweru.

A few minutes later, Baciro Cande's side had their opportunity to pull a goal back through Fali Cande's free-kick just outside of the Super Eagles' penalty area but it was deflected by Iheanacho for a corner-kick.

The West Africans ended the tournament without scoring a goal and they finished their campaign in Cameroon at the bottom of Group D while Egypt took the second spot after a 1-0 win over Sudan.

Mohamed Abdelmonem's 35th-minute goal was enough for the Pharaohs to finish behind Nigeria with six points.

Eguavoen’s side will play the third-best team from Group E or F in the round of 16 in Garoua on Sunday

Guinea-Bissau v Nigeria | Highlights

Greatest AFCON Shock: Ghana Dumped Out By Debutants Comoros in AFCON2021 Group Stage

 Ghana suffered a humiliating group-stage exit at the Africa Cup of Nations after the four-time champions were beaten by debutants Comoros.

El Fardou Ben Nabouhane put the islanders ahead early on, and Ghana then went down to 10 men when Andre Ayew was shown a straight red card.

Ahmed Mogni doubled the lead before the Black Stars fought back to make it 2-2.

However, Mogni tapped in his second in the 85th minute to inflict Ghana's first group-stage exit since 2006.

The result in Group C will go down as one of the biggest shocks in Nations Cup history as Comoros scored at the finals for the first time and then went on to record their maiden victory.

Incredibly, the side ranked 132nd in the world now have a chance to reach the knockout stages as one of four best-ranked third-placed sides.

The tiny island nation with just under a million inhabitants - and more famous for its history of political coups than its football - had only won its first Nations Cup or World Cup qualifier in 2016 at the 20th attempt.

A squad bolstered by members of the diaspora, with many plying their trade in the lower leagues in France, lost just once to achieve a maiden qualification and Comoros have now beaten one of the continent's giants.

Ghana had put in disjointed displays in their first two games, a 1-0 defeat by Morocco and a niggly 1-1 draw with Gabon, and finish bottom of the group table despite putting in a spirited display following Ayew's 25th-minute sending off.

Their fans in the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua looked stunned at the full-time whistle, being left to contemplate a rollercoaster second half which ended their bid for a first Nations Cup title since 1982.

Their exit in Cameroon will increase the pressure on coach Milovan Rajevac, who returned for a second spell in charge in September.

The Serb led the Black Stars to the Nations Cup final in 2010 and the World Cup quarter-finals the same year, and guided the West Africans through to Africa's play-offs for this year's World Cup.

However, Ghana only won their qualifying group ahead of South Africa on goals scored and are unseeded for the play-off draw - where they will face one of Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Nigeria for a place in Qatar.

Comoros, meanwhile, celebrated their three points heartily and now await the final round of matches in the remaining three groups to see if their stunning victory can extend their stay at the tournament.

VAR decision leaves Ghana reeling

Ghana had needed a win to have a chance of a spot in the last 16 and made the worst possible start by conceding in the fourth minute.

Ibroihim Youssouf was released down the right before finding Ben Nabouhane in the middle, and the Comoros skipper sent a low left-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the area.

Kamaldeen Sulemana tested Comoros keeper Salim Ben Boina with two shots from outside the area, the second of which provided another turning point in the contest.

Ben Boina spilled the winger's shot and Ayew went in strongly in an attempt to win the loose ball.

The coming together injured the keeper and the Ghana captain looked surprised to be shown red following a video assistant referee review, with replays showing he went in with studs up and made contact with Ben Boina's upper arm.

Andrew Ayew Red Card against Comoros

The Comoros keeper was injured in the clash and forced off, leading to the introduction of Ali Ahamada, who came into the tournament without a club side.

Black Stars rally but ultimately denied

The islanders made it 2-0 just after the hour mark as Mogni twisted and turned the Ghana defence on the edge of the area before sending a low shot past Jojo Wollacott and into the bottom right-hand corner.

The strike sparked a group celebration down by the corner-flag involving substitutes - but Ghana immediately stirred.

Richmond Boakye looped in a header from a corner and, after Ahamada had clawed away two threatening balls in from Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Ghana levelled in the 77th minute from another set piece.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey flicked on a corner and Alexander Djiku was on hand to convert from close range to give the Black Stars renewed hopes of going through.

But those dreams were dashed five minutes from time when Bendjaloud Youssouf cut the ball back for Mogni to seal a famous win for Comoros.

Ghana, who appear to lack leaders of the calibre of Asamoah Gyan, the striker who led them to the last eight at the World Cup 12 years ago, now face the challenge of regrouping before March's World Cup play-offs.

Robert Lewandowski Wins Best FIFA Men's Player Of The Year Award

 Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski was named 2021 Best Fifa Men's Player of the Year, while Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo landed the special award.

Lewandowski, 33, claimed the prize for the second consecutive year after scoring 69 goals.

He won ahead of Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Paris St-Germain's Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo was recognised for being men's international all-time top scorer.

Barcelona's Alexia Putellas won the Best Fifa Women's Player of the Year.

Lewandowski broke the late Gerd Muller's 49-year record for scoring the most Bundesliga goals in a calendar year with 43 in 34 league appearances.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel won the award for the Best Fifa men's coach for guiding Chelsea to their second Champions League title after only joining the club in January.

Former Tottenham winger Erik Lamela - sold to Sevilla in the summer - won the Fifa Puskas award, which recognises the best goal in world football during the year, after his 'rabona' finish in the north London derby against Arsenal last March.

Chelsea's Edouard Mendy won the award for the Best Fifa Men's goalkeeper after a successful first season with the club, including a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League final.

The Denmark national team and their staff won the Best Fifa fair play award for their swift response after Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field during the Euro 2020 game with Finland.

On a successful night for Chelsea, Emma Hayes also won the award for the Best Fifa women's coach as her side won a treble of domestic trophies.

As for the collective awards, Manchester City's Ruben Dias and Kevin de Bruyne joined Chelsea's N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, and Manchester United's Ronaldo, in the Best Fifa men's team of the year.

While two-time men's winner Ronaldo was given the special award and included in the best XI, the Portugal captain was omitted from the shortlist for the individual prize for the first time since its inception.

Men's world XI: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan/PSG/Italy), David Alaba (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid/Austria), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy), Ruben Dias (Man City/Portugal), Kevin de Bruyne (Man City/Belgium), Jorginho (Chelsea/Italy), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea/France), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Man Utd/Portugal), Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund/Norway), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/PSG/Argentina)

Nigeria are through to the knockout stages of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, following a 3-1 win over Sudan on Saturday - TALKING POINT

 Nigeria continued their perfect start to the African Cup of Nations with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Sudan.

Super Eagle of Nigeria

The Super Eagles were in front after three minutes when Moses Simon laid the ball off for Samuel Chukwueze to slot home.

A farcical goal doubled the score just before half-time when Kelechi Iheanacho's free kick was flicked on by William Troost-Ekong, rebounded off the head of Salaheldin Nemer and then the face of Taiwo Awoniyi before sneaking under goalkeeper Ali Abu-Eshrain.

Straight after the break any chance for Sudan was gone when, after a long passing move, Simon raced into the box and smashed low into the net.

Sudan were let back into the game when the referee, after consultation with VAR, gave a penalty for a tug on Mustafa Mohammed's shirt from Ola Aina and Walieldin Khidir sent keeper Maduka Okoye the wrong way from the spot.

Nigeria are top of Group D with six points, Sudan are in third for now with one point from two games.


There are teams with better strike forces and defences than Nigeria but the balance in midfield will make it hard for any side to beat them. Wilfried Ndiidi and Joe Aribo have quickly formed a fantastic partnership in midfield which will make it very tough for any team to play through them.

While the situation on the right flank is fluid, and enhanced by Kelechi Iheanacho drifting into these areas, they look to build mostly on the left flank with Simon's creativity aided by the more attacking full-back Zaidu Sanusi. They are a very cohesive unit and unless teams can find a way to match them in this area, the Super Eagles could well lift the trophy on February 6.

Simon Moses celebration

Nigeria super Eagles after scoring


Nigeria will face many sterner tests when get into the second round and it looks like the Nantes midfielder will be a key man if they are to progress deep into the tournament. At times although the superior side, the Super Eagles lacked a creative spark but not when Simon was on the ball. He laid the first goal on a plate for Chukwueze and his driving run and emphatic finish ensured the game was over barely after the halfway mark.

Match Video

AFCON 2021: Egypt coach, Queiroz apologizes to Nigerians

 Egypt head coach, Carlos Queiroz has apologized to Nigeria and Nigerians ahead of his side’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, tie with Guinea-Bissau on Saturday night.

Queiroz issued the apology while lamenting again the inability of the referee, Bakary Gassama to award a penalty to his team when it appears Moses Simon had fouled Zizo inside the box during the Pharaohs’ 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in their opening 2021 AFCON tie earlier this week.

Recall that Nigeria defeated Egypt 1-0, thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho’s first-half goal.

Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Guinea-Bissau, Queiroz said at his pre-match press conference that his team lost to Nigeria because the referee didn’t do his job.

“I apologize to Nigeria and Nigerians, the fact is the referee doesn’t do their job, VAR inclusive. It’s totally unfair,” Queiroz said.

“The reality is the Egyptian needs to press. We lost because the referee did not do his job. The bad decision of the referee cost us the game. Probably this won’t be the situation in our next game,” he said.

He added, “It’s not the responsibility of Nigerians, they pressed. We will rise. Moving forward, winning the next.”

Australian Open: Australian Judges have rejected tennis star Novak Djokovic’s last-ditch appeal to remain in Australia

 Australian Judges have rejected tennis star Novak Djokovic’s last-ditch appeal to remain in Australia.

In a hope shattering ruling, the judges denied the visa cancellation appeal, saying they were not convinced on the merits.

The immediate implication is that Djokovic will now have to be deported from Australia.

He will thus miss the chance of competing for his 21st Grand Slam.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion had his appeal heard in the Federal Court on Sunday in a last ditch attempt to stay and compete for the title.

Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan unanimously decided Djokovic did not have grounds to dispute Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s deportation order.

Mr Hawke wielded his discretionary power on Friday afternoon to deport Djokovic despite a court ruling last week in his favour.

Djokovic detained, court fixes visa appeal hearing for Sunday

But the odds were stacked against Djokovic heading into Sunday’s hearing despite his previous court win, because Mr Hawke’s power is so broad, reports Mail Online.

Chief Justice James Allsop wanted to make clear Djokovic had not launched an official appeal against Mr Hawke’s decision. Instead, he had the opportunity to have the judges review the order based on its merit.

The world No.1 was required to prove to the court that Mr Hawke acted irrationally or legally unreasonably in choosing to use his discretionary powers.

Justice Allsop earlier said he accepted Djokovic could be seen as ‘an iconic sports star that is setting an example that is not ideal to be followed’.

‘If Mr Djokovic won the Open, as he has in the past, there is an example embedded in the Minister’s reasoning that this is an example for young and not so young fans of tennis.’

The government did not indicate whether they would take up the option to prevent Djokovic from applying for a visa to enter Australia for the next three years.

Ghana Black Stars Frustrated by Late Gabon Goal - Talking Point

 A fine late strike from Jim Allevinah gave Gabon a huge 1-1 draw against Ghana and put them on the cusp of the knockouts at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Gabon started the brightest, but it was Ghana who broke the deadlock after 18 minutes. Andre Ayew received the ball 25 yards out with his back to goal, swivelled brilliantly and fired his shot into the bottom left corner.

Despite both sides having opportunities to threaten their opponent’s goal in the opening 45 minutes, poor execution in the final third meant clear cut chances were scarce.

Gabon had a great chance to equalise early in the second half, but Junior Assoumou directed a free header from a corner over the bar.

They had another brilliant chance on the hour mark as they grew into the second half. A low cross was half-cleared but only as far as Johann Obiang inside the box, who unleashed a shot towards goal only to be denied by the brave head of Iddrisu Baba.

Eventually Allevinah broke the Ghana resistance with an excellent left-footed goal.

There was an incident after the final whistle as players and staff came together in the centre of the pitch as the two sides clashed.

Benjamin Tetteh was shown a red card for a punch to a Gabon player as frustration boiled over in the Ghana camp.


Ghana desperately needed a result tonight after losing to Morocco in their opening game of the tournament. After Andre Ayew put the Black Stars ahead with an excellent finish, it looked as though they were going to hold on for all three points to keep up with group leaders Morocco, but a late Allevinah strike burst the Ghanaian bubble.

They will most likely still qualify for the next stages of the competition but must avoid defeat to Comoros at all costs, who sit bottom of the group with zero points. If they do lose, they’ll be on the next flight home.


After a moment of brilliance to put Ghana ahead and take his Africa Cup of Nations goal tally up to double figures, seeing his name etched into the history books, Andre Ayew put in a captain’s performance to do his best to see his country over the line and claim what would have been three huge points.

He will have to put in another big shift when Ghana face Comoros, with his side sitting third in the group and only a point to their name, with one game remaining.

Carabao Cup: Chelsea Into Carabao Cup final With Commanding Win Over Tottenham

 Chelsea eased into the Carabao Cup final as they closed out a comfortable semi-final win over Tottenham.

Spurs never seriously threatened to overturn Chelsea's two-goal first-leg advantage and Antonio Rudiger's bundled finish from Mason Mount's corner after 18 minutes effectively confirmed a Wembley date with either Arsenal or Liverpool.

It was a night of frustration for Spurs and their former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte as they saw two penalties, awarded by referee Andre Marriner for fouls on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Lucas Moura, correctly overturned by VAR.

Harry Kane also saw a goal ruled out for offside in an improved second-half performance from Spurs but Chelsea always looked in control - and once they had extended their aggregate lead early on, they were able to control affairs without hitting their best form.

The game was paused late on following a medical emergency in the crowd and on resumption Chelsea completed the formalities of their victory.

Conte's huge task exposed

Spurs manager Conte has made no secret of the size of his job in rejuvenating this club after their recent decline - and any doubts over that diagnosis were removed by Chelsea's obvious superiority here.

It was still a mystery, however, as to why Conte felt the need to rest experienced keeper and captain Hugo Lloris with the tie still on the line and play deputy Pierluigi Gollini instead.

Gollini distinguished himself when he saved with his legs from Romelu Lukaku early on but was at fault when he made an unconvincing dash to claim Mount's corner, a move that ended badly when the ball was diverted into net via Rudiger's back.

This was surely a job that required the presence of Lloris when Spurs' margin of error was virtually non-existent.

Spurs did mount a challenge of sorts after the break but it was too little, too late - and this was a mediocre display that only illustrated how much work Conte needs to do.

Kane battled but remains short of his best form while there was a lack of creativity in midfield that allowed Chelsea to contain Spurs with relative comfort.

Conte will be expecting serious backing from Spurs chairman Daniel Levy if his drive and fierce ambition is to be satisfied. At present, he has a squad that requires serious investment before there can be thoughts of getting anywhere near the Premier League elite.

Tuchel shows magic touch again

Chelsea are now in their third successive final under Thomas Tuchel since he arrived to succeed the sacked Frank Lampard almost a year ago.

He guided them to the FA Cup final last season, which Chelsea lost to Leicester City, before claiming the biggest European club prize of all by winning the Champions League against Manchester City in Porto.

The job of reaching the EFL Cup final was largely done in the first game at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea came out here with the sort of determination and attacking intent that made it clear they were determined to snuff out Spurs' hopes as quickly as possible.

Lukaku wasted one chance to do that but the early goal they desired came from Rudiger, which gave Spurs a task they never looked like accomplishing.

Tuchel, standards as high as ever, cut a dissatisfied figure at times in the second half when Chelsea's intensity dropped and a little complacency appeared to creep into their game, giving Spurs opportunities they never had in the first 45 minutes.

Chelsea's players responded to their manager's demands and this tie was played out in a testimonial atmosphere in the closing minutes as Spurs fans deserted the stadium in droves, leaving one corner packed with joyous, celebrating visiting supporters.

The strength of Chelsea's squad was shown once more as Tuchel was able to bring on Thiago Silva, Marcos Alonso, Hakim Ziyech, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N'Golo Kante in the second half to ensure the door was never left ajar for Spurs. Indeed, it was slammed firmly in their faces.

It shows the scale of the job Tuchel has done that in the 350 days since his first game at Chelsea, he has become the first manager in their history to guide them to a Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup final.

And, on this evidence, Chelsea will take some stopping, whoever they face at Wembley at the end of February.

Nigeria 1-0 Egypt: Kelechi Iheanacho fires Super Eagles to Group D win while Mohamed Salah stumbles

 Nigeria 1-0 Egypt: Kelechi Iheanacho fires Super Eagles to Group D win while Mohamed Salah stumbles.

Even despite the perceived lack of firepower in the Nigeria squad prior to the tournament, the Super Eagles launched their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with relative ease following a dominant win over Egypt.

Kelechi Iheanacho’s first-half goal, a superbly struck half-volley, was enough to see Nigeria through the Group D opener in what a disappointing outing for Egypt.

Moses Simon, Joe Aribo and Iheanacho caused their opposition all manner of problems and should really have added to the scoreline. The Leicester star in particular could well have had a hat-trick had his touch not deserted him.

Still, as impressive as Nigeria were, Egypt saw their forwards flounder.

To blame Mohamed Salah that entirely would be unfair given the lack of service he was offered but the Liverpool star failed to have much impact at all.

Egypt, of course, will still be confident of progressing through to the next round but it is Nigeria and their depleted frontline who made an early statement.

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Afcon 2021: Nigeria Squad Numbers Revealed

 Nigeria will be gunning for a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title in Cameroon. GOAL brings to you the jersey numbers that Augustine Eguavoen’s men would be wearing at the 33rd edition of the biennial African football showpiece.

1. Maduka Okoye

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Sparta Rotterdam

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 28-08-1999

2. Ola Aina

Position: Defender

Club: Torino

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 08-10-96

3. Jamilu Collins

Position: Defender

Club: SC Paderborn

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 5.08.1994

4. Wilfred Ndidi

Position: Midfielder

Club: Leicester City

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 6.12.1996

5. William Troost-Ekong

Position: Defender

Club: Watford

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 1.09.1993

6. Semi Ajayi

Position: Defender

Club: West Bromwich Albion

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 9.11.1993

7. Ahmed Musa

Position: Forward

Club: Fatih Karagumruk

Number of Afcon appearances: Two

Date of Birth: 4.10.1992

8. Frank Onyeka

Position: Midfielder

Club: Brentford

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 1.01.1998

*9. Odion Ighalo

Position: Striker

Club: Al Shabab

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 16.06.1989

10. Joe Aribo

Position: Midfielder

Club: Rangers

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 21.07.1996

11. Henry Onyekuru

Position: Forward

Club: Olympiacos

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 5.06.1997

12. Zaidu Sanusi

Position: Defender

Club: Porto

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 13.06.1997

13: Chidera Ejuke

Position: Midfielder

Club: CSKA Moscow

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 02.01.1998

14. Kelechi Iheanacho

Position: Forward

Club: Leicester City

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 3.10.1996

15. Moses Simon

Position: Forward

Club: Nantes

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 12.07.1995

16. Daniel Akpeyi

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Kaizer Chiefs

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 08.03.1986

17. Samuel Chukwueze

Position: Forward

Club: Villarreal

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 22.05.1999

18. Alex Iwobi

Position: Midfielder

Club: Everton

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 3.05.1996

19. Taiwo Awoniyi

Position: Forward

Club: Union Berlin

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 12.08.1997

20. Chidozie Awaziem

Position: Defender

Club: Alanyaspor

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 1.01.1997

21. Tyrone Ebuehi

Position: Defender

Club: Venezia

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 16.12.1995

22. Kenneth Omeruo

Position: Defender

Club: CD Leganes

Number of Afcon appearances: Two

Date of Birth: 17.10.1993

23. Francis Uzoho

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: AC Omonia

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 28.10.1998

24. Sadiq Umar

Position: Striker

Club: UD Almeria

Number of Afcon appearances: One

Date of Birth: 2.02.1997

25. Kelechi Nwakali

Position: Midfielder

Club: SD Huesca

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 5.06.1998

26. Olisa Ndah

Position: Defender

Club: Orlando Pirates

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 21.01.1998

27. John Noble

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Enyimba

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 6.06.1993

28. Peter Olayinka

Position: Striker

Club: Slavia Prague

Number of Afcon appearances: Debutant

Date of Birth: 16.11.1994

2021 African Cup of Nations opening ceremony hosted in Cameroon

 The 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) has officially started today in Cameroon.

Here are photos taken during the opening ceremony.


Africa Nation cup 2021 opening ceremony in Cameroon 

Africa Nation Cup

Display of Africa Art

Africa Cup of Nations

Cameroon 2021


Cameroon Separatists Bomb AFCON Host City, Limbe

 Separatist fighters in Cameroon’s Anglophone region have set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in the town of Limbe which will host Group F matches of the Africa Cup Nations (AFCON).

According to local police, no one was injured in the explosion which went off early Thursday at Half Mile neighbourhood of the city.

Limbe will host Group F AFCON matches involving Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania and Gambia.

Separatist fighters who have vowed to disrupt AFCON in the city said on social media they were responsible for the blast and stressed that it was “a warning sign of what we will do during AFCON”.

Separatist leaders had said they do not want AFCON matches to take place in a region “at war”.

Cameroon army has deployed additional ammunitions and troops to the region.

The troops undertake routine day and night patrols.

Separatists had since 2017 been clashing with government forces in Anglophone regions of Southwest and Northwest where they want to create an independent nation they call “Ambazonia”.

AFCON will officially begin on Sunday in the capital Yaounde and will run for four weeks.

China Backs Russia Against Ukraine and NATO

 China has thrown its considerable political weight behind Russia in President Vladimir Putin's standoff with Ukraine, describing NATO a...


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