Tag Archives: AFCON

AFCON: Gernot Rohr at edge of ‘fire’

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While the Super Eagles played a 4-4 with the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone after leading 4-0 in Benin City, Edo State, it went on to play a goalless draw with the team in Freetown.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has hinted at relieving the Super Eagles’ manager, Gernot Rohr, of his duties.

Dare’s reservation was due to the national team’s lacklustre performance against Sierra Leone in their doubleheader AFCON 2022 qualifier.

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Dare tweeted on his Twitter handle on Wednesday: “The performance of the Super Eagles from their last two matches calls to question the suitability and competences of Technical Adviser, Rohr.

“Nigerian football deserves better.

“The needful will be done.

“Apologies to all football lovers.”


#Newsworthy…

AFCON: Super Eagles play 0-0 draw with Sierra Leone in Freetown

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The Leone Stars are yet to record a victory in the group but their massive turnaround in the first fixture against the Nigerian side gives the home team a huge psychological advantage in the second leg.

Sierra Leone vs Nigeria will see the Leone Stars attempt to live up to their dramatic 4-4 comeback to record a win over the Super Eagles in Freetown.

Despite giving away four goals to the Sierra Leonean side at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, the three-time African champions still lead Group L with seven points, one ahead of Benin.

Line up:

Super Eagles starting XI: Okoye, Akpoguma, Balogun, Ekong, Aina, Etebo, Iwobi, Aribo, Chukwueze, Iheanacho, Musa.


#Newsworthy

AFCON: Eagles’ player, Osimhen ruled out of rematch against Sierra Leone

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Osimhen scored one of the goals in a dramatic 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone, who recovered from four goals down in Benin City on Friday, but was later substituted after hurting his shoulder.

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen will miss Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations return qualifier against Sierra Leone in Freetown after he dislocated his shoulder in the first game, according to Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr.

He has since been discharged from hospital, but Rohr said he will not be available for the rematch in Sierra Leone.

“He is out of the match after he dislocated his shoulder,” Rohr disclosed.

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Osimhen, 21, has scored four goals in three Nations Cup qualifiers.

However, the Super Eagles coach said he is confident both Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze and Leon Balogun from Scottish club Rangers will be fit for the match in Freetown.

“Balogun was replaced after he got injured, he did not train today but he will be okay, while Chukwueze has a little pain around the groin, but we hope to have him back,” he assured.

Club Brugge forward Emmanuel Dennis is the other injury doubt after he injured his ankle in training.


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Super Eagles battle Algeria in Austria.

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Coach Gernot Rohr is using the friendlies to put his team in good shape for the forthcoming AFCON and World Cup qualifiers and to also see what the new boys will bring to his team.

Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr will be watching out for the players among the new recruits who can make the national team stronger when Nigeria meets Algeria in an international friendly in Austria today.
The German will file out a team complete with a new trio of goalkeepers and up to five players looking to play their way into the heart of the national team selectors.

The Eagles will play without striker Victor Osimhen, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Wilfred Ndidi, Joe Aribo, and regular goalkeepers Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and Daniel Akpeyi. Vying to impress in their positions are goalkeepers Maduka Okoye, Dele Alampasu, and Mathew Yakubu. Also on the verge of making their Super Eagles debut are Cyril Dessers, Chidera Ejuke, Zaidu Sanusi, Frank Onyeka, Samson Tijani, and former Germany U-20 captain, Kevin Akpoguma.

The Super Eagles last training session indicated that Everton midfielder, Alex Iwobi could be supported in the midfield by new kid, Frank Onyeka, and returnee, Mikel Agu.

Apart from the new boys, Kelechi Iheanacho and Tyrone Ebuehi are back in the team hoping to do enough in this game and Tuesday’s match against Tunisia to earn a permanent position in the squad.

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Iheanacho was left out of the team to the 2019 African Cup of Nations because of poor form while Ebuehi is coming back from more than one-year injury-induced absence.

Algeria, who have a second game against Mexico in The Netherlands on Tuesday, come into today’s game not only as of the champions of Africa but also on the back of an 18-match unbeaten run.

They have not lost on the pitch since they were bumped by the odd goal in an AFCON 2019 qualifier away in the Benin Republic in October 2018.

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Two years earlier, they were beaten 3-1 by the Super Eagles in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Uyo. Both teams ended the return leg in Constantine 1-1, though the Eagles had already picked the only World Cup ticket from the group ahead of that final encounter.

Djamel Belmadi, the former Algerian international who coached his country to a second continental title in Egypt last year, has included standout names Riyad Mahrez, Yassine Brahimi, Sofiane Feghouli, and Baghdad Bounedjah in his 24-man squad to confront the three-time African champions.

The game, like Tuesday’s, will kick off at 8.30pmAustria time (7.30pmNigeria time).

The match, earlier scheduled to hold at the Jacques Lemmans Arena in the Austrian state of Carinthia, which contains only 2,420 spectators, has now been moved to Worthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, with 30,000 seating capacity.

No reason was given for the change in the match venue.

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The Super Eagles trained only ones yesterday ahead of the clash against scheduled to kick-off by 7:30 p.m. Nigerian time.

Meanwhile, the Super Eagles have dismissed reports in some quarters that some of the players in the team’s Austria camp have tested positive for COVID-19 as reported by a section of the media yesterday. The report said four players tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 and had to undergo another round of testing.

Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, expressed dismay over such reports, noting that results of the tests carried out on the players were being awaited yesterday.

He wondered how the players could test positive for the virus without the result of their tests.

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“Please discountenance reports that some of our players tested positive to COVID-19 ahead of tomorrow’s friendly game against Algeria. It is a blatant falsehood.”

“The writer of the story, who was not part of the press conference earlier today, totally misrepresented what Coach Rohr said.

“Rohr said that since the outbreak of the pandemic, four of our players had tested positive, but we’re all now fully recovered from the virus and back in action.

“The results of the COVID-19 tests carried out on the Super Eagles ahead of tomorrow’s game are still being awaited,” Ibitoye said.


#Newsworthy..,.

Cote D’ivoire sets 60,000 seats stadium ahead 2023 AFCON.

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Ivory Coast inaugurated Saturday its new 60,000-seat Olympic stadium, built with the help of China, in Ebimpe, on the outskirts of Abidjan, in preparation for the African Cup of Nations soccer in 2023.

The ceremony, with a great show of dance and music, took place in the presence of 50,000 people, according to the organizers – including Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who is seeking a controversial third term in the October 31 presidential election.


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The president said he was “proud and happy of this Sino-Ivorian cooperation” for “this architectural jewel”.

The Ebimpe stadium will be the largest in Ivory Coast, replacing the Houphouët-Boigny stadium located in the center of Abidjan.

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It will host the opening match and the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The stadium and ancillary facilities (swimming pool and Olympic city, hotel …) cost 218 million euros, according to Ivorian authorities, with counterpart funding from China, which has a strong economic presence in the West African country.

The work was carried out in nearly four years by Beijing Construction Engineering Group, a Chinese firm.

The construction of the facility also aims to develop the Anyama area, on the northern outskirts of the Ivorian economic capital, where the first metro line is due to be built.


#NobleSport

Update: Prosecutor set to investigate missing AFCON cup in Egypt

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The sports ministry said Wednesday it has referred a probe into a missing African Cup of Nations trophy which Egypt has possessed since 2010 to the prosecutor general after a string of explosive allegations.

“The ministry of youth and sports has referred the file of the loss of some important silverware from the warehouses of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to the prosecutor general,” it said in a brief statement on its Facebook page.

The investigation was launched last week when celebrated ex-national goalkeeper Ahmed Shobair said the EFA found that the gold trophy, along with other awards from previous tournaments, had gone missing.

Officials were preparing to inaugurate a museum showcasing Egypt’s football memorabilia in time for the EFA’s centenary when the loss was realised, Shobair said on his popular talkshow.

Another former football hero Magdy Abdelghani, along with the EFA, waded into the debate suggesting ex-national team players and coaches Ahmed Hassan and Shawky Gharib knew of the 2010 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) trophy’s whereabouts.

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But former football officials said it was looted during a fire in 2013 caused by protesters, known as the Ultras, at the EFA headquarters in Cairo.

File photo of Liverpool play kin and egpyt nationale, Mohammed Salah (Noble Reporters Media / Olamide Noble

The accusations prompted the sports ministry and EFA to kick off investigations that have been closely monitored by Egypt’s legions of fervent football fans.

Hassan and Gharib have both dismissed any link to the disappearance.

The continent’s football governing body, the Confederation of African Football, said Sunday it had “learnt with shock reports of missing AFCON trophies from the Egyptian Football Association secretariat”.

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“Our doors are open and the @EFA can count on our support in the search for the priceless memorabilia,” it tweeted.

Egypt was allowed to keep the trophy on a permanent basis — with a new cup made — after the dominant run of the “Pharaohs”, as the national team is known, winning three titles in a row, in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Egypt is the most successful country in Africa Cup of Nations history, having won the trophy a total of seven times since 1957.

But the Pharaohs were knocked out at the last-16 stage last year when Egypt hosted the biennial tournament.


#NobleSport…

Egypt: AFCON Trophy in CAF H/Q “No Where To Be Found”

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The (AFCON) trophy been stolen from the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) headquarters in Cairo unravels.

Former Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Vice-president and current ONTime Sports broadcaster, Ahmed Shobir, confirmed the Africa Cup of Nations trophy disappeared from the headquarters of the EFA.

“The EFA started looking for some trophies as they aim to put them in a notable museum inside the EFA,” Shobier said.

“However, the EFA was surprised to find that the AFCON trophy was lost and decided to open an investigation.

“They were informed by an employee inside the association that it was held by former Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan who refuted this claim. Nobody knows where is the trophy at the time being.”

According to Hassan, he kept the trophy at home after winning the Africa Cup of Nations title in 2010 and gave the trophy back to the Egyptian Football Association in 2011.

Ahmed Hassan was the national team’s captain in 2008 in Ghana and 2010 in Angola


#NobleSport

Africa Cup Of Nations to start come 2022.

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The next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations has been postponed by 12 months, the Confederation of African Football confirmed in their Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday.

The 33rd edition of the biennial tournament was due to begin in Cameroon on January 9 2021, but has now been pushed back to January 2022 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the continent.

NobleSport gathered that Caf’s concerns about the ability to fit in the outstanding qualifiers before the intended start date of January 2021 are behind the decision to postpone, although African football’s governing body have not announced whether the 34th edition of the tournament—scheduled for Ivory Coast in 2023—will also be postponed.

Algeria are the reigning African champions, having defeated Senegal 1-0 in the 2019 final in Cairo.

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The tournament was long held during January and February, but moved to a June-July scheduling ahead of the 2019 event, with newly elected president Ahmad Ahmad keen to avoid the club-vs-country disputes that often overshadowed a tournament being played during the European winter.

However, the 2021 tournament’s dates have already been moved once, with the original June-July 2021 dates brought forward to January due to the unfavourable climate in Cameroon during the summer months.

Caf also confirmed that the 2020 African Nations Championship—the biennial tournament for home-based players—will be played next year, having originally been scheduled for April 2020.

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The Chan—which was also due to be held in Cameroon—had been indefinitely postponed due to the onset of Covid-19.

Caf’s decision comes after Uefa pushed the 2020 European Championships back by 12 months, while the 2020 Copa America has also been shunted back to a 2021 start date.

Also announced during the meeting, Caf have revealed that the semi-finals of their two continental club competitions—the Champions League and Confederation Cup—will be one-legged affairs moving forward, rather than the home-and-away ties that have been seen previously.

For women’s football across the continent, the 2020 African Women’s Cup of Nations has been cancelled, while Caf have announced the inauguration of a new women’s Champions League, which will begin in 2021.


#NobleSport

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Iheanacho included with 23 other players for AFCON qualifiers.


Nigerian international, Kelechi Iheanacho has returned to the national football team after he was axed from the Super Eagles squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Iheanacho made the 24-man list released by the Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, on Wednesday, ahead of the quick-double 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone this month.

Rohr also called up for the first time, Germany–based defender, Kingsley Ehizibue, who plays for FC Koln, and Holland-based forward Cyril Dessers.


Team captain Ahmed Musa, Vice-captain William Ekong and defender Kenneth Omeruo made the list.

There are also goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defenders Leon Balogun and Olaoluwa Aina, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forwards Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen in the list of three goalkeepers, eight defenders, five midfielders and eight forwards.


Nigeria currently sit top of Group L on six points, having won their first two matches.

The Super Eagles will play the first-leg game at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Friday, 27th March, before flying to Freetown to confront the Stars at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in the return four days later.


The Super Eagles will also play Benin Republic in Porto Novo in June and a home tie against Lesotho in early September.

All invited players, as well as technical and administrative officials, are to report to camp on Monday, March 23, 2020.


See Full Squad List Below:

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany).

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Wigan Athletic, England); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Kingsley Ehizibue (FC Koln, Germany).

Super Eagles (Team)

Midfielders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Etebo Oghenekaro (Getafe FC, Spain); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ramon Azeez (Granada FC, Spain).

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Cyril Dessers (Heracles Almelo, The Netherlands); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France).


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Nike Reveals 2020 Nigeria Kit (Photos)


American sportswear giant, NIKE, has unveiled a new ‘Swoosh’ design for the Super Eagles ahead of their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations match-day three home qualifying encounter against Sierra Leone

Nigeria New Kit 2020

The ‘swoosh’ design comes as a worthy successor to the very ‘successful’ 2018 world cup kit that was much beloved by Super Eagles supporters.

Nike enjoyed unprecedented success with their previous Super Eagles design, which became one of the best selling jerseys in the company’s history following its release ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

The next stage of the World Cup qualifier will commence on March 23, 2020. The draw will be conducted on January 21.


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Mission2020: Amaju Pinnick Reveals Plan For Nigerian Players.


Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick, has outlined the plans he has for Nigerian football in the coming year.

Pinnick in 2019 became a FIFA Executive member and won a legs battle against corruption allegations to cement his power in Nigerian football, but believes Nigerian football is set to get even bigger in 2020.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick outlines his various plans for Nigerian football in 2020


Pinnick, who can count Nigeria’s third place AFCON 2019 finish and the Super Eagles improved performances as major successes in 2019 has revealed that the governing body will focus on the qualifying campaigns of the Super Eagles for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, as well as the qualifiers of the Super Falcons for the 12th edition of the Women Africa Cup of Nations, and those of the U17 girls and U20 girls for their different FIFA World Cup finals.

According to Pinnick who spoke to reporters on Tuesday Dec. 31st, Nigerian teams are expected to not just participate in tournaments but win the tournaments.
“We are also determined to concentrate much effort and resources on youth development programmes, including but not limited to the NFF/Zenith Bank Future Eagles Programme. It is important that we continue to churn out quality talents and work hard to nurture them to excellent products who will then fit into the age-grade National Teams and bring honour to the nation at various championships.”

NFF president, Amaju Pinnick


“As we have made known, teams representing Nigeria in international matches and competitions will be told in no uncertain terms that they are expected to win, not just participate. The era of simply being there to participate is long gone.”

The draw for the qualifying campaign of the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals will be conducted in Egypt in January 2020, with 10 groups of four teams each that will produce only the winner from each group to play five home-and-away matches to select representatives of Africa in Qatar.


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