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Flying Eagles Qualify for Semi Finals of 12th African Games

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2019 FIFA U20: Flying Eagles Target Another Three Points Against USA
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Nigeria’s U20 boys, Flying Eagles, qualified for the semifinals of the men’s football event of the 12th African Games after a hard fought 2-2 draw with hosts Morocco on Friday, evening at the FAR Sports Complex Rabat.

The result meant the Flying Eagles garnered five points from three games behind Burkina Faso who topped the group, and ahead of Morocco and South Africa.

The Flying Eagles fell behind after Morocco profited from some slack defending to allow Mohsinne Abba to head home the opener in the 12th minute.

Morroco looked the better side for much of the first half but Nigeria came back strongly towards the close of the first period and were duly rewarded when Ahmad Ghali was brought down in the box.

Team captain Ibrahim Abubakar stepped forwarded and slotted home the spot kick at the second time of asking, after the Moroccan goalkeeper saved his initial effort.

The first half ended 1-1 but Morocco were soon back in the saddle from another spot kick as the referee ruled that Habibu Yakubu had handled in the box.

The hosts scored to lead 2-1 after 72 minutes as Nigeria faced elimination.

Coach Paul Aigbogun threw on lanky striker Chinonso Emeka and it proved a good decision, as the striker scored with just a minute left of regulation time to put Nigeria through to the last four.

Iwobi, Aina key to Arsenal Olowu’s Nigerian Aspirations

Arsenal U23 star, Joseph Olowu has revealed that the pace set by his compatriots and buddies, Alex Iwobi and Ola Aina and others who chose the Super Eagles instead of England was among the reasons he decided to switch his allegiance to Nigeria.

Olowu admitted that it was a tough decision for him to pick Nigeria over England because of what he has gained from the latter but that he doesn’t foresee any problem with that.

He stressed that he has started trying to update his knowledge of Nigeria and that he is also quite open to learning a few new things about the country and its vast cultures.

“Considering that I have lived in the UK all my life and I’ve grown up here since I was young it did come as a tough decision because this country has given me so much,” Olowu said in a chat.

“If I am being honest my experiences in the UK have shaped me into the person I am today and for that all I will always be grateful. I know quite a lot about Nigeria already like I listen to a lot of Nigerian artists and I really enjoy the food a lot. I do look forward to learning a lot more about the country and its cultures.” 

The 2017-18 Premier League 2 Division One winner with Arsenal opined that positive information he has received from both Nigerian internationals has strengthened his conviction that he made the right decision to offer his services to Nigeria.

The youngster added that he grew to become motivated by the heroics of the Kanu Nwankwo led Dream Team I that won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta Georgia, USA and that the contributions of Nigerian players within and beyond the United Kingdom become additional inspiration for him to be identified with the West African nation.

“There are many players that have inspired me to play for the Super Eagles from the 1996 Dream Team to the current squad,” Olowu continued.

“But I think the players that have motivated me the most are Alex Iwobi and Ola Aina because they both came through in England but still chose to represent their motherland.

He (Alex Iwobi) inspired me because he was once in the Arsenal academy I am in now. He broke through into the first team and that showed the young players they would be given the opportunity if they worked hard and earned it.”

The 19-year-old defender has begun the season impressively with Arsenal U-23 who are currently joint top along with Chelsea on seven points from three matches in the Premier League 2 Division One table.

He has helped them to two victories over Blackburn Rovers (away) and Brighton (home) and a home draw against Everton in the three matches played thus far.

Olowu affirmed that he will continue to offer his best to the Arsenal junior teams with the hindsight that he could be called up to train with the senior team before the end of the season.

Africa Games 2019: Makanjuola Eyes Gold in the Men’s Football Event.

Water FC winger, Success Makanjuola has his sights set on the gold in the men’s football event in the 12th Africa Games going on in Rabat, Morocco.

Speaking after the match in which the Under-20 team held the host nation Morocco to a 2-2 draw, automatically sending them packing, an excited Makanjuola said, “It is becoming more and more possible with each match we play. I mean the gold. We gave it our all and thankfully we scored a goal in the dying minute to equalise”.

“We played as a team even though the match was a  tough one. We expected it to be tough too as they are the host nation. Thankfully football luck was also on our side. There’s really nothing stopping us if we work harder and continue to give it our all.”

The former Under-17 World Cup player who came in as a substitute for  Collins  who went off injured in the match against Morroco Friday evening concluded by saying, “we hope to make Nigeria proud by coming home with gold, God being our helper”.

Nigeria midfielder Okobi shines as Eskilstuna United thrash Kungsbacka

The Super Falcons star gave an assist to help Mangus Karlsson’s ladies extend their unbeaten run on Saturday

Ngozi Okobi made an impressive impact in Eskilstuna United’s 4-0 triumph over Kungsbacka in Saturday’s Swedish Damallsvenskan encounter.

The 25-year-old starred in her side’s 1-1 draw against the champions Pitea last week and was hoping to help her side maintain their unbeaten run going into the short break.

The visitors started brightly against their struggling hosts but waited until they find a breakthrough after Felicia Rogic assisted Loreta Kullashi to secure the opener five minutes from half time.

After the restart, Okobi found herself in a good position but eventually set up Lisa Dahlkvist to double the lead for Mangus Karlsson’s side in the 67th minute.

Four minutes later, Nigeria’s Halimatu Ayinde came close to increasing the tally for Eskilstuna but her effort went wide.

In the final 15 minutes, Julia Tunturi teed up Loreta Kullashi to net the third in the 77th minute before the former player sealed the triumph off Felicia Rogic’s assist seven minutes from time.

Okobi played for 73 minutes of the encounter, while compatriot Ayinde lasted the duration at the Påskbergsvallen Stadium in Varberg.

The result helps Eskilstuna climb to seventh on the log with 21 points from 15 games and they will host second-placed Göteborg after the break on September 7.

SPORTS

NFF Seeks Increased Corporate Organisations  Funding of Nigerian Football

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has called on corporate organisations to increase support to the federation to help develop football in the country.

The NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau made the call when MTN Nigeria hosted the Super Eagles on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that Super Eagles finished as runner up to the host country, Ivory Coast at the just concluded 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d`Ivoire.

Gusau said without finance the team would not have achieved what it achieved in the tournament.

“All of us today would have loved to be celebrating here with the trophy but unfortunately God knows why.

“We thank God at least as we heard from the captain this is the beginning of the new dawn as far as Nigerian football is concerned.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank MTN for their support and I hope that other corporate organisations will come up to see how they can support us the most.

“Without finances we cannot achieve what we have been able to achieve, so we need more corporate organisations to support us to build on what we have so far built,” he said.

The Chairman MTN Board of Directors, Prof. Ernest Ndukwe, said that  MTN’s support for  the Eagles was  its own way of giving back to the society.

“This is because MTN is a sport loving organisation. Over the years, we have always wanted to support the Super Eagles in various ways. MTN is fully committed to continuing the Super Eagles.

“We are building a nation where sports have a great role to play as a unifying force. So if we support sports, we are actually promoting unity among Nigerians,” he said.

The MTN’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Karl Toriola on his part appreciated the emotional commitment of the players to succeed.

“What I liked about this team which we haven’t seen in other teams of other nations was the visible emotional commitment to succeed.

“Unfortunately we didn’t bring the cup home but that is always going to be difficult when you are playing against your host country.

“You guys have shown your complete commitment through your leadership, and we are extremely proud of you supporting the Nigerian football federation and the super eagles,” he said

Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, thanked everyone that supported the team all through their preparations and the tournament proper.

“To the NFF I thank you, MTN I thank you, Nigerians I thank you for all the support,”he said

The Assistant Captain of the Super Eagles, Troost Ekong who spoke on behalf of the team, said this was the beginning of a new era.

“Thank you NFF, thank you MTN, thank you Nigerians, thank you our fans. We have given everything we have and have made everyone proud.

“We will be better in the future. Because this is not the end but the beginning of something new and we are hoping for the best,”he said.

Mrs Ifueko Okauru, Board Member, MTN Nigeria and former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said MTN supported all gender, age brackets, abled and disabled persons in the society.

“MTN supports all genders and all of us able and disabled, young and old. Whatever is needed to support MTN is here to support.

“Sports development is more than just what corporate organisations do; it needs significant funding and it also needs passion to ensure that this is done and done excellently.

“I must say though we all love sports, the fans are a major part of sports development.

“The economic condition of the fans is very important to ensure that as a corporate organization, we drive sports development by encouraging fans development and developing businesses around sports to grow sports,” he said. (NAN)

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SPORTS

Côte d’Ivoire wins African Cup of Nations after Defeating Nigeria.

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THE host, Elephants Of Ivory Coast beat Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 to win the Africa Cup of Nations 2023.

It’s was all Ivory Coast but they weren’t able to make their possession count and Nigeria strike with their first serious attempt in the 38th minute.

A corner is only half cleared to William Troost-Ekong who powers a header into the net.

The centre-back and captain Troost-Ekong has scored three goals at this year’s Afcon.

That’s one more than he managed during his whole 68 appearances in three seasons at Watford.

Ivory Coast got a deserved equaliser in the 62nd minute, as poor marking allows Franck Kessie to head his country back with a fine corner from Gradel.

Kessie was about eight yards out but he was totally unmarked.

The host took the lead in the 81st-Minute, the roof came off as Sebastien Haller sticks out a leg to turn Simon Adingra’s cross past Super Eagles keeper, Nwabali.

The Super Eagles have lost more Afcon finals than they have won.

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SPORTS

About 2 Billion People Watching 2023 AFCON—- CAF President

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 The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, on Friday in Abidjan said about two billion people globally are watching the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire.

Motsepe disclosed this at a news conference, ahead of the AFCON final on Saturday.

He described the feat as an achievement that Africans should be proud of.

“We have had close to two billion people watching AFCON globally.

We should be proud as Africans and the next one will be even better.

“The success of Africa depends upon Africa working together, trading together, and in football, countries competing and playing together,” he said.

Reports says that the organisation of the tournament has so far been top notch, with six beautiful stadia across five cities hosting the continental showpiece.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will lock horns with hosts Cote d’Ivoire in a block burster final on Sunday at the 60, 000 capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Ebimpé in the outskirts of Abidjan.

While the third-place match on Saturday between South Africa and DR Congo is slated for the iconic Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny also in Abidjan.(NAN)

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