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Kanu Steers Falcons to 2-0 Lead Over Black Queens

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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

Nigeria’s Super Falcons took a 2-0 lead over Ghana’s Black Queens in their Women Africa Cup of Nations qualifying clash at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena yesterday, thanks to a brace by Sweden–based forward Uchenna Kanu.

The visitors had come close in the 11th minute when Grace Animah saw her fierce shot inside the box blocked by Onome Ebi for a corner. But it was much against the run of play and nine minutes later, Nigeria made pressure count when Kanu rose to meet a perfectly-weighted pull-out by Francisca Ordega and nodded past impressive goalkeeper Dumehasi Fafali for Nigeria’s opener.

Both teams, knowing the loser on aggregate will be without any major qualifying contest or tournament for the next two-and-half years, threw everything into the clash played behind closed doors on Lagos Island, but it was Nigeria that made the breakthrough again in the 26th minute, when Kanu rose highest in the box to meet Toni Payne’s corner kick and nodded firmly past Fafali and a clutch of watching defenders.

Former junior international Kanu could have added an assist to her impressive tally for the day when she darted past two defenders and squared for Asisat Oshoala, but Fafali foiled any intentions of the Nigeria captain.

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Three minutes before recess, Grace Asantewaa unleashed from just outside the box but her shot rose far above goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie’s post.

In the second half, the Black Queens did something in the mould of throwing the kitchen sink at the Super Falcons, harrying, pushing, kicking and running all over to try and reduce the tally and make the second leg in Accra something to look forward to. But veteran defender Onome Ebi, youngster Opeyemi Sunday, Glory Ogbonna and Osinachi Ohale thwarted their efforts.

Grace Asantewaa was again foiled in the 50th minute by Nnadozie, who tipped her rising shot over the sticks. Two minutes later, Oshoala darted past her marker and headed for glory, but was again stopped by Fafali.

Ghana’s Captain Portia Boakye was the usual energetic warrior with uncompromising stance, and worked well with Gladys Amfobea, Janet Egyir and Ellen Coleman to minimize the damage from the Super Falcons.

At the fore, Princella Adubea, Vivian Konadu and Nina Norshie sought vainly to unlock the Nigerian rear.

In the 82nd minute, Fafali was on hand to neutralize a plan cooked by substitute Vivian Ikechukwu, leaving the scoreline still at 2-0. And with a minute to the end, the tireless Princella Adubea waltzed her way into the Nigeria box and found herself face to face with Nnadozie, only to see her close-range bullet parried and then cleared out to safety by Ebi.

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Both teams clash again on Sunday at the Accra Sports Stadium, as from 4pm Ghana time (5pm Nigeria time), with the winner on aggregate qualifying for the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations holding in Morocco next year summer. 

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SPORTS

ITF World Tennis Tour: Nigeria’s Abdulsalam Out in Quarter Finals, South Africa Crowie for Semi Finals

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South African Daniel Crowie, on Friday defeated  Muhammad Abdulsalam of Nigeria 6-4, 6-1 to qualify for the singles semi finals in the men’s category at the ongoing J5 World Tennis Championships in Abuja.

The match was played in the second leg of the ITF Tennis world Tour J5 Abuja, which commenced on Wednesday and is expected to end on Sunday at the tennis complex of the Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Abdulsalam said that he made a silly mistake and has learnt his lesson and will try to work on it next year.

“Am not that happy about my loss.

“I wish my opponent best of luck as he rides to the semifinals of the tournament,“ he said.

In another male singles category, David Ekpenyong lost to Mukhtar Andu 6-7, 4-6, 2-6.

Chetanna Amadike of Canada flogged Abubakar Yusuf 7-5, 6-4.

In the female category doubles, the dou of Nigeria’s Rebecca Ekpenyong and Mary Udoffa lost to Romi Cohen of Isreal and Marylove Edwards 0-6, 1-6.

A total of 45 players from Nigeria (host), Canada, US, Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana and South Africa are participating in the championships.

The J5 ITF World Tennis Tour, which started on Nov. 24 will end on Sunday, Nov. 28. (NAN)

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Musa Decries ‘Disheartening’ Insecurity in Nigeria

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There have been reports of kidnapping, killings and other sorts of insecurity along roads in the northern part of the West African country

Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa has called on the Nigerian government to tackle the high rate of insecurity across the country.

According to local reports, armed bandits frequently block the Abuja-Kaduna road to attack travellers, injure and cart away their belongings while some are kidnapped.

Musa, who is back at Fatih Karagumruk after his international duty with the Super Eagles, expressed his concern about the security situation going on in the West African nation.

“It’s shocking to see images and videos of these incidents along Abuja/Kaduna roads. These are people going about their normal business most likely seeking daily bread,” Musa wrote on Instagram, backed with a video from the latest scene of the attack.

“Their safety should be of uttermost importance to the government. I, therefore, seek the indulgence of the authorities to please put an end to these atrocities by any means possible so that citizens can go about their normal lives without fear.

“This has to stop. It’s absolutely disheartening, to say the least.”

Budweiser Game of Kings featuring John Terry & Roberto Carlos

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Musa moved to the Turkish Super Lig on a free transfer in July after a brief return to Kano Pillars and he has contributed a goal and an assist in 12 league outings.

The 29-year-old will be expected to shift his attention to Sunday’s league match against Anthony Nwakaeme’s Trabzonspor.

Fatih Karagumruk occupy the sixth spot in the league standings with 22 points after 13 games.

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Port Harcourt Polo Club Set for 50th Anniversary Celebration

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President of Port Harcourt Polo Club, Dr Chukwudi Dimkpa, has said that the 50th anniversary of the club, slated for Jan. 9 to 15, 2022, will showcase the tourism potentials of Rivers state.

Dimkpa stated this during an interview with the newsmen yesterday in Port Harcourt.

He said that polo is a game of kings that attracts people from all walks of life, particularly the upper echelon of the society, as the anniversary would be an opportunity to showcase Rivers tourism potentials.

“And whenever you have a tournament like this, the golden jubilee of the Port Harcourt Polo Club, it will be attracting people from all over the world.

“Players from Argentina, Brazil, United Kingdom, South Africa, Ghana and all the clubs under the Nigerian Polo Association (NPA) in Lagos, Kaduna, Ibadan, Kano and the private farms as well will be coming to play.

“So, the best of the best will be in Port Harcourt,” he said.

According to Dimkpa, the tournament is a case of polo styles, as the game goes with a lot of styles.

“You will see a lot of dress styles, people looking fabulous and displaying all sorts of clothes and wears.

“And again, in the evening after the games, you settle down to the best entertainment that you can get in Port Harcourt for that one week.

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“So, Port Harcourt Polo Club is the only destination from Jan. 9 to 15, 2022, for top class polo,” he added.

The President said that Rivers is a tourists destination and the club would showcase to the world that the game is part of the culture of the people of Rivers.

“So, we are going to have cultural displays within the seven days of the tournament.

“We have picked a few of our tribes and also working in partnership with the Seki Dance Troupe of Port Harcourt as well.

“There is going to be a lot of Rivers culture that will be displayed for attraction,” he stated.

Dimkpa, who is Managing Director of Strata Base Group, one of the sponsors of the tournament, said that the anniversary would encourage a lot of people to love polo.

“Polo game is learned, you learn how to ride a horse and progress to play polo.

“It will encourage a lot of people to get onto the horse, start riding and eventually we will get a lot of people interested in the game of polo,” the President said.

Dimkpa boasted that Port Harcourt has the best Polo Club in Nigeria, and the best field in West Africa.

He said that once the weather is dry, Port Harcourt Polo Club is the destination for all polo players.

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The highest handicaps in polo, Bello Buba and Hamisu Buba, that were +4 in Nigeria, would be participating in the tournament.

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, a +1 player, the President of Nigeria Polo Association (NPA), Tajudeen Dantata, and the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, are expected to be in Port Harcourt for tournament. (NAN)

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