By Ben Nwachukwu, Abuja
Nigeria’s most reliable striker presently, Odion Ighalo came off the bench to score the only goal of an engaging duel at the Alexandria Stadium to put the Super Eagles on the list of teams that got off to a winning start at the 32nd African Cup of Nations and gave the Super Eagles the three points and took an early lead in Group B ahead of the second match of the pool between Guinea and Madagascar.
Though the three time African Champions controlled possession in the early phases, the Burundians were the ones with the very clear likelihoods. However, Onuachu put two headers past the Burundian goalpost in the 7th and 13th minute, but a minute later; Cedric Amissi came close to getting the Itamba in front when he latched onto a well-placed pass and stung Akpeyi’s palms with a ferocious, close range shot.
Onuachu’s tame shot in the 27th minute was held by the Burundian goalie, and a minute later, Samuel Chukwueze wasted a clear chance in the box.
Gael Bigirimana, Abdoul Fiston, Amissi and Said Berahino were a thorn in the flesh of the Nigerian rearguard but failed to get the ball past Akpeyi.
In the second half, Ahmed Musa’s introduction for captain Mikel Obi quickened Nigeria’s pace and race towards goal. But nothing was delivered until Ighalo converted a clever pass by Ola Aina to put to an end the ambition of the Itamba to record a first Afcon point against Nigeria.
Football loving Nigerians back home have welcome the Super Eagles victory in the opening game with excitement saying that the victory has given them confidence that their darling team will certainly compete for the trophy.
Super Falcons eliminated from World Cup
African champions Nigeria were eliminated from the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals on Saturday after a three-goal defeat to two-time champions Germany in the Round of 16 in Grenoble.
Despite starting brightly and showing much endeavour, pace and physical strength, the Falcons could not get breach the Germans’ defence, and Alexander Popp got Germany in front in the 20th minute by sneaking in-between Nigerian defenders to nod home from a corner kick.
Seven minutes later, possession and more purposeful play told as Germany earned a penalty kick, which Daebritz converted smartly to make it 2-0.
In the 37th minute, Ngozi Okobi rocked the crossbar from a free-kick, and in added time of the first period, Nigeria had an appeal for a penalty kick turned down as a German defender blocked Uchenna Kanu’s shot with her arm.
Five minutes into the second period, Nigeria should have scored. Substitute Rasheedat Ajibade’s blistering run carved open the German defence but skipper Desire Oparanozie was late to get herself to the right spot to connect her telling pass.
The Falcons continued to work hard but in the 82nd minute, it was all over after Halimatu Ayinde’s erring backpass was capitalized on by Lea Schueller to make it three for Germany.
Husband of Slain Kenyan Runner Tirop Seeks Plea Bargain
The husband of slain Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop is seeking a plea bargain after initially denying a charge of murder, his lawyer said yesterday.
Tirop, a rising star in the world of athletics, was killed last October in her home in Iten, a high-altitude training hub in western Kenya for top runners.
Emmanuel Ibrahim Rotich was arrested after a dramatic late-night chase the day after Tirop’s body was found with stab wounds, and has been in custody ever since.
The 41-year-old denied a charge of murder at a November court appearance.
But in the latest twist in the legal saga, his lawyer Ngigi Mbugua told the Eldoret High Court that Rotich was willing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of attracting a more lenient sentence.
The prosecution said it was not against the idea of a plea bargain but wanted Tirop’s family to be involved in the process.
A hearing on Rotich’s request will take place on 22 September.
Ganduje Appoints Galadima Acting Kano Pillars Chair
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has appointed Ibrahim Galadima as acting Chairman of Kano Pillars Football Club.
The appointment is with immediate effect, the governor said.
Surajo Shuaibu Yahaya who had chaired the club was relieved of the job.
The appointment of Galadima who is Chairman of Kano State Sports Commission to oversee activities of Kano Pillars is part of routine exercise in sports administration of Ganduje, a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Abba Anwar said yesterday.
“As Kano Pillars is facing more competition in National Premier League (NPL) it will be good to have a leadership that will perfectly lead the Club.”
“Ibrahim Galadima, Chairman of Kano State Sports Commission, will now replace the current Chairman of Kano Pillars FC, Surajo Shu’aibu Yahaya.
“Galadima will serve in acting capacity, before the appointment of a substantive Chairman,” Ganduje said.
FIFA Emerges Best Global Sports Federation on Governance Standards
By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja
FIFA has been rated among the international sporting federations with the best standards of governance following a review conducted by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.
FIFA was among seven out of 33 international federations who achieved a score of 175 points or more out of 200 and were placed in the top group, A1, which the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations described as “an exclusive group”.
The federations were divided into five groups according to their score, with the target score, regarded as satisfactory, set at 130 for full members of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.
It was the fourth such review conducted by by the association, with FIFA also placed among the leading international federations and the previous was in the year 2020.
The aim of the project, led by ASOIF’s Governance Task Force, is to promote and ensure a culture of good governance within the international federations and help drive continuous progress.
The review looked at five aspects of governance – transparency, integrity, democracy, development and control mechanisms – and these were further divided into ten sub-sections, with a score of zero to four awarded for each.
The review began with a self assessment in January and February this year where international federations were asked to complete a questionnaire and determine a score for each question, providing explanatory evidence for their decision. These assessments were then independently moderated by an external sports governance consultancy.
The assessment took place in the context of the ongoing global pandemic, which has severely affected sport, but was conducted before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has caused more uncertainty in the sporting world.
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