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.
Fanfare as 8th Gold-Label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Kicks-off
The 8th Gold-Label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon on Saturday kicked off amidst fanfare, with runners expectant of a good show.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the marathon began at 7. a.m at National Stadium, Surulere, with Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on the sidelines for the start.
50,000 runners, local and international, are participating in the marathon.
Others dignitaries at the starting point include the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Olusegun Dawodu, Chairman Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Sola Aiyepeku, Head of Technical for the race, Yusuf Ali among others.
Some runners who spoke to NAN expressed readiness for the race, with many expectant of having fun.
Mrs Itoro Jacobs said she was always looking forward to the race in which she had participated for the past four years.
“I have been participating for the past four years though the East Africans have been dominating the race and take the prize money.
“We can’t actually measure up to the East Africans because they are professionals with six months training; for me, I am just running for fun.
“I always look forward to the race every year because it is a time to lose weight, interact and make friends with people,” she said.
Another runner, a youth corps member in Lagos, Patience Samuel, told NAN that her mother encouraged her to run.
“This is my first time of participating in the marathon. My mum actually encouraged me to join the runners.
“I am looking forward to some fun as my mum told me. I also want to keep fit,” she said.
Fifty-six-year-old Samuel Gbadegesin also said that marathon was an opportunity for him to know how his body would react stress.
“I joined the race about two years ago; I want to know how much stress I can withstand because I am not getting younger.
“The marathon is a good avenue for me to assess my health and know my fitness, I want to live long and this marathon is a test of my health status,” he said.
Bukola Olopade, Chairman, Nilayo Sports Management Limited, organisers of the race, told NAN that he was looking forward to any athlete that would break the record.
“People should expect the race to be fun, especially for me, I am looking forward to anyone that would break the record.
“We still have one thing to look forward to and that is the two hours mark, we have had close to the time but we need someone that will break the finish line in two hours, a world record time.
“We have additional 10,000 dollars for that athletes that break the records,” he said. (NAN)
Friendly: Flying Eagles Overpower Zambia’s Junior Chipolopolo in 6-goal Thriller
Nigeria’s under-20 national football team, the Flying Eagles, on Friday in Abuja overpowered their Zambian counterparts, the Junior Chipolopolo, 4-2 at the end of a thrilling international friendly.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the match at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium’s mainbowl was a tune-up game for both teams before the Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations.
The 2023 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations is scheduled to take place in Egypt from Feb. 19 to March 11.
The Flying Eagles started the friendly on the front foot as they looked to dominate the game from the onset.
They had their first shot on target as early as in the fifth minute, after Flying Eagles’ prolific midfielder Daniel Daga took a long shot from outside the penalty box.
It was a shot goalkeeper Jeban Tembo found difficult to handle as he parried it to on-rushing Ayuba Abubakar who failed to convert from close range.
The Flying Eagles had another lovely chance at goal in the 11th minute.
But man-of-the-match award winner Haliru Sarki saw his 30-yard free-kick hit the upright before goalkeeper Tembo parried the ball out for a corner-kick.
The Junior Chipolopolo had a chance of their own in the 17th minute but Moses Mulenga saw his powerful strike from outside the box parried away by goalkeeper Nathaniel Nwosu.
The Flying Eagles had two quick chances at goal six minutes later, but Ibrahim Muhammad squandered both opportunities with wayward and indecisive shots respectively.
Sarki had another lovely opportunity to open scoring for the hosts in the 33rd minute, after a clever dribble saw him take out two Zambian defenders.
But goalkeeper Tembo made himself big and punched Sarki’s shot away for a corner-kick.
The stalemate would however be broken barely five minutes later.
Sarki was gifted another opportunity and his lovely-placed shot from just outside the box crept into the bottom right corner of goalkeeper Tembo’s post in the 38th minute.
The second half saw a rejuvenated Zambian side begin to find their rhythm as they went in search of the equaliser.
The visitors responded well and scored in the 55th minute through a simple tap-in by Amon Chulu, after a defensive error in the Flying Eagles’ vital area.
Sarki came close to grabbing his brace and Nigeria’s second goal three minutes later, but his lovely free-kick again hit the upright to save goalkeeper Tembo’s blushes.
He then provided a lovely cross for substitute Olamilekan Adams in the 60th minute after a clever dribble from the right.
But Adams saw his powerful header parried away by goalkeeper Tembo.
Nigeria’s second goal would however come barely three minutes later after Solomon Agbalaka’s pin-point cross from the left corner connected with Adams’ powerful header once again in the 63rd minute.
It was beginning to look like a ding-dong affair as the Zambians drew level once again from a lovely corner-kick taken by Henry Mbuti.
It found a lurking Lasmond Phiri who pounced with a powerful header to beat goalkeeper Nwosu following another defensive blunder.
The match was however far from over as Flying Eagles’ coach Ladan Bosso made several tactical changes, including substituting Emmanuel Uchebu for Sarki in the 71st minute.
The move paid off almost immediately as substitute Uchebu scored Nigeria’s third goal from a simple tap-in.
That was after a lovely pass from another substitute following a defensive error by the Zambians in the 77th minute.
Bosso made another late tactical substitution in the 83rd minute, bringing in Samuel Lawal for Daga.
The move again paid off barely five minutes later as Lawal added a fourth for Nigeria.
This was after his solo effort which saw him race with the ball from midfield to place a right-footed shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Tembo from just outside the box
Volleyball : Nigeria Qualify for 2023 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U-19 World Championship
The Nigeria Under 19 female volleyball team on Monday qualified for the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U19 World Championship in Croatia and Hungary.
This is contained in a statement signed by Yiting Cao, International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Volleyball Department Project Manager.
FIVB congratulated Nigeria for qualifying for the Girls’ U19 World Championship.
The project manager advised Nigeria to confirm her participation to complete the attached Entry Form and return it by Feb.3, 2023.
The President of Nigeria Volleyball Federation of the (NVBF) Musa Nimrod while reacting to the new development,
lauded the decision of FIVB to admit three African Nations into the World Championship.
Nimrod said the championship will help develop the young players who are in the best form of their lives.
“The slot given to Nigeria by FIVB means we can showcase our talents to the world in Croatia and Hungary.
“The female players can also have the opportunity of being selected by scouts of foreign teams,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Cameroon and Egypt placed first and second respectively at the 2022 CAVB Volleyball Girls’ U19 African Championship in Abuja.
Cameroon and Egypt booked their tickets to the World Championship while Nigeria placed third.
NAN reports that the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U19 World Championship, will hold from Aug.1 to Aug.11 in Croatia and Hungary (NAN)
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