Sunday, 8 May 2011

Ekigho nets again as Nigeria reach semis

Holders Nigeria are through to the semi-finals of the WAFU Cup after brushing aside Niger 4:0 at the MKO Abiola International Stadium in Abeokuta on Saturday afternoon.

A first half brace by midfielder Bartholomew Ibenegbu and second half strikes by serial striker Ekigho Ehiosun and substitute Agwacha White completed an outstanding display by the hosts.

The Nigerians have won their two matches in the three-team Group A to bag the maximum six points and advance to the last four. This leaves Niger and Liberia to battle for the group's second semi-final ticket.

The Liberians have a healthier goal difference over the Mena after losing by just a solitary goal to Samson Siasia's men on Thursday, and a draw will be sufficient to send them through
Ghana played Togo in the first of two games between them yesterday in Group B at the same venue.

SOURCE" African Soccer
PIX: Bartholomew Ibenegbu

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Diarrhea Stricken "Sugar" Ray Narh Forced To Quit on stool After Three Rounds

The Showtime pay-per-view broadcast for the bout between Manny Pacquiao and "Sugar" Shane Mosley kicked off with a bout between "Sugar" Ray Narh (25-1, 21 KO) and Mike Alvarado (29-0, 21 KO) for the WBC Continental Americas Light Welterweight Championship.

Narh looked to use his height as the fight started to neutralize the aggression of Alvarado. The strategy of Narh kept Alvarado from really unloading with shots until the opening round was almost at a close. The second round saw the same strategy by Narh of using his speed and length but Alvarado started to land his counter shots and find space to hit Narh with power that was clearly affecting "Sugar" Ray.

Heading into round three it appeared that the fight was even at a round a piece, but Narh fought the round much more aware of Alvarado's power and off his heels while Alvarado came forward throwing hard.

Between rounds Ray Narh quit on the stool after the ref asked him if he wanted to keep fighting or not. Narh and his camp answered with "no" and the fight was stopped.

Dr. William Berliner said Narh has been vomiting and had diarrhea since yesterday and had no strength. That's why he quit.

Hard to fault Alvarado for landing hard punches in the 2nd and 3rd rounds but Narh entered 25-1 and quit on the stool after three rounds on a massive pay-per-view, not exactly something that will be easy to bounce back from in his career.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Ehiosun strikes again in Eagles win

Super Eagles striker Ekigho Ehiosun scored the only goal of the game for holders Nigeria as they edged Liberia 1:0 in the opening match of the 2nd West Africa Football Union [WAFU] Cup tournament Thursday at the MKO International Stadium in Abeokuta.

It was a game of two halves with the Super Eagles clearly the better side in the first 45 minutes, while the Lone Stars played the better football in the second period.

Ehiosun struck after just 20 minutes after a neat exchange of passes, to continue his rich vein of form for the Nigerian national teams. He has now scored for the Super Eagles Team A, the Olympic team and the Team B.

Hopes of a resounding victory however did not materialise as the Liberians - represented by their Olympic squad beaten 6:1 by Nigeria at the weekend, grew in confidence as the game wore on.

With the home-based Nigerians not having played competitively for two months following a suspension of the Nigerian Premier League, the players lost steam after the break.

Liberia took full advantage to torment the Super Eagles, but poor play in the final third cost them at least a draw.

Nigeria's assistant coach Simon Kalika admitted the team played below standard and observed that the Liberians deserved a draw, but was happy that the Eagles managed the necessary result.

"To be honest, they [Liberia] deserved an equaliser" Kalika told Supersport after the game.

"The result is quite good, but we didn't play too well" the Dutchman said. "But I'm happy, it's always good to start well".

His Liberian counterpart Thomas Codjoe conceded that his team played poorly in the first half, but said the half time talks helped. He however noted their poor finishing was a problem, promising to work on it ahead of their next game against Niger.

"In the first half we did not perform to expectations" he said in his post-match TV interview. "We need to improve on our finishing".

Hosts Nigeria had been due to play Mali in the Group A opener and the change meant that Niger had a rest day.

No official reason has been given for the withdrawals by Senegal or Mali.

The absence of Senegal means that Group B has also been reduced to three teams - The Gambia, Togo and Ghana.

The organisers have revised the timetable of games and Friday will now be a rest day.

The next matches will be on Saturday with Nigeria playing Niger and Togo up against Ghana.


NIGERIA: Sunday Rotimi, Chibuzor Okonkwo (Captain), Adedeji Adeyinka, Ubido Julius, Gege Toriola, Wasiu Sowemimo, Udoenyi Chrisantus, Ekigho Ehiosun, Osas Okoro, Ibenegbu Bartholomew, Okoronkwo Stanley. Coach: Samson Siasia

LIBERIA: Nathaniel Sherman (Captain), Bill Paycoe, Michael Jaesue, Crokon Zeon, Maya Gardo, Meurlin Karndu, Gadafi William, Archie Harvey, Emmett Wleh, Patrick Wleh, Samuel Thompson. Coach: Thomas Codjoe

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Nigeria begins WAFU trophy defence against Mali today

The home-based Super Eagles team will today begin their quest to retain the West African Football Union (WAFU) title they won last year, when they confront the Eagles of Mali in the first match of the annual regional tournament.

The match, billed for the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta is scheduled to begin by 2.00pm local time and the Nigerian team will be hoping to do a double over the Malians whose Under 20 team was recently defeated by Flying Eagles en-route to been crowned Africa Champions in South Africa.
While many Nigerians believe that the team led by Coach Samson Siasia should be able to retain the trophy won by Daniel Amokachi and his lads last year, the Beijing Olympic silver-winning coach was quick to say that much should not be expected from his hurriedly-assembled team.
"These boys have been on break for weeks now, without playing any football, because the league is on break and we had only two days or less to get them ready to play a football match" Siasia had told a sports website.
"That is not right. We should have been told on time, so we could have had more time to prepare these boys.
"I don't know what their conditioning is right now, and you can't knock somebody who has not been playing into shape in two days. But we'll have to do our best," he added.
Point to prove
Siasia noted that the local league could boast of good players and for him the WAFU tournament is a stage for them to prove their worth:
"We have good players in our local league and we need to prove it on the pitch" he said.
"The boys will have to hit the ground running against Mali, as defending champions we are the team to beat" he said.
The second match of the day will see the other two teams in Group A, Liberia and Niger take on to pitch as they both gun for a perfect start to their campaign in the regional tournament.
Meanwhlie David Duncan selects 18 into the Black Meteors to represent Ghana at the WAFU Cup of Nations in Nigeria.
Ghana would open their campaign against Togo on Friday in Group B before coming up against Senegal and Gambia.
The 10-day championships which begins this afternoon will run till May 15, 2011.
The WAFU championship would serve as a good build up towards the Olympic team's qualifying campaign for a place at this year's All Africa Games.

Flying Eagles of Nigeria treated to a heroic welcome

New African U-20 champions, the Flying Eagles of Nigeria were yesterday treated to a heroic welcome on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
The Nigerians, who defeated Cameroun 3-2 on Sunday to clinch the African Youth Championship (AYC) title, were led into the country by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation Aminu Maigari, and welcomed by hundreds of singing fans and eager journalists who came to catch a glimpse of the new set of football heroes.
Coach of the team, John Obuh thanked everybody that supported the team en-route to being crowned champions of Africa for a record sixth time. .
"It wasn't an easy tournament no doubt but we thank God we came out victorious," he said. "We will continue to work hard and improve the team."
Through the streets
Unlike the Super Falcons, who on their return to the country after their victorious conquest at last year's African Women's Championships were conveyed to their hotel aboard a truck not befitting of champions, the Flying Eagles were placed in an open-roof bus made available by the Lagos State government.
The team also displayed the Africa Youth Championship trophy as they were driven through the streets of Lagos From the departure lounge of the airport the players were taken to the presidential lounge of the airport where the sports minister Taoheed Adedoja was on hand to receive the team.
Adedoja told the victorious team that President Goodluck Jonathan was very pleased with their performance in South Africa and had given his word that they will get a befitting reception from the presidency.
"The trophy you won is a sign of hard work and team work, I will call this trophy Nigeria's Goodluck Cup," Adedoja said.
Adedoja urged the team not to relent on their achievement as much would be expected from them at the World Championships in Colombia later in the year.
"We are happy that you are the new African champions but we will pray that you will also go ahead to rule the world," he added.
The players and officials of the Flying Eagles were later treated to a dinner at the Sheraton Hotels in Ikeja.
The Flying Eagles' victory gave Nigeria its first AYC title since 2005.

Flying Eagles get heroic welcome

Africa newest champions, Flying Eagles were received in Lagos on Monday by appreciative Nigerians who trooped out enmasse to receive their heroes.

The nation’s ambassadors defeated perennial arch-rivals, the Junior Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 3-2 in the final of the 17th Orange Africa Youth Championship in South Africa on Sunday. The entourage led by the president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Monday afternoon and was received by the first vice president of the NFF, Chief Mike Umeh, the NFF technical committee chairman, Barrister Chris Green, Sports Ministry/National Sports Commission dignitaries as well as top shots of Lagos state sports ministry.

And in a far departure from the ramshackle motorcade ride given to Super Falcons on their arrival from South Africa after winning the 2010 African Women Championship, Flying Eagles were driven in a state-of-the-art air-conditioned Busscar double deck open roof bus from the international airport to the presidential wing of the local airport where they were received by the Sports Minister and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Prof Taoheed Adedoja among other dignitaries. The leader of delegation, NFF president, Alhaji Maigari presented the trophy won by Flying Eagles to the minister.

An excited Adedoja who praised the team for their heroic performance at the biennial football showpiece told the equally appreciative ambassadors that the number one citizen, President Goodluck Jonathan, at the moment observing a retreat at the Obudu Cattle Ranch, Obudu, Cross River state will officially receive them immediately they arrived from their four-nation invitational in South Korea.

“I have been asked specifically by Mr President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to welcome you back to Nigeria. It is rare of a president of a country to have a team welcomed at the airport; this is the first time president of a country is doing it.

“He also told me to congratulate you and to say that when you return from Korea he will give you a befitting reception. Like I said this cup is being named ‘Nigeria Goodluck cup’.

“All the promises made to you by the chairman, your coach will be fulfilled 100%. You have done Nigeria proud, you have done Mr President proud, you have done all of us proud and you will get the best football development under Mr President.”

The minister further charged the Under-20 African champions to work hard to replicate the feat in the AYC at the world stage in Columbia.

“You have ruled Africa in football, I ask you to also rule the world, and with your performance Nigeria football will continue to move up,” the number sports citizen told

Responding, the golden coach John Obuh thanked the minister and promised to work harder to ensure that the team excels at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Columbia which starts later in July.

“We thanked Nigerians for the show of love given to us, we promise not to let them down, we know their expectations from us, we will work hard to meet it. We appreciate Mr President warm wishes, we will not disappoint him,” he said.

After the reception at the presidential wing of the local airport, the motorcade moved through Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja to the Westown Hotel, Ikeja where they team was given a sumptuous dinner and rested for the night before travelling out to Korea later on Tuesday for the four-nation invitational tournament. 
SOURCE: African Soccer
PIX: Flying Eagles rejoice on their arrival at Murtala Muhammed Airport

Nigeria champions of Africa for the sixth time

Nigeria broke own record by becoming the only African team to win the African Youth Championship title six times after defeating archrivals Cameroon  3-2 on Sunday in the final of the 2011 edition played at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto, South Africa.

In a bid to quickly put Nigeria on check like during their group game, Cameroon began the encounter with high motivation, grappling at each ball and trading short passes in the midfield, which yielded two quick corner kicks that were wasted, before the Flying Eagles got in the groove.

Nigeria had a major goal-scoring chance near the 10th minute but Asec Mimosas’ striker Olanreaju Kayode preferred laying back for better construction instead of a spontaneous Didier Drogba-like header into the post.

A free kick to Cameroon near Nigeria’s box area in the 23rd minute could have broken the deadlock, but it was again wasted like it had been the trend during the first half, where both teams, after getting over their agitations, still found it hard to overwhelm each other.

The junior Indomitable Lions always penetrated into the Nigerian half through the left flank, not forgetting to go via the right too, but Nigeria’s defending duo Emmanuel Anyanwu and Terna Suswan kept the house safe, but most times at the price of free kicks and corners, which went mostly in vain.

Kayode’s strike inside Cameroon box was clearly the best chance of the Flying Eagles to open the scoring at a time when Cameroon were evincing signs of fatigue near the end of first half.

A corner kick for Cameroon which was headed straight into the gloves of Nigeria’s ‘keeper Danjuma Paul set the mood after the interval, but the Flying Eagles soon dominated the exchanges that slipped off to Cameroon minutes later, as both sides resumed sloppy passes and poor finishing like before the break.

Things heated up near the 70th minute as both sides accelerated movements into each other’s camp, with Kayode opening the scoring after he blasted his finish in Cameroon box area. Five minutes later, leading Nigerian scorer Uche Nwofor doubled for the West Africans.

But Franck Ohandza and Edgar Salli would level the lead for Cameroon in the 82nd and 85th minute to squashed Nigeria’s rising hope of clinching a record sixth African Youth Championship title just minutes away. An extra time would have to decide.

New entrant Terry Envoh scored for Nigeria only two minutes into the extra time to put the Flying Eagles in a 3-2 lead, with Nigerian coach John Sam Obuh shouting up his boys to stand firm to protect the advantage, to avoid the second half blunder of losing two goals in less than four minutes.

Cameroon absolutely ran out of solutions even after the Nigerian side was depleted to 10 after the expulsion of Kayode when he was booked for the second time.

The game thus ended with no further development handing Nigeria their sixth title and breaking the Cameroonian jinx at last.

Nigeria are now winning the title for the sixth time after their victories in the editions of 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 2005.

SOURCE: African Soccer

Egypt picks Orange CAN U-20 bronze medal

The young Pharaohs of Egypt beat the Eaglets of Mali 1-0 to scoop the third place of the CAF Orange African Youth Championship.

The fight for the third place of the 17th edition of the Orange African Youth Championships kicked off this Sunday at Dobsonville stadium at 12h00. The two teams have already secured their place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup Columbia 2011.

The match started at a snail pace as both teams were still studying their opponent’s game plan. Mali’s Coulibaly Abdoulaye was the ball magnet at the centre as he controlled the midfield in the first quarter of the hour.

However Mali took complete domination as the Egyptians stayed back to absorb the pressure while surprising the Malians with some sporadic attacks.Mali’s efforts will be in vain as they failed to concretise on the many opportunities they had and the referee led both teams to the changing rooms on a deadlock 0-0.

Back from the dressing room, El Sayed’s boys showed more determination as the attacked from all angle beating Mali’s closely tight game plan. Mohamed Aly’s prayers were finally answered as he found the back of the net at the 58th minute. This was to be a wake-up call for Mali who increased momentum in an attempt to draw level.

The game became physical as the Malians started showing their frustrations but Egypt’s defense was unshaken till the end of the game.

With  an Egypt lone goal, the Pharoahs settled for Bonze while Mali goes home with the fourth honour at the 17th edition of the CAF Orange African Youth Championships

PIX:   Egypt's Mohamed Hamdy shoots home the only goal

 Egypt players celebrate with goalscorer Mohamed Hamdy of Egypt