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AFCON 2021: Super Eagles Target Round Of 16 Berth Against Sudan

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria face Sudan in their second Group D match at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Saturday, eyeing a berth at the knockout stage of the biennial soccer competition.

Nigeria, three-time AFCON winners, had gotten off to a good start in the tournament following a 1-0 victory over record-holders Egypt in their first tie a few days back.

Three points against the Falcons of Jediane at the Estadio Roumde Adjia, Garoua, will see the 2013 champions book a spot in the round of 16.

Nigeria’s preparation for the competition had been marred with tussles over the release of players.

While Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, was left out based on health grounds; Watford did not release in-form forward, Emmanuel Dennis, a development that raised concerns among fans.

Aside from player availability, the sacking of long-time coach, Gernot Rohr, less than two months before the tournament also cast doubt on Nigeria’s participation. In his stead, former international, Austin Eguaveon, was named to handle the side.

But in their first game on Tuesday, the Eagles deservedly defeated the record-winners 1-0 after a dominated display.

Eguaveon’s side have an abundance of attacking options to do the damage against Sudan. Iheanacho is expected to continue his goalscoring form in Saturday’s game while winger, Simon Moses, who was a thorn to the Egyptian defence in the first match, has his work cut out for the day.

Midfielder Joe Aribo – the provider of the assist for the goal against Egypt – will carry much of the team’s creative weight while Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi shields the defence.

Ahmed Musa, the team’s captain, who missed the first game, could have a chance of adding to his international cap.

But there might not be a change of guard to the lineup that featured against Egypt. Defender Kenneth Omeruo is also expected to be fit for the match after he was stretchered off the pitch on Tuesday.

In a pre-match briefing, Eguaveon said the Super Eagles will not be carried away with the win against Egypt.

“I am happy with the players and their ability to give their best on the pitch. I am focused on winning against Sudan at the moment,” the 1994 AFCON winner said.

“I am not thinking about anything else or how we will start our third match. We are completely focused on our match against Sudan. Beating Egypt was not easy, and we are looking forward to continuing our victories and qualifying for the next round.”
Sudan

The Super Eagles opponents are only returning to the continental fiesta since 2012 and will want to make a statement in a group containing some of Africa’s soccer heavyweights.

They hosted the maiden edition of the competition in 1957 and won the AFCON in 1970 also on home soil.

But a lull saw them miss the competition for 32 years, only to qualify in 2008 as Ghana hosted the continent.

In 2012, the Sudanese reached the quarter-finals of the biennial fiesta, one of their best outings in recent years.

En route to Cameroon, they earned 12 points from Group C, beating South Africa to finish second. They also scored nine goals in the qualification series.

But just weeks before the tournament, Hubert Velud was dismissed following the country’s poor outing at the 2021 Arab Cup. They lost all group games, conceded 10 goals but scored none.

The development, however, is not deterring new coach, Burhan Tia, who insists his young side should not be underrated.

“Our team is young, and we are building for the future. The spirit, ambition, and motivation will be our strong weapons in the tournament,” he said.

“There is nothing impossible in football. The group might be strong, but with good preparations and concentration we will be able to make it to the knockout stage.”

His team seem to be repaying his confidence in them as they battled hard to draw Guinea-Bissau in their first game. While Nigeria is a tougher opponent, the Falcons are hoping to give Nigeria a run for their money on Saturday.

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BREAKING: FG Proposes Extension Of Fuel Subsidy Removal By 18 Months, Seeks To Amend PIA

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BREAKING: NNPC Increases Petrol Price, To Sell For N170/Litre

The Federal Government is proposing to extend the period for the implementation of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, by 18 months.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, announced this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.

He disclosed that the government has concluded plans to approach the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

“We are proposing an 18-month extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them,” the minister said. “We would approve an 18-month extension and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.

“With assent by the President on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective February 16, 2022. However, following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders within and outside the government, it has been agreed that the implementation period for the removal of the subsidy should be extended.

“This extension will give all the stakeholders time to ensure that the implementation is carried out in a manner that ensures all necessary modalities are in place to cushion the effect of the PMS subsidy removal, in line with prevailing economic realities.

“The President assures that his administration will continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of all Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”

Sylva, who chairs the PIA Implementation Committee, stressed that the decision of the executive arm of government to seek an amendment of the law was not politically motivated.

Rather, he explained that such a move has become necessary to halt the potential suffering of the vulnerable in the society.

The minister believes other measures such as the Dangote refinery, the Port Harcourt refinery, and other modular refineries will have significantly come on stream by the end of the year.

According to him, the new PIA provides for unrestricted market pricing for PMS from the effective date.

Sylva, however, stated that the PIA also envisaged the potential for supply disruption with its resultant effect on the economy.

“Consequently, it provides for a window of six months from the effective date for the government to request the services of NNPC Limited as the supplier of last resort.

“This is to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness preparatory to migration to the deregulated pricing regime,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated, has assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

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Former Lagos SSG Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya Dies At 74

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Former Secretary to the Lagos State Government Princess Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya has died after a brief illness.

It was learnt that Adeniran-Ogunsanya, who served as SSG under former Governor Babatunde Fashola, died on Tuesday.

She was reportedly in a comma for a few days at the Lagos State University (LASUTH) before her death.

The Ikorodu-born grassroots politician and daughter of chairman of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPN) in the Second Republic Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya was apex leader of the Lagos4Lagos movement which recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Her illness prevented her from attending the group’s official defection ceremony at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Saturday, January 22.

Details later…

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‘No Going Back On Our Nationwide Protest’, Says NLC Despite FG’s Suspension Of Fuel Subsidy Removal

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…As FG Proposes Extension Of Fuel Subsidy Removal By 18 Months, Seeks To Amend PIA

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vowed to continue with its planned nationwide rally on Thursday, despite the announcement by the Federal Government that it would no longer remove the fuel subsidy for now.

NLC Deputy President, Joe Ajaero, during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, explained that the rally is aimed at sensitising Nigerians.

“NLC is still standing on its position,” he said on Tuesday. “The Federal Government didn’t say they have abolished it, they are postponing the evil day.

“What we are doing is sensitisation of Nigerians on this fuel subsidy removal or so-called increase in the pump price of petroleum products.”

The labour leader further explained the reasons for the sensitisation, claiming that the fuel subsidy removal was about inflicting more suffering on Nigerians.

“The NLC is sensitising Nigerians that this is not sustainable; that the idea of fuel subsidy is a hoax which they are using to inflict pains on Nigerians.

“So, our planned rally stands. On the 27th of January 2022, we rally nationwide, including the FCT,” he added.

Ajaero argued that the rally has become necessary to alert members of the NLC on perennial hike in the pump price of petrol and other refined petroleum products.

“We need to put our foot soldiers at alert on any eventual action on this issue of increase in the pump price of petroleum products from the current price to over N300 per litre,” he stressed.

The Federal Government had earlier announced the suspension of the planned removal of fuel subsidy.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had on Monday said the government had suspended the plan to remove fuel subsidy.

She explained that the government would make provisions for fuel subsidy beyond its initial June deadline in the 2022 budget.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government is proposing to extend the period for the implementation of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, by 18 months.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, announced this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.

He disclosed that the government has concluded plans to approach the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

“We are proposing an 18-month extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them,” the minister said. “We would approve an 18-month extension and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.

“With assent by the President on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective February 16, 2022. However, following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders within and outside the government, it has been agreed that the implementation period for the removal of the subsidy should be extended.

“This extension will give all the stakeholders time to ensure that the implementation is carried out in a manner that ensures all necessary modalities are in place to cushion the effect of the PMS subsidy removal, in line with prevailing economic realities.

“The President assures that his administration will continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of all Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”

Sylva, who chairs the PIA Implementation Committee, stressed that the decision of the executive arm of government to seek an amendment of the law was not politically motivated.

Rather, he explained that such a move has become necessary to halt the potential suffering of the vulnerable in the society.

The minister believes other measures such as the Dangote refinery, the Port Harcourt refinery, and other modular refineries will have significantly come on stream by the end of the year.

According to him, the new PIA provides for unrestricted market pricing for PMS from the effective date.

Sylva, however, stated that the PIA also envisaged the potential for supply disruption with its resultant effect on the economy.

“Consequently, it provides for a window of six months from the effective date for the government to request the services of NNPC Limited as the supplier of last resort.

“This is to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness preparatory to migration to the deregulated pricing regime,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated, has assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

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