The Super Eagles have arrived in Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. The three-time African champions arrived at their Ismaila base yesterday morning and conducted their first session in the Egyptian city.
Early hours of yesterday, the John Mikel Obi-led squad was received at the Cairo airport by Nigeria’s Foreign Mission in Egypt led by Emmanuel Oguntoyi (Minister at the Embassy of Nigeria, Cairo) and Muhammed Tukur Garba (Administrative Attaché) who represented the Nigerian Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Later in the evening, Eagles had their first training session at the pitch located within the premises of their Hotel Mercure.
According to Eagles program during the one-week stay before moving to Alexandria, a number of technical and tactical sessions are scheduled for the team before going up against Senegal’s Teranga Lions on Sunday evening.
At a friendly game at The Hive in London in March 2017 (the most recent of the 21 encounters between the two nations), both teams settled for a 1-1 draw, with Moussa Sow putting the Lions ahead nine minutes into the second half before Kelechi Iheanacho tied the game from the penalty spot with only nine minutes to go.
Incidentally, the Leicester City man was one of the two players dropped from Nigeria’s final AFCON 2019 squad.
Algeria crowned African champions
Algeria has won its second AFCON title in Egypt after 29 years they did as hosts in 1990. Baghdad Bounedjah’s second-minute goal was all the Desert Warriors needed to claim the crown in Egypt.
For Senegal, the search for their first AFCON title continues despite coming so close to it as they did in 2002. Baghdad Bounedjah’s shot took a huge deflection off Salif Sane and looped over goalkeeper Alfred Gomes.
Senegal was awarded a penalty for handball in the second half but it was overturned after a VAR review.
Algeria closed out the rest of the game to win their first title since 1990.
Senegal’s players collapsed on the pitch in tears at the final whistle.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, who said before the game he would swap his Champions League winners medal for Africa Cup of Nations success, looked disconsolate as Algeria players celebrated around him.
“Without the players I am nothing,” said Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi. “They are the main ones. I suppose the staff played its part in guiding the players but they applied the instructions incredibly well.”
Mikel calls time on Super Eagles career
Super Eagles’ skipper, Mikel Obi has retired from international football stating that it was time to allow youths to take over. 32-year-old Obi made the disclosure via his Instagram handle @mikel_john_obi on Thursday, after leading the side to the third place of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
He made his debut at AFCON in the 2006 tournament hosted by Egypt.
“Egypt is a country where I started and have finished my national career. In 2006, I played my first official championship for my country.
‘‘2019 African Cup of Nations marks my last championship for the national team with Super Eagles,” he wrote on his page.
The 32-year-old began his career in 2003.
“My national career started in 2003 under 17 World Cup and ‘am grateful to the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skills and have an incredible national and international career.
“At the age of 32, it’s time for me to retire from the national team and let the youth take over, we’ve done an amazing job by securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019.
“Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my country for all the trust, support and love you’ve shown me over the past 15 years.”
Mikel also won a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Nigeria matches into AFCON semi-finals
Super Falcons scrape into knockout stage
The Super Falcons on Thursday qualified for the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup for the first time in 20 years. The Falcons have reached the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup just once before now, a quarter-final appearance in the competition in the United States in 1999.
They will confront former champions Germany in the last 16 of the 2019 Women’s World Cup in Grenoble on Saturday.
The Falcons qualified as one of the best losers to the round of 16 after finishing third in Group A behind France and Norway but had to endure a torrid time before confirming their place in the last 16 of the event.
The African champions had ended their Group A campaign with three points, courtesy of a 2-0 win over the Korea Republic and losses to former champions Norway (3-0) and hosts France (1-0).
But they had to wait three days later after their final group game on Monday to know their fate.
And the Nigerians were almost left frustrated after Cameroon’s Indomitable Lionesses beat New Zealand 2-1, meaning they (Falcons) had to slip from third on the best third-placed teams table to fourth.
A 3-0 win for Chile over Thailand would have ended the Falcons dreams of qualification but having led 2-0, the South Americans lost a penalty late on in dramatic fashion to hand the Nigerians a spot in the knockout stage.
Cameroon also qualified as one of the third best-placed teams, thus making it the first time two Africans will reach the knockout stages of the competition.
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