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Nigeria vs Ghana: Super Eagles B team set for make or mar tie in Abuja

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles B team is in a dicey situation, going into Saturday’s second leg match against Ghana’s Black Galaxies in an African Nations Championships, CHAN qualifying match.

The coach Salisu Yusuf-tutored side was beaten 2-0 in the first leg played in Cape Coast last weekend and now need to overturn that deficit if they will actualise the dream of making it to Algeria next year.

Will it be déjà vu?

With this, it appears the same script is playing out once more, as fierce football rivals, Nigeria and Ghana, will battle over a qualification ticket to a major football tournament for the umpteenth time.

However, while both teams were evenly poised in the race to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup last term, the home-based Super Eagles are at a disadvantage in the race to qualify for the 2023 CHAN tournament.

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The battleground will be the M.K.O Abiola stadium in Abuja, where thousands of fans were left heartbroken after the main Super Eagles team could not secure a ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Kickoff is 4 p.m.

The ugly scenes and punishment that greeted that failure are still fresh in the minds of many.

However, the prayer on the lips of football faithful this term is Nigeria will not only carry the day but do enough to pick the solitary ticket up for grabs.

Just like in March, the Nigeria Football Federation has declared the gates open so that as many fans as possible can come to cheer the home-based Eagles to victory.

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Positivity

Salisu Yusuf, the Eagles B coach, is full of optimism, believing that his team will beat the loud-mouthed Ghana team to the coveted ticket.

Yusuf, who led the Class of 2018 to a second-place finish in the 2018 Morocco finals tournament, stated that the team is focused on scoring enough goals to overcome the deficit incurred in the away leg.

“What is past is past, and that is the case with the match we played in Ghana. Now we are looking forward to a good match on Saturday.

“We are doing all we need to do to achieve our utmost desire to be in Algeria next year. There may have been one or two lapses that caught us on the bad end in Cape Coast, but we can’t continue to dwell on that. We want to achieve a good result on Saturday,” Coach Yusuf declared.

Though some agitated for a wholesale change to the side that lost in the first leg, Yusuf revealed he has kept faith with most of the players, though he admits there may be a few changes here and there.

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“It is going to be more like 88 to 90 per cent of the team we presented in Ghana last Sunday. Remember that Abubakar was injured in a moment we thought should have produced a penalty kick for us. He has not recovered fully and so may not feature,” the coach added.

Unbridled boldness

But while Nigeria is hoping to get at least three goals against Ghana, the Black Galaxies coach Anor Walker sees that as a huge joke.

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For Walker, Nigeria’s biggest weakness is their ‘blunt’ attack and nothing suggests they can deny his team to qualifying for the CHAN tournament this time.

“It will not be possible,” he stated when asked by reporters in Ghana if the Nigerian team would turn around the table.

“I have not seen any threat in the attack on Nigeria. And I have seen the way they play. We will also strategise for it and when we get to Nigeria, it’s going to be another strategy we will use to approach the game. We are not coming to Nigeria to lose, so we will not be able to qualify.

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“We are going to Nigeria for sure to qualify for CHAN next year.”

The team, with an aggregate victory after Saturday’s tie, qualifies for the tournament in Algeria early next year.

Unlike Nigeria, Ghana has failed to qualify for the last three editions of the CHAN tournaments despite doing well when they are there.

The Black Galaxies have twice been in the finals, losing in 2007 to DR Congo in the inaugural edition before suffering a penalty shootout loss to Libya in 2014.

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Voodoo new to me – Waldrum

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In the aftermath of the drama that ensued between Nigeria and Cameroon during the penultimate qualifying fixture for the 2024 Olympic games, Super Falcons coach, Randy Waldrum, says voodoo is strange to him.

There was drama at the start of the second half inside the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Monday after a Cameroonian player allegedly attempted to plant ‘voodoo’ inside the Falcons goal post.

Falcons’ goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, was in fine form as she stopped every shot in her direction to prevent the Indomitable Lionesses from scoring.

However, in the closing minutes of the game, Cameroon sent Annie Enganemben on as they were about to launch a free kick into the Nigerian box with claims that the player was sent on to touch the net in a bid to give Cameroon a saving grace as they were running out of options, and had to resort to diabolical means.

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In a video, the substitute, alongside another striker, were seen trying to run towards the Nigerian goal in an attempt to touch the net, but Asisat Oshoala took it upon herself to prevent that from happening. The drama led to the player being sent off after she hit Nnadozie in the process.

When asked by our reporter about the attempt by the Cameroonians to use voodoo during the game, Waldrum said, “Yes it is true.”

“I have never seen it before but our players wouldn’t let them in our goal to use it.”

The only goal of the two-legged tie came in the early minutes of the first half, with Esther Okoronkwo tapping home from close range after Jennifer Echegini’s clever footwork on the edge of the box.

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Liverpool Win Carabao Cup Title With Late Heroics Thrilling Against Chelsea

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In a thrilling Carabao Cup final clash at Wembley Stadium, Liverpool emerged victorious with late heroics against Chelsea, clinching the coveted title in dramatic fashiion.

The match, highly anticipated by football fans worldwide, showcased the fierce competition between two Premier League giants. Jurgen Klopp’s youthful Liverpool side faced off against Thomas Tuchel’s formidable Chelsea team in a showdown that promised excitement and tension.

Throughout the game, both teams demonstrated their skill and determination, creating numerous scoring opportunities and thrilling moments for the spectators. However, as the clock ticked down towards the end of regular time, the score remained deadlocked in a tense stalemate.

As the match entered extra time, the intensity on the field only intensified, with each side pushing for a decisive breakthrough. It was Liverpool’s star defender, Virgil van Dijk, who ultimately proved to be the hero of the night. In a heart-stopping moment, van Dijk rose above the Chelsea defense to head home a crucial goal deep into extra time.

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The Wembley Stadium erupted with cheers from Liverpool fans as van Dijk’s late header secured the victory and clinched the Carabao Cup title for Klopp’s side. It was a moment of pure jubilation for the Liverpool players, staff, and supporters, marking a memorable triumph in their footballing journey.

The match’s thrilling conclusion highlighted the unpredictable nature of football and the exhilarating drama that unfolds on the grand stage. Liverpool’s triumph with late heroics against Chelsea will be remembered as a testament to their resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit in pursuit of success.

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Boniface named among Bundesliga’s most skilful stars

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Bayer Leverkusen star Victor Boniface has secured a nomination among the most skilful players in the ongoing 2023/24 Bundesliga campaign so far.

After his move from Union SG last July, the Super Eagles striker wasted no time making an impact under the guidance of manager Xabi Alonso.

Boniface’s initial burst in Germany was nothing short of impressive, netting ten goals in 16 league matches.

However, his promising run hit an abrupt halt due to a groin injury, forcing him to miss the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations held in Ivory Coast.

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Despite his current injury setback, the striker’s noteworthy performances have not gone unnoticed.

The spotlight now shines on a particular display of individual brilliance during Leverkusen’s Bundesliga clash against RB Leipzig at the Bay Arena in August 2023.

In that game, Boniface executed a cunning feint, deceiving his marker into anticipating a right-footed shot, only to cleverly pass the ball with his left foot. Although he didn’t find the net, Leverkusen emerged victorious with a 3-2 scoreline.

Boniface shares the skills spotlight with four other notable players: Andrej Kramaric, Jadon Sancho, Felix Nmecha, and Xavi Simons.

To participate in the voting process, fans can visit the Bundesliga’s official website and select their choice among the nominated players.

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At the time of this report, Jadon Sancho leads the polls with an impressive 75% of the votes. Xavi Simons secures the second position with 17%, while Boniface currently holds 5%. Hoffenheim’s Kramaric and Dortmund’s Nmecha trail behind with 1% and 2% of the votes, respectively.

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