AFCON 2019: Algeria Deserved Semi-Final Win, Says Rohr

FILE PHOTO: Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr gestures as he speaks during a press conference at the Yessentuki Arena, in Yessentuki, in southern Russia, on June 13, 2018. PHOTO: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr said Algeria were worthy winners after Riyad Mahrez’s last-gasp free-kick sent his team through to a first Africa Cup of Nations final in 29 years.

Manchester City winger Mahrez fired in from 20 yards with the last kick of the game in Cairo to clinch a 2-1 victory after Nigeria forward Odion Ighalo had canceled out a first-half own goal by William Troost-Ekong.

“It was a big fight until the last minute. Algeria did better in the first half than us but we came back in the second half and we conceded this goal in the last minute,” said Rohr.

READ ALSO: Algeria Defeat Nigeria To Enter AFCON Finals

“I think the players wanted to go to extra time and believed Algeria would be tired and they could win in it extra time.”

“I have to congratulate the players for a big fight against this very good team. They won it in the last minute and they deserved it,” he added.

Rohr again lauded the resilience of his team, which bounced back strongly to a shock loss to Madagascar by eliminating holders Cameroon and beating South Africa, but they had no time to respond to a stroke of genius from Mahrez.

“It was a wonderful match, but we lost it so we are not happy. We scored an own goal which was unlucky but we came back like throughout the tournament when there was something difficult against us,” he said.

“A wonderful free-kick made the difference.”

AFP

Tunisia Ends Madagascar’s Fairytale AFCON Run

Madagascar’s forward Charles Andriamahitsinoro reacts during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) quarter final football match between Madagascar and Tunisia at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on July 11, 2019.
Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

Tunisia ended Madagascar’s fairytale Africa Cup of Nations run in the quarter-finals on Thursday with a 3-0 win over the tournament debutants in Cairo.

Ferjani Sassi’s heavily deflected strike gave Tunisia the lead early in the second half at Al-Salam Stadium and Youssef Msakni squeezed home a second on 60 minutes.

Naim Sliti added a third in injury time to send Tunisia through to a semi-final showdown with Sadio Mane’s Senegal, with the Carthage Eagles into the last four for the first time since clinching their only title when they hosted the 2004 edition.

READ ALSO: Algeria Beat Côte d’Ivoire On Penalties To Reach Semi-Finals

Tunisia boss Alain Giresse recalled Wahbi Khazri in attack as the lone change to the side that overcame Ghana in a last-16 penalty shootout, while Marco Ilaimaharitra returned from suspension as Madagascar fielded the same team used throughout the group phase.

Tunisia, the continent’s second-ranked side at 25th in the world, had reached the quarter-finals here without winning a single game following four successive draws.

After matches in Suez and Ismailia, this was a first Cairo outing for the Carthage Eagles, who controlled possession early but didn’t truly threaten until a sweetly struck Khazri free-kick was superbly flicked onto the bar by Madagascar goalkeeper Melvin Adrien.

Ghailene Chaalali forced Adrien to push an awkward low shot behind while Mouez Hassen, apologetic after his angry reaction to being substituted ahead of the shootout in the last round, was a largely untested bar from a long-range Ibrahim Amada effort.

Madagascar was trying to become the first newcomers since South Africa in 1996 to reach the semi-finals, but their hopes were effectively extinguished by the hour.

Khazri saw a goal disallowed for offside straight after half-time, but Sassi struck minutes later when his tame shot from the edge of the area hit Thomas Fontaine and spun past a helpless Adrien.

Msakni then promptly doubled Tunisia’s advantage, jumping on a rebound to slip the ball low beyond Adrien moments after he parried a shot from Khazri.

Charles Andriamahitsinoro, who scored twice for Madagascar in the group stage, looked to be through on goal after a long punt forward but failed to muster a shot. Amada was unable to reproduce his wonder strike from the DR Congo tie as he sliced wide from distance.

This was the first competitive meeting between the countries in almost two decades, and while Nicolas Dupuis has transformed Madagascar from a team once ranked 190th, Sliti’s injury-time goal ensured it was the end of a remarkable adventure for the ‘Barea’.

AFP

Algeria Beat Côte d’Ivoire On Penalties To Reach Semi-Finals

Algerian players celebrate after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) quarter final football match between Ivory Coast and Algeria at the Suez stadium in Suez on July 11, 2019.
Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Africa Cup of Nations title favourites Algeria defeated the Côte d’Ivoire 4-3 on penalties in Suez Thursday to the relief of Baghdad Bounedjah and set up a semi-final showdown with Nigeria.  

The quarter-final finished 1-1 after extra time with Sofiane Feghouli giving Algeria a 20th-minute lead that was cancelled by Jonathan Kodjia on 62 minutes.

In the shootout, Youcef Belaili struck the woodwork when he had a chance to clinch victory for Algeria, and then Côte d’Ivoire captain Serey Die hit the same post and his team were eliminated.

Forward Bounedjah missed a penalty in the second half of regular time and was visibly upset by his failure, fearing it would cost Algeria a first last-four place since 2010.

Algeria retained the team that started a last-16 demolition of Guinea, a result which confirmed the belief of many rival coaches that the Desert Foxes are the team to beat.

READ ALSO: Troost-Ekong Revels In ‘Dream’ Winner For Nigeria

Côte d’Ivoire coach Ibrahim Kamara changed two of the side that began an unimpressive 1-0 win over Mali in the first knockout round.

Midfielder Ibrahim Sangare and forward Max-Alain Gradel were selected to start in place of Jean-Philippe Gbamin and off-form Nicolas Pepe.

This was the eighth Cup of Nations meeting between the countries with Côte d’Ivoire holding a 3-2 lead and two matches were drawn.

Côte d’Ivoire was more impressive in the early exchanges before a modest crowd in a stadium overlooking the Suez Canal, a major shipping link between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Algeria goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi finger-tipped a Gradel shot on to a post and Kodjia wasted a chance from close range after a cutback in 38 celsius (100 Fahrenheit) heat.

Serge Kanon was the next Ivorian to squander an opportunity to put the two-time champions in front, stabbing the ball wide from inside the six-yard area.

Against the run of play, Algeria went ahead when Feghouli connected with a Ramy Bensebaini cross and his snapshot flew past Sylvain Gbohouo.

Algeria had a great chance to go further ahead early in the second half when Bounedjah was fouled by Gbohouo, but he blazed the penalty against the crossbar and over.

The Ivorian Elephants were playing much better than in previous matches and equalised just past the hour mark, ending a 422-minute run by Mbolhi without conceding a goal in Egypt.

Crystal Palace flier Wilfried Zaha created the goal with a surging run down the middle from the centre circle before passing to Kodjia, who scored with a shot from just inside the box.

AFP

My Future As Cameroon Coach Is Not So Important, Says Seedorf

Cameroon’s coach Clarence Seedorf speaks to his players during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at the Alexandria Stadium in the Egyptian city on July 6, 2019.
Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf refused to speculate on his future after the defending champions crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations in the last 16 after Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Nigeria.

Odion Ighalo scored two goals and set up Alex Iwobi for the winner as Nigeria rallied from 2-1 down after Cameroon had struck twice in quick succession through Stephane Bahoken and Clinton Njie before-half time in Alexandria.

“Maybe you want to give us a few days,” Seedorf responded when asked his for his plans following a premature end to Cameroon’s title defence.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Defeat Cameroon To Clinch AFCON 2019 Quarter Finals

“The first thing is I’m very sorry for the boys. They have worked really hard and played well but this is football and only one can win in the end. It’s not so important in my future. The important thing is what we have built until now, we’ve improved in many aspects on and off the pitch.

“It’s a group that is very united. I hope the people at home can be proud of the fighting spirit we’ve shown. Obviously, the disappointment is really big but this is sport. This is the moment where everyone must say we are united and continue to work for the future.”

The former Dutch star has won just three of nine competitive games since taking over the Indomitable Lions alongside assistant Patrick Kluivert last August and struggled to convince he is the right man for the job.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve been working with this group, being in Africa especially. And we’ll see what comes in the future,” Seedorf said.

“I feel disappointment obviously and also some anger because I thought we were a little bit tense in a few moments, but I have to appreciate the players have done everything they could today. It was not enough.”

“I repeat that we will stay united and not throw away all the great work the team has done in the last months,” he added.

AFP

Benin Beat Morocco, Advance To AFCON Quarter Final

 

Benin have beaten Morocco on penalties in the Africa Cup of Nations last 16 to advance to the Quarter Final of the tournament. 

Benin stunned the AFCON title contenders on penalties to reach the quarter-finals for the first time after a 1-1 draw in Cairo on Friday.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Fired Up By Madagascar Hurt, Says Troost-Ekong

Moise Adilehou put Benin ahead early in the second half before Youssef En-Nesyri equalised, but Hakim Ziyech blew the chance to seal the victory for Morocco by striking the post with a 96th-minute penalty.

Sofiane Boufal and En-Nesyri both missed in the shootout as Benin, who reached the last 16 on the back of three draws, triumphed 4-1 on spot-kicks.

Nigeria To Face Cameroon In AFCON Round Of 16

Team Nigeria: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will confront the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the Round of 16 of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals ongoing in Egypt, and venue is the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday, 6th July.

The match will kick off 5pm Nigeria time.

The fixture was confirmed on Tuesday evening after a 0-0 draw with Benin Republic, and Ghana’s 2-0 defeat of Guinea Bissau, condemned the Cup holders to second place in Group F, and a direct confrontation with the second –placed team in Group B, which is Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Mane Misses Penalty, Scores Twice As Senegal Qualify

Cameroon defeated Nigeria in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1984, 1988 and 2000, but most painful for the Super Eagles was the agonizing penalty shoot-out loss in front of home fans at the National Stadium, Lagos on 13th February 2000.

In 2004, Jay Jay Okocha spearheaded a 2-1 defeat of Cameroon in a quarter final match at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir, Tunisia and in the 2018 FIFA World Cup African qualifying series, the Super Eagles lashed the Lions 4-0 in Uyo and were forced to a 1-1 draw in Yaounde.

Nigeria and Cameroon share eight African titles between them. While the Indomitable Lions have won five times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017), Nigeria were champions in 1980, 1994 and 2013.

Saturday’s game is indeed a titanic battle, and the Super Eagles would be expected to pick themselves up from Sunday’s stunning defeat by Madagascar and battle the bitter rivals the way they should.

CAF To Introduce VAR From Quarter-Finals At Cup Of Nations

Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad attends a press conference a day before the start of the 2019 football Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) on June 20, 2019, at the Cairo International Stadium in the Egyptian capital.
MOHAMED EL-SHAHED / AFP

 

VAR, the video review system that sparked chaotic scenes in the African Champions League final last month, will be introduced from the quarter-final stage at the Cup of Nations in Egypt, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad said Thursday.

“It’s a measure of prudence. When you see the various countries that use VAR, they don’t rush into it from the start. It’s a technology that a lot of people don’t completely use yet,” Ahmad said in Cairo, on the eve of the opening match between hosts Egypt and Zimbabwe.

“It was planned for the semi-finals to start with, but we insisted that we have to go a little bit further. The executive committee decided on the quarter-finals so that it’s a success.”

READ ALSO: Messi Penalty Rescues Argentina In COPA America

The announcement was one keenly awaited since the controversy that overshadowed the second leg of the CAF Champions League final between Tunisian club Esperance and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

In an unprecedented decision, CAF ordered the match to be replayed following the Cup of Nations after Wydad walked off the pitch in protest and refused to return after a faulty VAR system was unavailable to judge a disallowed equaliser.

AFP

Full List, Positions And Clubs Of Players In Nigeria’s AFCON Squad

 

 

Nigeria has named a final 23-man squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations with captain John Obi Mikel leading the pack in Egypt.

Obi, Ahmed Musa, and Kenneth Omeruo are the only survivors from the team that won the 2013 tournament in South Africa.

Three-time African champions Nigeria have failed to qualify for the last two tournaments and so 20 of the players on the squad to Egypt will be making their first appearances in the competition.

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho and Rotherham United midfielder Semi Ajayi were the two players dropped by coach Gernot Rohr from a 25-man provisional squad.

UD Levante winger Moses Simon and Chelsea defender Ola Aina were picked for the Africa Cup after they missed the cut to last years World Cup in Russia.

The squad has opened a training camp in Ismailia and will play a final warm-up game against Senegal on Sunday after they played out a goalless draw with Zimbabwe on Saturday in the southern Nigerian town of Asaba.

They open their Nations Cup quest on June 22 against debutants Burundi in the port city of Alexandra.

Guinea and Madagascar are the other teams in their group.

Nigeria squad

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta/CYP), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United), Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs/RSA)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino/ITA), Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor/TUR), Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor/TUR), William Ekong (Udinese/ITA), Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion/ENG), Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes/ESP), Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07/GER)

Midfielders: John Obi Mikel (Middlesbrough/ENG), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City/ENG), Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City/ENG), John Ogu (Hapoel Beer Sheva/ISR)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nasser/KSA), Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi/BEL), Moses Simon (Levante/ESP), Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray/TUR), Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua/CHN), Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal/ENG), Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux/FRA), Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland/DEN), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal/ESP)

AFP

AFCON 2019: Super Eagles To Resume Camping On Sunday

 

Nigerias final preparations for the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations holding in Egypt will begin on Sunday, when invited players, alongside the technical crew and administrative staff, will start arriving in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

Delta State, nicknamed The Big Heart, has eased into the forefront as the nations football capital, since hosting the 2018 AITEO Cup finals and the international friendly between the Super Eagles and Ugandas Cranes in November 2018.

Since then, the Super Eagles have played Seychelles in Asaba in an AFCON qualifier and hosted Egypt in a friendly, and the city was also the setting for the U-23 National Teams thrashing of Libya in an U-23 AFCON qualifier in March 2019.

READ ALSO: U-20 World Cup: Flying Eagles Qualify For Round Of 16 After Ukraine Draw

On Sunday, the Eagles backroom staff members are expected to be complete, with some players also expected, while the larger population of the playing body should hit the town on Monday.

This first phase of camping will also take in a friendly match, against equally Egypt-bound Warriors of Zimbabwe, at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Saturday, 8th June.

Players and officials will travel to the Egyptian city of Ismailia the following day aboard a chartered flight, where they will stay at the Hotel Mercure and spend a full week perfecting tactics and strategies, before taking on Africas number one ranked team Senegal in another friendly in Ismailia.

On January 7, 2019, the three-time African champions will travel to Alexandria venue of their Group B matches against Burundi, Guinea, and Madagascar.

Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr had invited 25 players to the camp, with six other players among them three home-based professionals on standby.

25 EAGLES FOR AFCON 2019 CAMP

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Middlesbrough FC, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Beer Sheva, Israel)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua, China); Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

Six On Standby: Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC)

Africa Cup Of Nations Qualifying Results

Nigeria’s Super Eagles celebrate after scoring a goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier final against Seychelles in Asaba, the Delta State capital on March 22, 2019. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Africa Cup of Nations matchday 6 qualifying results on Saturday:

Group A

At Thies, Senegal

Senegal 2 (Niang 27, 56) Madagascar 0

Played Friday

At Omdurman, Sudan

Sudan 1 (Mokhtar 15) Equatorial Guinea 4 (Nsue 19-pen, 36-pen, Ganet 49, Obiang 85)

Final standings (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points)

Senegal 6 5 1 0 12 2 16 – qualified

Madagascar 6 3 1 2 8 8 10 – qualified

————————-

E. Guinea 6 2 0 4 5 7 6

Sudan 6 1 0 5 5 13 3

Group B

At Yaounde

Cameroon 3 (Choupo-Moting 37, Bassogog 53, Njie 89) Comoros 0

Friday

At Lilongwe

Malawi 0 Morocco 0

Final standings

Morocco 6 3 2 1 8 3 11 – qualified

Cameroon 6 3 2 1 6 3 11 – qualified

———————–

Malawi 6 1 2 3 2 6 5

Comoros 6 1 2 3 5 9 5

Group C

At Bujumbura

Burundi 1 (Amissi 75) Gabon 1 (Ngandu 81-og)

At Bamako

Mali 3 (Coulibaly 17, Djenepo 28, Traore 90) South Sudan 0

Final standings

Mali 6 4 2 0 10 2 14 – qualified

Burundi 6 2 4 0 11 5 10 – qualified

———————–

Gabon 6 2 2 2 7 5 8

S. Sudan 6 0 0 6 2 18 0

Group D

Playing Sunday

At Cotonou

Benin v Togo (1600 GMT)

Friday

At Blida, Algeria

Algeria 1 (Abeid 42) Gambia 1 (Danso 90+2)

Standings

Algeria 6 3 2 1 9 4 11 – qualified

Benin 5 2 1 2 3 5 7

——————-

Gambia 6 1 3 2 6 6 6

Togo 5 1 2 2 3 6 5

Group E

Sunday

At Sfax, Tunisia

Libya v South Africa (1700 GMT)

Note: fixture moved from Libya for security reasons

Friday

At Asaba, Nigeria

Nigeria 3 (Ighalo 34-pen, Onyekuru 50, Simon 90) Seychelles 1 (Melanie 41)

Standings

Nigeria 6 4 1 1 14 6 13 – qualified

S. Africa 5 2 3 0 9 1 9

———————–

Libya 5 2 1 2 15 9 7

Seychelles 6 0 1 5 3 25 1

Group F

At Accra

Ghana 1 (Ekuban 83) Kenya 0

Bye: Ethiopia

Final standings

Ghana 4 3 0 1 8 1 9 – qualified

Kenya 4 2 1 1 4 1 7 – qualified

——————-

Ethiopia 4 0 1 3 0 10 1

Note: Sierra Leone disqualified

Group G

Sunday

At Kinshasa

Democratic Republic of Congo v Liberia (1300 GMT)

At Harare

Zimbabwe v Congo Brazzaville (1300 GMT)

Standings

Zimbabwe 5 2 2 1 7 4 8

Liberia 5 2 1 2 5 8 7

———————

DR Congo 5 1 3 1 7 6 6

Congo 5 1 2 2 7 8 5

Group H

At Abidjan

Ivory Coast 3 (Pepe 6, Bailly 65, Cornet 71) Rwanda 0

Sunday

At Bangui

Central African Republic v Guinea (1400 GMT)

Standings

Guinea 5 3 2 0 8 4 11 – qualified

I. Coast 6 3 2 1 12 5 11 – qualified

————————

C.A.R. 5 1 2 2 4 8 5

Rwanda 6 0 2 4 5 12 2

Group I

At Ouagadougou

Burkina Faso 1 (B. Traore 19) Mauritania 0

At Francistown, Botswana

Botswana 0 Angola 1 (Eduardo 21)

Final standings

Angola 6 4 0 2 9 6 12 – qualified

Mauritania 6 4 0 2 7 6 12 – qualified

————————-

B. Faso 6 3 1 2 8 5 10

Botswana 6 0 1 5 1 8 1

Group J

At Niamey

Niger 1 (Moutari 80) Egypt 1 (Hassan 48)

Friday

At Rades, Tunisia

Tunisia 4 (S. Ben Youssef 21, Badri 33, Sliti 53, Meriah 61) eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) 0

Final standings

Tunisia 6 5 0 1 12 4 15 – qualified

Egypt 6 4 1 1 16 5 13 – qualified

———————

Niger 5 1 2 3 4 11 5

eSwatini 6 0 1 5 2 14 1

Group K

At Bissau

Guinea-Bissau 2 (Piqueti 13, Mendy 90+1) Mozambique 2 (Ratifo 49, Divrassone 89)

At Lusaka

Zambia 4 (Mulenga 12, 81, Malama 55, Kambole 90+2) Namibia 1 (Shalulile 90)

Final standings

G. Bissau 6 2 3 1 8 7 9 – qualified

Namibia 6 2 2 2 5 7 8 – qualified

———————

Mozambique 6 2 2 2 7 7 8

Zambia 6 2 1 3 8 7 7

Group L

Sunday

At Praia

Cape Verde v Lesotho (1500 GMT)

At Dar es Salaam

Tanzania v Uganda (1500 GMT)

Standings

Uganda 5 4 1 0 7 0 13 – qualified

Lesotho 5 1 2 2 3 7 5

———————

Tanzania 5 1 2 2 3 5 5

C. Verde 5 1 1 3 4 5 4

Notes

— Group winners and runners-up qualify for tournament in Egypt from June 21 to July 19

— Head-to-head records separate teams level on points

AFP

Kenya To Play In Africa Cup Of Nations After Sierra Leone Is Disqualified

Kenya will compete in the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 15 years, after Sierra Leone was disqualified by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Kenya’s place was confirmed on Monday after CAF disqualified Sierra Leone and annulled its results in qualifiers so far played, leaving the group with just three competitors, ensuring both Kenya and Ghana go through to the finals next year.

Third-placed Ethiopia cannot now qualify.

“Sierra Leone is disqualified from the qualifiers and all its matches are annulled,” CAF said in a statement.

Sierra Leone had played two group matches before the country’s football association was suspended by world governing body FIFA for government interference, leading to the team being barred from competition.

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed the qualification of the Harambee Stars for the biennial continental tournament as a “game-changer” for the sport in the country.

It remains unclear who will host Africa’s premier football tournament next summer after CAF stripped defending champions Cameroon of hosting rights on Saturday, citing delays and security concerns.

Kenya last qualified for the competition in 2004.

AFP

President Buhari Congratulates Super Eagles On AFCON Qualification

President Buhari Congratulates Super Eagles On AFCON Qualification
(File) President Buhari watching home-based Super Eagles’ football match against Angola in January 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Super Eagles of Nigeria on their qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement following Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The President joined millions of football-loving Nigerians in commending the team for their spirited and disciplined performance against a very formidable opponent which earned them qualification with the final match against Seychelles a mere formality.

He noted that he has been following the Senior National Football Team’s progress in the qualifying stages.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Qualify For 2019 Africa Cup Of Nations

President Buhari who was enthused by the team’s confidence, sense of patriotism and professionalism, commended these attributes to other Nigerians.

He equally thanked the coaching crew, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Supporters Club, especially Nigerians residing in South Africa who turned out in great numbers to cheer the players.

The President commended them for a job well-done and assured them of the unflinching support of the Federal Government going forward.

He wished the young Nigerian football ambassadors more successes as they prepare for the AFCON tournament in Cameroon.

During the match at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg, the Super Eagles took the lead 10 minutes after the match started when South Africa’s Buhle Mkhwanazi scored an own goal.

Lebo Mothiba levelled the score for Bafana Bafana after 16 minutes while Nigeria tried to reclaim the lead with Captain Ahmed Musa’s attempt, but the referee disallowed the goal.

After the restart, the Eagles made another attempt and it was also disallowed by the referee.

At the end of the match, Nigeria topped Group E with 10 points.