AFCON 2013: Nigeria Through To Quarter Finals

Chelsea striker, Victor Moses fired Nigeria into the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations just defending champions Zambia crash out of the tournament.

Two late penalties from Moses put Nigeria into the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over the Ethiopian side.

Nigeria needed nothing but a win to advance not minding what come out of the game between Burkina Faso and Zambia.

The Ethiopians proved their worth by holding Nigeria down throughout the first half until the 79 when Victor Moses’ burst into the penalty area and a two-footed challenge from Alula Girma allowed for a penalty.

The Chelsea forward man sent the Ethiopian keeper; Sisay Bancha, the wrong way to score the goal and seconds later, the Super Eagles celebration was almost cut short, as a superb move by the Ethiopians through Saladine Said beat the Eagle’s defense.

But Nigeria’s goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama stopped the goal bound ball with a magnificent effort.

Victor Moses sealed Nigeria’s victory when a while later he took advantage of a slip in the back to dash forward, starting a three-on-one counterattack that was ended only by Sisay bringing the winger down in the box with another brutal tackle.

The goalkeeper was sent off, and with no substitutions available.

The Ethiopian; midfielder Addis Hintsa, was forced to defend the spot kick.

He fared no better than Sisay, and Moses made it 2-0 with another composed finish.

That score lasted the seven minutes of injury time, leaving Nigeria as Group C runners-up ahead of defending champions Zambia.

Defending champions Zambia crashed out of the tournament after they were held to a barren draw by Burkina Faso who qualified as Group C leaders.

Coach Bishaw Promises Nigeria A Tough Clash

As the Super Eagles await their fate in the Afcon 2013 as they take on Ethiopia this evening, Coach Sewnet Bishaw the Ethiopian coach says the match against Nigeria will show the world that they can be in control of good football in Africa as well.

Coach Bishaw said the Super Eagles should expect nothing less than a tough game and his players should not be underrated.

The Super Eagles occupy the third position after Burkina Faso who are now group leaders and Zambia, the current champions occupying the second position, while Ethiopia is sitting at the bottom of the table with a point.

The Super Eagles will need nothing less than a win against Ethiopia, just like the Ethiopians, but pray that a draw or a win for Burkina Faso will see them to the next round.

Even though the major players for Ethiopia, striker Adane Girma and Asrat Mergasa, will not be on the line-up due to injuries, Coach Bishaw is still sure they will give a good fight against the Super Eagles tonight.

Bishaw added: “Before the match I will tell my players to play football and to gain experience out of a huge team like Nigeria.

“We are here to play football and everybody is surprised by our football. Our mission is to show the rest of the world that we can play football. That is the message to my players.”

The match will kickoff 6pm (Nigerian time) at the Rustenburg stadium.

Keshi Warns Eagles Against Complacency As Yobo Is Left Out

Coach Stephen Keshi ahead of today’s game against Ethiopia has warned the Super Eagles against creating opportunities that may cost them this crucial game.

The Super Eagles has towed this pattern of play since the beginning of the Afcon 2013 after Burkina Faso and Zambia both scored late goals to draw 1-1 against Nigeria, a move which caused the Super Eagles the group lead when it was almost certain that they would close out both games.

According to Keshi, the Super Eagles will no longer give the opposition any opportunity to come back into matches henceforth if they are to have a progression into the competition, promising that there will be no repeat of the first two matches in the final group game against Ethiopia and this was after a long discussion with the Super Eagles players.

“I am not sure there is any team leading a game that would want to give away the lead but these things happen and that is why it is football,” Keshi said.

“I have talked to my players and whatever we have to do (to prevent this from happening against Ethiopia) is within us,” Keshi added.

The final group match which comes up later today at 6pm (Nigerian time) will be played at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg and it is a ‘must win’ for the Super Eagles of Nigeria to advance to the next round.

Meanwhile, defender Joseph Yobo has been confined to the bench in the game against Ethiopia as the defender is yet to recover from the same ankle injury which he suffered since Eagles’ first game against Burkina Faso.

This is the second match the injury-hit skipper will be missing since the tournament kick-started.

Coach Keshi also confirmed that the duo of Ike Uche, Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses will be included in today’s attack against the Ethiopians.

 

Keshi Unsure Of Yobo, Moses Over Ethiopia Clash

Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, has said he is doubtful of defender Joseph Yobo’s return and that of Victor Moses for the final group clash against Ethiopia which is a must-win for the Super Eagles.

Victor Moses who was side-lined against Burkina Faso in Nigeria’s opener which ended in a draw due to injury, was later fielded in the second game against Zambia which also ended in a draw and has also been declared not fully fit. Yobo was side-lined in the second game due to ankle injury in the first game. The defender has also been declared not fully fit but are both in training with the squad.

According to Super Eagles Group C standing, the Super Eagles must record a significant win with more goals against Ethiopia in the final group match on Tuesday if they want to scale through the group clashes into the quarterfinals.

Keshi said this while speaking to journalists even though he has not made his final decision on the two players.

But on hand for Yobo’s replacement is reserve defender Azubuike Egwuekwe, who has recovered from illness.

With second batches of games done with in group C, Burkina Faso are the group leaders with 4 points after thrashing Ethiopia 4-0, while Zambia who are on the second spot played a 1-1 draw with the Super Eagles with 2 points and Nigeria on the third spot with 2 points also and lastly Ethiopia with 1 point.

Winners of the group will be meeting Togo in the next round while the second qualifier from the group will meet Cote d’Ivoire.

 

Super Eagles Forced To A Draw By Chipolopolo

Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene scored a late penalty to rescue a point for the Africa Cup of Nations champions against the Super Eagles.

Mweene sent his spot-kick into the top corner after Ogenyi Onanzi was harshly ruled to have fouled Emmanuel Mayuka.

Earlier Nigeria had a penalty missed by Chelsea star Mikel Obi.

Emmanuel Emenike slotted in to open the scoring for the Super Eagles but they were denied by a controversial penalty decision.

Meanwhile Super Eagles Chief Coach Stephen Keshi has absolved midfielder Mikel Obi of any blame after the Chelsea star missed a crucial penalty against defending champions Zambia.

Reacting after the game, Keshi said Mikel’s miss wasn’t responsible for Super Eagles failure to grab the vital victory.

The former Togo and Mali tactician insists Nigeria still have to wait till the final group game to determine their fate in this competition.

In the other games, Alain Traore bagged a brace as Burkina Faso demolished Ethiopia 4-0 to top the group with 4 points.

This Is The Worst Super Eagles Team – Zambia Coach

With the lacklustre performance of the Nigeria Super Eagles at the on-going Africa Cup of Nations tournament in South Africa, one of Nigeria’s group stage strong opponents and defending champions, Zambia decided to begin playing mind games as the team coach Herve Renard decided to bruise the ego of Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Renard with so much confidence took a swipe at Nigeria tagging the Super Eagles at the Afcon 2013 as ‘the worst Super Eagles he has ever watched’ and also favouring the Chipolopolo for the clash between the two African heavyweights on Friday in their second group C game, while he decided to praise the Ethiopian side whom the Zambians faced on Monday but could only get a 1-1 draw from the clash.

“I am not surprised that they Ethiopia played the way they did,” said Renard. “I said before the tournament that we need to be careful with other teams because everyone is out to get the Afcon trophy”

With the group widely open and balanced with the first games went all draws, there is definitely so much pressure ahead of the second game as the teams are gunning to be tops on the table with aim of progressing to the last eight of the tournament.

Commenting on the performance of the Super Eagles in their opening match, coach Renard talked down the Super Eagles as the worst Nigerian team and it will be impossible for the Eagles to be a stumbling block between Chipolopolo and lifting Afcon 2013 trophy.

“We are going to reach the quarter finals. The performance (against Ethiopia) is my responsibility as coach. I saw the team in the first half didn’t play well and we didn’t play like we were ready for the Africa Cup of Nations,”Renard ended.

Moses May Be Back For Eagles Second Match

Faced with an open group with equal points after the first set of match ended 1-1 between Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia on Monday, Chelsea player Victor Moses is hoping to be back for Nigeria’s Second Match.

After the Burkina Faso match in an interview with Channel Television Sports correspondent Joe Ighile, coach Keshi said he hopes that Victor Moses will be fit for Nigeria’s second match which will be against the last edition champions Zambia on Friday.

Moses who via his social media network; Twitter lamented his not being involved in the Burkina Faso match.

The Super Eagles couldn’t keep their one -nil lead as they conceded to the Burkinabe in the 94th minute.

Moses sustained a minor injury during the last practice game in Portugal where he had an hamstring and was said to be back again fit for game as he joined the rest of the team in training but two days ago, the injury recurred which prompted coach Keshi to leave him on the bench.

Victor Moses hopes that he will be back on the field when Nigeria will clash with Zambia.

Keshi Wary of Ethiopia Threat After Burkinabe Draw

It was not an impressive opener for the Super Eagles in the Afcon 2013 after the squad gave out a late goal to settle for a draw against Burkina Faso.

Lesson learnt, Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has said he won’t be closing his ears on the note of warning sounded by Nigeria’s next opponent Ethiopia saying that addressing Sewnet Bishaw boys as a team not up to standard is wrong.

The Ethiopians have shown what they are made of after the squad with 10 men forced African champions, Zambia to a draw in Group C’s opening game on Monday.

Keshi said the Ethiopians have proved why they ensured their qualification for the Afcon 2013 with their performance against the Zambians.

Keshi also admitted that his team will have to buckle up as it has now been proven that the Super eagles will be up against strong opponents in the group.

“There are no weak teams here, and Ethiopia showed that they deserve to be at the competition. The group is a strong one,” said Keshi.

“The next game against Zambia is very important. We will put behind us the Burkina Faso game,” said the Nigerian coach.

Meanwhile, Nigerians who are football lovers have complained of biased nature of refereeing against the Super Eagles claiming that it was an obvious move by the Angolan referee against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in favour of their opponents on Monday.

The Eagles were held to a 1-1 after the Burkinabe scored the equaliser 40 seconds to the end of the match in the on-going AFCON in South Africa.

Ejide Billed To Make AFCON 2013

The Super Eagles camp will be full of so much relieve now as the Nigeria medical team reported that injured goalkeeper Austin Ejide will gain full recovery from his thigh injury in two weeks, which was seen as a major setback for the squad.

Austin Ejide who mounted the goalpost for the Super Eagles in a friendly against Cape Verde ahead of the AFCON 2013 got injured during this game which ended in a 0-0 draw can be rest assured to make the nations cup 2013 taking place in South Africa.

The medical report coming from the medical team with the squad in Faro has indicated that the thigh injury which the player sustained will heal in eight days but the player has also been given some time off the training pitch so he can be back to full recovery and join the squad for full training after wards.

The Chief Coach of the Super Eagles; Stephen Keshi said Ejide will be fully fit for the opening clash of the Super Eagles come January 21 but he is however standing by Daniel Akpenyi in camp as a possible replacement for Ejide if plans change.

“In fact, he should be ready for our opening Group C game against Burkina Faso on January 21.

“The doctor has explained that he has started his recovery therapy already and in four days, before we leave Portugal for South Africa, we should have a progress report on whether he has improved or not.

“If we have any negatives we may be forced to make a change but we don’t expect that. However we are still keeping Daniel Akpeyi in camp to forestall any unforeseen circumstance”, he said.

Don’t Underrate Zambia — Garba Lawal

Garba Lawal; a former Nigerian international has refused to be swayed by the back-to-back lacklustre performance of the Zambians in preparation for the AFCON 2013 as he sounded a note of warning to the Super Eagles of Nigeria not to underrate the Chipolopolo.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria are in the same group with the African champions and will be meeting January 25th, 4 days after Nigeria plays Burkina Faso.

In their Pre-Afcon games, Zambia has not been too impressive as the Chipolopolo lost to Angola and Tanzania and got a draw from their game against Morocco but this the former Super Eagles player said cannot be used as a yardstick to the Zambians as they can be very mean.

“Honestly I refuse to overlook the Zambians just because they have not done well in their friendly matches. Anyone writing them off because of the results in their recent friendly matches should have a re-think.

“Last year they won the Nations Cup. And before they won it, the Super Eagles defeated them 2-0 in Kaduna in 2011. At that time no one gave them a chance but they went on to win it. So I refuse to be carried away by their poor results in friendly matches and the Super Eagles too shouldn’t be carried away that they will find the Zambians easy,”.

W. Cup Qualifying Games: Sudan and Ghana joint leaders of Group D

The Black Stars of Ghana are now ahead with superior goal difference as Sudan defeated African champions; Zambia 2-0 to become group leaders with Ghana in group D of the 2014 World Cup  qualifying games after the opening day matches were played.

Sudan now at par with the former Gold Coast, Ghana still achieved a feat as they got the biggest victories on home soil.

The best of the two teams will however be known soonest as both teams are having away matches next.

Zambia will be fighting back to retain its recent glory as it was the Copper Bullets that knocked out Ghana in the semi-finals of the African Nations Cup which the Zambia eventually won and they will be meeting Ghana on the 9th of June in continuation of the 2014 World Cup qualifying games.

World Bank urges Zambia to stop setting maize price

The World Bank has urged Zambia’s government to stop setting prices at which it buys maize from local farmers and allow the prices to be determined by the market to promote sustainable growth in the agriculture industry.

Zambia announced this week that it would buy maize from small-scale farmers at 65,000 Zambian kwacha per 50 kg bag in the 2012/2013 season.

The government normally buys the maize at higher prices than those offered by private buyers to ensure higher returns for the farmers. It then sells it at reduced prices, locally and within the region.

The World Bank said the policy was costly and not sustainable in the long term and urged the government to review it.

“This old policy has not resulted in significant reduction in rural poverty and job creation. This policy direction has also limited private sector investments in the agriculture sector,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

Analysts have also raised concerns about Lusaka’s costly spend on maize, done via the Food Reserve Agency, saying the government was effectively using “treasury funds to subsidise the region”.

Zambia’s maize output declined by about 6 percent to 2.8 million tonnes in the 2011/2012 season.

REUTERS