Nigeria came from a goal down to defeat Sierra Leone 2-1 in their opening 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, on Thursday at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen struck in the wake of Jonathan Morsay’s early opener for the Leone Stars, sending the hosts level at the top of Group A with Guinea-Bissau who won their match against Sao Tome & Principe.
A choppy playing surface offered challenges for both teams, though Sierra Leone seemed to adapt more quickly, as attacker Mohamed Buya Turay fired a first shot in the third minute, but was tipped over the crossbar by Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
The Super Eagles then had a couple of chances through Victor Osimhen, and it seemed they would soon seize control of the match, but they were stunned when the Leone Stars claimed the lead in the 11th minute.
Musa Kamara sent in a cross from the left flank to pick out the run of Jonathan Morsay, who threw himself at the ball and scored with a diving header to put the visitors 1-0 up.
It was almost 2-0 just a few minutes later, as Sierra Leone cut through Nigeria’s defence on a counter attack and Musa Kamara struck a low shot which was tipped onto the post by Uzoho.
Nigeria then went straight up the other end and equalised to make it 1-1 on 16 minutes: Moses Simon played a well-weighted pass to put Alex Iwobi into space on the edge of the box and the Everton man opened up his body and whipped a shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The teams went on to trade half-chances before Nigeria claimed the lead for the first time in the 41st minute: Ola Aina’s cross from the right picked out Simon, who registered a second assist with a downward header across the six-yard box which was buried by Osimhen to make it 2-1.
The Super Eagles may have enjoyed the lead at half time, but the start of the second stanza saw them opt for a tactical change, as forward Sadiq Umar made way for central midfielder Peter Etebo.
The home side blew a great chance to add to their advantage when Samuel Chukwueze shot wide from a glaring opportunity in the 54th minute, and shortly thereafter Sierra Leone almost levelled the game when substitute Amadou Bakayoko beat Uzoho to a ball into the box, but sent the ball wide of the target.
Nigeria had half chances to kill off the game in the final quarter, but of more note were injuries suffered by captain William Troost-Ekong (groin) and striker Osimhen (hamstring), who were replaced by Kenneth Omeruo and Terem Moffi in the dying minutes.
The teams will return to Group A action on Monday 13 June, with Nigeria away to Sao Tome & Principe, while Sierra Leone will host Guinea-Bissau.
Dollar Rain for Amusan, Brume, others from Sports Ministry for Commonwealth successes
Team Nigeria medallists and their coaches at the 2022 Commonwealth Games have received their cash rewards from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for their heroics in Birmingham.
Athletes who won gold medals received $5,000, silver medallist received $3,000, while bronze medallists got $2,000. Athletes who represented Nigeria in the 4 x100 relay received $15,000 for the team.
Amongst those who got rewarded are Women’s 100m Hurdles Champion, Tobi Amusan, 200m Silver medallist and long jump winner, Ese Brume among others.
The Coaches and officials also got rewarded by the ministry for their roles in Team Nigeria’s success.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare ensured that three weeks camping allowance was paid to all athletes.
Nigeria’s Performance At Commonwealth Games A Parting Gift To Me – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has described Team Nigeria’s performance at the 22nd Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022, as a parting gift to him.
Buhari said this in a statement issued by his media aide Femi Adesina.
‘‘We are proud of these achievements and the memories will linger with the nation forever and for me this is a special moment and a fitting parting gift, being my last Commonwealth Games as Head of State,” Statement quoted Buhari as saying.
He said, “the President commends the 94 worthy ambassadors that proudly flew the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events, and for those exciting moments when the medalists brought smiles to our faces by breaking world, national, and games records, as well as achieving personal bests in their career.”
According to Buhari, the athletes’ performance was a display of the “God-given attributes of the real Nigerian- never give up, strive to the end”.
“The President also lauds the coaching crew and team officials for the passion towards the development of sports in the country, assuring them that history will remember them for all their contributions to making our athletes shine in the international arena,” Adesina’s statement added.
Nigeria finished with 35 medals, including 12 gold, nine silver, and 14 bronze, the nation’s best outing at the Games in years.
CWG2022: Buhari Celebrates Team Nigeria’s 35 Medals
President Muhammadu Buhari has joined sports loving Nigerians in celebrating the Nigrerian athletes that represented the Country in the the 22nd Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022.
Accodding to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President on Media and Publicity ,Femi Adesina said President Buhari watched some of the colourful and spectacular moments in the 11-day competition, which had no fewer than 5,000 athletes representing 72 nations and territories, competing in 280 medal events.
Buhari saluted the memorable display of Team Nigeria athletes.
The president commended the 94 worthy ambassadors that proudly flew the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events.
He lauded them for those exciting moments when the medalists brought smiles to people’s faces by breaking world, national and games records, as well as achieving personal bests in their career.
He noted with delight the 35 medals, including 12 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze harvested already on the late evening of the 10th day of the Games, and more medals likely for the country on the last day,
The president thanked the shining stars of Nigeria for competing among the best in the world and displaying the God-given attributes of the real Nigerian- never give up, strive to the end.
According to the President, it is noteworthy that majority of the medals so far, including 12 gold for the country, were championed by the nation’s talented young women and girls.
These, he said, include multi medalist Tobi Amusan (100m Women’s Hurdle and 4x100m Relay), Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nwokocha (4x100m Relay) and Miesinnei Mercy Genesis (50 kg),
Other are, Blessing Oborududu (57 kg) and Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) in Women’s Freestyle wrestling; as well as Adijat Adenike Olarinoye (55kg) and Rafiatu Folashade Lawal (59kg) in Women’s weightlifting.
Other gold medalists are Folashade Oluwafemiayo, Women’s heavyweight Para Powerlifting, Eucharia Iyiazi, Women’s shot put, Chioma Onyekwere and Goodness Nwachukwu in Women’s Discus throw, and Ese Brume, long jump.
‘‘We are proud of these achievements and the memories will linger with the nation forever and for me this is a special moment and a fitting parting gift, being my last Commonwealth Games as Head of State,” he said.
The president also lauded the coaching crew and team officials for the passion towards the development of sports in the country.
He assured them that history would remember them for all their contributions in making the athletes shine in the international arena.
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