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.
2025 AFCON: Nigeria-Benin, Four Other Nations Bid To Host
Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, Zambia, and Benin-Nigeria want to replace Guinea as hosts of the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations, CAF president Patrice Motsepe confirmed on Saturday.
Guinea, chosen in 2014 to stage the premier African national team tournament, withdrew last year after little progress had been made in preparing for the biennial event.
CAF officials will do inspection tours of all the candidates this month with the winners to be announced on February 10 this year.
South African billionaire businessman Motsepe said the successful country or countries would offer the best “transport, logistics, hotels and beautiful stadiums”.
“Each region will have a chance to organise a CAN (Cup of Nations). We cannot assign the organisation of the CAN successively to the same region.”
Benin and Nigeria are in west Africa, as are the Ivory Coast, who will host the 2023 Cup of Nations.
AFRDC 2023: Irabor tees off golf tournament in Abuja
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor on Friday in Abuja, teed off golf kitty tournament to mark the 2023 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration.
Irabor, represented by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, said the tournament was organised in partnership with the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF) to celebrate the retired and fallen heroes.
He said the event was significant in remembering the nation’s fallen heroes who had paid the supreme price for defending Nigeria and those still alive who gave their best in service to the nation.
He said that there were other sporting activities organised to mark the day, adding that it was the first time the armed force would partner with NGF to organise a golf tournament.
He said that apart from golf, many other sport activities were also lined up for the occasion.
Also, Otumba Olusegun Runsewe, the President of NGF and Director-General, National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), commended the CDS for approving the partnership for the tournament.
Runsewe said there was the need to celebrate those that laid down their lives for the peace and unity of Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria had moved to the next level of golf development in line with international standard.
According to him, the International Standard is that any measure on a golf course must be branded.
“So, I’m happy to show you that if you go on the course now every measure has this international standard.
“We have 250 Pro golfers from professionals, amateurs, women among others, and it is an 18 hole golf course.
“I want to assure you that with this partnership, we are going to open more windows in Nigeria,” he said.
Similarly, the Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, said the tournament was organised to honour the fallen heroes who had paid the supreme price to keep Nigeria together.
Akpor said that there were living veterans as well as those who bore the scars of war and operations and the handicapped.
He said that the sporting activities were about building consciousness of the military and supporting them to continue to be the pride of the nation.
“So, while we are here doing this golf kitty, we also have those who are injured who are also playing a game at the National Stadium as we speak.
“They are playing the Citizen sitting volleyball and Wheelchair basketball,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)reports that the injured and soldiers living with disability known as Invictus team played citizens sitting volleyball match with the FCT team at the indoor arena of the National Stadium.
Ekiti FA Hails Bamidele on MOB CUP Championship
……. charges organizing Committee to maintain good
The Ekiti State Football Association has lauded Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele popularly known as MOB for the ongoing MOB Unity Cup across the Ekiti Central Senatorial District.
Chairman, Ekiti State Football Association, Bayo Olanlege commended the Title sponsor Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele for creating the platform to keep the youth busy and positively engaged during the yuletide in his constituency.
“Our distinguished Senator has done well for Ekiti youth in his constituency, dolling out cash to organize a competition of that magnitude is something worth commending”
Olanlege further congratulated the organizing committee headed by the Chairman, Ekiti State Coaches Association, Mr. Kehinde Anjorin, the young and vibrant Femi FACOM Popoola, the ever articulate Mayowa Afolabi and others doing a very good job in ensuring proper coordination of the tournament across all the centers.
He charged the committee to keep up the good job and improve on the foundation laid at the local football council level as the stage is set for the inter local football councils after the draws.
The MOB Unity Cup competition is underway across five local government covering the Ekiti Central Senatorial District which includes – Ado, Efon, Ekiti West, Ijero and Irepodun/Ifelodun LGAs.
According to the organizer the third place and final matches of the championship are billed for January 30th and February 4th,2023 respectively in Ado Ekiti, the State Capital
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