World Cup Qualifier: Nigeria consolidates group leadership

World Cup Qualifier: Nigeria consolidates group leadership

Saturday, November 12, 2016 11:30 pm

Rohr ( sitting second right of the bench) and his assistants at Super Eagles' training session

Rohr ( sitting second right of the bench) and his assistants at Super Eagles’ training session


Nigeria’s hope of qualifying for Russia 2018 World Cup was rekindled Saturday in Uyo when the Super Eagles defeated the Desert Foxes of Algeria 3-1at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

Chelsea of England’s winger, Victor Moses scored a brace for the Eagles in the 25th  minute and at the injury time while his team mate in the English Premier League, John Obi Mikel also scored in the 41st minute.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Algeria’s Nabil Bentaleb scored for the visitors in the 67th minute outside the 18 yards.

Eagles Manager,  Gernot Rohr, told sports journalists at a post-match briefing that although Nigeria won the match, “it was a difficult game.

He said: “We made a very good first half just like we did in Ndola, Zambia, but the visitors got pushing in the second half. We suffered so much in the beginning of the second half.

“The third goal came through a professional touch. It is not finished. It is a long way to go. We still have games against Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.’’

They also had praises for the Super Eagles goal-keeper Daniel Akeyi saying he had a good game even though he could not stop Bentaleb’s wonderful shot.

“What is important is the team. We had a mixture of experienced and young players,’’ he said.

He, however, said that he had problems with the  Eagles defense which he would work hard to improve upon.

Similarly, Algerian Coach, Georges Leekens, hired about two weeks ago by the Fennecs, said the match was balanced and tight.

“My team created lots of chances but could not utilise them. We have not given up in the group. We still have opportunities in the remaining matches to qualify,” he said. (NAN)

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have increased their chances of going for the Russia 2018 World cup by winning their Algerian counterparts by 3-1 on Saturday in Uyo.

That was the opinion of some of  football fans who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.

According to  Linus Ikenna, the Algerians paraded a lot of talents,but the god of soccer was not on their side.

“Having won Algeria by 3-1, winning Cameroon should not be a problem for the Super Eagles, they don’t have the stars they use to have before.

“They are just like our own players,I believe we are going to beat them in Yauonde, no matter what, he said.

Emeka Nduka, the match was not all bed of roses, but the Eagles still got the needed victory.

“ It was a great match, although the first half, we played like a team,but seems they were tired in the second half,we still win, I give them kudos for having six points”.

Christian Ikeji, another  Super Eagles fan said : I am very, very glad at the victory because it is only football that unite us as a nation.

“I pray for more victory so that Nigeria will be uniting every time we play. That is my own prayer. I praise the coach for a job well done,” he said.

A cross section of sports enthusiasts, who spoke to NAN, said the result over the Algerians was ‘fantastically surprising’, while others noted that the team was still a work in progress.

Bitrus Bewarang, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Technical Director, said it was a very good performance, adding that the score line was the ‘icing on the cake’.

“Good performance, good result, six points in the kitty,” he said.

Godwin Bamigboye, the Chairman, Nigeria Coaches Association, FCT Chapter said it was a blend of youthfulness and experience that did the magic.

“There is hunger and fire in the youth, while the determination to keep their shirts by the old brigade is bringing the best out of the players.

“I predicted a 1-0, 2-1 victory for the Eagles but was pleasantly surprised to see a 3-1 score at the end. It could have been even more.

“Over all the boys did well, but there are still areas that need to be perfected, especially at the defence department,” he said.

Patrick Ngwaogu, the Vice Chairman, FCT Football Association said it was a wonderful performance by the team, adding however that the team made some costly mistakes but were lucky not to have been punished.

“Good game, good pace, but the midfield went to sleep on several occasions, thereby exposing the defence at will.

“The Algerians would have been three goals up in the first half if they were clinical in front of goal,” he said.

Usman Ilerika, the Secretary, FCT FA noted that the boys gave a good account of themselves, adding that the feat was a sign of betters things to come out from the team.

“The best is yet to come, by the time proper understanding comes into the team, then we will be counting more than three goals,” he said.

Mansur Abdullahi, Coach of Warri Wolves FC said the team was in a good shape, adding that Coach Gernot Rohr must be given credit for the good job done so far.

“We must recognise the good job done by Rohr in eliminating the team’s weak points and always finding solutions to problems, like he did by playing Omeruo at right-back position today.

“He is a master tactician and his ability to read games is phenomenal.

“He pulled out Alex Iwobi when it became clear he had lost steam, and also brought on Wilfred Ndidi who slotted in well for Mikel.

“I think the team will get even better by next game,” he said.

cross section of football fans in Lokoja, on Saturday applauded the Super Eagles of Nigeria for their victory over their Algerian counterparts in the FIFA U-23 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

The fans, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), commended the Eagles for their  outstanding performance in the game.

Hon Deola Eseyin, a Special Adviser to Kogi Governor, on Youth Empowerment, Sports and Students Affairs, told NAN that the Eagles have improved tremendously.

“We are seeing a new set of Nigerians playing their hearts for the nation. I think this is a new spirit.

“The Algerians are a better side, they possess top quality players, but our boys were never selfish on the ball.  I think that translated to what we saw today.

“They played more of a team than individual players.

“If we build on this spirit, it will be difficult to have any team in Africa that will contend with us,” Eseyin said.

A former Kogi Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Attah Ikanni, said he was happy that the Eagles were  gradually gaining back their lost glory, adding that it was a well deserved victory for them.He commended the Technical Adviser, Coach Rohr and the technical crew for their efforts and commitment in leading the Eagles to gloriously secure additional three points.

He also applauded the players for their new team spirit, determination and focus in securing the desired results of topping their group with six points.

“I am urging the players not to relent in their quest to secure the world cup ticket as there is always room for improvement,” he said.

Mr Babatunde Ibrahim, a lecturer at Kogi State Polytechnic, said he was highly impressed with the Eagles’ excellent performance especially in the first half of the match.

He noted that the Eagles had lots of scoring opportunities in the first half but they did not utilise them effectively to score goals.

“Our boys relaxed in the second half of the game and that was why the Algerians were able to net a goal in the match, coupled with their determination.

“We thank God that the boys are beginning to make the country proud again,” Ibrahim said.

Mr John Ajide, a civil servant, commended the Eagles for their doggedness and team spirit to make Nigerians proud once again.

“I think the players are improving, but they should work more on their defence for more cohesion.

“I am excited that the Eagles are having a clear lead in their group in spite of the tough opponents,” Ajide said.

Another fan, Suleiman Aboki, hailed the Eagles’ determination to make the country proud again by beating the Algerians.

While commending the players for team work, Aboki hailed Victor Moses for his outstanding performance and for scoring two goals in the game.

“The Eagles have really put in their best. President Muhammadu Buhari should adequately compensate the boys as he has promised because they have made us proud as a nation,” Aboki said.

Mrs Kemi Dada said the Eagles displayed passion and patriotism in defeating the mighty Algerians who are the current best team in Africa.

“As a woman, I am very happy because the Eagles’ performance was awesome.  The players and all the technical crew have made the country proud.

“Nigeria is surely rising again, and we are sure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia,” Dada said. (NAN)


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