Some Nigerian football fans have expressed disappointment over the National team’s performance against the Desert Foxes of Algeria.
The Super Eagles lost by a lone goal to the Algerians on Friday in Austria.
The match served as a warm-up encounter for both teams as they prepare for the African Nations Cup (AFCON) 2021 qualifiers.
The AFCON has been scheduled to hold in Cameroon next year.
This is Nigeria’s first game since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the new arrivals in the team, some fans believe that the team is yet to solidify well.
After the game, fans took to their twitter handles to share their thoughts.
Debola Adebanjo, a sports journalist with the BBC, said the North African side didn’t spare Nigeria.
“Algeria’s organization can’t go unnoticed, better shape of the ball and understood how Nigeria wanted to play through the wings and blocked them every time; ruining Nigeria’s rhythm at every opportunity. Algeria are the team to beat,” she said.
Another fan, Peter Nwosu, said Paul Onuachu, the team’s forward on the field of play, was not good enough.
“Imagine playing a 6ft:7in striker who was struggling to win aerial duels and then we had wingers who were only interested in cutting in and taking aim at the goal, surely that was a mismatch.
“Eagles definitely deserved to lose, maybe even by more goal margins. In Maduka Okoye, though, it does seem like we might have found ourselves a good goalkeeper,” he said.
May Johnson said Coach Gernot Rohr was to blame for the poor performance of the team.
“If we had the chance to ask Super Eagles players individually if the game plan was to break down of the Algerian defense then you would understand where the problem is.
“There was no actual tactical plan to break down the defense. For me, Rohr is to blame,” Johnson added.
James Iloba said “Watching the Nigerian team play was like watching some high school boys hurriedly put together to play set.
“Pass back all the time and not an iota of excitement, they didn’t play like a Nigerian team today. Maybe their way of supporting the #EndSARS campaign,” Iloba added.
Nigeria will also take on Tunisia in the second friendly game on Tuesday at the same venue in Austria.
Algeria’s victory over Nigeria extended the African champions unbeaten run to 19 consecutive wins.
The match, played at the Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, saw Borussia Mönchengladbach star Ramy Bensebaini scoring the match’s only goal.
The Algerians piled up pressure on the Nigerians, scoring after just six minutes when full-back Bensebaini followed up a rebound from a header off a corner-kick with the Eagles’ defence in disarray.
Algeria continued to press forward as Nigeria struggled to settle into the match.
The Super Eagles’ first real chance at goal, however, came in the 22nd minute when Alex Iwobi fired a shot at the Algerian goal, but his effort screamed wide off target.
Nigeria finished the stronger of the two teams after debutant Zaidu Sanusi’s cross in the 39th minute located Paul Onuachu leading to a corner-kick.
Three minutes later, the FC Porto defender powered forward again and forced a save from Alexandre Oukidja, before Samuel Kalu shot directly at the goalkeeper soon afterwards.
Nigeria started the brighter of the two sides in the second half but they continued to give away possession and relied on counter-attacks to really get going.
Against the run of play, the impressive Tyronne Ebuehi drove from defence to shoot at goal on the hour, but again his effort failed to hit the mark.
Hoffenheim defender Kevin Akpoguma, who was recently cleared by FIFA to change international allegiance from Germany, made his Eagles debut when he replaced Ebuehi in the 67th minute.
However, it was the North Africans who pressed forward in an attempt to double their lead, while the few times Nigeria surged upfront they could not go past a very organised Algerian defence.
Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye tipped away a goal-bound effort by substitute Yacine Brahimi in the 84th minute.
Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, who replaced Onuachu, came close to grabbing the much-needed equaliser with a last gasp effort in added time but his shot went off target.
“This is a very good test for us. There are positives to pick from a tough game like this,” Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr was quoted as saying on the team’s official Twitter account
He said: “Now we have to recover well and start to plan for the next game on Tuesday against another tough team, Tunisia.”
The Super Eagles head to the Jacques Lemmans Arena on Tuesday to face the continent’s second-ranked team, Tunisia, who defeated Sudan 3-0 earlier on Friday.
Gor Mahia captain confident ahead of new season
Captain of Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Gor Mahia, Kenneth Muguna says his side is not worried about the 2020/2021 season as they are targeting maximum points in all their matches.
Muguna says the team is only focusing on being ready for the new season and not the league fixtures.
“We are not concentrating so much on the fixtures, we are not worried about it at all,” Muguna said.
“We are focused on being ready before the league resumes because I know once we are physically and mentally ready, we can tackle any team on earth.
“We are going to try and win all our matches because we know by doing so, we stand a chance of winning trophies at the end of the season.”
K’Ogalo recently appointed a new Brazilian coach Roberto Oliveira and added some new players to the team.
“The team is fine so far, we are creating a bond that will make us operate together as a team – the aim is, to find a working formula,” Muguna added.
Also, new Gor Mahia signing, Bernard Ondiek says the fans should wait for the start of the new league season with optimism.
“We are geared for the season start and we have new players who are really gelling well as expected. Gor Mahia always get good players and for the fans, I want you to expect much [more] from us than we gave last season,” he said.
“For now, I can say all the focus is on the Champions League, and obviously we have been there and we know what to do. Since we have some experiences in the Champions League, we are now well prepared to tackle it more than the other seasons.
“All we are going for is the Champions League as it is a nice experience for every player in this team. But again, if you do not prepare well, it will be hard to make it.
“All I can say is the fans should be geared for it and I am very happy and confident because we will do good in the Champions League.”
Gor Mahia are set to start off their new season with a fixture against 11-time KPL champions Tusker FC, and later face Ulinzi Stars, Mathare United, Sofapaka FC, and newly promoted Bidco United.
Two Zimbabwean Cricketers Test Positive for Covid-19
Regis Chakabva and Timycen Maruma have tested positive for Coronavirus, Zimbabwe Cricket have confirmed.
Both players who are not part of the Zimbabwean team currently touring Pakistan, were room mates for a week in a bio-secure bubble set for players on standby at the ZC Academy House in Harare.
Also, two members of staff providing support services at the same facility tested positive to the coronavirus after screening and tests were done to close contacts of Chakabva and Maruma.
The rest of the Chevrons tested negative before leaving for Pakistan and upon arrival. They are set to undergo another round of coronavirus test at the end of their quarantine period.
Chakabva, Maruma and the two infected backroom staffs are observing a period of self-isolation in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.
“We wish the four a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming them back to work soon,” ZC said in a statement.
“The health and well-being of our players, and staff, remains our highest priority at ZC.
“Therefore, apart from providing support to those infected, and affected, we will continue to adhere to Government and public health guidelines with regards to our facilities and staff and will be taking further steps to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“In the meantime, ZC has temporarily closed the Academy House for disinfection.”
The Chevrons are scheduled to face Pakistan in three one-day international matches in Rawalpindi.
All three ODIs will be day-night affairs.
Europa League: Iheanacho Records Two Assists, One Goal In Leicester Win
Super Eagles forward Kelechi Iheanacho was among the scorers on Thursday as Leicester made the perfect start to their Europa League campaign after a comfortable 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk.
James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Iheanacho struck to give the Foxes victory in their Group G opener.
Kasper Schmeichel denied Vladyslav Kabayev but the hosts eventually brushed off the visitors from Ukraine without the injured Jamie Vardy.
They travel to AEK Athens next week, after facing Arsenal on Sunday, having made their European return following a three-year absence.
Brendan Rodgers’ side also earned a morale-boosting win after damaging home defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa.
But the Foxes – also without the injured Caglar Soyuncu and Wilfred Ndidi – were still forced to sweat in the first half.
Zorya, who have qualified for Europe in the last seven seasons, made a solid start and Vladlen Yurchenko shot over.
Leicester were initially sloppy and almost paid the price against limited Zorya in the 22nd minute.
Maksym Lunov slid the ball across the box for the onrushing Kabayev but, with the forward stretching, Schmeichel saved well at the far post.
The hosts had created little but opened the scoring with their first chance of the game after 29 minutes.
Barnes, their brightest spark, cut in from the left and his curling shot came back off the post.
It fell for Iheanacho but, crowded out by defenders, all he could do was shield the ball for Maddison to arrive and tap in.
Leicester’s confidence grew and Mykyta Shevchenko saved Barnes’ low effort soon after but they survived a scare after Schmeichel’s mistake four minutes before the break.
The goalkeeper rattled a routine clearance into Yurchenko and the ball broke to Dmytro Ivanisenia but the midfielder lobbed his shot wide of an empty net.
Yet the Foxes ended any lingering fears by doubling their lead in first-half stoppage time.
Christian Fuchs’ fine pass found Iheanacho and he held the ball up for Barnes to race though and produce an impudent finish past Shevchenko.
A second allowed Leicester to relax and they pressed for another with Wesley Fofana flashing a header wide 10 minutes after the break.
Zorya’s roughhouse tactics did little to upset the Foxes and, after Maddison drilled over, Iheanacho got his goal after 67 minutes.
It was a gift from Zorya as Ivanisenia’s loose pass went straight to the striker who turned Lovro Cvek to find the bottom corner.
He then hit the side netting with 20 minutes left as Leicester cruised to victory.
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