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Nigeria vs Seychelles: Why I Invited Ighalo – Rohr

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Despite criticism in some quarters over the inclusion of Odion Ighalo in the 28 players invited to prosecute the country’s September 7 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifier against Seychelles in Victoria, Head Coach Gernot Rohr, has appeared unperturbed.

The German tactician has rather stuck to his decision as the national team gets set to open its camp in Abuja before jetting out for the September 7, away clash.

He noted that though Ighalo who last scored for the Eagles a year ago against Cameroon in Uyo, missed begging chances against Argentina in Russia which failed to impress some of the fans, he nonetheless deserves another opportunity to make amends.

He insisted that Ighalo still has a role to play in his formation to secure the maximum 3 point in the crucial duel adding that “this is an opportunity for him(Ighalo) prove his critics wrong.”

Rohr continued, “He has been scoring in China and he is very motivated to do so for the Super Eagles now.”

On Sunday, the 29-year-old striker scored his 16th goal in the Chinese Super League. The Nigerian international emerged the hero of Changchun Yatai after he scored the equaliser to make sure they didn’t lose at home to Hebei CFFC in a game which ended 2-2.

The former Watford striker who scored 15 goals for Changchun Yatai last season put a smile on the faces of Changchun Yatai fans as he scored in the 89th minute to level the goal margin.

A breakdown of the 28-man squad released on Friday showed that 24 players were listed as regulars, while four players were listed as stand-by, comprising Uche Agbo who plays for Standard Liege, Belgium, Eze Stephen who stars with Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Musa Mohammed starring for Hnk Gorica, Croatia and Blessing Eleke.

The 24 invited players are goalkeepers Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC) and Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa).

Eight defenders were invited including Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Semi Ajayi (Rotterdam United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain) and Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany).

Rohr picked six midfielders comprising Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Kelechi Nwakali (FC Porto, Portugal) and Joel Obi (AC Chievo Verona, Italy)

Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia) leads the list of strikers which include Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone FC, Italy); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England) and Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux FC, France).

Team Administrator Dayo Enebi Achor revealed on Friday that the invited players are expected to fly directly to Seychelles, arriving on Monday, 3rd September, while the one player (goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa) and team officials travelling from Nigeria will fly into Victoria on Sunday, 2nd September.

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Rohr Must Scout For Goalkeepers — Peter Rufai

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Ex-International, Peter Rufai has admonished the Super Eagles’ technical crew to work more on the goalkeeping department in the team, to fix some of the loopholes experienced at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations.

Dodo Mayana as he’s fondly called during his goalkeeping days stated that the goalkeeping trio of Okechukwu Ezenwa, Francis Uzoho, and Daniel Akpayi had an impressive performance with little or more to amend.

The Super Eagles finished third at the AFCON tournament after beating Tunisia 1-0 in the third-place match, thanks to an Odion Ighalo’s solitary goal in the first half.

However, Rufai told Soccernet.ng that the team’ technical trainer, Gernot Rohr should scout for more goalkeepers that would create more competition in the team.

“There is no doubt that the goalkeeper who represented Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations showed a very decent performance. At least we saw what goalkeepers such as Okechukwu Ezenwa, Francis Uzoho, and Daniel Akpayi could do for the Super Eagles but then, I still think the Super Eagles technical crew must scout for more goalkeepers that will give them stiff competition.

“This is not to say that they are not good but there is always the need for competition in the team to bring out the best from them.

Rufai earned 65 caps for Nigeria, and represented the nation at two FIFA World Cups, always as a starter: 1994 (Nigeria’s first-ever appearance, where he also acted as captain) and 1998, also helping the Super Eagles win the 1994 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

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Nigeria vs Algeria: Rohr Reveals Mistake Super Eagles Made, Singles Out One Player

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Head coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has admitted his players were relaxed at the end of the game when they wanted to force Algeria into extra time in their Africa Cup of Nations semi-final clash.

Nigeria had leveled the game through Odion Ighalo’s penalty after they went behind in the first half.

But with the final kick of the match, Riyad Mahrez struck an unstoppable free-kick past Daniel Akpeyi, to ensure the Desert Foxes will play in the final.

Rohr, speaking to Reuters, hailed Mahrez ass the “genius who made the difference”.

He said: “It was a big fight until the last minute, it was a wonderful match, I think my players wanted it to go to extra time thinking Algeria were more tired.

“We scored an own goal, unlucky, but we have come back every time in this tournament and this time we came back on a penalty. But a wonderful free kick from a football genius made the difference.”

Nigeria will face Tunisia in Wednesday’s third-place encounter at the Al-Salam Stadium in Cairo.

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Nigeria Vs South Africa: Interesting Head-To-Head Statistics As Eagles Battle Bafana Bafana Today

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The past days have been filled with the intense build-up to what could easily pass as one of the most important games ever between South Africa and Nigeria at the ongoing AFCON 2019 tournament in Egypt.

Both teams will battle for a place in the semi finals today in Cairo.

Here are interesting heads-to-head stats ahead of the game at the stadium of horror.

  • Nigeria are three-time African champions while Bafana Bafana won the tournament as hosts in 1996.
  • South Africa beat Nigeria away in their opening match of the AFCON qualifiers in June 2017 and were held 1-1 in the return fixture.
  • Nigeria have not won South Africa in their last five meetings.
  • The last time Nigeria defeated the South African national team was in a CHAN group stage game on August 19 ,2014 where Super Eagles won by 3-1 in Cape Town.
  • Ahmed Musa was the last Nigerian player to score against South Africa. it was in an international friendly in 2015 which ended in a 1-1 draw at Nelspruit.
  • South Africa have only managed to beat the Super Eagles twice in all and only once in a competitive game.
  • Nigeria’s first defeat against South Africa came in 2004. The 2-1 loss in 2004 was in friendly game used to mark Nelson Mandela’s birthday.
  • In 1992, Nigeria thumped South Africa 4-0 in Lagos on their return to international football after years of being banned owing to apartheid rule back. It was their first head-to-head meeting.
  • The most recent head-to-head meeting between the two sides was in August 2013 for the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Again Nigeria proved too much for South Africa by winning two-nil through Uche Nwofor’s brace of goals.

Head to Head record:

  • Nigeria 2-0 South Africa, semi-final in 2000
  • Nigeria 4-0 South Africa, group stage in 2004

Total head-to-head matches played: 13

  • Nigeria wins: 6
  • South Africa wins: 2
  • Draws: 5

See Breakdown below:

  1. 10 Oct 1992 Nigeria v South Africa            4-0      FIFA World Cup
  2. 16 Jan 1993 South Africa v Nigeria            0-0      FIFA World Cup
  3. 10 Feb 2000 Nigeria v South Africa            2-0     Africa Cup of Nations
  4. 31 Jan 2004 Nigeria v South Africa            4-0      Africa Cup of Nations
  5. 17 Nov 2004 South Africa v Nigeria           2-1      International Friendly
  6. 01 Jun 2008 Nigeria v South Africa            2-0      FIFA World Cup
  7. 06 Sep 2008 South Africa v Nigeria            0-1      FIFA World Cup
  8. 14 Aug 2013 South Africa v Nigeria           0-2       International Friendly
  9. 10 Sep 2014 South Africa v Nigeria           0-0       Africa Cup of Nations
  10. 19 Nov 2014 Nigeria v South Africa          2-2       Africa Cup of Nations
  11. 29 Mar 2015 South Africa v Nigeria          1-1        International Friendly
  12. 10 Jun 2017 Nigeria v South Africa L        0-2        Africa Cup of Nations
  13. 17 Nov 2018 South Africa v Nigeria         1-1        Africa Cup of Nations
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