AFCON 2013: Togo completes West African sweep

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WEST Africa has proved that it is the dominant force in football in the continent, following the conclusion of group matches at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nation, which saw the sub-region producing seven of the eight teams that qualified for the quarterfinals.

After the likes of Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Cape Verde reached the last eight, Togo, Wednesday night, became the seventh team from West Africa that reached the knockout stage of the tournament.

The Emmanuel Adebayor-led Togolese team played a 1-1 draw with Tunisia, to qualify as runners-up from Group D.

Save for South Africa, who are representing Southern Africa, all the other teams in the competition are from the west, confirming the often-known truth that big football is in the west.

No team from North Africa reached the knockout round of the competition.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Afcon: Eguma counsels Keshi on strategy against Cote d’ Ivoire

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Dolphins of Port Harcourt Manager, Stanley Eguma has urged Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, to come out with a special strategy to win the quarter final match against Cote d’Ivoire.

Stanley Eguma in Port Harcourt on Wednesday said that such strategy should ensure that the defence and attack were coordinated.

He said that Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo, should be used in the quarter final match because of his experience and if he was fit.

He also urged Keshi to caution his defenders like Echiejile and Efe Ambrose to raise the standard of their games and avoid getting booked
for rough play.

“Cote ‘D Ivoire is a different ball game. When the stage is high, players will want to lift their game and that is expected of the Super Eagles. You expect them to play better than they played in the preliminaries.

“It is the duty of Stephen Keshi to really fashion out a strategy that will help the team ride over Cote’D Ivoire. There should be more concentration in the team now, especially in the defence where we use to falter.

“Stephen Keshi should get his best defenders. Yobo has not been so fantastic but this kind of a match requires players like Yobo, if he
will lift his game, I think, players like Yobo should be in the game, and his presence there has a lot to do.’’

Eguma said Ivorians have sharp and fast attackers and that the Eagles need to hold them.

He suggested that another player should be fielded to complement Mikel Obi in the midfield so that he (Mikel) could be free to play other
roles.

The Manager said the Eagles also said the last match against Ethiopia was a difficult one and that it required experience to overcome such

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Afcon 2013: Stakeholders call for prayers for Super Eagles

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Football stakeholders in Abakaliki have called for prayers for the Super Eagles in its upcoming showdown with the Elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire in the quarter-finals of the ongoing AFCON.

The stakeholders were reacting to the team’s qualification for the knock-out stages of the competition in South Africa, after beating Ethiopia 2-0 to place second behind Burkina Faso in Group C.

Most of the fans said that the team would need divine intervention to advance beyond the quarter-finals, following its uninspiring performances at the group stage of the tournament.

They believe that the Eagles would be overwhelmed by the more-accomplished Ivoirien team that boasts of an array of talented footballers.

Mr Godwin Eze, the Proprietor of Mgbo Ambassadors FC, the state’s 2012 FA champions, said that the Elephants embodied a classic example of effective team building.

“The present Ivoirien team has been together since 2005 and has remained consistent in the continent since then.

“In spite of its reputation, the cup had kept eluding it and the team has not been disbanded but instead had new players injected into its problem areas.

“The Nigerian team, in contrast, has been undergoing a rebuilding process since 2004, with new players injected into the team in an all-comers trend,” he said.

Chief Emmanuel Aleke, a former Legislator, said that the Elephants represented a sharp contrast to the Eagles in all departments of the game.

“The team is near-perfect in team cohesion, commitment and general technicality, which the Eagles currently lack.

“We all prayed to avoid Cote d’ Ivoire at this stage but now we have no other choice but to tackle what we have before us,” he said.

Nduka Ezeakum, a footballer, noted that the Eagles’ problem was mainly its incessant disbandment and changing of coaches, which leaves it in perpetual transition.

“Some of the Togolese players in this competition for instance, were there in the 2006 team under Stephen Keshi, and are still in the present team.

“Most of the players who achieved great feats under Clemens Westerhof were clubless at one time or the other, but still excelled with the team because they were seen as an integral part of it,’’ he said.

Mrs Ifeoma Osochi, a Human Rights Activist, however, called on the players not to be intimated by the myth surrounding their quarter-final opponents.

“Their performances have not been convincing, as divine intervention will only be effective if they correct all noticeable lapses and play with a greater sense of commitment,” she said.

Mr Victor Okike, a banker, also called on Nigerians to continue praying, and to exercise patience with the team.

“It is true that the team has been disappointing but we must wait to see how it would eventually fare before passing final judgment,” he added. (NAN)

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Afcon: Anxiety as injured Burkina Faso star, Traore bows out of Cup

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Burkina Faso’s march to the Africa Cup of Nations last eight has come at a major price, with star player Alain Traore sustaining an injury that rules him out of the rest of the competition.

Traore pulled a muscle in his left thigh in the opening minutes of Tuesday’s goalless draw with champions Zambia, which saw the Burkinabe top Group C.

“Alain’s chances of continuing in this Nations Cup are minus 10 percent,” the team’s doctor, Romaric Toe, told AFP on Wednesday.

“He pulled a muscle in his left thigh, and will undergo all the necessary examinations, but his competition I would say is over.”

Traore, holding an ice pack to his thigh, said: “For me the Nations Cup is finished.

“We were waiting to qualify for the quarter-finals for such a long time this injury has spoiled the enjoyment a little.”

The Traore-less Burkina Faso face either Togo or Tunisia in Sunday’s quarter-final.(AFP)

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Afcon 2013: Mikel warns favourites Ivory Coast

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has warned Africa Cup of Nations title favourites Ivory Coast not to write off Nigeria ahead of a mega quarter-final clash here this weekend.

Mikel excelled and Stamford Bridge team-mate Victor Moses slotted two late penalties as the Super Eagles overcame gallant Ethiopia 2-0 Tuesday in this north-western town to finish second behind shock Group C winners Burkina Faso.

Zambia became the first defending champions since Algeria in 1992 not to reach the knockout stage after a 0-0 draw with the Burkinabe in Nelspruit near the world famous Kruger National Park game reserve.

A superior goal difference — plus four to plus two — gave Burkina Faso top spot ahead of Nigeria after both countries finished with five points, Zambia collected three and Ethiopia just one in a first appearance after 31 years.

Nigeria, who have failed to make the knockout stage only twice in 17 appearances, now adjust their sights to star-stacked Ivory Coast and Mikel believes his country can send the Elephants packing.

“Playing against Ivory Coast is going to be both tough and exciting and some of our opponents are my friends, especially Didier Drogba,” said the 25-year-old Chelsea star.

“People who write off Nigeria do so at their peril. This is a knockout match that we can definitely win. The media keep reminding us that Ivory Coast are unbeatable — we shall see.

“Ethiopia was a do-or-die game for us and we did really well, especially in the second half. Having conceded late equalisers against Burkina Faso and Zambia, we told the defence to improve their concentration and they did.”

After Moses converted his first spot kick on 79 minutes before a big, vibrant Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace crowd, goalkeeper and acting captain Victor Enyeama made a spectacular diving save to prevent Ethiopia equalising.

Qualification was particularly joyful for coach and 1994 Nigeria Cup of Nations-winning centre-back and captain Stephen Keshi after failing to get past the first round as a coach with Togo in 2006 and Mali three years ago.

“This is a victory for Nigerians where ever they are in the world,” he told a packed post-match media conference. “This is a time for all Nigerians to celebrate.

“Now we face title favourites Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals and there will be no second chance for either side. I have a game plan but, with respect, that is for the players and not for you guys (journalists).

“I am so proud of my boys and this is one of the best teams to represent Nigeria. We were hungry for a win tonight (Tuesday) after late equalisers robbed us of four points in earlier games.

“If we can keep this team together for the next two years I believe they will be virtually unbeatable. No one is giving us a chance against Ivory Coast, but let us see what happens.”

Ethiopia, who made eight changes from the team trounced 4-0 by Burkina Faso, collapsed in the closing stages and Moses scored again from the penalty spot on 90 minutes after being fouled by goalkeeper Sasay Bancha, who was red carded.

Ivory Coast hold a slight edge over Nigeria at Cup of Nations tournament clashes, winning two and losing one of five meetings that produced a meagre seven goals.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Zambian coach criticises CAF’s decision on Confed Cup

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Zambia coach Herve Renard has criticised African football’s ruling body CAF for not allowing them the chance to represent the continent at this year’s Confederations Cup.

Zambia, having won the Cup of Nations in 2012, would normally be flying the flag in Brazil, where the African champions will face world and European title-holders Spain, Uruguay and little Tahiti.

But due to CAF’s decision to switch the Nations Cup from even to odd-number years to avoid every second tournament clashing with a World Cup, it will be the winners of the 2013 Nations Cup, and not Zambia, who go to South America.

Renard, speaking out in the aftermath of his defending champions’ first round elimination here Tuesday, felt Zambia should have been given the opportunity in a face-off against the team who will be crowned 2013 Nations Cup winners on February 10 in Soweto.

“CAF are very happy that Zambia are not going to the Confederations Cup, they think we are not sexy or famous enough to represent Africa — that’s the truth,” said the Frenchman.

He added: “It would be fairer if the winner between the 2012 Nations Cup champions and the 2013 winners went.

“But it never entered their thinking — CAF don’t want us to go. They made their decision, and it is the 2013 Cup winners who will represent Africa, not us.

“Unfortunately, we were only champions for one year.”

Zambia’s title defence ended prematurely when they suffered three successive first round stalemates to leave them stranded in third place in Group C behind Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

Despite becoming the first champions since Algeria in 1992 to fail to progress to the knockout stages, Renard praised his players.

“Everybody is sad but my players did their maximum, and I’m very proud of them.

“I loved my team tonight, I can’t play with eight defenders, if there is someone who is responsible then it’s me, not my players.

“It’s better to have won something in your life than always qualify for the quarter-finals, but never win anything.”

As for his own future as Zambia coach, Renard, who once had a brief spell at English lower-league side Cambridge United, intimated that he would still be in the post to supervise their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup.

“Zambia’s not like other places in the world,” he said in a reference to the way some national coaches are asked to fall on their swords straight after a setback such as the one suffered by the fallen champions.

Zambia’s captain for the night, goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, suggested the threadbare and sandy Mbombela Stadium pitch had played some part in Zambia’s downfall.

“The pitch contributed — we weren’t quite as efficient in front of goal. But I’m not disappointed, we were pressing them hard,” he said after the tense goalless stalemate.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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AFCON 2013: Fans laud Super Eagles qualification

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Aloy Agu, former Goalkeeper of the Super Eagles, on Tuesday advised the team to improve on their match in the quarter finals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations tournament in South Africa.

Agu in Abuja said that the advice would make the team to progress to the semi-final stage.

Agu said while reacting to the Super Eagles 2-0 victory over Ethiopia that it would have been unthinkable if the Ethiopians had sent the Eagles packing from the tournament.

The current Goalkeeper-Trainer of the Flying Eagles said the squad had the capacity to confront any team in the quarter finals, be it Cote d’ Ivoire, Tunisia or Togo.

Agu urged Goal Keeper Vincent Enyeama to be more focused now that the tournament had entered the knockout stage.

He said that any momentary loss of concentration could deny the team victory in the quarter finals, adding that with more determination, the eagles could surprise their next opponents.

Mr Godwin Bamigboye, the Chairman, Nigeria Coaches Association, FCT Chapter, said the team needed to work hard on their scoring skills to win the trophy.

“We are going to face the next challenge – Cote d’ Ivoire, and that is a good team.

“The players have tried so far but they need to work on their scoring. Our team is not the scoring type and that is a big problem.

“That is the area we need to work on, but I congratulate Keshi and the boys for coming this far,” he said.

Danladi Nasidi, Coach of the Under 15 National Team, said there was need for the players to be focused and hardworking.

“There is no laziness in football. All the players have to be focused because there is no individuality and laziness in the game of football.

“All the departments have to work harder. Let all the departments cooperate. The mid fielders, defenders, attackers, have to work together and concentrate.”

The Chairman, FCT Football Association, Musa Talle, commended the team for the victory and urged Nigerians to continue to support and pray for them.

Talle said the team would have no excuse not to win the cup, having reached the quarter final.

“All they need to do is to keep improving on their games.

Mr Mathew Abraham, a Special Adviser to the Kebbi State Governor, said the win was heart-warming but that Super Eagles needed to dictate the match from the outset.

Bashir Meyere, a journalist, said the eagles must rekindle the zeal to dictate the pace of matches.

“We thank God that the team showed maturity and guts to win but the match against Cote d’ Ivoire must be won convincingly,” he added.

The Enugu State Chairman of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr Nobert Okolie, advised Keshi to work on the team’s defence, to move forward.

“It was a good match. The coach is building a new team for Nigeria but he needs to do more in the area of defence.

“Defence has been our major problem. Keshi should look into the direction of home based players,’’ he said.

Mr Okey Umahi, a businessman, expressed delight that the Super Eagles broke the jinx of playing draws in their previous matches.

“I am happy we broke the jinx of eating draw soup. Keshi should tighten his belt because the team will face Cote d’Ivoire in the quarter final,’’ he said.

Another fan, Mrs Chieso Aniwagwa, hailed the team for its victory and urged them to work harder to win the cup.

NAN reports that Nigeria defeated Ethiopia on Tuesday to move to the next round of the AFCON championship.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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AFCON 2013: Don’t celebrate yet, Ivory Coast player Eboue to Super Eagles

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For those who don't watch football,  Super eagles of Nigeria will play against Ivory Coast next in the quarter final stage at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations – on Sunday February 3, 2013. Emmanuel Eboue is an Ivory Coast player and former Arsenal player. We are waiting!!!

Read Eboue's tweeter message to the eagles.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Afcon: We’ll be different against Ivory Coast – Stephen Keshi

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AFTER steering Nigeria to the quarterfinal, where they meet Ivory Coast, Coach Stephen Keshi has said that the Super Eagles will approach the Sunday’s match with a different mentality and different approach.

Speaking in the post match press conference yesterday in Rustenburg, Keshi, said that the Eagles were going to up their game to the highest level against the Ivorians, who are the favourites to lift the Cup.

“It is going to be a different game against Ivory Coast. It is going to be a different mentality. We will up our game in the quarterfinal.
When you play against a big team, you are bound to up your game and I can assure you that we will definitely be at our best against them”, said the former Togo and Mali coach, who warned critics not to write off his team’s chances of beating the Ivorians.

“Do not write off Nigeria. We have been improving with every game and will continue to get better as the tournament progresses”, said Keshi, who dedicated the victory over Ethiopia to Nigerians.
“This victory is for Nigeria”, he said.

Also speaking, Coach of Ethiopia, Sewne Bishaw, said the Eagles that defeated his team were different in their approach from the ones that played Burkina Faso and Zambia.

“The Eagles I saw today (yesterday) were different from the ones who played draws with Burkina Faso and Zambia. They were better”.

Bishaw heaped praise on his team for giving a good fight at the
tournament. Keshi described the Ethiopian side as a “quality one.”

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Afcon 2013: Victor Moses delivers Nigeria

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CHELSEA forward, Victor Moses yesterday powered Nigeria to the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations, with two penalty goals that sealed a difficult 2-0 win over the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia in Rustenburg.

On a night that everything appeared to be going wrong for the Eagles, it was the 22 year-old Moses, who rose from the ashes of impending shame to draw two penalty kicks, which he expertly converted to send the Coach Stephen Keshi-tinkered team to the last eight, where they might possibly face tournament favourites, Ivory Coast on Sunday.

Desirous of results, Keshi started with Efe Ambrose, Kenneth Omeruo, Giodfrey Oboabona, Elderson Echiejile in defence, while the trio of Jon Mikel Obi, Fegor Ogude and Sunday Mba, operated in the defence. Emmanuel Emenike, Ikechukwu Uche and Victor Moses were in attack.

With these players, fans were looking forward to a goals feast but instead of that, all they got was a slow game and wasted opportunities. Uche was the worst culprit, followed by Emenike. They simply lacked the killer instinct to wear down the Ethiopian defence.


Mba was pushing forward from midfield while Ehtiopia played 4-4-2, with a diamond in midfield, Saladin and Omod upfront.

In the first half, pressure was on Ethiopia but they held firm. Nigeria got 66 percent possession and 4 shots on target while Ethiopia had zero shot on target. With scores still goalless , the pressure was really on Nigeria.

Aware that his cookies were about to crumble, Keshi took out the ineffective Uche and Emenike, replacing them with, Ahmed Musa and Brown Ideye, respectively. And the changes seemed to spark the Eagles into life again as it allowed Moses to take a more central position in the attack to torment the Ethiopians as Nigeria sought last minute goals.

As the clock approached the 79min mark, Moses went on a attacking run, changing his pace and was hacked down by defender Alula Girma, leaving the Moroccan referee with no choice than to call for a penalty.

The Chelsea man picked himself up and calmly converted the spot kick to bring Eagles back to life.

Moses was not done with his yeoman job. He was certainly smelling Ethiopian blood now.. In one of his rampaging ruins, he sliced his way into the Ethiopian box and was felled for the second time by goalkeeper Sasay Bancha,

Bancha got his second yellow card and was subsequently shown a red. It had gone from bad to worse for Ethiopians, who had made all three substitutions.

Moses was again the man tasked with converting the spot-kick. It takes plenty of composure to keep your head after such a long enforced break, but Moses showed it in abundance. He fired into the bottom-left corner, which sealed Nigeria’s passage to the quarterfinal.

On a night when all the other big boys failed, Moses delivered Nigeria.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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