LAGOS, June 10 (Reuters) – Nigeria have cut Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho from their final 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, which starts in Egypt next week. Iheanacho was the only major omission by coach Gernot Rohr, who retained 15 players from the squad that went to the World Cup in Russia […]
Nigeria Vs South Africa: How Kanu Nwankwo reacted to Super Eagles 2-1 AFCON victory [VIDEO]
Algeria became Africa Cup of Nations champions for a second time as they edged Senegal 1-0 in a scrappy final on Friday.
Djamel Belmadi’s side needed a sensational last-gasp Riyad Mahrez winner to beat Nigeria in the last four, but it was a scrappy early strike that decided this clash as Baghdad Bounedjah benefited from a huge deflection.
Further chances were few and far between in an ill-tempered affair as Algeria withstood almost constant pressure and also saw a Senegal penalty award overturned with VAR.
The single goal ultimately proved enough to hold on, Algeria triumphing on foreign soil for the first time to add to their 1990 success as hosts.
Algeria’s fortuitous opener arrived inside two minutes. Bounedjah cut inside from the left and saw a powerful strike loop up off the lunging Salif Sane, dropping over static goalkeeper Alfred Gomis into the top-right corner.
Senegal responded well, getting into dangerous positions and winning countless free-kicks, mainly through Sadio Mane, but their final ball was repeatedly found wanting.
Frustrations threatened to boil over late in the first half, with Mane escaping punishment for an off-the-ball shove on Sofiane Feghouli, although M’Baye Niang went close with a fizzing long-range drive.
The two sides came together to confront the referee at the break – Senegal bemoaning a non-penalty award for Ismaila Sarr – and Algeria substitute goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja went down claiming contact in the ensuing fracas.
And Senegal were further infuriated on the hour mark when a spot-kick initially awarded as Adlene Guedioura blocked Sarr’s cross with his arm was struck off following a VAR review.
Niang rounded Rais M’bolhi but could only blaze high and wide, before the goalkeeper turned Youssouf Sabaly’s blast over the crossbar.
Aliou Cisse’s side kept pushing, yet there was no way through and Algeria clung to a scarcely deserved victory.
Nigeria and Arsenal legend, Nwankwo Kanu has hailed Nigerians for their support as Super Eagles slid into semi final of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON.
Kanu, who had earlier expressed confidence that Gernot Rohr’s men would beat the Bafana Bafana at the Cairo International Stadium, congratulated Super Eagles on their victory against South Africa on Wednesday night.
Samuel Chukwueze gave Super Eagles a 1-0 lead at the break after an assist from Alex Iwobi.
However, South Africa levelled in the second half, thanks to Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decision.
With the match looking to head into extra time, William Troost-Ekong forced the ball over the line in the final minute of play.
The 42-year-old, in a video posted on his official Twitter page on Wednesday, wrote:
“Incredible support from Nigeria Super Eagles fans. Another fantastic win well done boys.
“The boys gave it a great teamwork effort and push. We are all proud. Nigeria officially through to the #caf2019 semifinals. We thank God.”
The victory over South Africa means Nigeria will now play the winner between Ivory Coast and Algeria in the semi-final on Sunday.
Incredible support from @ng_supereagles fans. Another fantastic win well done boys.The boys gave it a great teamwork effort and push. We are all proud. Nigeria officially through to the #caf2019 semifinals. We thank God.
.#goal #football #semifinals #Nigeria #africa #Egypt2019 pic.twitter.com/BnnBeJebTu
— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) July 10, 2019.
Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong, has blamed himself for the first goal Nigeria conceived against South Africa at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nation, AFCON, quarter-final encounter on Wednesday night.
He also identified Gernot Rohr’s side as the favourite team to win this year’s AFCON after dumping South Africa out from the competition with a 2-1 victory.
The 25-year-old, who scored the winning goal against South Africa, noted that before the quarter-final, it was the host nation, Egypt that were favourite to win the AFCON but the Bafana Bafana defeated them last weekend.
“Before the game we showed South Africa a lot of respect because they are a good team,” Troost-Ekong told SuperSport.
“We played them last year in the qualification and they won us at home and we drew at their home.
“We are very happy we won this game against them. And I am happy to have scored the winning goal after the mistake I made in the goal we conceived against them during the second half.
“We have a very good team to win the AFCON and before the quarter final everybody were talking about Egypt as the favourite to win this year’s AFCON and South Africa beat them and after that they became favourite and now we have beaten South Africa.”
CAIRO (Reuters) – Kenya, helped by a Michael Olunga brace, twice came from behind to beat East African neighbours Tanzania 3-2 on Thursday and chalk up their second-ever win at the Africa Cup of Nations in a match both coaches described as crazy.
Simon Msuva and Mbwana Samatta put Tanzania in front but Olunga and Johanna Omolo levelled for the Harambee Stars before Olunga struck the winner nine minutes from time.
Kenya, who had won only once in 15 previous matches in the competition, have three points from two games in Group C, level with Senegal. Tanzania, yet to get off the mark, became the first team to be eliminated in the 24-team tournament.
“It was completely crazy and the coach at this time is just a spectator,” Kenya coach Sebastien Migne said. “The players wrote history tonight, now everything is possible, we have nothing to lose.”
Tanzania coach Emmanuel Amunike was surprisingly critical of his team.
“There were a lot of crazy things….we committed a lot of mistakes,” said the former Nigeria international. “You practise and practise, but players are players and as a coach you stand on the touch-line and you are helpless.”
Although neither side are among the heavyweights of African football, they produced a remarkably open contest with a hatful of chances.
Migne said before the match that it was time for his team, who are taking part at their sixth Afcon tournament, to end their run of falling at the first hurdle each time.
But they were caught napping in the sixth minute as Tanzania took a shock lead. An end to end move ended with Samatta being sent clear down the left, his shot was parried by Patrick Matasi and Msuva turned in the rebound.
Helped by the generous amount of space given to them by Tanzania, Kenya began to create openings and Erick Ouma had a close-range effort brilliantly stopped by goalkeeper Aishi Manula before Olunga hit the crossbar
They equalised in the 39th minute with an acrobatic effort. A free kick into the area was pushed away by Manula, the ball bounced off Tanzania defender Erasto Nyoni and was hooked into the net by Olunga who showed excellent reactions.
Kenya still seemed to be celebrating one minute later when Samatta won the ball in the penalty area and the Belgian-based forward fired a low shot into the net.
The game continued in the same vein in the second half and Kenya levelled again in the 63rd minute, Omolo scoring with a diving header from a low cross at the near post.
Kenya snatched victory when they broke out of defence and the ball was played to Olunga, whose snot sneaked between Manula and his near post.
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) – Africa Cup of Nations debutants Madagascar took a giant stride towards the next round as Marco Ilaimaharitra hammered home a late free kick to beat Burundi 1-0 in their Group B match on Thursday.
Madagascar advanced to four points from their opening two games and even if they do not finish in the top two places in the group, probably have enough points to fill one of the places in the last 16 for the four best third-placed teams.
After holding Guinea to a 2-2 draw in their opening game, the Malagasy went one better with their first ever finals victory.
Midfielder Ilaimaharitra blasted home in the 76th minute after Burundi had given away a free kick on the edge of their penalty area.
Madagascar made a lively start with Carolus Andriamatsinoro having two good first-half chances, the second one of which was cleared off the line by Burundi midfielder Gael Duhayindavyi.
But Burundi proved the stronger side after the break, ironically after they took off a struggling captain Saido Berahino.
Fiston Abdul Razak sent a header just wide in the 64th minute ands Burundi might have opened the scoring four minutes later but a free kick from Gael Bigirimana was saved.
Then Ilaimaharitra broke the deadlock and might have scored a second from a similarly placed free kick two minutes from the end but this time it was saved by Burundi goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana.
It was the second loss for Burundi, also competing at the finals for the first timer, after a 1-0 defeat by Nigeria.
Nigeria top the group with six points while Guinea have one. Madagascar finish the group stage against Nigeria on Sunday while Burundi meet Guinea at the same time.
Mohamed Salah scored his first goal of the Africa Cup of Nations as hosts Egypt secured a place in the last 16 on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ahmed Elmohamady prodded Egypt ahead on 25 minutes after a wicked Salah cross and the Liverpool star slammed in a second shortly before half-time to spark frenzied celebrations at a packed Cairo International Stadium.
Record seven-time champions Egypt rode their luck at times as DR Congo twice struck the crossbar in the first half but the Group A leaders held firm to join Nigeria as the first teams through to the knockout phase.
Egypt overcame the distraction of Amr Warda being banished from the squad earlier in the day over mounting sexual harassment allegations. The claims surfaced earlier this week on social media platforms. Multiple women posted screenshots and testimonies of Warda’s alleged lewd comments.
“I think the team is strong and the squad is strong but we are not happy to lose a member of our family,” said coach Javier Aguirre. “The team focused more on our match and played the 90 minutes in a serious manner. I don’t think the Egyptian team will be affected by the absence of anyone.”
Mexican Aguirre fielded the same side that defeated Zimbabwe 1-0, with centre-back Ahmed Hegazy sporting a mask after breaking his nose in the opening game of the tournament.
Salah was guilty of missing a hatful of chances in the curtain-raiser and this season’s Premier League joint top scorer again threatened inside five minutes here when an interception broke his way only for the Egyptian to skew wide under pressure.
After four days of small crowds, another capacity 75,000 crowd turned out to cheer on the hosts in the capital, but they were nearly silenced when Marcel Tisserand slammed against the bar at a corner.
- Salah takes over –
DR Congo came to Egypt as one of the most unpredictable qualifiers having finished third in 2015 only to make a timid quarter-final exit two years ago, and they fell behind for the second straight game as Elmohamady forced home after the ball fell kindly to him following an aerial challenge with Christian Luyindama.
Having created the opener with his vicious right-wing cross, Salah then stung the palms of Ley Matampi with a powerful 25-yard free-kick.
Egypt would be rescued by the woodwork once more though when a deep cross was nodded back across goal by Bokadi Bope and Jonathan Bolingi’s looping header bounced back off the bar.
With his side riding their luck, Salah rose to the occasion and settled Egyptian nerves two minutes before half-time with a typically brilliant finish.
Played into space down the right by Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan, Salah skipped inside Tisserand and ripped a crisp low drive inside Matampi’s near post to cue a volcanic eruption from the masses of delirious Egyptian supporters.
Mohamed El Shenawy produced an excellent sprawling second-half save to claw out a Jacques Maghoma header, but despite an improvement on a horror first outing, DR Congo now know they must beat Zimbabwe in their final game in order to possibly advance as one of the four best third-place finishers.
“The feelings are mixed when you play such a match. Unfortunately we lost so the feeling is one of hurt, particularly for my players. They gave a lot and fought hard but didn’t get the result,” said DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge, whose side fell 2-0 to Uganda in their opening match.
“We’ve got one match left against Zimbabwe and we can hope for third place. We’re going to fight until the end.”
Nigeria became the first team to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations knockout phase as Kenneth Omeruo’s goal earned a 1-0 win over Guinea in Group B.
In a largely uneventful contest in Alexandria, Nigeria made the breakthrough when Omeruo headed in from Moses Simon’s 73rd-minute corner.
Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita returned to fitness to make his first start for either club or country since May 1, but could not inspire Guinea, who are in real danger of an early exit.
Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone had been the star performer with two excellent saves from a pair of Alex Iwobi efforts, but his display proved fruitless as Omeruo’s header ended Nigeria’s four-match winless streak against the Syli Nationale.
After coming on as a substitute in Guinea’s draw with Madagascar, Keita almost marked his first start in eight weeks with an assist early on, but Sory Kaba failed to take the midfielder’s throughball into his path.
Francois Kamano sent a free-kick just wide as Guinea kept up the pressure, though Nigeria would have had the lead before half-time had Kone not got down to Iwobi’s effort.
Kone came to Guinea’s rescue once more just after the hour, doing well to prevent another Iwobi strike dipping in.
Keita’s underwhelming return came to an end in the 71st minute when he was replaced by Lass Bangoura, and Guinea’s resistance was broken moments later – Omeruo glancing a header into the far corner after connecting with Simon’s delivery.
Guinea rallied late on, though Nigeria had little trouble in holding out for a win which guarantees their place in the last 16 with a game to spare.
Key Opta Facts
- Nigeria have won their last six games at the Africa Cup of Nations, their longest streak in their history, never conceding more than one goal in each of their six encounters.
- Guinea are winless in their last seven games at the Africa Cup of Nations (D5 L2), their longest streak in their history.
Guinea have conceded at least one goal in each of their last 14 AFCON games.
The Super Eagles players are on a massive $95,000 bonus each to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Sports Extra reports.
The Eagles are already guaranteed $10,000 for their 1-0 win over Burundi on Saturday. They are also guaranteed $20,000 if they win their remaining Group B matches against Guinea and Madagascar.
The players will receive $12,500 should they record another win in the round of 16.
Gernot Rohr’s men will get $15,000 and $17,500 respectively for victories in the quarter-final and the semi-final, while a win in the final will see the three-time AFCON winners earn a $20,000 match bonus each.
“Group stage wins: $10k; Round of 16: $12.5k; QF: $15k; SF: $17.5k. And if they win the final: $20k. So, each player would earn $95,000 for winning AFCON2019,” a member of the Nigeria Football Federation’s Reforms Committee, Osasu Obayiuwana, disclosed.
He added that Rohr would earn twice the amount of what his players get, while goalkeepers trainer and assistant coach Alloy Agu and Imama Amapakabo will receive 75 per cent of what Rohr gets. The backroom staff are entitled to 75 per cent of what the players earn.
The Eagles take on the Syli Nationale of Guinea in their next Group B match on Wednesday, at the Alexandria stadium.
Underdogs had a big day at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt as Uganda won on its return to the tournament after 41 years and Madagascar held Guinea to a draw on its debut on Saturday.
Burundi, another African Cup first-timer, pushed mighty Nigeria all the way.
Uganda beat two-time champion Congo 2-0 in Cairo to start the second day of action. Both goals came through headers from set-pieces, with Patrick Kaddu scoring from a corner in the 14th minute and Emmanuel Okwi heading in a free kick early in the second half.
That put Uganda top of Group A on goals scored ahead of Mohamed Salah and Egypt, who won the opening game against Zimbabwe on Friday.
Uganda last played at the African Cup in the late 1970s. After winning on Saturday the players probably didn’t mind that their long-awaited return came at a near empty Cairo International Stadium, an illustration of the African Cup’s perennial problem with fan attendance when the home team isn’t playing.
In Alexandria, Nigeria needed Odion Ighalo’s late winner four minutes after he came on as a substitute to deny Burundi on its debut.
Ighalo pounced on his first chance. The forward slipped in behind the Burundi defense after a backheeled pass by Ola Aina and stroked a right foot shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner.
Three-time champion Nigeria deserved the win on the second half evidence, but not on the first 45 minutes.
Then, Burundi was the more adventurous team on the biggest day in its soccer history.
Cedric Amissi controlled a long pass superbly but had his shot blocked by Nigeria keeper Daniel Akpeyi. Akpeyi struggled to keep out a powerful long-range free kick by Gael Bigirimana and Frederic Nsabiyumva hit the crossbar with a header.
Nigeria, one of the favorites for the title alongside Egypt and Senegal, ultimately prevailed over the tenacious newcomers after some second-half substitutions injected life into the team.
“It was a very difficult game,” Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel said. “It was tough. We knew that they are a tough team. They can run and run and run.”
Nigeria tops Group B ahead of Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi.
Madagascar also made its African Cup debut straight after in a double-header at Alexandria Stadium on the Mediterranean coast.
Sory Kaba gave Guinea the lead after running onto a long pass, pushing the ball past goalkeeper Melvin Adrien, and swerving past him to score in an empty net.
Madagascar responded twice in six minutes in the second half. Anicet Andrianantenaina headed in unmarked from a corner. Guinea’s defense stood waiting for the offside flag when Carolus Andriamahitsinoro scored from nothing for 2-1.
Guinea won a penalty, converted by Francois Kamano, to get a draw. Midfielder Naby Keita came on in the second half to make his return from injury and couldn’t connect with a cross in injury time that would have won it for Guinea.
Guinea coach Paul Put said his team gave away two “stupid goals.”
“I hope it’s a lesson for the players,” he said.
Nigeria clicked in the second half against Burundi after Ahmed Musa and later Oghalo came off the bench to lift a team that had struggled in the buildup with a number of players struck down with illness.
Coach Gernot Rohr said “half the team” had a fever this week and couldn’t train properly. Nigeria also said winger Samuel Kalu was recovering and had been released from the hospital after he collapsed at training on Friday with dehydration.
This African Cup has been switched from its regular January-February slot to June and July so it doesn’t clash with any European leagues. But that’s landed it in the middle of Egypt’s sweltering summer. Organizers warned teams that temperatures will rise to 34-38 degrees Celsius (93-100 F) and games will allow for two water breaks during play, in the 30th and 75th minutes.
Hosts Egypt recorded a slim victory against Zimbabwe in the opening fixture of the African Cup of Nations, AFCON, which kicked off in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Friday.
The first half strike came on the 41st minute mark through Mahmoud Trezeguet after a series of attacking waves on the Zimbabweans.
The Zimbabweans had their goalie Edward Sibanda to thank for thwarting the initial Egyptian inroads even as the Brave Warriors also carved out moments of brilliance threatening the hosts during exchanges.
Mahmoud Trezeguet is so far the only player who has scored in the 2019 AFCON tournament. #KawowoUpdates #AFCON2019 #EGYZIM pic.twitter.com/3sfSbs1Duh
— Kawowo Sports (@kawowosports) June 21, 2019.
The 2019 AFCON draw pitted hosts Egypt with Zimbabwe, Uganda and Congo, while defending champions Cameroon landed in Group F with newcomers Benin and Ghana
ANDY HALL 12/04/2019 22:24
It’s been a long night but it was worth the wait. Here’s how Groups A-F stand following this evening’s 2019 AFCON draw in Giza, Egypt.
Group A: Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda, DR Congo
Group B: Madagascar, Burundi, Guinea, Nigeria
Group C: Kenya, Tanzania, Algeria, Senegal
Group D: Namibia, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Morocco
Group E: Angola, Mauritania, Mali, Tunisia
Group F: Guinea-Bissau, Benin,Ghana, Cameroon
2019 AFCON draw live online, latest news
The 2019 AFCON will be held between 21 June and 19 July, with group games to be confirmed by CAF.
Group F: Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Ghana, Cameroon
Group E: Angola, Mauritania, Mali, Tunisia
Group D: Namibia, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Morocco
Group C: Kenya, Tanzania, Algeria, Senegal
Group B: Madagascar, Burundi, Guinea, Nigeria
Group A: Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda, DR Congo
Well, that’s the draw over!
Cameroon complete Group F with Guinea-Bissau Benin Ghana
Tunisia go into Group E
Morocco, the Atlas Lions in Group D
Senegal in Group C
Nigeria in Group B
Group F for Ghana, with Guinea-Bissau and Benin
Mali in Group E
Ivory Coast into Group D
Algeria, Group C
Group B for Guinea
DR Congo into Group A!
Benin go into Group F
South Africa in Group D
Group C for Kenya
Madagascar join Burundi in Group B
Uganda, in Group A with the hosts…
Group F for Guinea-Bissau
Angola, land in Group E
Namibia – Group D
Tanzania, into Group C
Newcomers Burundi in Group B
First team out, from Pot 4 – Zimbabwe.
Yaya Touré strides onto the stage.
Here comes Yaya Touré… off we go!
Ahmed Hassan: “Good luck to all of the teams taking part, I hope it’s an great, honest competition”.
Now, former Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan, who made a record 184 appearances for the Pharaohs is on stage. We’re ready for the draw, we hope, possibly.
A few Africa Cup of Nations stats while we are waiting: all-time top scorer in this tournament is the great Samuel Eto’o – much loved in these parts, with 18 goals for Cameroon. The oldest player to score at an AFCON tournament is Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya who was 36 years and 167 days young when he found the net in the 2000 edition.
Former Ghana international Anthony Baffoe is now onstage addressing the audience. We’ve had an hour and a half build-up to the draw… don’t worry, it’ll definitely be starting soon!
Worldwide audience following the 2019 AFCON Draw is around one billion, say organizers…
The draw ceremony has been very impressive so far, if a little long. More dancers have taken to the stage. Should be starting soon…
Egyptian Football Federation (EFA) President Hany Hassan Abo Rida: “Today everybody all over the world is watching tonight’s draw. We hope for a future that his happier, brighter and a tournament which reflects the peace and love that Egypt is known for”.
The pre-draw entertainment provided by an African dance troupe who we must say, are very good indeed.