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Buhari applauds Super Eagles for 2019 AFCON qualification

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President Muhammadu Buhari have congratulated the Super Eagles of Nigeria on their qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations following the score draw against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Johannesburg Saturday.

The President in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr.Femi Adesina, the President joins millions of football-loving Nigerians in commending the team for their spirited and disciplined performance against a very formidable opponent which earned them qualification with the final match against Seychelles a mere formality.

“Having keenly followed the senior national football team’s progress in the qualifying stages, President Buhari is enthused by their confidence, sense of patriotism and professionalism, and commends these attributes to other Nigerians.”The statement added.

President Buhari commended the coaching crew, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Supporters Club, especially Nigerians residing in South Africa who turned out in great numbers to cheer the players, for a job well done, and he assured them of the unflinching support of the Federal Government going forward.

“The President wishes the young Nigerian football ambassadors more successes as they prepare for the AFCON tournament in Cameroon,” Adesina stated. 

Super Eagles hold South Africa to a 1-1 draw, qualify for 2019 AFCON

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Super Eagles of Nigeria have booked a ticket to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after holding Bafana Bafana of South Africa to a 1-1 at the FBN Stadium on Saturday.

The three-time Africa Champion took an early lead via an own goal from South Africa's Buhle Mkhwanazi in the ninth minutes before Lebo Mothiba levelled the score in the 26th minutes after a beautiful exchange of passes that led to the goal.

Despite the draw, Nigeria still tops group E with 10 points while South Africa sit second with nine points. Libya are placed third with seven points after beating Seychelles 8-1 on Saturday in Victoria.

Super Eagles on revenge mission against Bafana Bafana

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Revenge would be in the minds of Nigeria as the Super Eagles face the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Saturday's Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at the FBN Stadium in Johannesburg.

The last time both teams met in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom, Nigeria, in June, South Africa defeated Nigeria 2-0, leaving the Super Eagles in a tightrope of qualifying for the bi-annual tournament in Cameroon since it was initially the group winners that will qualify automatically.

However, with two teams qualifying for the competition, the three-time Africa champions bounced back to winning ways after returning from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, beating Seychelles 3-0 and Libya twice 4-0 and 3-2 respectively, to top the group with nine points.

On the other hand, South Africa sits second on the table with eight points and can qualify from the group if the Bafana Bafana plays a draw against Nigeria. But a loss may still put the qualification on hold should Libya pull a surprise victory in her next two matches.

Statistics

History favours the Eagles ahead of the crucial clash as the team have won seven of the earlier encounters, drew 4 and lost 2 to the Bafana Bafana, out of their last 13 matches on record.

Injuries

Nigeria will be missing the services of Odion Ighalo and Francis Uzoho due to injuries, while Wilfred Ndidi will also be missing in the action due to accumulated cards.

South Africa will be without several key players also especially in the midfield – with Dean Furman, Keagan Dolly, Kamohlo Mokotjo, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Bongani Zungu all out.

Notable Quotes

Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr

“Our mission in Johannesburg is simple: qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. We are not thinking of anything else. We want the ticket in our pocket before the final match day."

Super Eagles, Ahmed Musa

“Our determination is to win and pick our ticket to the AFCON ahead of the final match day next year. South Africa came to Nigeria to beat us and we are here to return the compliment.
“We will not be playing for a draw. We won in Seychelles and against Libya in Tunisia and we are here to win as well,” Musa said.

South Africa coach, Stuart Baxter

“Though we respect Nigeria, we do not fear them. By the time we run out onto the FNB Stadium, we would be confident‚ we would not be complacent.
“They are undefeated since we beat them the last time and they will certainly want to wreak their revenge.
“So‚ we will be ready and I still believe that we have a very good chance of getting the result that we need.”

South Africa international, Hlompho Kekana

“Obviously when you play the Nigerians or any West African teams you have to be ready mentally because they will bully you around. It’s for us to really fight and try to protect our home game – we are going to try by all means to win the match."

Centre Referee

Gambian referee, Bakary Papa Gassama, will be in charge of the matchday 5 AFCON qualifier tie between South Africa and Nigeria.

The 39-year-old is regarded as one of the best referees on the continent and was among the few Africans selected for the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

This will not be the first time Gassama will be at the centre in Nigeria’s games as he officiated Nigeria’s 3-1 victory over Algeria in Uyo prior to the World Cup.

S. Africa vs Nigeria: Super Eagles to depart for Johannesburg today, promises victory

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Ahead of Saturday's 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in Johannesburg, players and technical crew of the Super Eagles will be departing the shores of the country today (Thursday) with a promise that they will pick the maximum point.

Having lost their opening fixture 2-0 against South Africa in Uyo, the three-time Africa champion bounced back to winning ways by beating Seychelles 3-0, Libya 4-0 and 3-2 in the reverse fixture to top the group on nine points.

On the other hand, South Africa have eight points after beating Nigeria 2-0, drawing Libya 0-0, before earning four points against Seychelles in a double-header fixture.

Victory for South Africa will book their place at next year's showpiece in Cameroon, while a draw could be enough for both Nigeria and South Africa barring Libya fail to beat Seychelles in Victoria.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr has revealed that he has prepared enough to pick the three points in Johannesburg that would guarantee their qualification to the bi-annual tournament in Cameroon.

“Our mission in Johannesburg is simple: qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. We are not thinking of anything else. We want the ticket in our pocket before the final matchday,” Rohr said in Asaba on Tuesday evening.

In the words of Oghenekharo Etebo; ''After our away win in Libya, the task has been made less complicated, a win or a draw gets us qualified and I am sure we will get that. 'As you can see we are taking the match very seriously, we all made sure we got back to camp on time and confidence in the team is high.''

According to Kelechi Iheanacho, ”We are much more better now than we were as of the time we played them in the first leg so I am confident we will get a win"

We'll wreck Super Eagles' revenge mission - Baxter

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Bafana Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter has said that South Africa would brush aside the Super Eagles in Saturday's 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Nigeria are top of the group with nine points from four matches while South Africa sit second on eight points from the same number of games played. A draw for both teams could all but seal their qualification to the bi-annual tournament slated for Cameroon.

However, Baxter insisted that the team has a better chance of defeating the Super Eagles in front of their vociferous supporters on Saturday.

“Though we respect Nigeria, we do not fear them. By the time we run out onto the FNB Stadium, we would be confident‚ we would not be complacent.

“They are undefeated since we beat them the last time and they will certainly want to wreak their revenge.

“So‚ we will be ready and I still believe that we have a very good chance of getting the result that we need.”

South Africa will deliver against Nigeria - Khune

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South Africa goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune believes with the home supporters on their side the team will overcome the Super Eagles in Saturday's 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Having come under serious criticisms from the home supporters after failing to beat Seychelles in Victoria, a result which put the team second spot behind Nigeria on eighth points. It's not yet clear whether the team would top the table at the end of the qualifying series.

However, Khune reiterated the commitment and determination of the players to defeat Nigeria on November 17 (Saturday) if only the fans could give them massive support.

“You know how South Africans are. They like last-minute things‚” Khune said.

“So they will go and buy tickets. We just have to encourage them to come to the stadium‚ and make promises that we will keep and we will deliver on Saturday.

“So that’s our promise – that we will do well. We will definitely go out there and represent the country well.

“So they must play their part as well by coming to support the team. And purchase more tickets.

“Ninety-five thousand – it’s possible.

“South Africans I know you can do it. The team needs you.”

S. Africa vs Nigeria: Okowa promises Super Eagles $25000 per goal

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Ahead of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match between the Nigerian Super Eagles and Bafana Bafana football club of South Africa, Delta State Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa has promised to give the Super Eagles $25,000 for every goal scored.

Governor Okowa gave the assurance while interacting with members of the Super Eagles after watching them train at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

The governor who watched the training with some members of the state executive council said he was very excited to watch the Super Eagles train, adding that he was optimistic that the Nigerian team would defeat their South African Counterpart.

“We are truly excited as a state to have you train at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, we are glad that you are in Asaba and from what we can see, this is a team for today and the future.

“The fact that you are leaving Asaba for South Africa; we are sure you will get the victory; you are doing very well and we welcome you to Asaba.

“As a state government, we will contribute to what you are going to do out there in South Africa, for every goal, we are going to give you $25, 000.

“When you are back we are also going to host you here in Asaba, we want you to stay strong and success will be yours, because, we are a praying state and we are confident that you are going to South Africa to get a lot of goals; continue to work hard, you are on a national assignment, a call to service and you will succeed,” he said.

President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Amaju Pinnick in his remark, thanked the governor for making the Stephen Keshi Stadium available for the Super Eagles to train.

He described the team as “disciplined, young and promising”.

Super Eagles Coach, Mr Genot Rohr described the pitch as one of the best in the country, the Captain of the team, Ahmed Musa assured Governor Okowa that they would go to South Africa and qualify for AFCON.

Aboutrika faces one-year jail term

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Egyptian legend, Mohamed Aboutrika has been sentenced to a year in jail on charges of tax evasion, local media reported on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that a commercial and financial crimes court in Cairo passed the sentence against Aboutrika in absentia on Monday, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported.

The court found Aboutrika guilty of evading taxes on earnings of 710,000 Egyptian pounds ($40,000) for doing advertisements for soft drinks and a telecoms firm.

The paper said the court ordered the former player who now lives in Qatar to pay 20,000 pounds as a bond to turn the prison term into a suspended sentence.

Aboutrika, 40, played 100 times for Egypt from 2001-13, scoring 38 goals and helping his country win the African Nations Cup in 2006 and 2008.
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