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Page 46 stories South Africa’s AFCON hopes dashed South Africa were held to a 0-0 draw by Cameroon in their Africa Nations Cup Qualifier in…

Page 46 stories

South Africa’s AFCON hopes dashed

South Africa were held to a 0-0 draw by Cameroon in their Africa Nations Cup Qualifier in Durban and with that saw their chances of reaching Gabon 2017 dashed.

Bafana Bafana have only a very slim mathematical chance to qualify. If they win their last two games (against Gambia and Mauritania) they will need Mauritania to draw with Cameroon and Gambia to beat Cameroon.

In that case, Bafana would be tied on 9 points with Cameroon at the top of the table and will go through on away goals in head to head with the Indomitable Lions.

Inside the opening five minutes, Bafana Bafana went close when debutant left back Sifiso Hlanti’s curling free kick was tipped over the bar.

A few minutes later Hlanti delivered a deep cross to Thulani Hlatshwayo at the far post and with the goalkeeper beaten, Hlatshwayo’s header went directly into the ground and bounced over the bar, with a slight touch from the keeper taking it out for a corner.

From fifteen minutes in, the visitors began to settle and frustrate the home side with deep defending. Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba was visibly frustrated that his team were not settling on the all and asking questions of Cameroon.

Just before the half hour mark, Cameroon skipper Vincent Aboubakar fired a free kick way over the crossbar and a few minutes later the FC Porto star glanced a header just wide of Itumeleng Khune’s upright, once more showing Bafana’s vulnerability on set pieces and high balls into the 18 area.

Egypt dump Nigeria out of AFCON qualifiers

By Orkula Shaagee @shagcy

The Super Eagles yesterday night crashed out of 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a 1-0 loss to hosts Egypt in Alexandria.

The loss means Egypt now top the group with seven points with a round of matches to be played in June while Nigeria have two points and one game against Tanzania in September.

Teenager Radwan Sobhi grabbed the all-important goal in the 65th minute when his toed effort from just inside the box trickled behind a sea of Nigerian legs and past goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

Despite their galaxy of foreign stars, Nigeria never really stretched the Egypt backline except in the 84th minute, when Victor Moses shot from outside the box came off the post with the Egypt goalkeeper well beaten.

It was also the same time in the game in Kaduna, when he rounded Ahmed Shennawi but his shot was cleared off the goal line by an Egyptian defender.

Egypt created the better chances in the first half but Nigeria also had their moments during a goalless first half at a packed Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

Nigeria played with a lot of confidence and dictated the tempo of the game for a good period of the first 45 minutes.

Egypt created two early openings when Hegazy headed narrowly past the Nigeria goal after five minutes and was immediately followed by skipper Al-Said left foot shot from inside the box.

The impressive Al-Said then delivered a low cross from the left in the 29th minute, but Mohamed Salah was not close to make contact.

In the closing minutes of the first half, Nigeria goalkeeper Akpeyi pulled off two big saves from Ibrahim Salah and again skipper Al-Said.

In the seventh minute, Umar Aminu dashed into the Egyptian goal area but his shot was firmly held by the goalkeeper.

Odion Ighalo had a half chance when he controlled the ball inside the box, but shot wide in the 15th minute.

It will be the second time in two succession that the Super Eagles will fail to qualify for the Nations Cup since winning the 2013 edition in South Africa.

Osheku says Nigeria not prepared for Olympics medals

A renowned athletics coach, Tony Osheku, has said that Nigeria is not prepared to win medals at the 2016 Olympic Games which holds in Rio de Jainero, Brazil.

Consequently, he urged the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to in earnest adopt strategies that could enable the country to win medals at the forthcoming Olympics.

The 2016 Olympic Games are scheduled for August 5-21 in Rio de Jainero, Brazil.

Osheku, who expressed fear that the country might not win a medal at the quadrennial games, said that issues like preparation and structure should be revisited.

“The country’s dismal performance at the recent World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon, U.S., is an indication that we are not prepared.

“I am skeptical about our performance at the forthcoming Olympics; four years ago we said we will start preparing for the next Games.

“What we are still seeing is just bragging, and then the fire brigade approach starts a month to the Olympics. We should emulate what top countries are doing in terms of preparation.

“We need to tighten our seat belt if we want to win a medal at the Olympics,” he said.

He also disagreed with the notion of holding a national camp, adding that a number of athletes should be assigned to a particular coach for training.

“Coaches should be empowered, I do not believe in bringing all the athletes and coaches to a national camp. Envy also crops up when we are in the camp.

“If a coach is in Lagos, give him at least five athletes to train, check the coach’s programme, monitor him but give him a free hand,” he said.

Osheku, also said the country was blessed with talented young athletes, noting that the problem was good structure to nurture the athletes. (NAN)

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