We won’t celebrate Algeria’s failure in AFCON, says NFF.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says there is nothing to celebrate over the resignation of Algeria’s Belgian coach, Georges Leekens, who quit yesterday after the side crashed out of the on-going Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

 

Algeria were one of the pre-tournament favourites for the competition, but they failed to win a game in their opening group.The North Africans are in the same group with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the qualifiers for Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup. While Nigeria is leading the group with six points from two matches, Algeria has just one point from the same number of games.

 

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, NFF Technical Committee chairman, Chris Green, said the fact that Algeria could not make it beyond the group stage at Gabon 2017 AFCON does not make the team a weak side.

 

The Super Eagles will play the Lions of Cameroun home and away in August this year, host Zambia before going to Algeria for their last Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier.

 

Algeria’s Belgian coach, Georges Leekens said in a statement on the Algerian Football Federation website yesterday: “For the good of all I decided to quit even though I do it with heart ache, and I wish all the success in the world to the national side.”

 

After the game in Franceville, Leekens indicated he hoped to continue as coach, with the next target being qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

 

“But given the pressure on the federation and the national team, I preferred to end my contract out of friendship for the president of the FAF (Algerian Football Federation) who deserves respect,” he said in the statement.

 

Source: Guardian

Super Eagles’ individual quality finished Algeria – Laloko

Kashimawo Laloko believes the individual quality in the Super Eagles saw them win 3-1 in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Algeria on Saturday.

Victor Moses’ brace and John Mikel Obi’s strike ensured Gernot Rohr’s men overcame the stubborn Greens to remain Group B leaders at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.

But the former NFF technical director insists the Super Eagles manager must reorganise his shaky defensive set-up if he hopes to qualify the country for the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

“I had fears for [Daniel] Akpeyi but he didn’t disappoint me because the goal he conceded was due to the indecision of the defenders,” Laloko said.

“Carelessness, complacency on the side of our defenders were responsible for that goal. We were very lucky. Algeria never came to Nigeria for a draw but to win and this is the first time we have beaten them hands down but the Algerians failed.

“Because of the individual quality and determination of the players helped us finish Algeria. Rohr has virtually done nothing but the players who wanted to make Nigerians proud.

“I think the performance of the players should be harnessed ahead of our upcoming games. Our defense department is still not organised.

“Someone of the defenders was running away from their responsibility. The man [Rohr] has not organized our defense probably and he needs to fix that by getting quality and regular defenders.

“Overall, I think the players have done well. I distinguished the players for their performance – Iheanacho, Iwobi. I told the coach in Abuja, that they still don’t have scores because when we play a game against a more organized defensive side.

“We must be careful with our defense if we want to get to Russia. All we need to do is to maintain our winning form. And I must say congratulations to Nigeria,” he concluded.

Referee robbed us against Eagles in Uyo – Algeria coach

Algeria coach Georges Leekens claims the Desert Foxes were robbed by Gambian referee Bakary Gassama against the Super Eagles in their Russia 2018 World Cup Group B qualifier in Uyo on Saturday.

Chelsea right wing-back Victor Moses struck a brace as Nigeria beat Algeria 3-1 to pick up their second win in the World Cup qualifiers and open up a four-point lead at the top of the table – after Cameroon were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Zambia in the group’s other fixture.

The North Africans, who have just a point after two games, are left with a mountain to climb to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the World Cup for the fifth time, having played in the tournament in 1982, 1986, 2010 and 2014.

And the Greens’ Belgian manager Leekens, who vowed the 1990 African champions would strive to get their qualification hopes back on track, believes the result of the Uyo encounter could have been different had the referee not accepted Nigeria’s second goal from Mikel Obi when the score was 1-0.

Mikel, who is out of favour at Chelsea, fired in from close range three minutes before half time after receiving a through-ball from Oghenekaro Etebo with the Algeria defence attempting keep him offside.

“Nigeria’s second goal is not valid. There was indeed an offside position,” the 67-year-old former Belgium manager was quoted as saying by the influential Algerian newspaper Le Buteur on Sunday.

“The goal somewhat disorganised my players, especially before the break. If the score had remained 1-0, we would have returned in the second half.”

Lekeens says he is disappointed his team did not take their chances in the clash, lamenting a lack of killer instinct among his forwards.

He said, “When you play at this level, you do not allow yourself to miss many good opportunities in front of goal. We missed no fewer than four chances. In a match like this and against an opponent like Nigeria, it was necessary to have a better efficiency. “

The former Lokeren manager refused to blame his team’s defeat on injuries to key players ahead of the fixture.

Leekens added, “Let us also not forget that we played a quality Nigerian team. We found it difficult against them. This is what explains the result.”

We’ll give everything against Algeria – Mikel Obi

Super Eagles skipper John Obi Mikel says Nigeria “have to give everything” to win Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria.

The Super Eagles began their campaign on a winning note against Zambia in Ndola, and victory against the Greens will boost their chances of qualifying for the global football showpiece in Russia.

According to the Chelsea midfielder, the players are aware of the game’s importance and would do all it takes to ensure victory in Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

“We all know what this match means, why we have to give everything,” Mikel told NFF website.

“Yes, we started the race well by winning in Zambia, but we have to approach this match even more seriously.

“The Algerians will come with determination and they will play hard, but we will play harder.

“The World Cup is the biggest stage; every player wants to be there. I am happy we have such a young and energetic team.

“ I played at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 but there are many of these players who have never been to the World Cup. They want to be there.

“Three points; that is what we will be playing for. We are committed and the visit of the Vice President (Professor Yemi Osinbajo) to our training in Abuja has motivated us even more.”

Nigeria top Group B with three points, while the Algerians who were held to a 1-1 draw against Cameroon boast of one point with Zambia sitting at the base with no point.

Super Eagles Determined To Secure Victory Against Fennecs

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will walk onto the pitch of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Saturday with the mind to secure victory against the Fennecs of Algeria.

 

There have been 17 clashes between both teams (all at competitive level), with Nigeria winning eight times, drawing three and losing six. And Nigeria captain Mikel John Obi was less than three years old the last time Algeria defeated Nigeria, in the final of the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algiers.

 

Super Eagles’ current goalkeepers’ trainer Aloysius Agu was the Eagles’ goalkeeper and captain that day, 16th March 1990. It was a tough game at the July 5 Stadium in Algiers, but the Fennecs won their first (and still only) Africa title when Cherif Oudjani’s long range effort beat Agu for the only goal of the match.

 

At that same competition, Algeria had beaten the Eagles 5-1 in the opening match. But the Eagles would remember that and pay back the Fennecs when lashing their hosts 5-2 in Oran in a 2006 World Cup qualifier on 4th September 2005.

 

The first clash between both countries was on 10th January 1973, during the football event of the 2nd All-Africa Games that Nigeria hosted. The match ended 2-2. Seven years later, the Green Eagles would thrash the Algerians 3-0 to lift their first Africa Cup title.

 

In their last four confrontations, the Eagles have enjoyed a winning streak against the Algerians, which is more than the three consecutive wins Algeria had over Nigeria between October 1981 and March 1982. In the qualifying race for Espana ’82, Algeria beat Nigeria 2-0 in Lagos and 2-1 in Constantine, and the Fennecs then came from behind to edge the Eagles 2-1 at the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations in Libya.

 

NIGERIA-ALGERIA IN HISTORY

  • 10 Jan 1973: Nigeria 2 Algeria 2 (AAG, Lagos)
  • 22 Mar 1980: Nigeria 3 Algeria 0 (ACN, Lagos)
  • 10 Oct 1981: Nigeria 0 Algeria 2 (WCq, Lagos)
  • 30 Oct 1981: Algeria 2 Nigeria 1 (WCq, Constantine)
  • 10 Mar 1982: Algeria 2 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Benghazi)
  • 11 Mar 1984: Algeria 0 Nigeria 0 (ACN, Bouake)
  • 15 Jan 1988: Algeria 1 Nigeria 0 (Olq, Annaba)
  • 30 Jan 1988: Nigeria 2 Algeria 0 (Olq, Enugu)
  • 23 Mar 1988: Algeria 1 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Rabat: Nigeria win 9-8 penalties)
  • 2 Mar 1990: Algeria 5 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Algiers)
  • 16 Mar 1990: Algeria 1 Nigeria 0 (ACN, Algiers)
  • 13 July 1993: Nigeria 4 Algeria 1 (WCq, Lagos)
  • 8 Oct 1993: Algeria 1 Nigeria 1 (WCq, Algiers)
  • 21 Jan 2002: Algeria 0 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Bamako)
  • 3 July 2004: Nigeria 1 Algeria 0 (WCq, Abuja)
  • 4 Sept 2005: Algeria 2 Nigeria 5 (WCq, Oran)
  • 30 Jan 2010: Algeria 0 Nigeria 1 (ACN, Benguela)

WCQ: Eagles’ curse will continue to haunt Algeria – Kalu

Algeria’s World Cup dreams are over no thanks to the Eagles, who will continue to punish the North Africans for killing Nigeria’s Mundial ambitions on home soil in 1981. This is the submission of Pillar of Sports, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu.

According to Kalu: ”The Desert Warriors have come to the end of the road. The 1980 Nations Cup winning Eagles will never forgive them for that World Cup qualifier that sent Nigeria packing 35 years ago. It affected those Green Eagles negatively.”

The former Abia State governor painted a clearer picture of the anguish.

“That 0-2 loss to Les Fennecs in Lagos retired Christian Chukwu permanently from international soccer. Segun Odegbami was stripped of the Captain’s band. Tunde Bamidele lost the opportunity of playing professional soccer abroad, and for the very first time, Aloy Atuegbu, watched from the bench as an Eagle,” Kalu said.

Ever since that ouster, the Algerians, also known as the Greens [El Khadra], have not beaten Nigeria in a World Cup match. On the way to USA ’94, the Eagles beat them 4-1 in Lagos, in a match Austin Okocha scored his first goal for the national team.

To cap it all, the Eagles earned their first ever World Cup ticket on Algerian soil thanks to Finidi George’s late equalizer that ended the second leg 1-1.

During the Germany 2006 qualifiers, Nigeria beat Algeria 1-0 in Abuja and went on to massacre their hosts 5-2 in the return leg. Unfortunately, that was not enough to take the Eagles to Deutschland.

Kalu also taunted Algerian veteran, Lakdar Belloumi, over comments that the Eagles will be under pressure in Uyo.

“Yes, Belloumi has forgotten so easily that the days of Rabah Madjer, Faouzi Mansouri, Nourrredine Kourichi and Mustapha Dahelb only blossomed after Eagles pounded them 3-0 to win the 1980 Nations Cup. They beat us black and blue a year later. Now, the Eagles have cursed Algeria not to beat them again in a World Cup match. And that curse cannot be washed away soon, not even by a veteran,” he added.

Nigeria Vs Algeria: Fresh ‘Fears’ Over Use Of Akwa-Ibom Stadium.

There are fears over the use of the Akwa Ibom Stadium in Uyo which has been pencilled down to host Saturday’s crucial World Cup qualifying match between the Super Eagles and their Algerian counterparts.

 

Feelers from the oil-rich city suggest that the Akwa-Ibom State Governor Emmanuel Udom is on a collision course with Julius Berger, the company that built the edifice and equally saddled with the maintenance.

 

 

A source told reporters in Uyo that that Governor has terminated the contract of the German construction company and they are now spurred for war that may affect Saturday’s game if not promptly addressed.

 

Already, we are making frantic efforts to hear from the representative of the State Government, as many are keen to see that the Eagles arrival and training go unhindered.

 

Saturday’s outing will be Nigeria’s 50th World Cup qualifying home match as they take on the Fennecs of Algeria

We Are Under Pressure To Win Against Nigeria – Bentaleb

Algerian midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has admitted that the Fennecs are under immense pressure to deliver when they face Nigeria in their second 2018 World Cup Qualifying match in Uyo on Saturday.

The Desert Warriors were forced to a 1-1 draw at home to Cameroon in their opening fixture, and they must win against Group B leaders Nigeria in Uyo to strengthen their bid for a place in Russia.

Bentaleb who missed the opening fixture in Bilda due to suspension says it will a herculean task recording a win with five of their regular players.

The Algerian team will be without Adam Ounas, Hilal Soudani, Rachid Ghezzal and Ryad Boudebouz in the game against Nigeria.

“I must say that we are a bit under pressure because we need a good result against Nigeria. But I’m optimistic because Algeria always gives good output in difficult times,” Bentaleb told Le Buteur.

The on-loan Schalke 04, played down the timing of hiring a new coach within a qualifying series could have, with Georges Leekens replacingMilosec Rajevac after the opening fixture.

“Risky? No. It remains the choice of the president of the federation. Now, if the old coach did not have the

All Eyes On Malabo For AFCON 2015 Draws Today

All eyes in Africa will be focussed on Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday as the capital of Malabo plays host to the draw for the Africa Cup of Nations just weeks after Morocco were stripped of the right to host the event.

The traditional ceremony to determine the group matchups for the January 17 to February 8 continental showpiece, was initially set for Rabat before Morocco asked for the tournament to be postponed because of the devastating Ebola outbreak which has cost nearly 7,000 lives in west Africa.

Morocco were instead not only stripped of the right to host the tournament but disqualified from the event as Equatorial Guinea, the third highest producer of petrol in Sub-Saharan Africa, stepped in at the final hour to save the day.

Equatorial Guinea, who co-hosted the 2012 event with Gabon, face a race against time to be ready with less than two months until kick-off, and the draw is set to unveil further indications of progress on preparations.

One aspect that hasn’t changed is the format with four groups of four teams drawn in a round-robin first round line-up shared between the cities of Malabo, Bata, Mongomo and Ebebiyin.

– Ivory Coast, Algeria the teams to avoid –

Ironically, Equatorial Guinea will be in the top seeded hat as hosts, just six months after the former Spanish colony were disqualified from qualifying after fielding an ineligible player during a preliminary round fixture against Mauritania.

They will joined, as one of the top four seeds, by four-time champions Ghana, 2012 African winners Zambia and the Ivory Coast.

The ‘Elephants’ of the Ivory Coast, who lost finals in 2006 and 2012 and also reached the semi-finals in 2008, remain a formidable force as the seedings were determined by previous CAN results.

Their glory teams of the past have undergone several changes in recent years as they turn to life without retired legend Didier Drogba and now lean on the coaching leadership of dashing Frenchman Herve Renard who led Zambia to their first title three years ago.

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Roma striker Gervinho are key players for the Ivory Coast with a strong cast of talent in place to support the 1992 champions.

Holders Nigeria and seven-time champions Egypt failed to qualify leaving Algeria the danger team from hat number two alongside 2013 finalists Burkina Faso, Mali and Tunisia.

The ‘Desert Foxes’ of Algeria reached the second round of the World Cup for the first time this year, and are chasing a second African title after their only success on home soil in 1990.

The country are enjoying a purple patch with top club ES Setif recently winning the African Champions League and the CAN providing a serious opportunity to increase their flourishing international reputation.

On paper, hat number four appears stronger than the third set of teams with former giants Senegal, Cameroon and Guinea joining the Congo while Cape Verde, South Africa, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo complete the 16-nation line-up in pot three.

Cameroon, now without former captain Samuel Eto’o, failed to qualify in 2012 and 2013 which dropped their ranking while Senegal have failed to get past the first round since 2006.

The ‘Indomitable Lions’ of Cameroon, won the last of their four African titles in 2002, when they defeated a Senegal team making their lone appearance in the championship match.

2015 CAN draw:

Pot 1: Equatorial Guinea (hosts), Ghana, Ivory Coast, Zambia

Pot 2: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Tunisia

Pot 3: Cape Verde, South Africa, Gabon, DR Congo

Pot 4: Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea, Congo

Source – kokomansion.com