Nigeria have qualified for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled for Cameroon ahead of their Match Day 5 fixture.
This happened after Sierra Leone played a goalless draw with Lesotho on Saturday.
Lesotho hosted Sierra Leone in the earlier fixture at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru, drawing 0-0.
This meant table-toppers Nigeria with eight points have secured their 2021 AFCON ticket, while the Benin Republic with seven points can also ensure qualification.
But this will be if they get a draw against visiting Nigeria.
Sierra Leone with four points occupied the third spot on the log.
They will be counting on the Super Eagles to do them the favour of beating the Squirrels in Port Novo.
Nigeria’s victory over the Benin Republic will give the Leone Stars a slim hope of qualification heading into their penultimate round fixture.
Bottom-placed Lesotho with three points are out of the race and will be playing for pride against the Super Eagles at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Tuesday.
GROUP L MP W D L Pts
1. Nigeria 4 2 2 0 8
2. Benin 4 2 1 1 7
3. Sierra Leone 5 0 4 1 4
4. Lesotho 5 0 3 2 3
By Gowon Akpodonor/ GUARDIAN.NG
• Team Makes First Sea Voyage Since 1949
• Ahmed Musa, Gernot Rohr Speak
After two-hour voyage on the sea, players and officials of the Super Eagles landed in Porto Novo yesterday with a vow to cripple their host, Squirrels of Benin Republic in today’s games of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. The trip to Porto Novo through waterway from Lekki was the first time for the Super Eagles since their maiden predecessors, the famed UK Tourists, made a journey by sea from Lagos to Liverpool in August 1949.
The Nigerian contingent hit Porto Novo Jetty with much buzz, glitz and glitter yesterday afternoon in six boats.
Nigeria’s ambassador to Benin Republic, His Excellency Ambassador Olawale Awe, led mission staff to await the delegation and then accompanied the team and its officials to the Golden Tulip Hotel in Cotonou. The Super Eagles will ride by bus to Porto Novo this morning and return to the Golden Tulip after their clash with the Squirrels at the Stade Charles de Gaulle.
With three–pointer, Sierra Leone, scheduled to commence hostilities with bottom–placed Lesotho at 3pm GMT today, it means the match in southern Africa would have ended before Nigeria and Benin due to kick off at 6pm GMT. A draw in Maseru will ensure the Super Eagles are through to the finals in Cameroon.
However, the Eagles have vowed to cripple their host so as to make it a double over the Squirrels.
Team Captain Ahmed Musa said: “We are not looking at what happens in Lesotho. It is not necessary for us to bother ourselves with what they play. Our focus is to get the three points here in Porto Novo and wrap up qualification. Three points will get us to Cameroon no matter what anyone plays, and that is what we are determined to get.”
In November 2019, the Squirrels shocked the Eagles with a goal inside the first five minutes at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, before goals by Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu earned the Eagles all three points. The Eagles followed up with a 4-2 defeat of Lesotho in Maseru four days later to fly to the top of the pool, but drew in their home-and-away duels with Sierra Leone last year.
Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr said rediscovering winning mentality is important for the Eagles before going into the FIFA World Cup qualifying battles.
“I am keen for the winning mentality,” he said. “We need it very much and when we rediscover it, we must keep it.”
Qualification in Porto Novo today will guarantee Nigeria’s 19th appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, having won three times, secured second spot (silver) four times and finished third (bronze) eight times in 18 previous participations.
The Super Eagles will be seeking their first victory in 497 days since they beat Lesotho 4-2 in Maseru in 2019. They have since gone four matches without a win, including throwing away a four-goal first have lead against Sierra Leone at home, according to Sports Village Square.
Nigeria were the opponents of Benin Republic (then called Dahomey) when they played their first ever international match on 8 November 1959.
Porto Novo, the venue of today’s AFCON qualifier was also the venue of the first ever Benin versus Nigeria match on November 8, 1959. Today’s game will be 21st encounter of both teams. Benin Republic have never beaten the Super Eagles in 20 preceding matches, with Nigeria winning 15 and drew five.
In total, Nigeria have scored 55 goals against Benin Republic. The scorer of the very first of the goals is Albert Onyeawuna in a Nigerian 1-0 triumph in Porto Novo in 1959.
Super Eagles’ Alex Iwobi has tested positive for COVID-19 following mandatory tests taken alongside other players and staff members.
It was gathered that Iwobi will consequently be missing the 2021 AFCON qualifiers match against the Squirrels of Benin Republic coming up at 5 pm Saturday.
The team had been subjected to coronavirus tests before leaving Nigeria and on arrival at Porto Novo Friday.
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The Presidency has dispelled rumoured rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
It described the rumour as a work of media mischief makers.
In a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency noted one of the reasons cited by authors of the rumour was the fact that Tinubu had not been frequently seen around President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The statement, however, explained Tinubu’s distance from the State House had not been as a result of is a friction between him and Buhari but because the former Lagos governor is not a cabinet minister.
“The Presidency wishes to make it clear that there is no rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and his strong ally, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“The President and the Asiwaju have a very strong commitment to the All Progressives Congress, APC towards bringing CHANGE and this is a commitment they have made to the Nigerian people.
“Recent reports of a rift between the two leaders of our party are false; the handiwork of some media mischief makers.
“It is quite unfortunate that certain sections of the media feed on birthing controversies, providing a nexus for naysayers who work behind the scenes planting such stories, which are absolutely false.
“This administration is aware of pessimists and cynics who willfully spread misinformation to create doubts in the minds of the people about the relationship between its leaders and whether the party will remain intact or not.
“There is no doubt that the President and the party are focused on development, peace and security, restructuring of the economy and war against corruption in the country and will not be diverted to anything else. This desperate attempt to fool the people will not succeed.
“To President Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu remains one of the most respected political leaders in the country, who has stuck to his principles in the face of all adversities.
“He was instrumental to the formation, growth and development of the APC into a formidable political party and the political alliance is waxing even stronger.
“If the Asiwaju is not a frequent face in the Aso Rock Villa, it is on account of the fact that he is not a cabinet member of this government. The fact that he is not every day around the Villa does not make him less of a friend to the President and this administration,” the statement reads.
(CNN)The White headmaster of a Catholic school on Long Island has resigned following reports that he had a Black student kneel in apology last month, calling it "the African way" to apologize.
Women make up a large number of those killed in a deadly campaign of targeted attacks on civil society in Afghanistan by extremist groups opposed to them working outside the home.
One television station in the eastern city of Jalalabad has been forced to send all its female staff home for their own safety, after four young female employees were killed in recent months.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are interested in signing the Sevilla forward Lucas Ocampos at the end of the season.
The 26-year-old has been outstanding for the Spanish outfit since joining them in 2019 and Wolves are looking to strengthen their attack with the signing of the Argentine international.
Ocampos can play across the front three and he could prove to be a quality addition to the Wolves attack alongside Raul Jimenez and Pedro Neto. The 26-year-old has 7 goals and 4 assists to his name so far this season.
According to Football Insider, the player has three years left on his Sevilla contract and he has a release clause of £62 million.
Apparently, the Spanish club could sell him for much less because of the financial crisis due to the pandemic.
SL View: Upgrade on Adama Traore?
It will be interesting to see if Wolves are willing to pay big money to sign the Argentine international this summer.
The likes of Adama Traore have been quite underwhelming this season and Wolves should look to replace the Spaniard with Ocampos. Traore is an excellent dribbler but his decision making in the final third often lets him down. Ocampos on the other hand is much more efficient and he has more end product in his game.
The 26-year-old is at the peak of his powers right now and he has the quality to come in and make an immediate impact for the Molineux outfit next season.
Time magazine announced on Monday that it plans on getting into the crypto market.
According to a Tweet from Time’s President Keith Grossman, the magazine and news website will begin accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment for digital subscriptions within the next thirty days.
The company will also be selling three of its magazine covers as non-fungible tokens, according to a report from Yahoo Finance.
Time released its first-ever NFT cover on Monday featuring the words “Is Fiat Dead?” in a nod to iconic cover designs from the past. The company is auctioning the NFT and two others on SuperRare, a digital artworks marketplace.
The move by time to enter the NFT and market comes amid a boom for the digital collectibles industry.
After Beeple’s $69 million sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” NFTs have become the talk of the town. Google searches for “NFT” hit a record high over the weekend, and even musicians like Steve Aoki are entering the market selling millions worth in digital art/collectibles.
Time President Keith Grossman told Yahoo Finance’s Julia La Roche that he believes other media companies will be “very hesitant” to jump into digital currencies “beyond collectibles.”
Grossman said that his company is “very comfortable seeing the trend lines as to where this is going. And so our goal is is to get there first to get there fast. And then to be able to open it up to others.”
Bitcoin’s rise to over $60,000 per coin, before a recent pullback, has brought new attention to the digital currency market. Over the past year alone bitcoin has seen its price jump roughly 800%. And despite warnings from economists, investors, professors, and more, the digital currency continues its historic rise.