Wed, Sep

President of AFCON, Amaju Pinnick, told the gathering of African football’s decision makers yesterday in Rabat why CAF’s flagship tournament should be expanded.

“This proposal is hinged on sporting, commercial and infrastructural reasons, and we believe that sooner than later, everyone would come to appreciate the position of the proponents of a bigger Africa Cup of Nations.

“George Weah from Liberia became the only African to have been named the World Player of the Year, same year he was voted the African Player of the Year and European Player of the Year. He is from a nation (Liberia) many would consider a minnow in the African game. If we have a bigger AFCON, there will definitely be more talented players coming onto the stage, and we could just discover that the next ‘Weah’ would come from either Djibouti or Botswana.

“For commercial reason, more corporate organizations and stakeholders will be involved and it is certainly a bigger cake for everyone. CAF will be richer and the Member Associations will surely benefit. When UEFA staged the European Championship in 2012, when it was a 16 –team event, they made a profit of $1.5 billion. Last year, when they staged a 24 –team event for the first time, they made $2.1 billion.

“Having a 24 –team AFCON will also compel the development of stadia facilities across the African continent, as CAF will certainly encourage co-hosting, and this will also ginger general infrastructural development in the continent.”

The African Football Symposium with the theme, 'African Football: Our Vision' ended yesterday in Rabat, Morocco with high hopes for the future of football in Africa.

Antonin Panenka resurfaced in the shape of a Moroccan – Youssef El Gnaoui - on Friday night in Rabat to leave pain and gnashing of teeth in his wake as Nigerian side, Rivers United FC bowed out of the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup with a whimper. 

United needed to win at a rocking Stade du FUS (Hay Nahda, Rabat) but started on the back foot with the North Africans pushing and probing in search of an early goal.

They almost got it in the fourth minute when El Gnaoui forced a brilliant save off the Rivers United goalkeeper, Abiodun Akande who would go on to have a barn storming game.

Three minutes later, United were reeling again as Ifeanyi Nweke rallied to produce a goal line clearance before Akande evoked memories of former Colombia international maverick goalkeeper, Rene Higuita by heading away a dangerous free kick. 

FUS continued to dominate but profligacy coupled with an Akande in inspired form, kept the former Botola Pro champions at bay.

There is a maxim in football which buttresses a point about paying the price when you fail to convert numerous opportunities and it was ruthlessly displayed when United scored with their first real opening of the game.

Nweke’s opportunistic cross into the FUS box was flapped at by goalkeeper, Aymane Majid and the loose ball fell towards the path of poacher, Bolaji Sakin.

The big striker could not believe his luck as he calmly took aim and curled the ball into the far corner to give the ‘Pride of Rivers’ a fortuitous lead.

It was a horrible time to concede but to their credit, FUS did not panic; they stayed true to their ideals and philosophy; playing their passing game which soon led to ultimate punishment for the Port Harcourt club in a high octane second half.


Youssef El Gnaoui tapped into an unguarded net from close range in the 52nd minute following good work by El Mehdi El Bassil after Bernard Ovoke unsuccessfully tried to dribble his way from the back. 

The Moroccans struck the final nail into the Rivers United coffin with just two minutes remaining on the clock when Mohammed Fouzair converted a penalty – ala Panenka- after Festus Austine needlessly handled the ball in the box. 

It was a richly deserved victory for the Moroccans who dominated and were denied on two occasions by goal line clearances from Nweke and Joseph Douhadji. 

The Rivers United goalkeeper, Abiodun Akande was his side’s best performer on the day as he produced a series of top class save to help keep the eventual result respectable. 

Technical manager of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma and his counterpart from FUS Rabat, Hoalid Regragui gave their thoughts about the game in a post-match press conference.  

Rivers United finished bottom of Group A with six points from six matches while KCCA finished in third place with nine points after losing 0-4 in Tunis to the eventual table toppers, Club Africain. 

United and KCCA thus crash out of the competition at the group stage while the two North Africans march on.

FUS Rabat qualified for the quarter finals after finishing in second place with nine points from six matches. 


FUS Rabat: Aymane Majid, Mehdi Khalis, Saad Khorsa (Hamza Semmoumy 74’), Naif Aguerd, Ayoub Skouma, Mohammed Fouzair, Badr Boulhroud, Lamina Diakite, Zakaria Benlamachi, El Mehdi El Bassil and Youssouf El Gnaoui (Mohammed Saoud 86’).

Substitutes not used: Ibourahima Sidibe and Younes Ezziadi.

Rivers United: Abiodun Akande, Festus Austine, Douhadji Joseph, Ifeanyi Nweke, Ovoke Bernard (Guy Kuemian 90), Saka Ayo (Egbuonu Odumegwu 66’), Bolaji Sakin (Wassa Gabriel 81’), Zoumana Doumbia levitra  Lukman Mohammed  Alliassou Sanou  and Ojobo Markson.

Substitutes not used: Femi Thomas, Ayobami Asekunowo and Obomate Frederick.

Yellow cards: Zoumana Doumbia (59’) and Abiodun Akande (87’)


Speaking to sports writers shortly after the hotly - contested encounter at

the Pantami Stadium, Biffo said the officials comprising Imam Malik Umar,

Idris Nuhu, Abubakar Safiayanu and Shehu Saidu all from  the Kano State

Referees Council were fair, firm and in full control throughout the match.

Despite Abia Warriors 1-2 loss to hosts, Gombe United in a Nigeria

Professional Football League encounter last Wednesday, Chief Coach of the

Umuahia based side, Abdullahi Biffo has doffed his hat for the referees who

handled the match for a job well done.


"The officials were simply fantastic and had the game under control" Biffo

said insisting that his team's defeat had nothing to do with bad

officiating but rather a result of loss of concentration and a bit of hard



"I can't still believe that we lost this match. We were fully in control

and even held unto our lead until late in the game but things suddenly fell

apart. Well, that's football for you. We will now go back and correct the

mistakes to avoid a repeat in our future games " the former Niger Tornadoes

gaffer said.


During the match, Afolabi Abdulwaheed and substitute, Sani Mohammed Abbani

scored in the 79th and 85th minutes to overturn what looked like a helpless

situation for the under pressure home team after Yakub  Hammed had given

the Warriors the lead in the 62nd minute  following a good build-up that

also involved Sunday Adetunji, Sherif Bashir and Shedrack Asiegbu.

Stuart Baxter, coach of the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, has mocked Nigerian Super Eagles after their 2-0 loss in Uyo on Saturday in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.


The Englishman said that much as the Super Eagles controlled the match, especially in the early stages, the team lacked the required quality upfront.



Speaking to South African media on Sunday, Baxter noted that with good cutting edge in front of goal, the score line would not have been bad for the Super Eagles.


“We are still relishing that result and it is good that we win. I am so happy because I just joined the team back and it is good we start well for the AFCON qualifiers.


North threat: ‎Arewa youths must withdraw threat, apologise to Igbos – APC youths


“I will still say kudos to the Nigerians because they stretched us and made some dangerous movements. But if I may sound very respectful and modest, their attack was not the very best they could have presented.



“They were without quality frontline, otherwise, they could have scored in the early exchanges but like I said earlier, it is good that my players responded very well in the match,” he said.


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Nigeria is currently third in the qualifying group behind leaders, Libya, and South Africa and will play Seychelles, who lost 1-5 to Libya in their next encounter.

The 2018 CAA African Senior Athletics Championships set to hold in Asaba, Delta state received a big boost after Chinese automaker, GAC Motors backed the championships with a sponsorship deal worth N800 million.

In a bid to reduce the cost burden on the host city, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the Asaba 2018 CAA African Senior Athletics Championships reached out to interested sponsors.

Olukayode Thomas, Head Media, and Publicity, of the LOC Asaba 2018 CAA African Senior Athletics Championships, revealed that the deal was brokered by Nilayo Sports Management Limited, the championships’ Official Consultant and Marketer.

The 2018 edition of CAA African Athletics Championships will serve as trials for the highly competitive and lucrative 2018 IAAF World Cup in Athletics modafinil .

Early goals from Bernard Ovoke and Frederick Obomate helped Nigerian representative in the CAF confederations cup, Rivers United back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Ugandan side Kampala City Council Authority, KCCA in the match-day 4 encounter at the Yakubu Gowon stadium Port Harcourt.

Rivers United had the upper hand from the kick off and the advantage saw Bernard Ovoke capitalised on the sloppy KCCA defence to head home the first goal in Just 54 seconds after kickoff before Frederick Obomate connected a pass and with all the composure and calm slotted home beyond the goalkeeper despite the pressure from the KCCA defence in the 15th minute of the game.

the goal jolted the Ugandan side to life with Geofrey Serunkuma profiting from a defensive lapse by Rivers united to reduce the deficit just before half time.

The second half saw KCCA grow in confidence but could not convert the dominance to goals before they were reduced to 10 men when Kavuma received a  second booking for a foul on Bolaji Sakin in the 89th minute.

The victory moves Rivers United into second spot in group A of the with 6 points from 4 games.


Derrick Nsibambi scored twice for Uganda's KCCA to earn them a 2-1 win over Nigeria's Rivers United in Kampala on Saturday.

He scored KCCA's first after 15 minutes before Bolaji Sakin fired into the roof of the net 18 minutes later to equalize for Rivers.

Nsibambi scored what proved to be the winner with a shot from inside the area with 19 minutes left to play.

Despite the win KCCA coach Mike Mutebi felt his side should have won by more.

"We should have got more goals because we created the chances, but now we return to the drawing board for the away game in Nigeria on June 20th," he said.

His Nigerian counterpart Stanley Eguma was not happy with his defence.

"My boys tried to play a good game, but the early goal was our problem. We also didn't defend well," he said.

The other match in Group A was played on Friday and Morocco's FUS Rabat came from behind to beat visiting Club Africain of Tunisia 2-1.

Algerian Ibrahim Chenihi gave the Tunisian's the lead after 19 minutes before FUS drew level early in the second half through a penalty by Mohammed Fouzair.

Ayoub Skouma found the net in injury time to give the Moroccans all three points.

The results mean that after three group matches FUS and KCCA both have six points while Rivers and Club Africain are on three.

Also on Saturday in Group D there was a 1-0 win for Guinea's Horoya away in Gabon against Mounana.

Seydou Camara with the only goal of the match after 72 minutes.

The result puts Horoya onto five points from three matches while Mounana are still searching for the first one of the group stage.

On Sunday holder TP Mazembe of DR Congo host SuperSport United of South Africa in the other Group D encounter both sides are on four points from two games.

On Friday in Group B Swaziland's Mbabane Swallows earned a goalless draw with visitors Mouloudia Alger of Algeria.

The draw keeps Mouloudia at the top of Group B with five points and Mbabane second a point behind.

Three-time winners CS Sfaxien can overtake both teams if they beat South Africa's Platinum Stars in Tunisia on Sunday evening.

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