42 — Vanguard, MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2019 MIkel Congo DR players beg fans after bad start The Democratic Republic of Congo’s squad have apologised to their compatriots for unexpectedly losing their opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations to underrated Uganda on Saturday. Both skipper Youssouf Mulumbu, who did not play in the 2-0 defeat, and Chancel Mbemba, who wore the captain’s armband in the game, said sorry in a recorded message that was distributed on Twitter (@Leopard Leader Foot). “We come to you, simply to AFCON 2019: Mikel wants Super Eagles to wrap up Group B quickly Super Eagles captain, John Obi MIkel has stressed the need for the team to wrap up their qualification from group B as quickly as possible when they play against Guinea tomorrow. The Super Eagles labored to a 1-0 win over AF- CON newcomers Burundi on Saturday, but the Super Eagles top the group with three points after debutants Madagascar posted a 2-2 draw with Guinea. “We need to try again to win the next game, “ said Mikel who made a come-back to the team after one year of absence. “We need to try also to win the second game and hopefully qualify from this group as quickly as possible – and then look forward to the next stage.” Speaking on the Burundi game he said: “Yeah, it’s not an easy group, it’s a very tough group. “You can see from today – they [Burundi] are a very organized team, very tough to break down. We were lucky to get the goal. “I think we played well. We had most of the ball, but we couldn’t break them down – we couldn’t get the goal. So it was very crucial for us to get these three points today.” apologise. It’s true that it’s difficult, but we have to,” said Mulumbu, flanked by coach Florent Ibenge and with his team mate standing behind him. “We need unity and it’s true that today we let you down. I hope it’s a good lesson for us. We still have two games to play, we need your support and we will correct the situation very quickly. “We made a big mistake, I know it’s humiliating for the 90-million Congolese. That’s why we come back to you with sincerity and with hand on heart to apologise.” AFCON 2019: NTA/HotSports Live Studios bubble as Odegbami, Other Celebrities thrill Fans Viewing enjoyment of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (Egypt 2019) moved up another niche as more notable football stars and personalities from other spheres join the crew of analysts at the live studios of NTA broadcast of the matches. The studios, located at the Lagos office of HotSports Media Group, the Official Marketing Agency of NTA’s AFCON transmission, will welcome Chief Segun Odegbami, MON to provide insightful perspectives of the matches to the delight of the viewing fans and the sponsors, who are catching in on the terrestrial transmission beamed nationwide to reach their potential and exiting markets. One of the greatest footballers Africa has ever produced and runner-up in African footballer of the year in 1980, the year he inspired the then Green Eagles to lift the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time, Odegbami continues to bestride African – and indeed, world’s – football as an administrator, ambassador and future stars’ builder. The NTA/HotSports broadcast had earlier attracted A list entertainers, led by comedy icon Atunyota Akpobome (well known Ola Aina: Win against Burundi crucial Super Eagles wing back Ola Aina has stated that the win against Burundi in their opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday was crucial to the campaign of the team in Egypt. Aina set up the only goal of the match with a spectacular back heel, which Ighalo seized upon and fired home into the far corner of the net. “Burundi were very tough and gave us a good fight but we were happy we emerged victorious after the final whistle. “Winning the first game of a competition is good for any team and ours is not different. We’re happy with the win and we hope that keeps us going in the tournament.” He added that the Super Eagles have the players to get the job done in the tournament. “No one has a permanent place in the team because the country is blessed with so many talents,” Aina told Goal. Bonus row won’t affect Cameroon, Seedorf assures Seedorf Burundi has quality, says captain Berahino Africa Cup of Nations debutants Burundi faced Nigeria as equals and were able to show that they had quality, their captain Saido Berahino said after his side went down to narrow 1-0 defeat in their opening match. Saturday’s Group B game appeared to be a mismatch with 89 places separating the two sides in the FIFA rankings. Even so, the team known as the Swallows in Battle created the better chances in the first half and held out until Nigeria scored in the 77th minute. “The best thing was the way our players held their heads high against a big nation, and stepping up and playing in a big tournament, because it was tough for a lot of us, even myself,” Berahino told Reuters. “It was good from their coach, as Alibaba), who have provided unique and attractive dimension to sports broadcasting in a manner never in this clime. President of HS Media Group, Taye Ige said that NTA and HotSports have the interest of viewers and sponsors at heart in conceiving the AFCON 2019 live broadcast packages. He believed that winning the first match against Burundi on Sunday night has rekindled the hope that the Super Eagles would go through the group stages and travel all the way to the final on July 19, a scenario that will enable NTA/HotSports live studios to continue with its ground-breaking broadcast for a longer time. “We are here at the NTA/HotSports studios to give millions of NTA viewers memorable and enjoyable time throughout Egypt 2019 and any brand or product that is keen on reaching out to its target market have the perfect platform to do that while the tournament lasts,” Ige, who is also Chief Executive Officer of HS Media Group, assured. Cameroon head coach Clarence Seedorf says the African champions are ‘serene’ and have not been affected by the bonus row which delayed their journey to Egypt for this year’s Nations Cup. Cameroon open against Guinea-Bissau on Tuesday but only flew out of Yaounde on Friday after staging a sit-in protest over bonus disagreements. The Indomitable Lions rejected an offer of 20 million CFA, (approximately US$34,570) for appearance fees, and only set off they gave us a compliment and he said we stood our ground and showed our qualities,” said the 25- year-old who played for Stoke City in the English second tier last season. Berahino Hope rises for Abdullahi’s return Shehu Abdullahi played only 42 minutes of his Africa Nations Cup debut with the Super Eagles after he pulled a hamstring and was substituted, but there might be cheerful news as the player posted an injury update yesterday. Abdullahi struggled with an injury blight last season with Bursaspor and was restricted to 13 league matches for the club, and was really a questionable inclusion in the final 23-man list for the competition. Unfortunately for the 26 year-old he suffered a recurrence of a condition that’s plagued his game all season when he pulled up crocked just before halftime against Burundi. Although the injury looked serious and Aina for Egypt after talks with the country’s sports officials. There were fears the row would dampen the team’s hopes of clinching a sixth continental title, but Seedorf told a gathering of Cameroonian media in Ismailia on Sunday that his players have not been affected. “We are serene and we know why we’re here. At no moment has the team spirit changed. We have a joyful group, with players who know what appearing in such an event represents,” Seedorf told reporters. Own goal ruins Namibia’s resistance against Morocco Gusty Namibia did everything to frustrate overwhelming favourites, Morocco but failed a last minute test as their striker;Itamunua Keimune found the wrong net in the last minute of a Group D opener of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo. But for that, the Namibians would have earned a point and wipe off the memory of a 5-1 loss to Morocco in 2008. The Brave Warriors looked well on course to collect a valuable point against one of the tournament’s favourites, but Keimune headed the ball into his own net with only two minutes left on the clock as he tried to defend a Hakim Ziyech free-kick. The Southern Africans had lived by their nickname, “Brave Warriors” holding their own against the Moroccans for most of the match before the single moment of error gifted the Atlas Lions three valuable points. Coach Herve Renard’s men had struggled to break down a resolute Namibian defence and often tried their luck on set pieces, one of which gave the desired result late on. They had the chances to score especially in the second half with Sofiane Boufal coming on, but luck never stood their end until the own goal. was initially feared it could keep him out for the rest of the competition, Abdullahi tweeted an update and it was skeptically positive. Accompanied by pictures of the team and one of him in action with the tagline: Thanks for the love Nigerians, I appreciate your amazing messages. I will be back soon! The most important thing, keep supporting us, we shall make you proud at the end and conquer Africa. I Love You All. Nigeria will return to action on Wednesday against Guinea, hoping to get a win and effectively book a spot in the round of 16.
FIBA Africa celebrates Basketball Progress in Nigeria •We are motivated to do more- NBBF It was a celebration of exploits of Nigerian Basketball on the global stage at the 17th FIBA Africa Congress in Mali on Saturday. The meeting presided over by Hamane Niang (outgoing President of FIBA Africa) and supported by FIBA World President, Horacio Marotore praised the Nigeria Basketball Federation for its new found status under Engr. Musa Kida led board. According to most delegates, the 8th finish of D’Tigress in Tenerife, Spain at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup was an achievement that will be celebrated for a long time to come by the whole continent as it was the highest finish by any country from Africa in the history of the World Cup. Kida and his board were also congratulated for masterminding a successful qualification for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China by D’Tigers at the Congress also witnessed by FIBA Secretary General, Andreas Zagklis. It will be recalled that with 8 straight wins, Nigeria became the first country in the world to qualify for the biggest basketball event. In his reaction, North East representative on the board, Alhaji Abba Kaka said that the recognition was a deserved one which will motivate the NBBF to do more. Kaka said, “The achievements of this board in the last two years has continued to confound critics while reinforcing the belief that Nigeria can become a world power in basketball if wellfunded. “What we have done in the last two years is not magic but a direct result of an exemplary leadership quality of our President, Engr. Musa Kida.” Kaka also said the presence of Kida and his Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade as NBBF Super Falcons will today arrive Nigeria following their exit from the 2019 Fifa World Cup at the round of 16 stage at the Stade De Alps in Grenoble on Saturday.. After losing 3-0 to Germany, the Falcons returned to their hotel in the heart of Grenoble, where the likes of captain Desire Oparanozie and striker Asisat Oshoala had meetings with the Chairman of the Women Falcons stage sit-in at WWC over unpaid bonuses •3 Players miss flights back to their clubs Super Falcons players threatened a sit-in protest at their hotel over unpaid bonuses and allowances following their Women’s World Cup last-16 defeat by Germany. The team held an overnight Falcons arrive Nigeria today from World Cup By John Egbokhan, France It was another feather to the wings of the Ikoyi Club 1938 Swimming section after emerging winner of this year’s Neptun- Nehein Swimfest in Arnsberg Germany. The young swimmers from the club, most of which emerged from this year’s Zenith Bank/Ikoyi Club 1938 Inter-school Swimming Gala, amassed 42 gold, 48 silver and 27 bronze medals to beat other swimmers from 11 countries to the number one position. Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said it was great to see how the investment of the organisation has worked wonders. “We are proud of the swimmers and we believe very soon, they will also be representing Nigeria at global events,’’ the Zenith Bank boss said.. The chairman of the swimming section of the club, Oloyede Obatoyinbo, expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the swimmers while also saying duly recognized delegates has put paid to the recent social media debates over who is in charge of basketball administration in Super Falcons Football League, Aisha Falode to review undisclosed issues, Vanguard was reliably informed that the team would fly into Nigeria today. Team media officer, Jane Nweze told our correspondent covering the World Cup in France that the team were through with the assignment here. “We are through here and we would be in Nigeria today. It was a good experience and we are happy with our stay and performance here”, said Nweze. meeting in their Grenoble hotel with Aisha Falode, the president of the Nigeria Women Football League. After hours of deliberation, the Nigerian Football Federation has promised to pay the outstanding fees, some of which date back to 2016. The team will now leave the hotel. One of the players said meetings were also held between players and the NFF board. As a result of the meetings, three players missed their flights back to their clubs, which will now be rescheduled. The outstanding money also includes the Fifa participation fee for playing in the tournament. However, according to the NFF, that fee will only be distributed to players after the conclusion of the Women’s World Cup because Fifa is not Vanguard, MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2019 — 43 Women’s World Cup 2019: Cameroon players refuse to play after VAR review Cameroon vent their frustration in dramatic fashion as they have a goal ruled out by VAR for offside against England in the World Cup last 16. England progressed to the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 victory over an enraged Cameroon side who protested after two VAR decisions went against them. Goals from Steph Houghton, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood sent England through to face Norway on Thursday, but the fractious game will be remembered for Cameroon’s extraordinary reactions to White’s goal and a disallowed effort from Ajara Nchout. The distraught Cameroon players twice appeared unwilling to scheduled to release the money until later in the year. The Super Falcons have only been paid half the N2m (£4,360) they are owed from previous international fixtures over several years. Five players have now received their bonuses and allowances. Due to their threats, the money is being released in bits by the NFF. It is not the first time Nigeria have protested over unpaid bonuses - after winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2016, the squad staged a public demonstration in Abuja, while in 2004, they sat for three days in their hotel after winning the Africa title until allowances were paid. Germany beat Nigeria 3-0 on Saturday to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Zenith Bank hails Ikoyi Club swimmers after Swimfest win that they need to work more as they can do better than what they have done. While also applauding the sponsor of the club’s swimming competition, Zenith Bank, for investing so much in developing the young minds, he called on others to emulate them and invest in different sports within the club. “I am happy we came first again but I know we can do better,” he We were not ready —Dennerby By John Egbokhan, France Super Falcons manager, Thomas Dennerby has said that his team were the finished product capable of beating twotime champions Germany in the FIFA World Cup last 16 tie weekend at the Stade De Alpes in Grenoble. Speaking at the press conference moments after the record African champions were said. “Some of the events we won silver and bronze, it would have been gold, but for me it was a good outing generally and I want to applaud all the swimmers for their performance. “It is a joy for them winning the title and for us as a club and we will continue to do our best to expose all these young talents to more championships especially handed a 3-0 thrashing by Germany, Dennerby said his girls gave their all against a highly rated opposition, who are ranked second best team in the world. “We were not ready for them in terms of what we have on ground. We were not attacking the ball. We were nor taking risks and we needed to take risks to get something against Germany against top swimmers from around the world. “We are looking forward to having some of them winning medals at the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games and also World Championships. “I really want to praise Zenith Bank for their support and hope others can come out and do same thing, not only for swimming, but for other sports too.” “We played against the number two country in the world and at this stage those things may count” Dennerby noted that going forward that more work would be done on the players. “We will keep working hard on the team and we need to play more games against teams that will toughen us up. We need to make use of all the FIFA dates”. restart the match, gathering in a huddle after White’s strike was given and remonstrating with the officials further after half-time. Captain Houghton struck England’s opener after an early backpass gave England an indirect free-kick, before the drama escalated. Striker White placed in England’s second, which was initially ruled out before the video assistant referee deemed White to have been onside, but Cameroon reacted furiously and gestured to suggest the big screen’s replays had indicated differently. The African side thought they had pulled a goal back after the break through Nchout, but their despair increased when it was disallowed after a VAR review for an extremely tight offside call. England left-back Greenwood then swept in the Lionesses’ third to secure a win that saw them reach at least the last eight of the competition for a fifth time, and for the fourth consecutive World Cup. Lioness of Cameroon ‘That wasn’t football’ - England Neville on fiery Cameroon game England boss Phil Neville described Cameroon’s behaviour as “unacceptable” after a World Cup last-16 win which he said “didn’t feel like football”. The Lionesses booked a quarter-final spot against Norway after a 3-0 win. But the game was marred by Cameroon’s extraordinary reaction to two video assistant referee decisions and several poor challenges on England’s players. “I’m afraid today we saw behaviour that was unacceptable on the football field,” Neville told the BBC. “At times, we probably didn’t know whether the game would continue. “It didn’t feel like football. It was a good win but that wasn’t a World Cup last-16 tie in terms of behaviour that I want to see from footballers. “This is going out worldwide. I didn’t enjoy it, the players didn’t enjoy it. My players kept their concentration fantastically, but those images are going out worldwide about how to act, the young girls playing all over the world that are seeing that behaviour. For me, it’s not right. Neville