Five-time world champions Nigeria became the first African team to book a 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup ticket after 1-0 defeat of Angola in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.
Olakunle Olusegun earned the ticket to the tournament semifinals and to Brazil 2019 when he hooked a 21st-minute penalty to the roof of the net with Angola’s goalkeeper Geovani stranded.
But the Golden Eaglets were guilty of profligacy and the technical crew certainly has much to do still.
As happened against host nation Tanzania on Sunday, the Eaglets proved to be masters of the use of space and close control, but they mostly lacked the right ideas and punch in the final third, just as some passes went astray at critical moments.
Two-goal hero against Tanzania, Wisdom Ubani could have been on the scoresheet in the 11th minute but his fierce effort from a 22 –yard free kick went narrowly off target.
Angola were not to be brow-beaten, as Zito latched onto the ball a few metres from the centre and unleashed a rocket that goalkeeper Sunday Stephen, in for the jittery Suleman Shaibu, did well to punch away.
Three minutes later, Stephen had to be alert to push away another fierce Angolan shot, but two minutes later, at the other end, Ubani’s swift turn and shot came quite close with Geovani beaten.
An Angolan defender handled the ball in the box under pressure in the 21st minute, and Olusegun made no mistake from the spot to put Nigeria in front.
They could have had many more, but Shedrack Tanko bundled against the upright in the 42nd minute when it appeared easier to score, and Olusegun’s effort to chip Goevani from a swift counter was well –read by the goalkeeper.
In the second period, the Eaglets’ profligacy continued, even after the Angolans were reduced to 10 men in the 51st minute as Jose Cabincano earned a second yellow card.
In the 53rd minute, Ubani’s stinging shot from 25 yards went narrowly over, and on the hour, when it appeared easier to score, Ubani passed the ball to onrushing Olusegun who missed from close range.
Substitutes Ibraheem Jabaar, Divine Nwachukwu and Peter Agba could not effect any improvement in the Eaglets’ game, and Nwachukwu even missed a glorious opportunity with six minutes to the end.
The win means that the Eaglets return to the FIFA U17 World Cup after missing out of the last edition staged in India two years ago.
Nigeria will certainly finish at the head of Group A if they avoid defeat against Uganda at the same venue on Saturday.
FIFA Ban: I’ve done nothing wrong – Siasia
Former Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia has expressed shock over his ban by FIFA and accused the world soccer ruling body of dishing out punishment without contacting him.
The former U-23 coach, in a swift reaction on social media following news of his ban, vowed to fight to clear his name.
He wondered how a person can be charged and found guilty of an allegation without being heard from.
He also dismissed claims by FIFA that a letter to that effect has been dispatched to him while re-echoing that he has not done anything wrong.
“I am shocked with FIFA ban, I was never questioned by FIFA.
“I don’t know anything about this. I did nothing wrong and I have not received any letter from FIFA,” he said.
Siasia, who led Nigeria’s Olympic team to Silver Medal finish in 2016, insisted he was hearing about the allegation and the said decision for the first time.
There are strong indications that the former Super Eagles star who scored 16 goals in 51 appearances for the national team will appeal the decision.
Some say the 52 -year- old former Lokeren of Belgium striker may drag FIFA to Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
The court has recently been inundated by cases involving fIFA and other stakeholders including Presidents of Football federations.
FIFA bans Siasia for life over bribe, match manipulation
Samson Siasia has been banned for life by FIFA after being found guilty over bribery and manipulation of matches.
The former Super Eagles of Nigeria coach has been banned from all football-related activities over attempts to rig matches at international level.
The world football’s governing body said it opened disciplinary proceedings after a vast investigation into various international matches that Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer, had attempted to manipulate for betting purposes.
“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Mr. Samson Siasia, a former official of the Nigeria Football Federation, guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” FIFA statement said.
“The formal ethics proceedings against Mr. Siasia were initiated on 11 February 2019 and stem from an extensive investigation into matches that Mr. Wilson Raj Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes.
“This large-scale investigation was conducted by FIFA via its competent departments and in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders and authorities.
“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr. Siasia had breached art. 11 (Bribery) of the 2009 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and banned him for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
“In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 50,000 has been imposed on Mr. Siasia. The decision was notified to Mr. Siasia today, the date on which the ban comes into force.”
Lionel Messi given three-month ban and £41k fine over his claims Copa America was ‘corrupt’ and ‘set up for Brazil to win’
Lionel Messi has been given three-month suspension and £41,000 fine following his controversial comments about Copa America tournament.
The Barcelona superstar and Argentine striker accused the South American governing body CONMEBOL of being ‘corrupt’ just after Argentina won their third-place play-off against Chile.
He was shown a straight red card against Chile for clashing with Gary Medel on the pitch of play last month. The 32-year-old also refused to be on the pitch for the medal ceremony.
When asked why he didn’t show up, Messi told reporters: ‘There is no doubt, the whole thing is set up for Brazil.
‘I did not want to be part of this corruption, we shouldn’t have to be part of this disrespect we suffered during the Copa America.
We could have gone further but we weren’t allowed into the final. Corruption, referees and all the rest stopped people from enjoying the football.
‘I always tell the truth and I’m honest, that is what keeps me calm if what I say has repercussions that is not my business.’
CONMEBOL hit back at him with an official statement describing his comments as ‘unacceptable.’
They initially hit him with a one-match ban but have now added more severe punishment.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been given a fine of £41,000 and three-month suspension that will restrict him from playing for Argentina again this year.
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