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 AFCON 2021: Super Eagles beat Egypt; Chukwu, others hail team’s hard work, resilience

Super Eagles celebrating victory

 Nigeria’s Super Eagles, Tuesday, beat the Pharaohs of Egypt 1-0, courtesy of a Kelechi Iheanacho 30th minute goal, in their opening Group D match in Garoua at the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.

By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu, Jan. 11, 2022

Reacting to the result, a former Coach and Captain of the Super Eagles, Christian Chukwu, hailed the team’s resilience and hard work in winning their first match noting that with the win, the national team had passed its Group D hurdles, as the Egyptian side before now posed a major threat to the qualification of Nigeria from the group.

Chukwu made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Tuesday while reacting to the Super Eagles’ encounter with the Pharaohs of Egypt.

“We are very happy. A well-executed match and the match that really showcased the quality the Super Eagles are made of.

“The Super Eagles dominated the play with a lot of hard work and resilience throughout the game,” he said.

Chukwu also commended the Super Eagles’ Coach, Austin Eguavoen, for his hard work in putting the team in shape, saying that the match was played with a team spirit.

He said that the team needed to make constant changes as the need arises.

“However, for now, our team is in order and I believe they will do exploits in this continental event,” he said.

NAN reports that the 2021 AFCON tournament kicked off on Sunday, Jan. 9 in Cameroon and the Super Eagles is drawn in Group D alongside Egypt, Guinea Bissau and Sudan.

NAN also reports that the Super Eagles had won the tournament three times; in Nigeria in 1980; Tunisia in 1994; and South Africa in 2013.

 By Stella Kabruk
Kaduna,  Jan 11, 2022
Meanwhile, sport fans and administrators in Kaduna on Tuesday said the spectacular take-off by Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the ongoing African Cup of Nations, has rekindled their hope in the team.
Reacting to the 1-0 trouncing of the highly-rated Pharoahs of Egypt on Tuesday, the fans told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna that they could now dream of the possibility of clinching the coveted African Football trophy.
They expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Eagles in the match, adding that the display showed the team was in Cameroon for ‘real business’ and needed to maintain the tempo.
Chairman of Kaduna State Football Association, Sheriff Kassim, said with the victory recorded today, the Eagles might clinch the trophy.
” We are happy with the outcome of the match because this is one game I had feared; if the players can maintain this tempo, we will win the tournament.
” With the efforts shown by our team, all the players need is to maintain concentration and be business-like in future matches.
” I congratulate them for a job well done and urge all to be praying for them as the sky is their limit,” he said.
An ex International, Yinka Salifu, described the game as a ‘good start’ for the Eagles.
He said the team started on a strong note, with good pressure up-field, which unsettled the opponents.
“Even though the Egyptians played below expectation, I believe the Eagles came with a game-plan, and it was beautifully executed, kudos to the technical crew.
“The Eagles should build-up on today’s performance, and they will remain favorites; I saw a team of. ‘fearless’ Eagles today,” he said.
Also speaking, Vincent Akinbami ,  Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Elrufai  on Sports Development, said the Eagles surprised most Nigerians.
According to him, a win against seven times champions Egypt, who have not lost a group match in the last 16 group matches in the previous nation’s cup matches, is heart-warming.
He described the game as the best ever by the Nigeria team in recent tournaments, adding, “the aggression was there, the cohesion was there, as well as great changes by the coaches.
“The full backs were effective, the wingers, Simon and Chukweze, were operative, Taiwo Awoniyi was gangling, quick marking by all the players, and the Egyptians looked ordinary”, observed Akinbami.
Bala Musa, a fan, said 80 per cent of Nigerians were  not expecting such a brilliant performance by the Eagles.
“Over the last five years, we have had ‘individuals’ under coach Rohr, he found it difficult to raise a team.
“We now believe in the spirit of Nigeria in the players to surprise the continent.
“The result of this first match will go a long way to determine how well they perform; I can see some of our players winning individual laurels”, he said.
Jide Bodunde , a Sports Journalist, said it was a well-deserved victory for the Eagles as the Egyptians were totally outplayed from start to finish.
He said Moses Simon, Taiwo and Chidera Ejuke, were thorns in the flesh of the Egyptian defence as they created chances.
“Tactically, the Nigerian coaches got things absolutely right; I hope we sustain this tempo in subsequent matches,” he said.
Daniel Solomon, a fan, said seeing the young ambitious players play today, he would be eager to watch their future matches.
“The team selection was good, and the pattern of play was superb. Congratulations to them”, he said.

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