A last minute brilliant solo goal by Ashraf Yahaya secured a 6-5 win for Lagos Alchemy to edge Lagos Avon as the 2018 Lagos Polo International Tournament got underway on Tuesday.
In another Silver Cup match, Kano BUA also clawed back to beat Ibadan Jericho 5-3 in the opening match of the two-phase tournament, which has GTBank as main sponsor.
In the match between Alchemy and Avon, Sodiq Rabiu also played a key role as Alchemy triumphed despite falling to two-goal in the first chukka. He scored two great back hand goals to keep his side in the game.
The match between Jericho and BUA was heading the former’s way as they raced to a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals by Edozie Onwuli and team captain Koyin Owoeye but Abba Dantata and Baccha Mustapha had the final say as they scored the fourth and fifth goal in the final chukka which began with scored level 3-3.
Quite remarkably, 11-year-old Selim Dantata, also played a key role in the win on a day he showed that he has the potential to join the fold of polo players lighting up the Nigerian polo stage from the Dantata clan.
There are four matches lined up for Wednesday with the match between Lagos RCF featuring Natalie Allen, the only female player in the tournament, battling Lagos Lameana.
Allan, who made her debut last year, is hoping to turn on the style once more as she hopes to come out victorious with her team in this clash.
“I’m excited to be playing again and I’m looking forward to a good game. Playing with Yusuf Katako and ‘boy wonder’ Timi Badiru will be a great experience for me. This year’s competition is fierce and we are looking for goals and looking to prevent goals as well because qualification will boils down to how many goals you scored in the matches you won and how many were scored against you Tuesday by beating Lagos Avon and Ibadan Jericho.
Other matches on the card for midweek will see Kano Hago tango with Port Harcourt Strata base while Lagos Anglestone will face Ibadan Eleyele.
The final match of the day promises to be explosive as Lagos STL face off with Lagos Twin Water.
Eagles’ll prove FIFA wrong – Rohr
Super Eagles Manager Gernot Rohr has said Nigeria will prove FIFA by emerging from Grop D of the World Cup despite being rated lowest in that section. Nigeria slipped in the current FIFA rankings; the Eagles are rated 56th in the world far behind Argentina, Croatia and even Iceland. Rohr is unfazed by the continuous tumbling of his team on FIFA rankings, saying the lads will prove their mettle when the tournament takes the centre stage in June.
“Everybody knows that FIFA is a respectable organization; they also know that we are ranked the lowest in our group but we want to prove to everyone what we can do by getting out of the group. We want go all the way in the competition and I trust my players they will do that,” the coach said at the venue of the NFF awards on Monday.
Echiejile seeks to cement Eagles’ position
Super Eagles’ left-back Elderson Echiejile is happy to return to the pitch after an injury spell in the past few months made him miss games for the country, AOIFootball.com reports.
The former AS Monaco player, who joined Belgium’s second division side Cercle Brugge on loan from Turkey’s Sivaspor on the final day of the winter transfer window, told AOIFootball.com exclusively that he was happy to be back and relished the opportunity to wear the Eagles’ jersey against Poland and Serbia next month. “It feels nice to be back after injury setbacks. I missed the games against Algeria and Argentina, but I’m back now and I want to always give my best for the country.
“The games against Poland and Serbia will be key to our World Cup preparations and I believe this kind of games can help us prepare well ahead of the tournament proper in June,” Echiejile said.
Echiejile further expressed confidence in cementing his left-back role, saying the competition is good for the team and will make the coaches select the best for the World Cup.
“Currently there are three or maybe four left-backs in the team; should I be scared? I don’t think so because this competition for places is a statement that the national team is returning to his glory days,” Echiejile concluded.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles’ defender made his debut for second division side Cercle Brugge in a league game at the weekend. He featured for the entire duration of the encounter against St. Gilloise. He was booked for a foul in the 89th minute of the game.
Supporters’ Club plans to take 20 lucky fans to Russia 2018
National chairman of Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Reverend Samuel Ikpea, has confirmed plans to take 20 lucky Nigerian fans to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia through a planned raffle draw in Lagos on April 29.
Ikpea explained that following a partnership with Telecom Youth Games, 20 fans who would be picked at the April 29 draw would be sponsored to and fro Russia- including feeding, accommodation and transport “All Nigerians wishing to go to Russia to support the Super Eagles should do is to buy World Cup raffle draw tickets at the National Stadium, Lagos, State Football Association Secretariats nation wide for N200 only.
Once you are lucky to have your ticket picked at the draw, you are qualified for full sponsorship to and fro Russia,” concluded Ikpea. Meanwhile, the chairman has expressed shock over the death of Kano Pillars star, Chinedu Udoji in an auto crash. Udoji, a veteran of the league died on Sunday and Ikpea has described the sudden demise as a huge loss to Nigerian football. “On behalf of Nigeria Football Supporters Club, I sympathise with family of Udoji and Kano Pillars.
It’s indeed a painful death of a promising player. He was such a dedicated player from when he was captain of Enyimba of Aba before moving to Kano Pillars. “We at the Supporters Club pray God to give the Udoji Family, Kano Pillars F.C and the football fraternity the fortitude to bear the huge loss,” Ikpea said.
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