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Snippets from AFCON '19: After Europa, Iwobi dreams another final

1st Jul, 2019 | By Our Reporter | ||

Super Eagles star Alex Iwobi dreams of playing a second final in three months as he looks to help his country's national team reach the final of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019 on their return following a two-edition hiatus. Iwobi, who plays a starring role as his English club Arsenal, reached the final of the UEFA Europa League, where they lost to Chelsea and with that pain still burning in his heart, the 23-year old wants to make amends by having a taste of national glory with Nigeria.

He said: ''Of course it is everyone's dream as a player to win a title. Of course, it was painful losing the final (Europa) with my club but now I have to focus here. For us as a country there is no bigger title in Africa to win than this, so we will go for it.'' The pacy winger was nurtured at Arsenal's football academy as a child and picks inspiration from his uncle, Nigerian legend Jay Jay Okocha. He believes the current Super Eagles squad has a good chance to make history by winning their fourth title.

Having won in 2013 under their captain, the late Stephen Keshi, Nigeria failed to qualify for the last two editions but have now returned with the hunger to ensure they get back to the kings' table of African football. Iwobi believes Nigeria has the quality to vie for the title, though he admits it will be tough considering it is an expanded tourney with all of Africa's top football countries present in Egypt.

''I believe we have the potential because we have a lot of great players. It is not easy but as long as we do our best, we will have a chance. We are in a tough group and the first target, of course, is to get out of it and then from there we will take a step at a time,'' stated the Arsenal winger. Nigeria started their campaign with a slim 1-0 win over Burundi with substitute Odion Ighalo netting a late winner. Iwobi believes they showed character against a very tough Burundi side and reiterates that the result gave them confidence in the tough encounter against Guinea. …Mikel may quit Super Eagles
Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel has hinted that his sojourn with the Super Eagles might be coming to an end, saying the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019 may be the last time he is seen at the biennial championship. Mikel, formerly with Chelsea but now with Middleborough in the English second tier, played his first ever Cup of Nations in Egypt, back in 2006. Thirteen years later, the 32-year-old says it will be a pleasant honour for him to make his final goodbyes in the same city his national team journey started from.

At the team's pre-match press conference ahead of their opening game against Burundi, Mikel said:" I remember in 2006, I was young and it was my first year in the national team. It was my first tournament and it was a great one as well because we finished third. This place (Egypt) has always been good to me." On his expected role in the Super Eagles squad during this year's competition, Mikel said: "I always give my best to the national team when I come here and now that we are back after two editions, I just want to come in and do my best and see whether we can go one better and win, better than my first time."

He said his aim now is to help the young side grow and play with confidence especially now that he is the de facto leader of the group. The midfielder has been out of the national team since their FIFA World Cup experience in Russia last year and only made the decision to return after being prevailed upon by head coach Gernot Rohr.

…Rohr praises Super Eagles
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr reveled in his team's performance after their 1-0 victory over Guinea in their second Africa Cup of Nations Group B game. The victory stretched Nigeria's tally at the summit of Group B standings to six points after two games and also secured their progress to the Round of 16. In his reaction to the result, Rohr expressed satisfaction with his team's display against the Syli Nationale, and, as of press time last Friday, he was now aiming to end their group outing on a high against Madagascar on Sunday evening.

News Update

The Minister said these after a meeting of the FCT Security Committee which comprises heads of the police, military and para-military formations in FCT as well as Area Council Chairmen and religious leaders.

The cheery news is coming as Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu will headline a distinguished galaxy of stakeholders for the FCT pension stakeholders retreat this week.

Finally last week, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) took over managing and operating the newly- completed Nigeria-Korea Model School in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his Administration will continue to fashion policies designed to ensure employment and security of all citizens, especially the youth.

Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has decried the lynching of three suspected traffic robbers popularly known as 'One chance' in Dutsen Alhaji area of Abuja last week.

Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) always makes public the allocations in line with President Muhammadu Buhari's Change Agenda which harps on transparency, anti-corruption and accountability, tenets which FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has made his beacon.


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