Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr pledged to ring the changes for his team’s final Africa Cup of Nations group game against surprise package Madagascar to stoke competition in the squad.
The Super Eagles are guaranteed a place in the last 16 but need a point on Sunday in Alexandria to secure top spot in Group B and set up a meeting with a third-place finisher in the next round.
“It’s important to finish first of the group, it’s better to play a team in third than second so we will do all to finish top,” Rohr told reporters at a pre-match news conference in the Mediterranean city.
“We have our scout watching a lot of games in Cairo. We have to prepare to play against a good team. It could be South Africa, DR Congo or maybe Cameroon so in all cases it will be a very tough match in the round of 16, but we’re not there yet and are focused on the game tomorrow.”
“Will I make changes? Yes, because I want to put everyone under pressure and have that competition in each position. We’ll see in the last training tonight which changes we will do,” he added.
Madagascar are well positioned to reach the knockout stages in their debut in the competition after collecting four points from their opening two games.
“It will be a really interesting match against a team that has a lot of offensive qualities. I think it will also be a ‘final’ in the group, the winner will be top and that’s a big motivation for us.”
Nigeria forward Ahmed Musa said morale in the squad was good despite a training strike earlier in the week over unpaid bonuses.
“I dont think there’s anything separating the team in camp,” said Musa. “We have to fight for our country and we have to work very hard.
“Each game is more important and we are improving each game and I think the next game will be even better.”
A draw would send Madagascar through as runners-up but coach Nicolas Dupuis, who combines the role with his job a French fourth division club Fleury, insists the Indian Ocean islanders aren’t quite there yet.
“I’m very proud of my players, they’ve all been very good,” said Dupuis. “We’ve played in our first CAN, got our first point and first win.
“We’re not yet qualified for the last 16 so I’m not going to try and calculate things. It would be a shame for it to end here.”
He added: “We’re going out there to try and win knowing we’re not favourites. One point will be enough for us to finish second.”
Argentine football ‘lord’, Maradona is dead
Argentine football legend, Diego Maradona has died of cardiac arrest at the age of 60.
Maradona’s spokesman confirmed the tragic story on Wednesday.
It will be recalled that the Gimnasia coach had been hospitalised at the start of November, days after celebrating the landmark birthday, after complaining of low spirits and fatigue.
Tests at the La Plata clinic revealed a blood clot on the brain, which doctors later revealed was operated on successfully.
Maradona was subsequently released from hospital as an outpatient to continue his convalescence, which he carried out in his dwelling in a private neighbourhood near Tigre, northern Buenos Aires.
Unfortunately, on Wednesday morning he suffered cardiac arrest, and paramedics at the scene failed to revive him.
3SC, Crown FC are coming back stronger – Oyo sports commissioner assures
Oyo State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Seun Fakorede on Tuesday reassured football fans in the state that the Shooting Stars Sporting Club popularly known as 3SC, and Crown FC of Ogbomoso are coming back stronger.
The Commissioner also added that he was sure that the clubs will perform excellently well and secure promotion back to the elite stage in the Nigerian football league.
Fakorede who gave the assurance in Ibadan, the state capital while featuring on Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio also informed that Governor Seyi Makinde has allocated a total sum of about five and a half billion naira which he regarded as a modest cost for the remodeling of the popular Lekan Salami Stadium Adamasingba, Ibadan, to meet international standards while promising to give facelifts to all other sections in the stadium.
He maintained that the present administration is committed to improving the economic infrastructure of the state and eradicate unemployment among youths in the State.
According to him, the governor is working tirelessly to revamp all the sectors of the state as he has given the approval of 500 million naira as a starter fund for youths’ empowerment in the state while engaging about 5000 youths to be employed by the state’s teaching service commission.
He also appealed for patience from Oyo youths on the issue of the dilapidated structures at the Ososami youth center.
“We are actually rehabilitating; we can’t possibly do everything at once. We have decided to put them in phases and fortunately, Ososami youth center is part of the project to enjoy the first phase of renovation”, he said.
Fakorede further assured that concerted efforts are being put in place by the various concerned ministries to see that youths and children roaming the street are catered for, while emphasizing that a lot of work still should be done to arrest the ugly situation of children roaming the streets.
The Commissioner, however charged Oyo youths not to be intimidated by any obstacle that might confront them as it is a “stepping stone to greatness”.
Maradona to remain in hospital for treatment after surgery, says Doctor
Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona is to remain in hospital for several more days to undergo treatment following surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain, his doctor said Thursday.
“We saw that in the postoperative phase Diego had episodes of confusion,” Leopoldo Luque told reporters.
Therapists treating Maradona had linked the behaviour to withdrawal symptoms and the necessary treatment would last “a few days,” he said.
Luque did not provide details, but Maradona has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction.
Although he has publicly said he no longer uses cocaine, friends and media reports have suggested he remains addicted to alcohol.
At a press conference outside the private clinic in Buenos Aires where surgeons spent 80 minutes removing the clot on Tuesday night, Luque took pains to present an upbeat assessment of the 60-year-old’s overall condition.
“Diego is doing well. The CT scan came out well. We were even dancing. Yes, we danced!” the doctor said.
The doctor said Maradona “agrees” with the diagnosis and would remain in the clinic.
Earlier Thursday, he said doctors were happy with the former player’s condition: “He can walk, talk to me….It’s very early this, but the recovery is excellent.”
World Cup winner Maradona had been taken to hospital in La Plata — where he is the coach of top-flight side Gimnasia y Esgrima — on Monday for a series of tests after feeling unwell.
A scan revealed the blood clot, and on Tuesday he was transferred to the clinic in a northern neighborhood of the capital.
Fans have flocked to the clinic to leave banners showing the star in his prime and messages of support for the ailing icon.
Alongside Brazil’s Pele, who turned 80 last month, Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
– ‘Depressed’ –
Maradona, who turned 60 on Friday, has suffered ill health before. He has survived two heart attacks, and also contracted hepatitis and underwent gastric bypass surgery.
Prior to falling ill, Maradona had been depressed, his lawyer Matias Morla said on Wednesday.
The famously fast-living icon had only been able to spend half an hour at his own birthday celebration at his team’s training ground on Friday, when he had difficulty walking.
“He was behaving strangely. He was very depressed and spoke about dead relatives that he missed,” said Morla.
He said Maradona was “very worried” about the surgery and praised Luque, adding that “if he hadn’t detected the clot, Maradona’s fate would have been different.”
Luque insisted on Tuesday that the procedure was “a routine operation.”
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