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AFCON: ‘Nigeria Thirsty For Victory’ – Sports Minister Charges NFF, Peseiro

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Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh, has directed the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro to ensure the Super Eagles emerge champions in the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The competition will be held in Côte d’Ivoire from January 13 to February 11, 2024.

The minister issued the marching orders on Wednesday in Abuja at a meeting with the NFF and Peseiro to discuss strategic plans and preparations for the AFCON.

READ ALSO: 2026 WCQ: Super Eagles Disappoint Again, Settle for 1-1 Draw Against Zimbabwe

Enoh expressed concern about the Super Eagles’ performances, particularly given their slow start to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

DAILY POST reports that the Eagles were held to uninspiring draws by both Lesotho and Zimbabwe in November.

According to the minister, Nigerians are passionate about the round leather game and are eager to win the AFCON after more than a decade of waiting.

Our country is so passionate about football, such that amidst all other sports, football is about the only sport that has an entry in the nation’s national budget.

READ ALSO: ‘We Don’t Have A Team Yet’, Reactions Trail Super Eagles Disappointing Draw Against Lesotho

“That is how important football is because whatever happens to it happens to us as a country.”

He reaffirmed the Federal Government’s unflinching support for Nigerian football, emphasizing the need for rigorous planning and unified strategies in propelling the national team to victory.

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Aguero Clears Air On Coming Out Of Retirement

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Former Manchester City forward, Sergio Aguero, has debunked reports that he is planning to come out of retirement after being given a clean bill of health by his doctors.

Aguero retired from football in December 2021 at the age of 33 due to a heart condition.

He was a Barcelona player at the time after leaving Man City.

This week, there have been reports of him considering coming out of retirement to train with Argentinian club Independiente.

READ ALSO: Troops Rescue 10 Kidnap Victims In Kogi

Aguero, reacting, said: “It’s totally a lie, I’m not going to train with Independiente.

“Sometimes things are invented. I reiterate that the cardiologist said that I am well, that it is important that I am in good health.

“But to return to training at the First Division level, I would need to undergo a lot of tests.”

 

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Five-goal Haaland Crushes Luton As Man City Reach FA Cup Quarter-finals

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Manchester City’s Erling Haaland scored five times as the FA Cup holders ran riot in a 6-2 rout of Luton in the fifth round on Tuesday.

It was the second time Haaland had hit five goals in a single game for City after his heroics in the Champions League last 16 second leg win against RB Leipzig in March 2023.

Aided by Kevin De Bruyne’s trio of assists, Haaland completed his treble inside the first 40 minutes at Kenilworth Road.

Jordan Clark struck twice to briefly reduce Luton’s deficit to just 3-2.

But any Luton hopes of an incredible comeback were ruthlessly erased by Haaland as the Norway striker scored twice more after the interval to send City into the quarter-finals.

READ ALSO: Euro 2024 Qualifiers: Spain Keeper Expresses Fear, Wants Haaland Tamed

Mateo Kovacic netted to cap City’s second six-goal haul this season after their 6-1 thrashing of Bournemouth in the Premier League in November.

Haaland now has 27 goals in all competitions this season, making a mockery of the critics who took a swipe at him after a misfiring display in a recent draw against Chelsea.

Saluting De Bruyne’s role in his demolition of Luton, Haaland said: “Kevin is massive. It’s a pleasure playing with him. We know what we both want from each other.

“He’s doing what he does best. It clicks well. He’s a smart player.”

On his own form since returning from a foot injury that sidelined him for two months, Haaland added: “I’m getting back to my best. Finally I’m feeling good.

“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s coming, we’re coming. Exciting times ahead. We are ready to attack.”

READ ALSO: FULL LIST: Messi, Haaland And Bonmati Lead Ballon d’Or Nominees

City have won 14 of their last 15 games in all competitions as they try to emulate last season’s Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble.

Haaland and De Bruyne are rounding into form in time for Sunday’s crucial Premier League showdown against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

The only frustration for City was Jack Grealish’s first half injury, the latest setback in a disappointing season for the England winger.

Predatory Haaland –

City needed just three minutes to take the lead this time as Haaland finished off a flowing move.

Matheus Nunes clipped a clever pass to De Bruyne and he picked out Haaland inside the Luton area, where the City striker fired past Tim Krul with ease.

De Bruyne was the provider again in the 18th minute when Haaland bagged his second goal.

Taking Haaland’s lay-off in the halfway line, De Bruyne unfurled a sumptuous pass that sent the Norway star clean through on goal for a typically predatory finish.

READ ALSO: Liverpool To Face Chelsea In League Cup Final

Haaland completed his treble in the 40th minute, accelerating onto yet another sublime De Bruyne assist before dinking a deft finish over Krul from 12 yards.

It was Haaland’s eighth hat-trick for City and his first away from the Etihad since signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2022.

Clark reduced the deficit five minutes later with a superb long-range curler that fizzed into the top corner with City keeper Stefan Ortega rooted to the spot.

Ross Barkley came up with a lofted assist the equal of De Bruyne’s earlier gems and Clark took the pass to drill into the roof of the net in the 52nd minute.

But yet again De Bruyne and Haaland proved impossible for Luton to stop.

Kyle Walker’s eye-catching pass with the outside of his foot set De Bruyne free in the area and he unselfishly teed up Haaland for a 55th minute tap in.

Haaland got his fifth three minutes later, taking Bernardo Silva’s pass and shooting low under Krul’s weak attempted save.

Kovacic smashed a 20-yard drive past Krul in the 72nd minute to put a bow on City’s evening to remember.

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EPL: Ten Hag Reveals Mistake Man Utd Made Against Fulham

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Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag has revealed mistake his team made defending during the closing stages in their Premier League 2-1 defeat against Fulham on Saturday.

Ten Hag lamented his team lacked coordinated pressing in the build-up to Fulham’s shock late winning goal.

Calvin Bassey gave Fulham the lead in the second half but Harry Maguire equalized for the host.

Man United threw caution to the wind thereafter in their search for a winner and were caught cold when Adama Traore powered away from Christian Eriksen and Maguire to tee-up Alex Iwobi, who scored the winner.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Confirm Deal For Striker Hugill

However, Ten Hag was not impressed by the way in which Fulham were able to launch an attack which started near their own corner flag with a throw-in, insisting that his team let the visitors escape.

It was a throw-in [for Fulham] in the corner, we had them under pressure and we have one player in the wrong position,” Ten Hag told the BBC.

As a team we should manage that and make sure everyone is in the right position. We let them escape and it is avoidable.”

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