PREVIEW: AFCON QUALIFIER 1st LEG (GABON2017)- NIGERIA VS EGYPT

 

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MATCHDAY 3 : NIGERIA VS EGYPT

TIME: 4pm

VENUE: AHMADU BELLO STADIUM KADUNA

REFEREE: JANNY SIAKZWE (ZAMBIA)

HEAD TO HEAD: 7-4-5 (W-D-L)

 

Its the biggest game in Nigerian Football as the Super Eagles of Nigeria welcome the Pharaohs of Egypt in a must win double header for both sides. They Egyptians who have a 2 point advantage going into this game will have the momentum swinging in their favor as group leaders.

Its a bigger game for the Eagles who were shocked a couple of weeks ago when their Manager and Coach Sunday Oliseh resigned which could cause a serious disruption in the build up to this mega game. But not to fall prey to this disorganization, the NFF quickly swooped in to get an Interim Manager in Samson Siasia Who has been a Super Eagles manager in the past.

They Eagles have faced their North African counterparts 16 times with their first encounter coming in January 1960 in Lagos with the Eagles striking they first punch with a 2-1 win. But in recent times, they Egyptians have dominated the Eagles with recent wins in the AFCON 2010 and an International Friendly in 2014. They Eagles can take respite in the fact that out of the 16 times they have the upper hand with 7 Wins and 4 draws.

 

 

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                                                                 MANAGERS

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HECTOR CUPER: Born 16 November 1955 in Argentina. He started his coaching career with Huracan of Argentina. He went on to coach Mallorca, Valencia, Inter Milan, Aris, Racing Santander and Al Wasl. He was voted Manager of the year in La Liga in 1999 and the UEFA Club Coach of the Year in 2000. He was appointed manager of Egypt in 2015 and he has shown his credentials as the top Group  in the Qualifiers to Gabon 2017.

 

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SAMSON SIASIA (INTERIM): Born 14 August 1967 in Nigeria. He is a former Super Eagles player who won the AFCON in 1994 with the Golden Generation. He started as the manager to coach the Nigerian Under 20 team to runners up in The FIFA Under 20 Championship in 2005. He also managed the Dream team 4  to Silver Medal in 2008 in China. He was made Super Eagles coach in 2010 , but failed to qualify the team to the AFCON in 2012. He currently holds the post of Manager of the Dream Team VI for the RIO Olympic Games this year. He was recently offered the interim position of Head Coach for the double header against Egypt.

 

                                                         KEY PLAYERS

 

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MOHAMED SALEH: Born 15 June 1992 in Egypt. He currently plays for Roma in Italy. A tactical player with lots of blistering pace. He plays from the wings for Egypt but can switch to play as a false 9. He was once dubbed the “Egyptian Messi”.  He must be watched carefully by the Nigerian team because of his pace and trickery. He was compared to Arjen Robben by Jose Mourinho saying ” He’s young, fast, creative and enthusiastic”.

 

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AHMED MUSA: Born 14 October 1992 in Egypt. He plays for CSKA Moscow in Russia. Similar traits with SALEH with his pace and trickery. Musa has relentless work rate and defensive efforts. He has also been compared to Arjen Robben because of the way he uses his pace to cut inside and out of any team. Musa is the current captain of the Eagles and he has show a sign of solidarity.

 

                                                         FINAL THOUGHTS 

It’s going to a big cracker. It will come to who wants it the most and the Egyptians have not taken anything for granted as the currently are camping in far away UAE in preparation for the double header.

They Super Eagles is not also lying down and waiting for the Pharaohs but have called for an early camp and asked the Nigerian People to show solidarity with the hashtag #EgyptMuStFall.

So it’s going to be anybody’s game. Will the Eagles add to their winning record or will the Pharaohs try and equal it.

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EGYPT MUST FALL (Part 1)

The Super Eagles of Nigeria welcome the Pharaohs of Egypt for the biggest match in Group G for a place in the African Cup of Nations in Gabon 2017. This is the first of a double header that will be taking place in a space of 5 days.

The Nigeria Football Federation  have tagged this match “A must win” and have appealed to the citizens of Nigeria to show solidarity and patriotism come the 25th of March 2016 in the Northern state of Kaduna when the Super Eagles file out against Egypt.

We will take a look at the strengths and weakness of the Pharaohs, and what must be done to apply the hashtag #EGYPTMUSTFALL

 

STRENGTHS

Egypt are the most successful national team in Africa, having won the Africa Cup Of Nations on a record seven times ( 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998,2006, 2008 and 2010). The major strength of the Pharaohs has to be their football league. Most of the players that make up the bulk of the team all play for a club side in Egypt with only a few coming from foreign clubs.

Most of the players play for one particular club which is also the most successful club side in Africa, Al Ahly FC. The players have a bond and relationship both on and off the field and it has shown in their recent success in 2006-2010 when the won the Cup of Nations three times in a roll. The team is also blessed with young talented players that have excelled in recent years, players like Mohamed Salah ( Roma) and Mohamed El Neny (Arsenal) who can be dangerous at any given time.

Another Major strength of the Pharaohs has to be their manager Hector Cuper from Argentina. He is a very talented manager and was once voted Uefa club manager of the year in 2000 when he guided Valencia to the Finals of the UEFA Champions League were the lost to Real Madrid. He took over Egypt in 2015 and has guided the Pharaohs to 8 wins and 2 losses in 10 games with a percentage of 85% win ratio in 12 months. He has a fantastic playing style that allows his players express themselves but also to be defensively composed when under pressure. He has also opened camp as early as January in preparation for this big encounter against the Super Eagles with friendly games against Jordan, Libya and Burkina Faso with his only loss coming a 1-0 away loss to Jordan.

 

WEAKNESS 

The question will be do the Pharaohs have any weakness. Yes! Every team has its weaknesses and most definitely the Egyptians have theirs.

Football in Egypt toppled in 2011 after the civil unrest that saw the ouster of long-time president Hosni Mubarak. Egypt failed to qualify for the next three Africa Cup of Nations since winning their third successive title in 2010 with that ending the Golden Generation of Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Aboutrika and Ahmed Hassan. Egypt also went through a football league crisis between 2011 and 2012 with league suspensions and stadium riots that led to over 80 people dead and another 500 injured.

Egypt are in a rebuilding phrase and there is no better time to play them. Most of their players are young and have not got to grip with what the older generation. The Coach has not really played against any top team with the Super Eagles been his First major test and it has shown that there are not really bulletproof away from home as seen in their games against Chad in a FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIER were the lost 1-0 and an a more recent game away at Jordan were the also lost by a lone goal.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Its not going to be easy but we are the Super Eagles of Nigeria and we have conquered more severe opponents and qualified from very unpredictable competitions. The Golden Generation of both teams are long gone and its time for the present Generation of Nigerian players to come out and be counted and show that the are a new kind of Golden Generation in a game that is titled #EGYPTMUSTFALL

PREVIEW OF WEEK 7 OF THE EPL 2015-2016 SEASON

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Hello guys, sorry I have been offline for a while. It was beyond my control. Now that i am back, we can now go through the greatest football league in the World.
We are in week 7 of the season and things are not how we expected it. The league Champions (Chelsea) have not found it easy, getting 7 points from a possible 18. Its been difficult for some of the top teams, struggling to enter top gear with only the two Manchester clubs looking like real contenders so far.
But the big surprise of the season so far has to be the so-called minnows who have come of age. Teams like West Ham, Leicester, and Swansea. Leicester and West Ham sit in 4th and 3rd respectively and Swansea are not far off.
Let’s preview week 7 and see what surprises are in stock

26 – 09 – 2015

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MATCH 1: Tottenham Hotspur VS Manchester City
TIME:12.45PM
VENUE:White Hart Lane
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg
HEAD TO HEAD:1 – 1 – 8

City had started the season like a house on fire with a perfect record of five wins from five games but were brought back to earth last weekend when the lost at home to West ham.
The bounced back in mid-week with a convincing 4-1 trashing of Sunderland to build their confidence back for this weekend’s game.
Spurs, meanwhile, did not have a good mid-week League Cup game coming into the weekend as the beaten by their North London neighbours Arsenal. Even their League form is not good, just getting their first win after four games.

INJURY NEWS
CITY: Vincent Kompany (Calf), David Silva (Calf), Mangala (Muscle), and Samir Nasri (Knock)
SPURS: Bentaleb (ankle) and Ryan Mason (knee)
VERDICT: City Win

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MATCH 2: LEICESTER CITY VS ARSENAL
TIME: 3pm
VENUE: KING POWER STADIUM
REFEREE: Craig Pawson
HEAD TO HEAD: 0 – 3 – 7

Leicester have shocked the EPL as the surprise package of the season so far. The have 12 points from 6 games and are unbeaten. The have a a young breed of talented players like Riyad Mahrez. The player has lite up the EPL with his skill and pace that has got teams all scared. The Algerian has had a hand in eight goals in the EPL this season; more than any other player.
Arsenal on the otherhand will be boosted with their win at Spurs in midweek and put last week’s defeat at the bridge behind them.
Arsenal trail league leaders City by five points and cannot afford to drop further points this weekend if the want to be among the challengers come May 2016.

INJURY NEWS:
ARSENAL: Wilshere (ankle), Rosicky (knee), and Welbeck (knee).
LEICESTER: Matthew James (out of season) Nathan Dyer (knee)
VERDICT: Arsenal win

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MATCH 3: LIVERPOOL VS ASTON VILLA
TIME: 3PM
VENUE: Anfield
REFEREE: Jonathan Moss
HEAD TO HEAD: 5 – 2 – 3

It’s Liverpool again. After scrapping out a penalty shootout win against Carlisle United at home in midweek, the Merseyside team have not gotten into gear in the EPL. Confidence is low and nothing more than 3 points at home this weekend might seal Brendan Rodgers time at Liverpool.
Villa on the otherhand, are not doing well also. A win in their opening game is their only win so far this season. The heat is on for Tim Sherwood who has suffered back to back defeats by Leicester and West Brom. But some positives came in midweek as the beat Birmingham by a Rudy Gestede goal to send them to the 4th round of the League Cup

INJURY NEWS
LIVERPOOL: Dejan Loveren (ankle)
ASTON VILLA: None
VERDICT:Liverpool win

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MATCH 4: MANCHESTER UNITED VS SUNDERLAND
TIME: 3PM
VENUE: Old Trafford
REFEREE: Mike Jones
HEAD TO HEAD: 7 – 2 – 1

United are hoping to continue their wonderful start to the season when the entertain Sunderland on Saturday. United sit in 2nd place with 13 points from 6 games and only lost against Swansea, and are 2 points behind City who have a tough game against Spurs.
Manchester United will be hoping the gods of football continue guiding Anthony Martial to more glory. The 17 year old wonderkid has scored 3 goals in 2 EPL appearances and has a good composition infront of goal. I remember when Rooney said he did not know him, guess he knows him better now.
Sunderland have not started well. Still looking for their first win of the campaign and are coming into this game from a home drubbing by Manchester City in the League cup by 4-1.
Sunderland have not had it good anytime the square up against United. The have only won once in 26 meetings and that is definitely not a boost in confidence coming into Saturday’s game

INJURY NEWS
MANCHESTER UNITED: Luke Shaw (broken leg), Rojo (hamstring), McNair (knock)
SUNDERLAND: None
VERDICT: United win

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MATCH 5: SOUTHAMPTON VS SWANSEA
TIME: 3PM
VENUE: Saint Mary’s
REFEREE: Roger East
HEAD TO HEAD: 3 – 2 – 1

Southampton had a brilliant League Cup win against MK Dons as the swept them by 6 goals to nil. But that was against a team that just got into the Championship from League one this season, and against Swansea will be a different ball game.
Southampton have not be at their best so far this season and the lie in 10th on the standings.
Swansea have been fantastic at home but have struggled away but believe the can get their first away win of the season against Southampton according to their Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Both teams play a fast pacey game with lots of flair and it is too difficult to call.

INJURY NEWS
SOUTHAMPTON: Jordy Clasie (short)
SWANSEA: None
VERDICT: Draw

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MATCH 6: STOKE CITY VS BOURNEMOUTH
TIME: 3pm
VENUE: Britannia Stadium
REFEREE: Lee Mason
HEAD TO HEAD: 0 – 0 – 0

Stoke City welcome newly-promoted Bournemouth to the Britannia on Saturday. The still seek their first win of the season.
Despite the signings of Shaqiri and Joselu, the Club have found out its not so cut and dry in the EPL and as a result have produced a league low 79 touches in the opposition box in the early stages of the campaign. Its sad to see the Potters in the relegation zone with just 3 points so far.
Bournemouth have not had a bad start to their in the big League with 7 points from 6 games.
One player that stands tall in this team has to be Callum Wilson who has scored five goals despite only registering eight shots at goal.
Bournemouth have show spirit and guts as the took 3 points from West ham and Sunderland and have shown the have what it takes to stand tall in the EPL.

INJURY NEWS
STOKE CITY: Mame Diouf (hamstring)
BOURNEMOUTH: Tommy Elphick (ankle), Tyrone Mings (knee) and Max Gradel (knee)
VERDICT: Stoke win

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MATCH 7: WEST HAM VS NORWICH
TIME: 3pm
VENUE: Boleyn Ground
REFEREE: Mike Dean
HEAD TO HEAD: 2 – 4 – 2

The Hammers have won four of their six league games and defeated leaders Manchester City last weekend, while the Canaries have recorded some impressive results following their promotion back to the top flight.
West ham have proven to be one of the surprise packages in the early weeks of the season and they are currently third after four wins.
While West Ham were defeated by the Foxes, Norwich followed up the 1-1 draw at Liverpool last Sunday by reaching the fourth round of the League Cup with a 3-0 home victory over West Bromwich Albion.
With league games against Leicester, Newcastle and West Brom coming up, the Canaries will be hoping to maintain their positive start as they look to establish their place in the League

INJURY NEWS
WEST HAM: Angelo Ogbonna (hamstring), Alex Song (ankle), and Enner Valencia (knee)
NORWICH: Matt Jarvis (Ineligible)
VERDICT: West ham Win

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MATCH 8: NEWCASTLE UNITED VS CHELSEA
TIME: 5.30pm
VENUE: St. James Park
REFEREE: Martin Atkinson
HEAD TO HEAD: 4 – 2 – 4

What a time for Newcastle to face Chelsea who have revived their stands in the EPL.
Newcastle’s defeat by Championship opposition comes off the back of six winless league games and it will not come any easier against a rejuvenated Chelsea side.
Having spent over £50m on new recruits during the summer, this is far from the start that McClaren, the fans and owner would have dreamt of.
Victory at St James on Saturday would represent another step in the right direction for a Chelsea side hoping to continue their winning streak after a dreadful opening few weeks to the season.
It’s not be all roses when Mourinho’s Chelsea visit St James. He has never won there in five attempts and saw his side beaten 2-1 last season.
It should be noted, however, that Maccabi Tel Aviv and Walsall make up two-thirds of their current winning streak, and last week’s 2-0 triumph over Arsenal- who played with ten men for 45 minutes, and then with nine for the final quarter- was far from convincing.

INJURY NEWS
NEWCASTLE UNITED: None
CHELSEA: Diego Costa (Suspension)
VERDICT: Chelsea win

27 – 09 – 2015

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MATCH 9: WATFORD VS CRYSTAL PALACE
TIME: 4pm
VENUE: Vicarage Road
REFEREE: Anthony Taylor
HEAD TO HEAD: 0 – 0 – 0

Watford host Crystal Palace in Sunday’s only EPL clash this weekend with both sides looking to continue solid starts to the new season.
Watford have surprised many with the start they have made. They look well organised and play free-flowing football. Back to back wins against Swansea and Newcastle set them up well for this one and Quique Flores will be confident his side can remain in the top half of the table come the end of the weekend.
Watford have shown resilience and have only lost to City so far and with their Nigerian goal machine in Odion Ighalo the look the real deal to stay up this season
Crystal Palace will have to be at their very best to seal three points on the road this week and will look to end a two-game losing streak in the process.
Palace will not be worried by the short road trip to Vicarage Road. They have picked up 15 points from their last seven league fixtures away from Selhurst park, including a stunning 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.
This will be the first meeting between the two sides since the Championship playoff final in 2013. Palace won that game 1-0 to secure their promotion and so this should be quite a contest.

INJURY NEWS
WATFORD: Valon Behrami (suspension) and Joel Ekstrand (injured)
PALACE: None
VERDICT Draw

28 – 09 – 2015

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MATCH 10: WEST BROM VS EVERTON
TIME: 8pm
VENUE: The Hawthorns
REFEREE: Robert Madley
HEAD TO HEAD: 3 – 3 – 4

West Brom will be looking for their third win in four matches when the host Everton on Monday evening.
The Toffees head to the Hawthorns in a decent run of form themselves, having secured five points from their last three outings.
West Brom have failed to win against Everton in their last five Barclays Premier League encounters.
Despite being without first-choice goalkeeper Ben Foster for the foreseeable future, West Brom have had one of the strongest defences in the top flight so far this season, keeping four clean sheets- only league leaders Manchester City have more.
Going forward has been less successful for the team though, as they have found the back of the net just four times, which is the second-lowest total in the league. The Baggies have failed to score
in half of their outings so far.
Everton on the otherhand, have one point more than their opponents from their last six fixtures of the campaign, leaving them sixth in the table.
Like West Brom, Everton were in League Cup action during the week, but had a better result than their opponents to progress to the next stage.
Everton have shown flashes of attacking form this season, netting eight times in total, twice scoring three goals in a match.
The Toffies have a good away record and are yet to concede during an away fixture

INJURY NEWS
WEST BROW: Ben Foster (Ankle)
Everton: Oviedo (knee), Besic (hamstring)
VERDICT: Draw