Three-time champions Super Eagles have been drawn to play Guinea and debutants Madagascar and Burundi in a tricky Group B of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The colourful draw ceremony, which took place behind the historical Giza Pyramids, had ex-Ghana captain now CAF Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Baffoe in charge of the event, with other African football greats Ahmed Hassan, Yaya Toure and El Hadji Diouf assisting him.
The tournament takes place from June 21 to July 19.
Nigeria were among the six seeded teams in Pot A following the release of the draw procedures by the Confederation of African Football on Thursday.
The other five seeded teams are Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco and Cameroon.
Guinea, who picked silver ahead of Nigeria at the 1976 AFCON in Ethiopia, are making their 12th appearance with Nigeria going for their 18th appearance.
Group A has hosts Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe, while Senegal, Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania are in Group C.
In Group D, Namibia face an uphill task against former champions Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa in what is seen as the group of death.
Group E will have Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania and Angola battling, while current champions and five-time winners Cameroon, four-time winners Ghana, Benin and Guinea-Bissau are in Group F.
Edema Fuludu, a winner of the AFCON in 1994, described Group B as an easy pool the Eagles should take advantage of.
“I see no reason why the Eagles shouldn’t come out tops of that group,” Fuludu said.
“They say big names don’t play football anymore but I don’t see the likes of Burundi and Madagascar constituting an obstacle to the Eagles’ chances in Egypt.
“Going by our current FIFA ranking and our achievements in the competition, it’s an easy group for the Eagles.”
Before the draw ceremony, Eagles coach Gernot Rohr was happy to avoid record winners and hosts Egypt.
“We are in the same pot, so we cannot meet Egypt. Because when you play the host country, it’s always very difficult,” Rohr stated in a short video interview posted on the Confederation of African Football’s Twitter handle.
“It becomes more difficult when you have a team like the one you have here in Egypt.”
The last time the Eagles competed at the tournament in 2013, they emerged champions but were absent in the last two editions in 2015 and 2017.
The Eagles first won the AFCON title in 1980 on home soil before Dutchman, Clemens Westerhof, led the country’s golden generation to another triumph in 1994 in Tunisia.
Brazil Rally Back to Win U-17 World Cup
Brazil staged a remarkable comeback for the second time in a week on Sunday to beat Mexico 2-1 in front of their own fans and win the Under-17 World Cup for a fourth time.
Just three days after they recovered from being 2-0 down to beat France 3-2 in the semi-finals, Brazil scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to overcome their Latino rivals.
Although Brazil had more of the early chances, Mexico took the lead at 66 minutes when Bryan Gonzalez rose between two defenders to head a cross from the left into the net.
Kaio Jorge equalised from the penalty spot with six minutes remaining after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) advised officials to pull playback following a challenge on Veron.
Then three minutes into stoppage time, substitute Lazaro ran on to a cross ball and calmly fired home, to the delight of the home crowd.
The Flamengo forward had also come off the bench to score the winner in Thursday’s last-minute win over France.
“They use the VAR when it is convenient for them,” said an unhappy Mexican coach Marco Ruiz. “We had the game under control until the VAR decision. They grew after that.”
The win was revenge of a sorts for Brazil, who lost 3-0 to Mexico in the Under-17 final in 2005, as well as to their Under-23 team in the final of the 2012 Olympics.
Earlier in the day, Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga scored a hat trick to help France come from behind to beat the Netherlands 3-1 and take third-place.
Dutchman Sontje Hansen won the golden boot for the top goalscorer with six goals.
Bayelsa Guber: APC Dislodges PDP in Massive Landslide Victory
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, has emerged the winner of the governorship election held on Saturday.
Lyon, who won in six of the state’s eight local government areas, defeated his closest rival, Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Diri won in two local governments.
Lyon’s victory marks the first time the PDP would lose a governorship election in the state since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.
The Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, had after he released the result of the Ekeremor Local Government Area, which was the last being expected by INEC on Monday night, promised that the final result would be made public before 1am on Monday.
Orumwense made good his promise as he announced that Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Diri, who polled 143,172 votes some minutes after 1am.
Lyon was declared winner in six out of the eight local governments announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre in the state commission’s headquarters in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The six local government areas won by the APC are Brass; Nembe; Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Yenagoa while the PDP won in the Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas.
Theatres of War: Four Killed in Kogi, Violence Rocks Bayelsa
The Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections as well as the Kogi West senatorial rerun were on Saturday characterised by violence, shootings, killings, vote-buying and ballot box snatching as many polling units across the two states experienced tension created by political thugs.
Four people were killed in Kogi during the election by political thugs while many were injured in Bayelsa where peace took flight as a result of electoral violence.
The Commissioner of Police in Kogi State, Hakeem Busari, had before the elections assured residents of the state of the safety of their lives and property as adequate personnel would be drafted for the polls.
The elections commenced on a peaceful note across the state as there was a large turnout of voters with the electorate, mostly women trooped to the various polling units as early as 6.30am in Kogi.
But in spite of Busari’s assurance and voters enthusiasm, mayhem broke out in some polling units in Kogi East, Kogi West and Lokoja, the state capital.
Two persons were also reportedly killed by stray bullets at the Adankolo polling unit in Lokoja.
Sunday PUNCH gathered that the incident happened when some hoodlums tried to snatch ballot boxes at the polling unit.
Eyewitness said the two persons were killed when voters resisted the thugs. The thugs, it was gathered, killed the two persons while a passerby sustained a life-threatening injury from gunshot wound.
This angered the youth who mobilised and set the house of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in the area ablaze.
When the state police command was contacted, its spokesperson, DSP William Aya, said all enquiries should be directed to the Commissioner of Police in the state Commissioner of Police.