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Qatar 2022: Super Eagles draw with Cape Verde to reach playoff

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The Super Eagles secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Cape Verde on Tuesday in Lagos to reach the final round of African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup finals.

The match was played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. The Eagles scored in the opening minute through Victor Osimhen. The Eagles were pegged back about five minutes from a Mendes Stipora goal after heading in from a corner kick.

The Eagles, after that, failed to hit the back of the net despite intense pressure, with Odion Ighalo failing to connect a pass from Osimhen in the 30th minute.

However, the second stanza of the high-intensity game was nervier for the Nigerian team as the visitors became more daring with a good string of passes in the Eagles’ half.

Both teams made substitutions to change the course of the game, with Shehu Abdulahi coming in for the injured Moses Simon.

Kelechi Iheanacho also came in for Ighalo, while Paul Onuachu replaced Osimhen.

Speaking on the sidelines of the match Super Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr stated, “Sometimes a draw night be an escape because we want to qualify, and we know that a draw will do that.”

He added, “It was not an easy game because the Cape Verde team has a very good technical team. They secured their goal at a moment when we believed we had the match in our hands. But we missed lots of chances, especially in the first half, and we deserved to score a second goal. But as it was not coming, we had to defend.”

On the inclusion of Ighalo in the team, Rohr said the decision was to allow him to impact the forwards, given his wealth of experience.

“We need a lot of patience with Ighalo. He has not been with the team in about a year, so he needs time to find the complexity and the harmony in the team,” Rohr added. “We saw an interesting thing in the match with Ighalo’s patnership with Osimhen, as he needs to learn from him. The chance to score our goal came in through Ighalo.”

On how to plug the loopholes in the team, Rohr said the Eagles needed to play more quickly, especially from the defence.

“The improvement I want to partnership team is using the opportunity we have to score and be more offensive. We need to play quicker from the defence. One or two touches, coming from the defence. Our defenders are too slow bringing the balls from their area,” he further explained. “But, as it is now, we have finished with 13 points from six matches. It is not the best result, but we have two more points than the second-placed team.

“After this group stage, we are optimistic now that we have more time to prepare. Some of our players are just coming out from injuries.”

(NAN)

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UK stops issuance of visa to Nigerians

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Boris

The United Kingdom has announced a temporary suspension on reviewing and issuing visitor visa applications from all red list countries, including Nigeria.

The decision was announced in a statement issued on Sunday by the British High Commission.

“To support the UK Government’s aim to protect public health from COVID-19 and associated variants of concern (VOC), UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will pause making decisions on visitor visa applications in all red list countries, including Nigeria, until travel restrictions are lifted,” the statement said.

This comes after Nigeria was placed on the UK’s red list over growing concerns of the recently identified COVID-19 Omicron variant. 

“You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve been in a red list country in the previous 10 days unless you are a British or Irish national, have residence rights in the UK,” the commission had said on Sunday.

On Saturday, Peoples Gazette reported Nigeria’s addition to the UK’s “red list”, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid listing the new restrictions that would come into force on Tuesday. These restrictions include out-bound passengers needing to provide either valid evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of departure.

Nigeria, after confirming two cases of the Omicron variant on December 1, joined the list of African countries, except those in North Africa, which have been placed on red lists as high-risk countries.

Governments across the globe have been emplacing travel bans since the Omicron variant was sequenced and identified in South Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that the Omicron variant, now detected in 38 countries, appears to be more contagious than the COVID-19 Delta variant.

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APC wins Ekiti council poll boycotted by PDP

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Kayode Fayemi

The Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission on Sunday declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of all the seats contested in Saturday’s local government councils poll in the state.

The election was boycotted by the main opposition party PDP which claimed that the APC led administration in the state was incapable of organising credible, free and fair elections without violence.

Justice Jide Aladejana, the chairman of the commission, announced that the APC won all the 35 council chairmanship seats and 176 out of the 177 councilorship seats declared.

Mr Aladejana said that the commission had postponed councilorship election in Erinjiyan ward, following violence that broke out during the poll in the town.

He appreciated security agencies and the staff of the commission as well as the electorate for participating in the poll and for their cooperation for the successful conduct of the election.

The election was held across the 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and the 19 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) as well as the 177 wards of the state.

Six other political parties participated in the poll.

They included Action Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress(APC), National Rescue Movement(NRM), and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

Speaking on the election, Raphael Adeyanju, the state PDP Publicity Secretary, described it as a sham.

Mr Adeyanju said that the result of the election and the obvious low turnout of voters had confirmed fears by the party that the result had already been predetermined by the ruling APC ahead of the poll.

The spokesman also described the conduct of election in the newly created LCDAs as unconstitutional, claiming that since the constitution of Nigeria only recognised the existing sixteen LGAs in state, the election in the 19 LCDAs was an aberration and a waste of resources.

NAN

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Kogi speaker’s wife dies in Lagos

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The wife of the Speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, Esther Zainab Kolawole, is dead.

Femi Olugbemi, spokesman to the speaker, Matthew Kolawole, announced this in a statement on Sunday.

He said the deceased died in the early hours of Sunday in a Lagos state hospital.

The statement stated that Mrs Kolawole was 50-years and died after a brief illness.

According to him, the burial arrangements will be announced later.

He said she is survived by her husband, children, siblings and an aged mother.

NAN

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