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CAF Ranks Enyimba Best In Nigeria, 18th In Africa

Enyimba of Aba have been ranked 18th best in the African continent and best in the Nigerian domestic scene,  Completesports.com reports.

In the latest ranking for clubs on the African continent, TP Mazembe of Congo DR top the chart, followed by Wydad of Morocco, with All Ahly of Egypt in third spot.

Esperance of Tunisia and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa are in the fourth and fifth places respectively, with Etoile du Dahel of Tunisia and Zamalek of Egypt in the sixth and seventh positions respectively.

Lobi Stars of Makurdi are ranked second in Nigeria and 29th in Africa, while Enugu Rangers are third in Nigeria and 45th in the continent just as Rivers United are placed fourth in Nigeria and 67th on the continent.

Just last week FIFA President Gianni Infantino congratulated Enyimba for winning the Nigeria league for a record 8th time.

The People’s Elephant had in 2003 and 2004 won the CAF Champions League and are known as the most successful club in Nigeria with 28 trophies in 19 years.

Source: Complete Sports

Ighalo Makes AFCON 2019 Team Of Tournament; 5 Senegal Players Named

AFCON 2019 golden boot winner Odion Ighalo is the only Super Eagles player named in the team of the tournament selected by CAF, while first runners-up Senegal and champions Algeria have five and four players apiece, Completesports.com reports.

The 32nd Africa Cup of Nations ended on Friday, July 19 with the Desert Foxes of Algeria pipping the Teranga Lions of Senegal 1-0 at the Cairo International Stadium to win their second African title following their first feat as hosts in 1990.

The team of the tournament selected by CAF shows that Senegal boast of five players recognised after failing to defeat Algeria for their first ever Africa Cup of Nations title. Champions Algeria have four players in the official AFCON 2019 best eleven. Semifinalists, Nigeria and Tunisia have one player each in the team.

Algeria’s AFCON 2019 title-winning coach, Djamel Belmadi is the coach of the CAF Team of the Tournament.

Odion Ighalo on Wednesday called time on his international football after helping Nigeria beat Tunisia to the AFCON 2019 bronze medal. However the striker is getting appeal from some quarters to rescind the decision and help the Super Eagles a little longer in the twilight of his footballing career.

CAF AFCON 2019 Team Of Tournament

Goalkeeper: Rais M’Bolhi (Algeria)
Defenders: Lamine Gassama (Senegal), Yassine Meriah (Tunisia), Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal),
Midfielders: Adlene Guediora (Algeria), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Senegal), Ismael Bennacer (Algeria)
Forwards: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Odion Jude Ighalo (Nigeria)

Coach : Djamel Belmadi (Algeria)

Source: Complete Sports

Akwuegbu Appeals To Mikel, Ighalo To Rescind Retirement Decision

Former Nigeria international, Benedict Akwuegbu, has told Completesports.com he’s ‘proud’ of John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo services to the Super Eagles but earnestly appeals to them to rescind their decision to retire from the national team duties.

Soon after Nigeria won her 8th AFCON bronze medal following a hard fought 1-0 win against Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the Third-Place match on Wednesday, the duo announced their departure from the international scene, first by captain Mikel Obi and later Odion Ighalo.

Akwuegbu admits there is time to come and time to leave, but he appeals to the players to review their decision to quit at this stage.

“Mikel is a fantastic player, so also Ighalo who even won the Golden Boot award with five goals in the AFCON 2019 tournament,” Akwuegbu said.

” They played a remarkable role in Super Eagles bronze win even though we had looked forward for the trophy.

“But that’s it. Wishes, they say, are never horses. They did their best, not only in Egypt but during their entire national team careers.

“You don’t play football all through your life. They feel they have seen it and should leave the stage. I wish them well but I feel they should have to stay more.

“Yes, I believe they are still relevant to the national team and the NFF ought to try to convince them to have a change of decision”.

Akwuegbu would reflect on the concluded AFCON, pointing out that indeed, it was true reflection of the high quality of African football.

“I think the best team won. Algeria deserved the cup because they were highly tactical, disciplined, organised never lost a game throughout the championship.

” Senegal on their part, were good, physically strong, skillful but were unable to break down the Algerians.

“It was a worthy final that represents the best of African football,” Akwuegbu concluded.

Source: Complete Sports

Senegal Coach, Cisse: We Could Have Won AFCON 2019 Title

Teranga Lions of Senegal coach Aliou Cisse says the the AFCON 2019 tile feat could have gone either side as his team recovered from an odd Algeria’s early goal to dominate the game but were unlucky not to have scored, Completesports.com reports.

The Desert Foxes scored an early goal, somewhat fortuitously, when Baghdad Bounedjah’s strike in the the second minute of the match veered off defender Salif Sane to beat goalkeeper Alfred Gomis who had advanced up in his area, and the hard-fighting Teranga Lions fought hard in search of goal to no avail.

“We conceded an early goal and missed few scoring chances, then controlled the game in the second half. Yet we still failed to equalize. I congratulate Algeria on their title win. We know our strengths and our performance didn’t decline in this match,” Cisse told reporters during the post-match press conference.

“Algeria took advantage of the chance they got to score and we didn’t take our chances. This is football. I will like to thank my team on the efforts made throughout the tournament. We could have won it, but we were not lucky enough.”

The defeat left the talented Teranga Lions with the tournament’s silver medal as consolation. And the top FIFA ranked African side before the tournament will continue to hunt for their first ever AFCON title.

Source: Complete Sports

Ighalo Writes Emotional Farewell Message To Super Eagles Fans

AFCON 2019 top scorer award winner, Odion Ighalo, has sent out an emotional farewell message to Super Eagles’ fans and his former Nigeria teammates following his retirement from international football, Completesports.com reports.

Ighalo ended his international career on a high by winning the top scorer award of the 22nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt with five goals. His impressive form also helped Nigeria win the tournament’s bronze medal.

Firstly, on his AFCON 2019 top scorer award feat, Ighalo tweeted on his Twitter platform: “All Glory To God.”

The Shanghai Shenhua striker first announced his international retirement on Wednesday, July 17 after scoring his fifth AFCON 2019 goal that ensured the Super Eagles edged out the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the tournament’s bronze medal match.

“This is one of the most difficult career decisions I have had to take. It’s been an amazing five years journey, but after due consultation and extensive discussion with my family, I have decided it’s time for me to retire from the National team,” Ighalo said in a statement.

“It’s has been an eventful and most memorable opportunity to serve my country with pride, passion
and to contribute my quota to the development of our football, the memories would stay with me for a
long time and I’m immensely grateful.

“It is now time to concentrate on club football and give the younger
players chance to learn and grow. I would love to thank the NFF, coach Gernot Rohr for believing in me
against all odds, to my teammates for their professionalism and team spirit. Without you guys I wouldn’t have achieved so much with this team.

“To NIGERIAN football fans all over the world, I say THANK YOU, you were always there to cheer us on
and our 12th players every time we step into the pitch. I will be watching and cheering the SUPER
EAGLES from this side. THANK YOU….signing OUT”

Ighalo also released a statement directed to his Shanghai Shenhua fans concerning his current injury situation. The striker copped what looked like an hamstring after scoring the Super Eagles’ lone goal winner against Tunisia.

“This is the most difficult season in my club career, but playing for my country has always been a dream and this is the last big tournament in my international career,” he said.

Source: Complete Sports

Belmadi Hails Algeria Players For ‘Extraordinary, Historic’ 2nd AFCON Title Feat

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has glowingly hailed his players’ hard work that ensured that they won their second Africa Cup of Nations trophy after a 29 year hiatus.

The Desert Foxes edged out the Teranga Lions of Senegal 1-0 in Friday’s AFCON 2019 final at the Cairo International Stadium to bag their second Africa title

The last time Algeria won the AFCON title was as hosts in 1990. And Belmadi lauds his players for working so hard to win it again for the country, this time on foreign land.

Baghdad Bounedjah scored the solitary match winner in the second minute of the match when his strike was deflected into the net by Salif Sane, and the hard-fighting Teranga Lions chased the game in vain till the end.

Also Read: Ighalo Wins AFCON 2019 Top Scorer Award With Five Goals

“It’s extraordinary. It’s historic. This is the first Cup of Nations we have won outside our borders,” Belmadi told beIN Sports

“Since 1990, it has been a long, empty passage. We are a football country. We deserve it, I think.

“It was a very complicated match, very difficult. We knew that it was going to be decided on a small detail. And the boys held on.”

Belmadi added: “With the tournament we had, with better attack and better defence, what more? But without the players, I am nothing.

Source: Complete Sports