Onazi: Eagles ‘ll Approach Bafana Clash with All Seriousness

first_imgSpeaking with sports journalists shortly after their first training session at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo yesterday, Onazi stressed that Super Eagles are ready to redeem their image against the South Africans and ensure that Nigeria qualify for the continental fiesta scheduled to hold in Cameroon in two years time.His words: “Of course, we remember that it was in this stadium that we missed the opportunity to play in AFCON 2015 when we drew 2-2 with South Africa. It is still in our hearts, we have not forgotten it. Though, it is not a grudge match but we are approaching it with all seriousness.“All we need from Nigerians is their support and prayers because at times like these, it is only their prayers and support that will help us overcome the challenge,” stressed the former Lazio of Italy midfielder.Onazi argued that there was no harm in the current composition of the Super Eagles with the introduction of new players, stressing that both the old and new players have since adjusted as professionals.Also speaking, Coach Rohr explained that he would give limited play-time to Muslims in the team that include Ahmed Musa and Shehu Abdullahi because of the ongoing Ramadan.The franco-German gaffer who restated that South Africa is his strongest opponent however observed that the professionalism in the current crop of Super Eagles would see Nigeria overpower South Africa this weekend.“They are the strongest opponent I will face so far as Eagles coach in the AFCON 2019 qualifier because they have not lost a match over a long time. I am also aware that they stopped Nigeria from getting to the AFCON 2015. This match is very important to Nigeria and so need to win it for our fans,” he promised ahead of the clash in Uyo.Tokelo Rantie scored both goals for south Africa, before left-sided midfielder, Sone Aluko, also replied with a brace in that 2-2 draw that denied Nigeria the chance to qualify for AFCON 2015.The Super Eagles coach regretted missing the services of some of injured Eagles like John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses. He however consoled himself that the new crop of players in the team have made the necessary adjustment and have shown their readiness to make Nigeria proud.Yesterday morning, all the players invited to camp with the exception of Elderson Echiejile and Ahmed Musa, trained at the training pitch of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium under the guidance of Rohr and his assistants.Rohr’s new crop of youngsters that will take on the Bafana Bafana will include former junior international Kelechi Iheanacho, who has scored in seven of his last eight matches for the Super Eagles, as well as record scorer in the FIFA U17 World Cup, Victor Osimhen.There are also this season’s top scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga, Olanrewaju Kayode, the pacy Moses Simon and the nimble-footed Alex Iwobi of Arsenal.The last outing between both teams was a friendly match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit two years ago, which ended 1-1. Ahmed Musa scored a late goal in a game in which Daniel Akpeyi (likely to start in goal for Nigeria on Saturday) saved a penalty, but there was still time for the Bafana Bafana to draw level.NIGERIA & SOUTH AFRICA (Head-to-Head)10 Oct 1992: Nigeria 4-0 S’Africa – Lagos (World Cup Qualifier)16 Jan 1993: S’Africa 0-0 Nigeria – Jo’burg (World Cup Qualifier)10 Feb 2000: Nigeria 2-0 S’Africa – Lagos (AFCON semi final)31 Jan 2004: S’Africa 0-4 Nigeria – Monastir (AFCON group stage)17 Nov 2004: S’Africa 2-1 Nigeria – Jo’burg (Mandela Challenge)1 June 2008: Nigeria 2-0 S’Africa – Abuja (World Cup Qualifier)6 Sep 2008: S’Africa 0-1 Nigeria – Port Elizabeth (World Cup Qual.)11 Aug 2013: S’Africa 0-2 Nigeria – Durban (Mandela Challenge)19 Jan 2014: S’Africa 1-3 Nigeria – Cape Town (CHAN group stage)10 Sept 2014: S’Africa 0-0 Nigeria – Cape Town (AFCON Qualifier)19 Nov 2014: Nigeria 2-2 S’Africa – Uyo (AFCON Qualifier)29 Mar 2015: S’Africa 1-1 Nigeria – Nelspruit (Friendly)Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Okon Bassey in UyoRemembering three years after how Nigeria missed the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2015) due to the 2-2 draw with South Africa in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Super Eagles interim Captain, Ogenyi Onazi, yesterday vowed that Saturday’s AFCON 2019 qualifying clash with Bafana Bafana will be approached with caution and all seriousness.Onazi’s assertion is coming on the heels of Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr’s declaration that the South Africans are the strongest opponents in the AFCON 2019 Group E pairing that also have Libya and Seychelles.last_img read more

Men’s basketball: Career days from Bronson Koenig, Vitto Brown aid in domination of Siena

first_imgLess than 48 hours removed from one of the worst losses in program history, the Wisconsin men’s basketball rebounded with a 92-65 victory over Siena.Although the defense started slow once again, Wisconsin built a healthy first half lead and then put the game away for good by making six of its first seven shots from the field to build a lead that reached a margin as large as 33 points.Junior guard Bronson Koenig, who poured in a career-high 23 points, scored six quick points after halftime to help the cause and secure No. 17 Wisconsin’s first win of the 2015-16 season. Junior forward Vitto Brown also had a career-high in points, with 16.“I did a better job of slowing the game down and letting it come to me,” Brown said.In defeat was a Siena team from the MAAC who, unlike Western Illinois two nights ago, was overpowered. The Badgers shot lights out from the field throughout the game, especially in the second half when they made 68 percent of their shots to finish the game shooting 58.5 percent.For the second straight game, UW started 4-of-6 from the field. Unlike Friday night, though, UW held on to the hot hand. More impressively, they did it without starters Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ who spent some quality time on the bench because both picked up two early fouls.Despite limited playing time, Hayes managed to score 14 points and Happ finished with eight.The Badgers were committed to going inside early on, with five of their first six field goals coming from a short distance.“[We did a] much better job tonight to start the [game] and to start the half,” UW head coach Bo Ryan said.With all of the action inside, the Badgers frequented the free throw line, where they were much more effective than against Western Illinois. Wisconsin shot 25-for-30 from the charity stripe Sunday night.A straight-on three-pointer from Ryan Oliver gave Siena its first lead of the ballgame at 14-13 with 12:46 to go in the half. Siena made seven of its first 11 shots, but then went cold, only converting four of their final 17 attempts in the half.Koenig said UW emphasized defense during Saturday’s practice after the dismal performance on the defensive end of the floor during Friday’s loss.“You really couldn’t get much worse than Friday,” Koenig said.Leading the way for the Saints were Nico Clareth (21 points) and Marquis Wright (17 points).Vitto Brown had a career-high 16 points Sunday night. Jason Chan/The Badger HeraldWhile the rest of the Badgers were working inside, Brown got his mid-range game going, sinking jumpers to keep UW close. He hit one from the right wing to put Wisconsin up 17-16 nine minutes and 21 seconds into the game, a lead his team wouldn’t relinquish. Ten of his points came in the first half.“He seemed a little more focused,” Ryan said. “He was a little more under control and that’s what he’s going to have to do.”After taking 21 three’s in the opener, Wisconsin didn’t attempt a shot from behind the arc until 9:15 remained in the first half, when Koenig knocked one down from the left side to increase the lead to 23-18 and got the Badgers rolling. The Saints were an inefficient 1-for-8 from three and the deep shot selections stalled the offense.In the middle of the first half, Siena switched to a 2-3 zone to offset Wisconsin’s inside attack, but UW utilized patience and cerebral passing to adjust. It pulled ahead and carried a 43-28 lead into halftime behind shooting 50 percent from the field and 13 points from Koenig.The half came to an exciting end when Koenig failed to hit a last-second three and Zak Showalter flew through the air, met the ball at the rim and flushed it down as time expired to give Wisconsin its biggest lead of the half.The large lead allowed freshmen Alex Illikainen (six points) and Brevin Pritzl (four minutes) to make their debuts as Badgers.last_img read more