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African Games

Flying Eagles Jet Out Chasing African Games’ 51-year Elusive Gold Medal   –

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Flying Eagles Jet Out Chasing African Games' 51-year Elusive Gold Medal   -

Nigeria’s male football team last won the gold medal of African Games 51 years ago. It was in 1973 that Nigeria won the gold medal on home soil. Thirty years  later, the Nigerian team could not replecate the feat at Abuja 2003. Ever since, it has been near misses which also happened at the last edition five years ago in Rabat, Morocco.

The team, this time the U-20 squad is on another mission as Head Coach Isah Ladan Bosso has picked his squad ahead of another adventure.

In the squad are goalkeeper Nathaniel Nwosu, captain Daniel Bameyi, midfielder Daniel Daga and forwards Charles Agada and Olalekan Ibrahim in his list of 20 players.

Bosso has also picked defenders Musa Abdullahi and Godwin Sampson, midfielders Favour Izuogu and Ibrahim Idris, and forwards Nasir Muhammed and Sunday Joseph.

Nigeria will contend with Uganda, South Sudan, Senegal and Tunisia in Group B of the men’s football event starting on Thursday, with the Nigeria squad scheduled to depart from Abuja on Tuesday.

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Matches will take place at the University of Ghana Sports Stadium in Legon.

Ghana, Congo, Benin Republic and The Gambia are the teams in Group A, with the Accra Sports Stadium as venue.

Nigeria emerged runners-up of the men’s football event of the 12th African Games held in Rabat, Morocco in October 2019, losing to Burkina Faso in the final.

20 FLYING EAGLES FOR AFRICAN GAMES:

 Goalkeepers: Nathaniel Nwosu, Clinton Ezekiel, Samuel James

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Defenders: Daniel Bameyi, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Oladapo Akintola, Godwin Sampson, Haruna Aliyu, Rabiu Abdullahi

Midfielders: Daniel Daga, Favour Izuogu, Auwal Ibrahim, Yinka Oladunjoye, Sulaiman Idris

Forwards: Kehinde Ibrahim, Charles Agada, Nasir Muhammed, Sunday Joseph, Olalekan Ibrahim, Sadiq Isiyaka   

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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African Games

A milestone as Egypt becomes the first country to get 100 gold medals in African Games

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A milestone as Egypt becomes the first country to get 100 gold medals in African Games

As the curtain is drawn on the 13th African Games in Egypt, the traditional overall winners, have this time hit a milestone.

They have become the first to hit a 100 gold medal mark in the 59 year history of the games.

As at Saturday morning, they have amassed 101 gold medals, 54 more than that of the second placed Nigeria

The biggest star of the Egyptian team  is swimmer Marwan Elkamash, who won five gold medals in the men’s 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 4x200m relays, all in freestyle.

But medal haul is still short that that of his compatriot, Faten Afifi who fished out seven gold medals from the pool.

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African Games

Nigeria’s Amusan and Brume shine in athletics

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Nigeria’s Amusan and Brume shine in athletics

The 2023 African Games come to a close on Saturday after two weeks of intense competition in Accra, Ghana, with Egypt emerging as the best team by far and the athletics competition providing a stunning spectacle in the final week.

Accra is hosting a the 2003 African Games from 4-23 March, with a remarkable organisation and Egypt crowned as the best team, just six gold medals short of the astonishing milestone of 100 titles. Will they reach it in the final competitions of the event? 

As is the case with the Olympic Games and in the Panam Games, the final week of competition is time to enjoy with athletics, a sport that usually brings African countries great success at every major event such as the Olympics or the World Athletics Championships. 

Ethiopia, for example, went into the athletics competition with no gold medals after 14 days of the Games and now has five, just like Kenya, which has won five of its six African titles in athletics.

Over the past two days, two world-class stars and big favourites for Accra 2023 have been crowned African champions to raise the level of competition. They will also be competing for Olympic glory at Paris 2024: Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume, both from Nigeria. 

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Nigeria’s Amusan burst onto the scene when she set a new world record in the women’s 110m hurdles with a time of 12.12, eight hundredths better than the old record set by USA’s ‘Keny’ Harrison. She also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in 2022.

After a difficult year in 2023, when she missed three anti-doping tests (she didn’t test positive) and received a suspension that was later lifted, and a sixth place at the World Championships in Budapest, Amusan came to Accra as the overwhelming favourite and she didn’t disappoint.

The Nigerian was the fastest in the semi-finals with an easy mark for her (13.03) and won the final in 12.89, almost a second slower than her world record time. It was her fifth African title (three in the 100m hurdles and two in the 4x100m relay) and she will be competing for glory at Paris 2004 against the USA’s Harrison and Nia Ali, and Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho Quinn, the reigning Olympic champion.

Also from Nigeria, Ese Brume is one of the best long jumpers in the world, with a bronze medal at the last Olympic Games, a silver at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in 2022 and a bronze in Doha in 2019. She also won silver at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in 2022 and came to Accra as a three-time African champion and two-time Commonwealth champion.

After a disappointing sixth place finish at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, the Ijebu-Ode native was the most high-profile athlete in the long jump final at Accra 2023, and she didn’t disappoint despite the opposition she faced.

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With the best jump ever at the African Games, surpassing the old record of 6.79 set by South Africa’s Janice Josephs in 2015, Brume jumped 6.92 to show she is ready to take on the likes of USA’s Tori Tara Davis and Jasmine Moore, Serbia’s Ivana Vuleta and Germany’s Malaika Mihambo at the Stade de France in August. Burkina Faso’s Mathe Jasmine Koala took silver with a remarkable jump of 6.81

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African Games

Nigeria’s last African Games medal to come from tennis

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Nigeria’s last African Games medal to come from tennis

Nigeria’s second position at the African Games is already sealed as the curtain falls on the delayed Accra 2023 tonight. As usual, Egypt are the runner-away leaders with an amazing 52 gold medals more than that of second-placed Nigeria.

Overall, Egypt have 187 medals as against Nigeria’s 121 as at close of competition on Friday night.

This Saturday, there are contests in just three disciplines – Cricket, Tennis and Volley ball. Nigeria will be involved in only women’s final, playing against Egypt.

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