Filed in Sports by on April 13, 2012

•As Pharaohs deny Eagles passage
Friday April 13, 2012

Six time African Nations Cup Champions, The Pharoahs of Egypt last night in Dubai denied the Super Eagles passage as they handed coach Stephen Keshi his first defeat since taking over as the helmsman of the Nigerian national team in a game that ended 3 – 2 at the El Nasri Club Stadium in the centre of Dubai.
Nigeria opened scoring in the 15th minute with a goal from Sunday Mba of Warri Wolves but Egypt’s Ahmed Imsah leveled scores in the 25th minute of play to bring scores to 1 – 1.

In the 35th minute, returnee national team striker Mohammed Aboutrika made it 2 – 1 through a penalty kick and Nigeria replied five minutes later through Uche Kalu called up from Enyimba in the 40th minute. Scores remained at two goals a piece at half time and it remained that way until the 93 minute of play when Fanhala ended the Eagles smooth run in her last five games.

Coach Stephen Keshi had to cut short his vacation in America to be available on the sidelines for this encounter that was executed by players that are largely home based. Eagles boss, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has heaped praises on his players following their gallant display against the Pharaohs of Egypt that ended 2-3 against Nigeria in Dubai, UAE, Thursday night.

Addressing the players after the match Big Boss Keshi said despite the frustrating display by the referee, the team showed character, grit and concentration till the last whistle. “The referee if he has a conscience, should know that he robbed us, because we had a penalty that was not given and the last goals looked questionable but like I told you I expected this type of officiating. Pick yourself up and lets get set for the next round of game”, he told the players.

All technical crew members felt the same and gave kudos to the players, urging them not to be downcast over the last minute extra time goal. Nigeria next faces Gabon in another international friendly in Libreville, next month.
Despite playing in Dubai, which is considered the second home of the Egyptian national team, Nigeria’s Super Eagles did not lack support, when they took on the Pharaohs of Egypt at the exquisite Al-Nasri Club stadium in the city of Dubai on Thursday.

Senate Committee Chairman on Sports, Senator Ibrahim Adamu Gumba, a member of his committee and passionate follower of football, Senator Abdul Ningi, the representative of Sports Minister Bolaji Abdulahi and Director General, National Sports Commission, Dr Patrick Ekeji, Alhaji Abba Yola, NFF board member Shehu Adamu and ofcourse Barrister Chris Green, were all in the stands to cheer the national team in the game against the Pharaohs.
Shockingly too, a clubside from Bauchi State, known as Yankari Babes, that is currently on a playing tour of the UAE, was on hand to lend support, along with Nigerians resident in Dubai and its environs, at the end of the day, honours in terms of support was almost evenly shared.

Yankari Babes which attended the last training session of the national team were encouraged by Stephen Keshi to keep up the good work as any of them who excels will sooner than later find himself in the national team as the country continues to rebuild for a stronger and more dependable national team for the country.


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