10th July, 2011
The hope of Nigeriaâ€™s U-23 Eagles playing in the football event of this yearâ€™s All Africa Games was dashed this evening with Ghanaâ€™s Black Meteors putting up a surprise 2-0 victory over Austin Eguavoen-led team.
The Nigerians, who had earlier in the first leg in Benin, Edo State, led with a 3-1 scoreline, were no match for the Ghanian team, who opened scoring in the 10th minute of play through Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and sealed victory through Richard Mpong in the 70th minute. The Black Meteors scored a goal in each half to take the tie 3-3 on away goals.
Nigeria again met her waterloo in the hands of Ghana, who stopped the national female team, the Super Falcons from the race to the football event of the All Africa Games.
Ghana complained bitterly about poor officiating after the first leg and the Nigerians did the same in the second leg this evening in Kumasi, barking at the Ivorian referee on the grounds that there had been a foul on one of their players in the build-up to the crucial second goal.
There was no doubt that the Nigerian team paid the price for a defence that looked a bit slow and out of sorts from the early minutes of play.
Ghanaâ€™s goal was scored by Badu from a 25-yard free-kick on 11 minutes to set Ghana up for the perfect start. Ghana should have scored more afterwards but Dominic Adiyiah in particular was sluggish in front of goal.
Nigeria had their moments too but retreated as the second half progressed.
They were then caught off guard when Adiyiah ran down the right side of their defence to set up Richard Mpong on 70 minutes.
Then came the long ball tactics from Nigeria and the theatrical tumble down the turf moments from the Ghana players who miraculously were going down in turns claiming to have cramps.
In the end Ghana held on and the Nigerian players focused their fury on Ivorian referee Dennis Dembele who Austin Eguavon claimed had used his experience â€œto puncture our play in crucial momentsâ€.
Ghana â€˜s response from coach Kwesi Appiah was to insist they should have had at least one penalty and to point out they were by far the better football side.
â€œIf anyone has reason to complain, it should be us from the first leg,â€ Appiah claimed.
The victory in Kumasi means Ghana have knocked out Nigeria from both the women and menâ€™s football competition at the All Africa Games. For Ghanaians, that means the world.