AFCON: Eagles dedicate 1-0 win against Angola to late Okwaraji

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AFCON: Eagles dedicate 1-0 win against Angola to late OkwarajiNigeria’s Super Eagles have dedicated their 1-0 victory against the Palancas Negras of Angola in the quarterfinals of the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to the memory of late Samuel Okwaraji.
Okwaraji, a Nigerian international, slumped and died while playing in a 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos.

BRANDPOWER reports that Nigeria sailed  through  to the semi-finals  after a hard-fought 1-0 win over giant-killers,  Angola at Stade Felix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan on Friday.

This was after a pass by Moses Simon, to Ademola Lookman who slotted the ball  calmly beyond goalkeeper Guilherme da Costa to score the only goal for Nigeria in the 41st minute.

The Super Eagles had to work hard for the victory against the Palancas Negras that had exceeded expectations in reaching the last eight.

 

In celebration to their victory against Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, the team wrote on its X handle that the triumph was in memory of the late legend.

“Today’s victory over Angola is a poignant reminder of the adamant spirit of Nigerian football.
“ As we celebrate this triumph, we also honor the memory of Late Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji, who tragically left us while playing against Angola 35 years ago.
“ His passion for the game and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Samuel Okwaraji, your legacy lives on,” it said.

Nigeria will play the winners of the match between South Africa and Cape Verde in the semi-final.

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Akpabio, others hail Super Eagles 

President of the Senate,  Godswill Akpabio has applauded the Super Eagles for beating Angola to qualify for the semi-finals of the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.

Akpabio who represented President Bola Tinubu at the crucial encounter, told newsmen after the match that he was excited about the victory, adding that the Super Eagles had indeed shown that they were unstoppable.

“I feel very happy. Nigeria is a very large country with over 250 million people.

“It’s a great day for the country. We have now entered into the semi-finals.

“Angola couldn’t stop us. I think we are unstoppable.

“I paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the Parliament of Cote d’Ivoire and I promised him that if Cote d’Ivoire should qualify for the finals, Nigeria will defeat Cote d’Ivoire.

“Then, we will leave the trophy here for them to bring it to Nigeria for us,” he said.

Simon Lalong, the Minister of Labour and Employment, who was also part of the  government delegation to the match, said  that with the much needed support and determination, the Super Eagles can go all the way and win the cup.

“I think for us it is a usual thing in Nigeria. When there is this very huge support and determination, Nigerians don’t let Nigeria down.

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“Today we have seen it with the very powerful delegation led by the senate president and so we have to support them.

“With what we saw, we are going back to celebrate today,” he said.

Lalong charged Nigerians to be hopeful in the administration of President Bola Tinubu, especially in the area of sports development.

He said  that football was also an instrument of peace and unity.

“Football always brings peace. It’s only when you are playing football that you don’t know the difference between who is coming from the South, North West or North Central.

“So, today you can see that all of us are very happy that Nigeria won.

“Let this be the spirit in Nigeria, so that we will have one united country.

“I am sure there is joy now back home. Everybody is very happy; even the different political parties, this is where they meet together; football. So, this victory is for all Nigerians,” he said.

BRANDPOWER also reports that Nigeria will face the winner of Saturday’s quarter-final between Cape Verde and South Africa for a place in the final.

Some fans who spoke to NAN said they were very pleased with the performance of the Super Eagles, and  would love Nigeria to meet hosts Coted’Ivoire in the  final.

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Tony Seaman and Zulu Mochoko said they felt very excited about the victory, adding that Nigeria would be the final victors of the tournament.

“We feel very happy! Nigeria is going to take the cup.

“Nobody else but Nigeria, and we are rooting for Cote d’Ivoire to face Nigeria in the final.”

Seyi Dada-Martins said the game was fantastic.

” It was a great performance with a mix of good attacking abilities from the Super Eagles.

“I feel like Nigeria is going all the way, really.

“A Nigeria vs Coted’Ivoire final will be brilliant,” he said.

Another fan, Segun Adekeye said: “We are the best. I am very happy today, and we showed that we were not the mates of the Angolans.

“A Nigeria/Cote d’Ivoire final is what I am looking forward to, now,” he said.

Other Ivorian fans joined in the celebration as they also wished for a Nigeria v Coted’Ivoire final.

Marie Sopie said: “We love Osimhen. He is the best player, and I hope Nigeria goes to the final and takes the cup,” she said.

Buokuze Kousso said even though he is Ivorian, he is very happy that Nigeria won.

NAN also reports that Nigeria will face the winner of Saturday’s quarter-final between Cape Verde and South Africa for a place in the final.

The tournament which began on Jan. 13 in Cote d’Ivoire will end on Feb. 11.