AFCON2023: Imo Sports Commission Hails Super Eagles Composure, Professionalism—-The Imo Government has hailed the Super Eagles for their composure and professionalism which saw them through to the final of the on-going Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote D’Ivoire.
The Chairman, Imo Sports Commission, Mr Eleazar Ogbonna, said this in a statement in Owerri on Wednesday.
Ogbonna, who conveyed the compliments of the Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, commended Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali and striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, for their penalty strikes.
He commended Imo-born Iheancho for his calmness and professional attitude, having missed all the games until the semi final match against South Africa, where he kept his cool to convert the last penalty that sent Nigeria to the final.
“We are proud of the Super Eagles and particularly happy that our son, Iheancho, was instrumental in the closing period of a very tight and tough football match for Nigeria.
“His performance and that of other Imo born athletes who have continued to make the state and the nation proud is the reason Gov. Hope Uzodimma is diversifying his Shared Prosperity mantra to empower our talented youths.
“The sports commission will continue to carry the message and put the programmes to positive use.
“We, however, urge the Super Eagles not to rest on their oars but to stay focused and more dedicated till the trophy is lifted ,” he said.
Nigeria, three-time AFCON champions, on Wednesday at Bouake, Cote D’Ivoire, beat the Bafana Bafana of South Africa 4-2 on penalties, after the scintillating semi final encounter ended 1-1 in regulation and extra times.
Williams Troost-Ekong gave the West African giants the lead in the second half from the penalty spot after reigning African Footballer of the Year, Victor Osimhen, was brought down in the penalty box.
The South Africans, however, pegged back five minutes to the end through Mokouena’s penalty after what would have been Osihmen’s second goal of the tournament.
“And Nigeria’s second of the night was rulled out as VAR brought play back for Yusuf Ayila’s foul inside the box prior to the goal.
Nwabali, in goal for Nigeria, totally demystified South African captain and goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams, who was heavily relied upon following his historic four penalty saves in their quarter final game.
Nwabali instead, became the hero with double penalty saves that was followed by Kelechi Iheancho’s last kick to seal Nigeria’s emphatic run into the final.