Wednesday, 12 January 2022 05:13

AFCON: Ekpo, Ugbade, others crown Simon MVP

Some ex-football international, on Tuesday, unanimously crowned Moses Simon as Super Eagles Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the ongoing 2021 Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations championship.

They spoke in separate interviews shortly after Super Eagles superlative performance defeating the Pharaohs of Egypt 1-0 in AFCON Group D opener.

Friday Ekpo, a member of the 1992 squad for Super Eagles at the Nations Cup, applauded the Super Eagles for giving a good account of themselves at the team’s opening match in Cameroon.

He said the team as a whole was fantastic, but Simon was his man of the match, given his dexterity on the pitch.

“They all did well, but I’d pick Simon as the man of the match.

Nduka Ugbade

Sharing similar view was Nduka Ugbade, a former defender for Nigeria U-20 squad in 1989, he urged the players to remain consistent and maintain the team spirit.

“I just hope that in the next match all the missed goals will be converted.

“Others are Aribo, Aina, Sanusi and Taiwo Awoniyi that kept the Egyptians busy.

“I expect that he will start again with Kelechi, because they understand each other so well.

“We may win this Nations Cup if they sustain this and build on it,’’ he said.

The second true heavyweight match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations saw Nigeria take firm control of Group D with a 1-0 victory over Mohamed Salah and Egypt.

Next…

Ike Shorunmu, former Super Eagles number one goalkeeper, said the next game is more important now.

He commended the boys and urged them not to rest on their oars.

“Simon really tried toady, on top of that the team work was so good.

“I hope they continue like this. They should keep their heads cool, the next match is more important that this one.

“Winning their next game will further boost their confidence again. We need to sustain the momentum,’’ Shorunmu said.

Liverpool’s superstar Salah was entirely locked down, with little to show for his 90-minute effort as Nigeria caged the Egyptian playmaker.

Goal

Kelechi Iheanacho’s first-half goal proved the difference as Nigeria fended off a late Pharaohs push to claim all three points.

Sylvanus Okpala, a member of the 1980 Nations Cup winning squad, said the new crops of players have shown great potential.

“Simon can even do better than he did today; he has lot of potential. Look at Awoniyi, a fantastic player that should have been in Super Eagles long before now.

“I applaud them. We need this win and we got it, let’s take it each match at a time, I believe we will go far in this tournament,” Okpala said.

Come January 15, Saturday, Super Eagles will slug it out with Sudan.

Head-to-head, Nigeria has defeated Sudan five times out of the six times they clashed.(NAN)

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