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Nigerian defender, Leon Balogun, believes Ghana used ‘juju’ to defeat Super Eagles during World Cup qualifiers

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Super Eagles of Nigeria defender, Leon Balogun, is of the belief that Ghana must have used “juju’, a kind of a spiritual belief system incorporating objects such as charms, amulets and spells used in traditional religious practices mostly in Africa, to beat the Nigerian team on away goal rules in their World Cup qualifying match player in match.

The Black Stars who crashed out of the Qatar 2022 World Cup after failing to make it out of the group, had beaten the star studded Eagles following a 1-1 draw in Abuja after a goalless draw in the first leg in Ghana.

Nigeria had looked in pole position to win the ticket to the Mundial after finishing top of their group in the second round of the CAF World Cup qualifiers. But even with the play-off draw pitting them against their bitter West African rivals, many thought the Super Eagles would prevail against Ghana.

In the first leg played in Ghana, the Super Eagles created loads of scoring chances but could not find the back of the net and in the second leg played at the MKO Abiola Stadium in the Nigerian capital, Ghana triumphed on away goal rule through a Thomas Partey goal with captain William Troost-Ekong equalising for the hosts.

Months after the huge disappointment, Balogun now thinks Ghana had employed black magic, commonly referred to as Juju in Africa, for the Eagles to miss so many scoring opportunities.

“We did go to Ghana to play the first leg and it was a tough game. You know there was this whole fuss about them changing the stadium at the last minute on Tuesday when they have never lost and they say whether juju may or may not have been involved also or whatever.

“It was tough for us. I can’t lie…..It was really tough and we ended up playing 0-0 after missing a lot of scoring chances. Maybe the used juju, I can’t say. Until this day, I don’t understand,” Balogun said in an interview with The Beautiful Game.

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Jose Mourinho extols Nigerian forward, Victor Osimhen, after wonder goal

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Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, has heaped praises on Nigerian forward, Victor Osimhen, after the striker scored a wonder goal which can potentially compete for the goal of the season in the Italian Serie A.

The former Chelsea boss said Osimhen, who is a target of one of his former clubs, Manchester United, can compare favourably with former Ivorian striker, Didier Drogba who terrorised defences in the English Premier League.

However, Mourinho said the only hindrance to the Napoli striker reaching legendary status is if he desists from “diving” to gain favours from referees.

“He is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive,” Mourinho told reporters after the game when asked to access the Super Eagles forward’s performance.

“If Victor changes, then OK. I’d buy him if I was at a club with a lot of money.”

“However, if he does go to England one day, he needs to change, because in Italy they put up with this sort of behaviour, whereas in the Premier League, they’d come down hard on him.”

“I told him that he scored a wonderful goal and needs to stop diving so much. His goal was fantastic, he did the same thing when we met earlier this season, so he’s a fantastic player. But he mustn’t dive,” the Portuguese coach said.

The red hot Osimhen, has scored 14 goals in 16 league matches, propelling Napoli to a healthy 13 point lead at the top of thr Serie A.

Watch Osimhen’s wonder goal against Roma here:

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CHAN 2023: Niger, Madagascar make history, beat Ghana, Mozambique, to reach semi-finals

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It was a night of shocks and history on Saturday at the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria when one of the tournament’s favourites, Ghana, was knocked out by outsiders, Niger Republic in a 2-0 defeat which saw the Nigeriens qualify for the semi-finals.

As if the shock was not enough, first-time qualifiers, Madagascar, thumped Mozambique 3-1 to also qualify for the semi-final in some style.

While Madagascar was dealing with Mozambique in Constantine, Niger shocked two-time runners-up, Ghana, in Oran to complete the last-four line-up alongside host, Algeria and Senegal.

Niger’s reward is a date with Algeria while Madagascar will square up against Senegal, both on Tuesday.

Though Algeria and Senegal are outright favourites to win the tournament meant for African footballers playing in their country of birth, pundits believe underating the so called minnows could spell doom as Ghana, Cameroon, DR Congo and other top playing nations found out the hard way.

Madagascar had earlier shocked Ghana and hammered Sudan to win Group C, while Niger had pulled up the shock of the group stages by sending Cameroon packing with a 1-0 victory in their last group D match.

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