Wednesday, 10 July 2019

William Troost-Ekong’s late winner sent Nigeria through to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday after a tense 2-1 victory over South Africa in Cairo.

Samuel Chukwueze fired the Super Eagles ahead in the first half in front of a healthy, largely pro-Nigerian crowd at the 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium.

But Bongani Zungu’s looping header brought South Africa level on 70 minutes, the goal awarded with the aid of VAR — introduced for the first time at the tournament from the quarter-final stage onwards — after it was initially ruled out for offside.

Centre-back Troost-Ekong then turned home at a corner a minute from time to set three-time champions Nigeria up with a clash against Algeria or Ivory Coast for a spot in the July 19 final.

Left-back Jamilu Collins made his first appearance in Egypt after shaking off a pre-tournament injury while Villarreal forward Chukwueze came in for Moses Simon in the Nigerian attack.

Stuart Baxter stuck with the same side that shocked hosts Egypt in the last round, as match-winner Thembinkosi Lorch retained his place despite Themba Zwane’s return from suspension.

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr had suggested South Africa were favourites in the build-up following their defeat of the record seven-time champions, a tag Baxter promptly rejected with Bafana Bafana’s lone competitive win coming in qualifying for these finals.

Odion Ighalo’s goals have been the driving force behind Nigeria’s run here but it was emerging young forward Chukwueze, coming off a solid debut season in Spain’s top flight, who struck just before the half-hour to end the impasse.

Alex Iwobi skipped past a couple of defenders down the left before pulling back for Chukwueze, who swept into the corner as the ball trickled back his way after a first shot was blocked.

Following a stodgy first half Nigeria appeared the far sharper after the break, Peter Etebo rattling the crossbar with a superb 25-yard- free-kick destined for the top corner but for the fingertips of Ronwen Williams.

A number of promising attacks fizzled out for Nigeria and their lack of precision came back to haunt them when Zungu hauled South Africa level, nodding back across goal after a Percy Tau set-piece was shown upon a video review to have been flicked on by Ighalo.

But after their stunning elimination of Mohamed Salah’s Egypt there was to be no follow-up act from South Africa as Williams flapped at an inswinging corner and Troost-Ekong forced over the line to clinch victory for Nigeria.

Published in World
Barely five days after a deadly pipeline fire that killed over a dozen people at Ijegun town, north of Lagos, residents of the community have foiled another pipeline vandalism.
Ijegun, which has been having recurring pipeline vandalism since May 2008, is in the Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area of Lagos State.
A News in the area reported that residents rose to the occasion and foiled what would have been another deadly explosion on Tuesday after vandals attempted to open a pipeline at a market in the community.
Speaking on the development, the Divisional Police Officer at the Isheri Oshun Police Station, SP. Rafiu Akinlade said that policemen responded immediately they were alerted on the vandalism.
“As soon a call got to me from the community, I immediately sent out my team but on getting there, the vandals had abandoned their tools and fled.
“However, my men have collected all the tools and pipes they came with for their operation.
“Although we are yet to apprehend the vandal, an investigation is going on,” Akinlade said.
A resident of Ijegun community, Mr Victor Mbuba, told News men that residents became apprehensive when they heard screams, prompting scores of people to start removing their belongings.
“The smell was thick and this caused panic and fear of another explosion because the memory of the immediate past inferno was still shocking.’’
Another resident, Vitalis Okonkwo, a student, told NAN that his family ran out to safety, following shouts in the neighbourhood.
“When we perceived the fuel split all over the area, we ran out along with others in the neighborhood for fear of being trapped in another explosion.
“Most people are yet to return for fear of another explosion because anything can happen. Nobody wants a repeat of the July 4 explosion,” he said.
His neighbor, Mrs Bridget Umeorah, appealed to the Lagos State Government to provide security in the area to discourage pipeline vandalism.
On May 25, 2008, a pipeline explosion occurred in Ijegun community when a truck used in road rehabilitation damaged an oil pipeline, causing a fire outbreak that killed many people and damaged property, estimated at millions of naira.
Oil pipeline vandalism is rampant in oil-bearing Nigeria, perpetrated mainly by unscrupulous people seeking fortunes to make their living.
Published in Business

The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Tuesday said Nigeria accounted for $7bn of the $38.7bn inflows that were secured for the African continent at the maiden edition of the African Investment Forum held in South Africa in 2018

This was disclosed by the Senior Country Director for Nigeria at AfDB, Mr Ebrima Faal, in Abuja on Tuesday at a roadshow to promote the second edition of the forum coming up in South Africa in November.

According to him, the forum convened over 2,000 participants representing 87 countries, including eight heads of governments in November 2018 while deals worth a total of $46.9bn were discussed with 49 deals valued at $38.7bn secured.

He said, “At the 2018 Africa Investment Forum, West Africa accounted for 36 per cent of the deals that were closed. Nineteen projects worth $16.1bn were presented, of which 16 projects valued at $13.1bn secured investment. Our region grossed the highest value in deals, followed by the host region accounting for 22.7 per cent.

“Nigeria was very visible. Out of the 63 boardroom deals presented at the forum, Nigeria had five deals worth $7bn. This represents 14.9 per cent of the total deals accounted for the continent, and 43 per cent of the deals accounted for the region; we can do better.

He added that the Africa Investment Forum aimed to change the face of investment in Africa by bringing together members with a vested interest in Africa’s growth and development through business transformation.

He described it as “a multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary collaborative platform for international business and social impact investors looking to invest on the continent. It is a highly-transactional marketplace dedicated to advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals.

“This year, it is paramount that we not only maintain our place as a pacesetter but also collectively strive to improve on the quality and quantity of deals closed,” he noted.

According to him, even with gross international reserves of about $45bn and a pension fund of about N8tn, Nigeria will need a considerable amount of private finance to bridge its cumulative infrastructural needs of about $3tn by 2024.

Published in Bank & Finance
Mines Nigeria Ltd., a telecom, media and tech business company, on Tuesday said that mobile phones had triggered a fundamental shift in the financial services.
The Managing Director, Adia Sowho, disclosed this at the Digital PayExpo Conference and Exhibition in Lagos.
The Digital PayExpo Conference and Exhibition, which is on its 19th edition had the theme, “FINCLUSION: Aligning Expectations with the (Digital Financial Services) DFS Business Case”.
According to her, even with mobile phones significant impact, about two billion people that are making use of mobile phones lack access to credit facilities and this limits inclusion.
She, however, added that the infrastructure deficit that drives these issues exist all over the world and not pertaining to Nigeria alone.
“Lack of credit infrastructure affects lives in a profound way and so there is need to embrace technologies that will help push it forward.
“Another issue that needs to be addressed is the addressing system, which does not exist and so banks find it difficult to grant credit facilities to people they cannot locate.
“These issues if tackled will go a long way in ensuring that more people are financially included,” she said
Sowho urged people to consider today’s problem with a different mindset as there was need to embrace fintech to move the financial sector to the next level.
She added that the country had voluminous data but that we are not utilising it to create the much needed digital infrastructure.
She listed the obstacles attached to the data in the country as: data sharing and privacy, cost structure, adopting s new risk and digital infrastructure.
Also, the Global Chief Executive Officer, PalmPay, United Kingdom, Mr Greg Reeve said that smartphones with mobile money would enhance financial inclusion in the country.
According to him, building a Pan-African financial ecosystem that is enabled with a smartphone will ensure financial services are relevant, reliable, accessible and affordable.
“The history of financial service innovation goes through four stages, banking, mobile money, the 3rd wave, which is learning from fintech and the regulatory approach.
“The innovations can be utilised in different way by different people and so will provide services for customers at a time of need.
“Mobile money is a big step forward as it makes access and payment of money seamless,” he said.
He said that with the adoption of fintech things had differed as new products could be created and experience optimised for each users with data science.
He added that it would also lead to lower costs for business, which meant new types of customers could be served and there would be no more retail branches needed as banks would be in people’s pocket.
Reeve pointed that FinTech challenges the status quo in the country as chatbots are used to manage finances, access of other digital services in ones finance app like shopping, rides and others.
He said that it would enable loans to be issued in minutes and getting higher interest for ones savings with savings apps that are at the bank.
The 2019 Digital PayExpo conference and exhibition seeks to answer the questions of whether financial inclusion was justified from a business perspective and whether there was a market in the unbanked market segments.
Published in Business
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