Nigeria confirmed their place in the semi-finals with a clear victory over Paraguay as the third day of the 2019 IHF Men’s Trophy Intercontinental Phase got underway in Pristina, Kosovo.
Faruk Yusuf, Akeem Damilare Salami and Ibrahim Dikko all scored seven goals each to ensure their squad could full rotate ahead of their Semi final match against Canada by 1pm.
The game was a slow burner with just four goals in the first 10 minutes, but Nigeria found their speed and opened up a four-goal lead five minutes later (8:4) before a double-digit lead 16:6 was reached just before the break in the 28th minute.
The result was in stark contrast to the defeat against Canada yesterday when the side from West Africa had lost heavily but for Dikko, the reason why was simple.
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An elated Ibrahim Dikko told www.aclsports.com that they were eager to beat the Paraguay side after the lost heavily to Chinese Taipei in their first match.
He said, “We were all happy winning the game against Paraguay because the pressure was on the team to qualify. It would have been a disaster if we lost yesterday. The team lost to Chinese Taipei by a large margin due to some factors but we have gone past that stage now.
“I can tell you for free that I do not see any team beating us again in this championship”, the captain of the U19 side told www.aclsports.com.
Also speaking, the head coach of the U19 side, Emeka Nnamani said he is a fulfilled man after securing victory against Paraguay.
He said, “I told them that this not the end of the championship after we lost to Chinese Taipei. I boosted their morale by telling the players that we can still win and meet in finals”.
On why the team lost her first match, Emeka said, “I cannot reach a conclusion my brother. However, we trained last back home on last Friday and there was some psychological problems like not too sure of travelling. And when we arrive Kosovo, it was already noon and all we did was to eat and prepare for the match at 5pm. May be these factors could have been the problem”.
Meanwhile, Nigeria U21 team lost to Kosovo by 34-21 in her last match. The Nigeria Youth team will face Australia by 4pm in the placement match.
Youth (U19) Competition
5/6 Placement Match
1pm Paraguay vs New Zealand (1st October)
1pm Canada vs Nigeria (Palace of Youth and Sports)
5pm Chinese Taipei vs Kosovo (Palace of Youth and Sports)
Junior (U21) Competition
5/6 Placement Match
4pm Nigeria vs Australia (1st October)
3pm United States of America vs Chinese Taipei (Palace of Youth and Sports)
7pm Kosovo vs Paraguay (Palace of Youth and Sports)