Morocco’s players hold up the trophy as they celebrate after winning the final football match of the African Nations Championship against Nigeria at the Mohammed V Casablanca Stadium on February 4, 2018.
Morocco on Sunday hammered the Super Eagles 4-0 in the final of the 2018 African Nations Championship at the Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca.
Two goals from Hadraf and one each from El Karti and tournament top scorer Ayoub El Kaabi gave the hosts their first title of the competition exclusively for players plying their trade in their country’s domestic leagues.
The Eagles finished the match with 10 men after Moses Eneji was sent off in the 48th minute for a second bookable offence. It was Eneji’s first match of the tournament.
The Atlas Lions dominated the match from the first minute, pressurising the Eagles’ defence with several marauding runs down the flanks.
Their first chance came in the fourth minute when El Kaabi sent his shot off target. El Kaabi converted from a corner kick but his effort was ruled out for a goal kick by referee Bakary Gassama for an infringement.
El Kaabi struck the bar in the 15th minute with an acrobatic kick after he was played on with a cross from the flanks. Hadraf got the first goal in the 44th minute when El Haddad beat Osas Okoro and crossed to the winger who struck past Dele Ajiboye.
The second half went sour for the Eagles after Eneji was sent off for a second bookable offence. Morocco doubled their lead in the 61st minute when El Karti headed home after Ajiboye had punched a cross out.
The Eagles, who finished third at the 2014 edition of the tournament in South Africa, were outclassed and Morocco got their third two minutes later when Hadraf struck home after he was left unmarked in the goal area. El Kaabi completed the rout in the 73rd minute after another defensive error by the Eagles.
Sudan at Stade de Marrakech in Marrakech on Saturday defeated 2014 champions Libya 4-2 in a penalty shootout to win bronze. (Punch)
In a move aimed at humiliating Nigeria and diminishing its influence in the West African Sub region, Morocco a northern African country has been admitted as a member of ECOWAS.
President Buhari’s uncolourful foreign policy has contributed to the lowering of the image of the country as he has refused to pay Nigeria’s financial responsibility to the sub regional organization which currently stands at about $700,000.
With Morocco as a member of ECOWAS, the strategic place of Nigeria in West Africa as a Big Brother can no longer be guaranteed.
President Buhari had declared his support for Western Sahara which is pushing independence from Morocco, saying that Nigeria would ensure the realization of their self-determination.
Without considering the of import of what he was saying and the support he was pledging, he boasted that he will ensure the secession of Western Sahara from Morocco would be pursued in full recognition of the several extant resolutions of the African Union, AU, on the right of the Sahrawi people for self-determination.
In a retaliatory move, the North African country applied to join ECOWAS as a strategic political game aimed at checkmating Nigeria’s influence in the Sub region and Africa. It is also believed that such move will neutralize the influence Nigeria may have in the actualization of the Western Sahara nation in Africa.
To finalize Morroco’s membership of ECOWAS, the parliament of each of the member state is expected to rectify its inclusion. That may not be a problem as most member nations approve of it apart from Nigeria.
No one can tell if Nigeria will succeed in lobbying other member nations against the rectification of Morroco’s membership of ECOWAS.
However, Members of the Committee of Retired Diplomats have threatened to mobilise Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to begin a protest against the inclusion of Morocco in ECOWAS.
President of Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA), Prof. Shuaibu A. Ibrahim, who made the assertion Morocco’s inclusion, “permission and recognition would not be healthy for ECOWAS and others.”
But he failed to state what makes it unhealthy apart from his argument that “Can America accept Nigeria in its regional organisations? This means there is a failure in our foreign policy as far as the proposal is concerned. We are going to take legal action against ECOWAS.”
Mr.lbrahim didn’t state what Nigeria Labour Congress and Civil Society Organizations stand to lose by mobilizing against Morocco’s inclusion in ECOWAS and why they should even get involved in a matter that does not concern or affects them.
…..Says Nigeria may lose out in $1bn solar power deal
President Muhammadu Buhari’s support for an independent Palestinian State forced Israel to formally recognize the agitation by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) for the creation of an independent State of Biafra, an Arab diplomat has disclosed.
The diplomat told The AUTHORITY at the weekend that Muhammadu Buhari who has vowed not to allow the Independent of Biafra from Nigeria, had at the time pledge to help the Palestine” attain independence from Israel. Buhari who is doing everything possible to destroy the Biafra agitation is also doing everything to support a similar agitation elsewhere by supporting the Palestinian free state and that action has greatly angered the Israeli government.
Buhari had in a visit last year to Qatar, promised the Emir (Head of State) Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, that “we will stand side by side with you until our brothers and sisters in Palestine achieve their desired objectives (independence).”
According to the diplomat, “Buhari’s meddling in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was largely unnecessary”. The envoy pointed out that “while Buhari keeps addressing Palestinians as ‘our brothers and sisters,’ majority of Muslim countries like Senegal have since soft-pedalled on their support for Palestinians.”
He continued: “It was not for nothing that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to recognize Biafra at a very important ceremony like the Holocaust memorial, last April.”
“At the memorial, Netanyahu chided the world for keeping quiet and standing aside and did not prevent genocide or mass murder in Biafra, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan and also in Syria.”
He observed, “Netanyahu is the first Head of State of a First World country to describe the 1967-1970 war against Biafra as genocide.”
“The Israeli PM’s presence at the 51st ECOWAS summit in Liberia, the first by any Israeli leader to Africa, and the first by any non-African Head of State, coupled with the promise of a $1 billion solar power project for the region, was tailored to teach Nigeria a bitter lesson,” stressed the envoy.
The Envoy noted that Nigeria’s absence at the “very important” regional summit may have been orchestrated to avoid the embarrassment the very large Israeli delegation would have caused the country.
The envoy said: “ECOWAS countries have a combined population of about 350 million, of which Nigeria, which suffers tremendous power deficit, has about 180 million or more than half of the total population. Clearly, one would have expected such solar power plant to be sited in Nigeria, but Israel chose Liberia apparently to snub Nigeria.”
He added that Israel’s bid for reinstatement as an observer in the African Union (AU) would further injure Nigeria’s interests.
“Perhaps Nigeria should pay greater attention to Netanyahu’s forecast at the ECOWAS summit that ‘Israel is coming to Africa and Africa is coming to Israel”, advised the envoy.
He expressed fears that with Nigeria’s decision to withhold funding of the ECOWAS may have come to a whittling down of the country’s dominance in the sub-region.
“Nigeria’s influence in ECOWAS is at its lowest ebb. The country used to be the biggest financier of ECOWAS but stopped funding the body the moment Buhari came into power. Nigeria’s indebtedness now hovers around $700,000. What did you expect? The other member countries are now forced to look elsewhere, and don’t be surprised if none-African countries like Israel come in handy,” opined the diplomat.
He cited the recent decision of Morocco, a northern African country, to join ECOWAS as a pointer to the belief that certain countries can’t wait to take over Nigeria’s leadership role in West Africa.
“I fear that like Israel, Morocco may have a diplomatic axe to grind with Nigeria after your president (Buhari) openly declared support for the independence of Western Sahara just a few months after hosting King Mohammed VI in Abuja”.
”I don’t know the shape of your country’s foreign policy. Your president goes about canvassing support for people who seek self-determination in Israel and Morocco, yet rolls out the tanks on Nigerians who express the same sentiments.