08.10.2003 Sports News

Abuja 2003: Nigeria crush Ghana in group match

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Abuja, Nigeria Oct. 8, GNA - Ghana's male handball team suffered a humiliating 20-38 defeat at the hands of their Nigerian counterparts in the second Group B match played at the Velodrome of the National Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Nigerians led 19-10 at half time and ensured the scoring pattern was repeated in the second segment to post a difference 18 victory over the Ghanaians who had won 24-19 against DR Congo in the first match.

Nigeria was the first to score when John Onche powered a left handed shot past Nii Commey Ankrah, the Ghanaian goalkeeper in their first attack.

Within the first eight minutes, the Nigerians had established a six-point gap with the scores at 9-3.

The strength and speed of the Nigerians was far too much for the Ghanaians and they succumbed to every attack initiated by Shehu Mukatar, Michael Ngor and Michael Ayeni who played at a blistering pace.

The bane of the Ghanaians was their inability to recover early enough to resist the counter attacks of their opponents who most of the time, had no defenders to contend with, except the goalkeeper.

While the Ghanaian build-ups were slow and allowed the Nigerians to organise their defence, the stronger Nigerians used their power to rob them of the ball in close contests.

Even at a stage when the Nigerians conceded a big numerical advantage to them through two, two-minute ejections at the same time, leaving them with only five players, the full strength Ghanaians remained on the retreat and conceded two goals without scoring any.

The Nigerians closed in on them so quickly that attempts to penetrate with bounced passes were terminated promptly.

In a post match interview, Mr Benson Tongo Baba, president of the Ghana Olympic Committee and chairman of the Handball Association of Ghana admitted that the Nigeria team was a much better one that his side.

"We lost to a better side. The Nigerians were stronger and more experienced than our players. They trained for over two months in Germany and that has influenced their performance.

Anthony Odametey, one of the busiest players on the Ghanaian side corroborated the GOC president's position saying, "They were faster and stronger than us but we made a mistake by not defending to keep the score line down."

In their first group matches, the Nigerians lost to Algeria, while Ghana beat DR Congo.

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