Wales Spoil Ukrainian Dreams To Reach First World Cup In 64 Years

Wales’ striker Gareth Bale (C) celebrates with teammates after winning the FIFA World Cup 2022 play-off final qualifier football match between Wales and Ukraine at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on June 5, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Gareth Bale led Wales to their first World Cup since 1958 as Ukraine’s dreams of lifting the spirits of a war-torn country were cruelly denied by a 1-0 defeat in Cardiff on Sunday.

Bale’s free-kick, which was turned into his own net by Ukrainian captain Andriy Yarmolenko, separated the sides despite the visitors dominating the game in sodden conditions at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Ukraine made a nation proud in beating Scotland 3-1 on Wednesday in their first competitive clash since Russia’s invasion.

Oleksandr Petrakov’s men deserved much more from another exceptionally composed performance under the strain of carrying the hopes of a people devastated by Russian aggression.

The Ukrainian national anthem was applauded by all sides of the stadium before the game and, just as on their trip to Scotland in midweek, the visitors were inspired rather than inhibited by the pressure put upon them.

However, they were made to pay an exceptionally heavy price for not taking their chances and one moment of misfortune.

Oleksandr Zinchenko did find the net after just three minutes, but the Manchester City man was deemed to have taken his free-kick that caught Wayne Hennessey off guard too quickly.

Hennessey then had to be alert to prevent Roman Yaremchuk opening the scoring before Viktor Tsygankov sliced a glorious chance wide.

Wales had barely threatened the Ukrainian goal, but in Bale have a star capable of changing the course of matches in an instant.

The 32-year-old is without a club having brought down the curtain on nine years at Real Madrid by picking up a fifth Champions League winner’s medal last weekend.

Bale has reserved his best for international duty in recent years and will now get the chance to add a World Cup to a glorious career.

His free-kick on 34 minutes was headed off target until Yarmolenko tried to head it to safety and only succeeded in deflecting the ball past the helpless Georgiy Bushchan.

Ukraine refused to be crushed by that misfortune and were unlucky not to be given a penalty before half-time when Yarmolenko was clipped by Joe Allen inside the box.

The pattern continued into the second half as Rob Page’s men were pinned back inside their own half.

But the home side did have big chances of their own to double their advantage on the counter-attack when Aaron Ramsey steered wide, Brennan Johnson hit the post and Bale shot meekly into the arms of Bushchan.

At the other end, chances continued to come and go as Tsygkanov’s effort was saved by Hennessey before Yaremchuk put the rebound wide.

A last-ditch challenge from Ben Davies then prevented Yarmolenko the shot at redemption.

Ukraine’s day was summed up five minutes from time when Hennessey produced an incredible save to prevent substitute Artem Dovbyk’s header finding the top corner.

But Wales are now unbeaten in 19 home games stretching back nearly four years for a reason as they were roared home by the majority of the 33,000 crowd.

The last time Wales were at a World Cup they were eliminated by a goal for Brazil by 17-year-old Pele in the quarter-finals.

This generation of Welsh players achieved the seemingly impossible by getting to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in their first major tournament for 58 years.

Now they have written themselves into the history books once more when they get the chance to face England, USA and Iran in Qatar come November.

AFP

Gunmen Kill Two, Abduct Several Passengers In Kwara

A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

Gunmen have killed two passengers while abducting several others in an attack on an 18-seater bus in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Okasanmi Ajayi, confirmed the attack via a statement issued on Sunday, saying the incident occurred on Saturday along Obbo-Aiyegunle-Osi Road.

The gunmen were said to have shot into the vehicle with registration number XC167MUN, killing the driver named Akeem and one Mama Ariye, all of Obbo Aiyegunle town.

“On receipt of the information by the police in Obbo Ayegunle, policemen, vigilante, local hunters and sister agencies raced to the scene,” the police spokesman said.

“Bodies of the dead were retrieved and deposited at Carosi Hospital mortuary for autopsy, while the security team stormed the bushes in an effort to rescue the victims.”

He said the Commissioner of Police, Tuesday Assayomo, on hearing of the unfortunate incident directed that a massive manhunt for the perpetrators of the heinous crime must commence.

While empathising with the families of the deceased, the Commissioner of Police assured that the perpetrators of the crime would be smoked out from wherever they may be hiding.

Consequently, the CP directed a 24 hourly patrol of the area in conjunction with other sister security agencies to boost the confidence of the people and to also prevent any further attacks in the area.

APC Set For Third Straight Victory Since 2015 – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during the registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress on January 30, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is set for its third victory since 2015.

He stated this during a meeting at the State House Abuja that drew in attendance members of the APC National Advisory Council, where he appraised the series of consultations held so far towards getting a widely acceptable presidential standard-bearer.

READ ALSO: 2023 Presidency: I Am The Voice Of Young People – Yahaya Bello

“I am pleased to inform you that those meetings have been fruitful and indicative of a party that is prepared and marching towards a third straight victory since 2015, at the presidential polls,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his media aide, Femi Adesina.

“I am optimistic that the outcome of this consultation with the National Advisory Council will in addition to sharpening our focus, help to fortify the positive democratic principles, practices and culture that already exists within the party system.

“In the course of these consultative processes, I have already met separately with the Progressive Governors and with all our eminent members who are aspiring to become the Presidential flag bearer for our party during the 2023 elections.”

See the full statement issued below:

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

APC SET FOR 3RD STRAIGHT VICTORY SINCE 2015, SAYS PRESIDENT BUHARI

At a meeting held Sunday night at State House, Abuja, with members of the National Advisory Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari appraised the series of consultations held so far toward getting a widely acceptable presidential standard-bearer, and concluded: we are on the way towards winning our third straight victory since 2015.

Saying the meeting was convened to provide leadership and direction during the transition period, the President added that the motive was “to strengthen our unity and to focus on building upon our electoral fortunes.”

He added: “I am optimistic that the outcome of this consultation with the National Advisory Council will in addition to sharpening our focus, help to fortify the positive democratic principles, practices and culture that already exists within the party system.

“In the course of these consultative processes, I have already met separately with the Progressive Governors and with all our eminent members who are aspiring to become the Presidential flag bearer for our party during the 2023 elections.

“I am pleased to inform you that those meetings have been fruitful and indicative of a party that is prepared and marching towards a third straight victory since 2015, at the presidential polls.”

President Buhari recalled that at the meeting with the Governors and the aspirants, “I underscored the important roles consensus building and consultation have played in the survival of successful political parties around the world, adding that our party should not be an exception.

“Recognizing the foregoing, therefore, I also emphasized the need to strengthen our unity, stabilize our internal cohesion and system as well as present a formidable Presidential candidate who has the ability to build a unified nation and the capacity to deal with our challenges.

“The party machinery has also screened all our aspirants to the office of the President and found that they consist of eminent personalities, rich in experience, capacity, commitment to service and accomplishment in life. This gives us a lot of confidence but it also comes with its challenges.”

He said that in the circumstances, in order to prevent any post-convention acrimonies and also reduce noticeable anxiety among members on the possible outcome of the process, the party leadership has recommended the intensification of consultation and consensus-building to reduce the number of aspirants as it approaches the convention, which commences Monday, June 6, 2022.

The President said in order to further support the efforts of the party, he has admonished the aspirants to consult among themselves and with the party, so that the objective of the recommendation by the leadership would be actualized.

And as members of the National Advisory Council of the APC, the President says he recognizes the fact that they all have diverse interests, spheres of influence and expectations. “You similarly possess the collective ability to ensure our victory at the 2023 polls by strengthening the stability and unity of the party.

“My charge and appeal to all of you, therefore, is to reach out to your various spheres of influence to actively promote the spirit of consultation and consensus-building so that a formidable candidate for the 2023 Presidential elections would emerge from the convention.  Our citizens do not expect less from us.”

President Buhari assured as he did to the Governors and the aspirants, that in the interest of the nation and the party, he would lead the transition processes and ongoing consultations, “till we successfully choose our candidate for the 2023 presidential elections and record our third straight victory, thereafter, by God’s grace.”

Responding on behalf of the National Advisory Council (hitherto known as Board of Trustees) members, former Internal Affairs Minister and Senator, Major General Mohammed Magodo (retd), former Osun State Governor and first Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, and former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, thanked the President for the consultative meetings and commended him for the great service he had rendered to the country, particularly in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure.

They were unanimous that with hard work and a united front, the APC would win the presidential election billed for February next year, as well as National Assembly, governorship, and State Assembly polls.

 

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media and Publicity)

June 5, 2022

 

 

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Buhari Hosts APC Stakeholders Ahead Of Special Convention

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari used to illustrate the story.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is hosting stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to a dinner at the State House, hours before the commencement of the party’s special convention.

The event is being attended by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; the leadership of the National Assembly including the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as well as other prominent members of the party.

It is said to be a follow-up to the meeting he had with the national leadership and presidential aspirants of the party on Saturday night.

The President is expected to use the occasion to underscore his desire to achieve a consensus candidate for the party’s presidential ticket before the convention.

Meanwhile, members of the central working committee of the APC are meeting at the Imo state governor’s lodge in Abuja.

The meeting is for the committee to conclude arrangements for the party’s presidential primaries.

Some governors, federal lawmakers, and other party members are attending the meeting.

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