Team Ghana celebrating
Leo Myles-Mills leads a lap of honour after Ghana stunned Nigeria in the men's 4x100m final
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Sprint legend Deji Aliu seeks redemption in Ghana versus Nigeria 4x100m showdown 

Celebrated Nigerian sprinter, Deji Aliu, is gearing up for an electrifying rematch between Ghana and Nigeria in the men's 4x100m final at the 13th African Games in Accra. With the sting of defeat from two decades ago still fresh, Aliu sees this as an opportunity to reclaim pride on the track when the two countries lineup for the final on Wednesday evening at the University of Ghana Stadium. 

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Ghana and Nigeria both won their semi-final races, with the Ghanaian quartet clocking the lowest time of 38.67 seconds compared with Nigeria's time of 38.70 seconds.  This ievening's final will present an opportunity to settle an old score.

The painful loss at the 2003 African Games still haunts Aliu, who has been unable to shake off the disappointment of Ghana's unexpected triumph over Nigeria in the men's 4x100 metre relay, leaving the packed crowd at the Abuja Stadium stunned into silence. 

Despite being the pre-race favourites and boasting some of Africa's fastest men, the dreaded Nigeria team had to settle for silver as Ghana's quartet, led by Christian Nsiah, Eric Nkansah, Aziz Zakari, and Leo Myles-Mills, snatched the gold in a dramatic final stretch.

Now, Aliu is determined to rewrite history and lead his team to victory, erasing the disappointment of the past.

Aliu is one of the gold medallists from the Abuja Games playing varied roles to help their teams succeed at Accra 2023. He says the pain of losing the gold on home soil reamains vivid and motivates him to inspire the Nigerian team to reclaim their dominance in the sprints 21 years later in one of track's most anticipated events at Accra 2023.

Painful memories
 "I haven't forgotten the personal pain and national disappointment Ghana caused us that night.

"It's been just over 20 years, but I still remember it like it happened yesterday. You don't forget races and outcomes like those," Aliu told Graphiconline at the University of Ghana Stadium.

"You can say that I'm here to lead Nigeria to right the wrong and exact some measure of revenge Ghana inflicted on us."

Legends meet
Ghana's coach Eric Nkansah and Deji Aliu (right) exchanging pleasantries at the training track at the University of Ghana Stadium

"I am looking forward to the relays and hopefully, it will be another Ghana versus Nigeria showdown. You know that sporting rivalry always spices up the African Games," Aliu said.

Meanwhile, Ghana's Nkansah, now a coach leading the Ghanaian athletics team, remains focused on the task at hand. While acknowledging the excitement surrounding a potential rematch against Nigeria, he stressed the importance of staying focused on qualification before turning their attention to their rivals.

"Oh yes, it will be exciting to race Nigeria and beat them again in the relay. The sprint relays are the icing on the cake so we look forward to that.

"However, we have to take care of qualification business first and also claim medals in the individual events. That will give us confidence going into the relay final," remarked Nkansah when he caught up with old rival Aliu on the training tracks at the Legon Stadium recently.

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