Super Eagles Survive Taifa Stars Of Tanzania
Match End 0-0
COACH Sunday Oliseh, yesterday, began his duty as the new helmsman of the Super Eagles, with lots of room for improvement. The team endured the onslaught of the Taifa Stars of Tanzania, playing a barren draw at the National Stadium in Dar Es’ Salaam.
The Tanzanians produced a stunning second half performance, but failed to do enough to stun three-time African champions, Nigeria, on match day two of 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.
Vincent Enyeama’s replacement, 29-year-old, Carl Ikeme, turned out to be the country’s saviour.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper and debutante made no less than six stunning saves to prevent the Eagles from suffering a humiliating defeat.
FSV Mainz defender, Leon Balogun, failed to recover from an ankle injury and was replaced by Solomon Kwambe.
William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo and Kingsley Madu were the other defenders handed starts against the Taifa Stars.
Obiora Nwankwo started ahead of the back four, while Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon and Emmanuel Emenike started in more advanced positions, ahead of midfielders, Izunna Uzochukwu and Lukman Haruna.
Nigeria threatened early on through Simon on the left, but he was fouled as he raced past a defender and honed in on goal.
He took the subsequent free kick himself but Emenike headed wildly from four yards.
The hosts then took control and Carl Ikeme had to be at his brilliant best in the 13th and 22nd minutes to keep the score line even.
His first save off an Mbwana Samata effort was particularly impressive as the Taifa Stars continued to show they were anything but intimidated by the storied credentials of their opponents.
The Super Eagles looked sluggish and lacking in co-ordination and Oliseh responded by substituting Haruna after just 35 minutes with striker, Sylvester Igboun, taking the Anzhi man’s place and earning his debut as a result.
The hosts however continued to create the more dangerous openings with TP Mazembe man, Thomas Ulimwengu, particularly outstanding.
Ahmed Musa’s free kick from range in the 24th minute represented Nigeria’s only effort on target in the half and the visitors knew they were lucky to still be on level terms at the break.