Eagles Drop Points Against ‘Unknown’ Swaziland
Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifiers
South Africa, Kenya, Cameroun, Libya Celebrate
On a day South Africa, Cameroun, Tunisia and Ivory Coast secured comfortable victories away from home, the Super Eagles of Nigeria laboured to a goalless draw against a relatively unknown Sihlangu Somnikati of Swaziland yesterday, as they commenced the journey for Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
It was the fifth match Nigeria prosecuted under Coach Sunday Oliseh, having lost 2-0 to Congo, beat Guinea 2-0, drew 1-1 with Tanzania and defeated the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 3-0 in a friendly game in Brussels, Belgium.
So much was expected from the team in yesterday’s game, going by the wide gap between the two teams in World football ranking.
Oliseh retained ten of the players that started in the 3-0 win over Cameroun with Watford hotshot, Odion Ighalo, who started from the bench in that encounter, starting ahead of Seattle Sounders’ striker Obafemi Martins in the line-up.
Mikel Obi, Ogeyi Onazi and Silvester Igbonu play behind Ighalo and Moses Simon in the middle of the pack. Oliseh kept faith in goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, while Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Elderson Echiejile and Shehu Abdulahi made the back four.
After a goalless first half, Oliseh brought in Rabiu Ibrahim just at the commencement of the second half. But the striker was removed in the 67th minutes for Manchester City young forward, Kelechi Iheanacho, who made his debut for the senior team yesterday.
One surprised substitution by Oliseh in yesterday’s game was the removal of Chelsea midfielder, Mikel Obi for Obafemi Martins in the 70th minutes.
With this result, the Eagles will have to do everything possible to beat Swaziland in the return leg in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. In other matches played yesterday, Senegal fought back to draw 2-2 with Madagascar in the first leg of their 2018 World Cup qualifier.
Hosts Madagascar, ranked 118th in the world – 79 places lower than their opponents, had opened up a two-goal.