THE Super Eagles, Saturday, reduced their chances of going to Morocco to defend the African Cup of Nations which they won in South Africa in 2013. The Stephen Keshi tutored team put up their worst performance in decades as they fell 0 – 1 to the less fancied Sudan team in Khartoum.
Nigeria's midfielder John Obi Mikel (L) defends against Sudan's Muhannad El Tahir (C) during the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifying football match in Khartoum on October 11, 2014. Sudan defeated Nigeria 1-0. AFP PHOTO/EBRAHIM HAMID
Nigeria’s midfielder John Obi Mikel (L) defends against Sudan’s Muhannad El Tahir (C) during the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifying football match in Khartoum on October 11, 2014. Sudan defeated Nigeria 1-0. AFP PHOTO/EBRAHIM HAMID
The much favoured Nigerian team had boasted about chances of winning the game int Sudan. But they could not find their feet throughout the encounter, a development which further exposed the technical inadequacies in the Nigerian team. It was a must win encounter for the Nigerians but yesterday’s loss has further compounded the team’s problems in qualifying for Morocco 2015.
The match started in a frenzy with the Eagles taking the battle to their hosts. The early chance at goal was created by Nigeria as Nosa Igiebor’s close range effort crashed on the post. Top striker, Emmanuel Emenike was put through but lost the golden opportunity to put Nigeria ahead. He had a one-on-one situation with Sudan goalkeeper, Moez Mahjoub but his effort was lame and uncharacteristic of a striker of his calibre.
Although largely uncoordinated, the Eagles created a few more chances and on one occasion, CSKA Moscow winger, Ahmed Musa dribbled past the Sudan backline only for his cut back pass to land on the foot of a Sudan defender. Just before the end of the first stanza, the hosts shocked their lethargic guests with a clinical finish. Super Eagles central defence went to sleep as a long cross from the right flank was headed in by Bakri Abdulqadir who was unmarked. With that scoreline, Sudan got the perfect result they needed before going to the dressing room for halftime.
The second half resumed with the Eagles playing a more predictable game. They kicked the ball in all directions without purpose. The midfield failed to give the attack any direction as Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi did not provide the desired killer passes. In the attack, Emenike and Gbolahan Salami failed to click. It was a poor partnership. Keshi’s changes were not effective.
As the minutes ticked away, the desperation in the Nigerian team became very evident as John Obi Mikel who hardly takes shots at goal made a few efforts at goal. One of such efforts actually went past the keeper, but the Chelsea of England midfielder was ruled offside.