The Moment (London)

4 June 2012

Nigeria: Wasteful Eagles Subdue Stubborn Namibia

Photo: Aliyu Adekunle/Vanguard
Nigeria soccer star Victor Moses, Liverpool Prepare £10 Million to get him.

Nigeria's Super Eagles started their journey to the 2014 World Cup on a nervy note yesterday when they managed to beat visiting Namibia 1-0 in Calabar, Cross River State.

Man-of-the-match, Ikechukwu Uche, who had recorded a catalogue of misses earlier in the game scored in the 80th minute to send fans at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar into a frenzy.

The Nigerian team went into the game with the expectation of a harvest of goals, but first half ended on a barren note with the Eagles unable to puncture a heavily packed Namibian defence.

Ikechukwu Uche, easily the most enterprising in the Eagles' forward line, wasted about four chances; John Utaka, at least three, while the diminutive Enugu Rangers' forward, Ejike Uzoenyi blew up a chance.

The Namibians, who obviously were in Calabar to force a draw but were barely threatened for most of the match only found themselves forward in spurts.

The second half started with the Super Eagles continuing from where they left off but the Brave Warriors were resolute in the defence.

In the 59th minute, the Eagles appeared to have broken the deadlock with the ball believed have hit the Namibian back net, but it bounced back into the field of play as the Southern Africans wasted no time in clearing their defense.

Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi pulled out Utaka for pacy Ahmed Musa to strengthen the attack and his conclusion added more bite upfront yet the curtain raiser refused to come.

Midfielder Obiorah Nwankwo, who cupped an injury, gave way for Enyimba's Henry Uche but the catalogue of misses never ceased.

Super Eagles' last substitution, which saw off Victor Moses for Kalu Uche turned out to be the missing link as enterprising Ikechukwu Uche struck in a goat in the 80th minute.

The goal saw the Namibians, who had sat back absorbing the attack from the Nigerians, practically throwing more men in the attack seeking an equaliser that never came.

Rather, it was Enyimba's man Kalu Uche that almost made it two in the added time but the shot went wide.

Yesterday's victory shot Nigeria to the top of their group on three points as the group's opponents, Kenya and Malawi had earlier played goalless in Nairobi on Saturday.

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