Super Eagles of Nigeria played out a scoreless draw with the Taifa Stars of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on Saturday, in the second group match of the 2017 AFCON Qualifiers.
Here are 5 things we learnt from the match, which was Sunday Oliseh’s first in charge as gaffer of the team.
1. Difficult start for Oliseh
As soon as Sunday Oliseh was announced as Stephen Keshi’s successor, he has been submerged in a giant wave of optimism and goodwill. A lot of people – this writer included – has been genuinely hopeful and excited. Well, it is not as if all that has evaporated, but this is surely not the start he hoped for. He will have more time to work on the squad and the results will start showing soon.
2. Carl I keep your shirt, Vincent?
Amid the inexperience and lack of basic intelligence in the Eagles squad, debutant Carl Ikeme managed to stand out and cover himself in glory. The Wolves goalkeeper, who was called up to replace the bereaved Vincent Enyeama was a commanding presence, calm and classy. Ikeme pulled off some nice stops in the second half, when the Tanzania threatened to shock.
3. Beginning of the end for Haruna
One of the major talking points of the game, was Oliseh pulling out Haruna Lukman in the 35th minute of the game. The Anzhi midfielder looked lethargic prior to that, playing with little or no energy and enthusiasm. It is one thing to have ability. It is not thing to use it well. Once again, we saw that the line between arrogance and confidence is painfully blur. For someone who had been in the international wilderness for five years, he should have grabbed this opportunity with both hands.
4. Emenike, Musa didn’t do enough
For a team that was sprinkled with debutants and a lot of inexperienced heads, the more experienced players did not come to the party. Emmanuel Emenike was a bit average and did not link up play as well as he can. CSKA Moscow winger, Ahmed Musa, sparkled in bursts – and it was really more about his pace than end product.
5. Tanzania give good account of themselves
Most pundits expected the Eagles to impose themselves on their hosts and claim another routine victory in Dar es Salaam. That was not the case. Tanzania provided real threat all through the game and if not for Ikeme and some wayward finishing, they should have scored a goal or two, especially in the second half.
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Ifreke Inyang is a public commentator and social media critic who has worked with a number of high profile publications across the country.
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