By Patrick Omorodion
The Super Eagles yesterday zoomed into the next stage of the 2013 Africa Nations Cup qualifier, hitting the mouthy Wasps of Rwanda 2-0 at the U.J. Esuene stadium in Calabar on a weekend Egypt lost their sting and got beaten 3-2 at home in Alexandria by visiting Central Africa Republic.
The Stephen Keshi-tutored boys signaled they were in for serious business early in the game when Ikechukwu Uche latched unto a rebound off a corner kick from Ahmed Musa and shot beyond the reach of the Rwanda goalkeeper on the dot of 9 minutes.
Seven minutes after the goal, the Eagles were close to making it two when Rueben Gabriel, who bagged the Man of the Match Award, had a brilliant overhead kick in the box but Rwanda goalkeeper, Jean-Claude Ndoli saved his effort.
The visitors came out strong after conceding the early goal and in an attempt to challenge for every ball became hard on the Eagles and in one of such moments, Steven Godfroid hacked Musa who had become a thorn on their flesh but he escaped the referee’s caution. His team-mate, Dady Birori was however, not that lucky, bagging a card after hitting Musa again.
On resumption, the Eagles, who have been given some half-time pep talks by Keshi, probed for more goals and as well warded off the onslaughts of the Rwandan players who were becoming more desperate to get on the score sheet.
In one of the moves, Enyimba’s forward, Uche Kalu chested down a high ball on the edge of the box and a lurking Musa fired home a left-footer that caught goalkeeper Ndoli napping for the second goal on 60th minute.
Keshi not satisfied by the two goals threw in Victor Moses and Sone Aluko for Ejike Uzoenyi and Uche Kalu respectively. Moses immediately warmed himself into the game with his typical flank runs but one of his powerful shots hit the Rwanda defence.
Rwanda never gave up as they pushed for a goal with three minutes added time but the Eagles defence would not yield until the referee blew off the match for celebrations to begin in the stadium and around the country.
Nigeria’s first football loving Inspector General of Police, Mohammed D. Abubakar who watched the game alongside Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke told Supersport he was happy with the victory but added that “the NFF still has a lot of job to do.”
“I am happy for the victory and I want to see a new team that would return the country to its glory,” Abubakar said, adding that “the saddest moment for those of us who were in football was when we failed to qualify for the last Nations Cup. I felt really sad as someone who was a member of the NFA,” he said.