Saturday, November 15, 2014 10:06 pm
Defending champions Nigeria beat Congo Brazzaville 2-0 on Saturday to revive their bid to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations as South Africa and Cameroon ensured their presence in the finals.
Second-half goals by Ikechukwu Uche and Aaron Samuel Olanare against Congo in Pointe-Noire boosted Nigeria’s prospects of making it to Equatorial Guinea, who stepped in as hosts on Friday in place of barred Morocco.
Nigeria now have to beat group leaders South Africa in Uyo on Wednesday to ensure automatic qualification behind Bafana Bafana regardless of Congo’s result in Sudan also on Wednesday.
The Eagles victory has attracted the applause of fans and football stakeholders.
Henry Nwosu, former Super Eagles Captain, expressed delight over the victory and congratulated the team for doing what seemed impossible in Congo.
“It was a great match, the team played with their heart and never gave up. I congratulate the squad for this victory.
“Sincerely, that victory was a great one that proved the team’s quality.
“Now, they have to concentrate, with good confidence, on the next match against South Africa,” Nwosu told NAN.
Also speaking, ex-international, Clement Temile, said the team deserved all the credit for pulling a victory in Congo.
“It was a great game in which both sides gave the best they could.
“We are proud of the team and I just want them to continue to concentrate as they play against South Africa,” Temile said.
Seyi Akinwunmi of Lagos State Football Association (LSFA) also applauded the team for coming out victorious.
According to him, the victory has raised the hope of Nigeria featuring in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
“It is a great result, the team can now concentrate and hopefully defend its title in Equatorial Guinea.
“However, there is much to be done in the Eagles’ attacking tactics,” Akinwunmi said.
Busay Afolabi, a football fan, said the team had done well against all expectations, noting that the return of Coach Stephen Keshi had been well justified.
“I am happy about the victory, Keshi got the tactics right, and most especially, Captain Vincent Enyeama’s penalty save gave the team the belief that they could win.
“We hope they continue like this and go and defend their title in Equatorial Guinea,” Afolabi said.
South Africa now tops group A with 11 points having defeated Sudan, 2-1in home soil, while Eagles victory puts them in second position, though level on seven points with Congo.
Cameroon edged past DR Congo 1-0 to claim Group D. Zambia pipped hosts Mozambique 1-0 in Maputo to qualify in Group F with table toppers Cape Verde Islands.
Burkina Faso and Gabon qualified from Group C.
Burkina Faso beat Lesotho 1-0 in Maseru and Gabon held home team Angola to a goalless draw in Luanda.
On Friday, Tunisia held Botswana to a goalless draw to also advance to the finals.