Tuesday, March 29, 2016 8:44 pm
*Nigeria campaigned for the AFCON 2017 qualifying series with 3 coaches.
By Taiwo Adelu
A 65th minute goal from Ramadan Sobhy of Egypt stopped Nigeria’s Super Eagles from making it to the Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for Gabon in January, 2017 as the Pharaohs ran away with 1-0 victory in Alexandria, Cairo Tuesday night.
Nigeria needed an outright win from the second leg of the double header qualifying match after they were held to a 1-1 draw in Kaduna on Friday.
With this victory, Egypt are having a comfortable lead in Group G with 7 pointss, while the Nigerian team are in distance second position with 2 points.
Though the Eagles still have a game against Tanzania, the result will have no effect on Nigeria’s chances to qualify for the Nations Cup.
The lone goal of Egypt was as a result of a deadlock broken by the Egyptians after Nigeria failed to deal with a corner and the ball fell to Sohbi. Godfrey Obabona had conceeded a careless corner kick when the Eagles failed to clear their line.
The Egyptian midfielder, Sobhy scuffed his effort through a number of bodies making it difficult for Nigeria’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi of Warri Wolves to see the ball until it was too late.
The crucial tie started with frenetic atsmosphere in Alexandria as both sides went for the jugular. Despite Egypt pushing for first half advantage, Akpeyi was outstanding with some brilliant saves. On several occasions, the Wolves’ goalie would dive in full length to keep out Roma player, Mohammed Salah’s shot from 25 yards.
Aymen Hefny, who plays for Zamalek of Egypt got a chance to score the first for Egypt when had a cross from the left, but went over the bar.
When Coach Samson Siasia brough in Arsenal star, Alex Iwobi in the second half, there was a lot more fluidity to the Eagles’ play. Egypt were camped in their half waiting for the slightest opportunity to launch a counter.
The fluidity in play could not yield good result for the Nigerians, who did not get many chances upfront to test Egypt’s goalkeeper, Ahmed El-Shenawy.
Nigeria prosecuted the ongoing failed AFCON 2017 qualifying series up to this stage with three coaches.
The Eagles began their quest with Coach Stephen Keshi after which erstwhile coach Sunday Oliseh came in before incumbent Samson Siasia was drafted with other consortium of coaches, but it all ended badly for a country regarded as ‘giant’ of Africa.