The Super Eagles of Nigeria has sent the Bafana Bafana of South Africa packing from this year CHAN competition. They whipped their South Africans counterparts 3 – 1 to eliminate the host. The Super Eagles finished second in Group A with six points from three matches after Mali came top defeating Mozambique by 2 – 1 top the group.
Nigeria opened scoring through Ejike Uzoenyi in the 22nd minute after a through pass from Ifeanyi Ede from the left flank.
Gbolahan Salami was brought down in the penalty box by the South African goalkeeper Moeneeb Joseph. And Ifeanyi Ede converted the penalty to make it 2-0 by the 32nd minute.
South Africa came close to scoring in the 61st minute but for a fantastic save from Nigeria’s goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim. Three minutes later Ejike Uzoenyi completed a brace for Nigeria to give Nigeria a deserved 3 – 0 advantage. Nigeria was denied by the woodwork in the 70th minute after Uzoenyi struck a volley.
The only goal from the South African came through a spot kick in the 81stminute by Bernard Parker who sent Agbim the wrong way.
Nigeria’s Solomon Kwambe was sent off in the 75th minute after a rough tackle reducing the Nigerians to ten men. South Africa was also reduced to ten men later in the 77th minute when Vuyo Mere was shown the red card for a foul on Gbolahan Salami.
South Africa made some deadly incursions into the Nigeria vital area in the 5th, 9th and 88th but for the timely saves from Agbim the Nigeria goalkeeper who seems to have recovered from his shaky start to the tournament.
It was a frenetic finish as the host struggled to score in the closing moments of the game, but the Nigeria defence stood their ground in the encounter.
Speaking after the match, the Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi hopes to pick from this young squad to complement his team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil later this year.
“That’s what I’m looking for. Giving this kids the opportunity to play in a tournament like this and if I can pick one, two, three players from this tournament already they have a little bit of experience,” Keshi said. “This is why I am here. I’m looking forward to that, hopefully we gain two or three players that will make the host nation proud.”
Coach Stephen Keshi admitted that they were under pressure to get the victory in their last group outing following their first game defeat to Mali.
“It’s all about identifying the mistakes we made in the previous match and trying to correct them in the training sessions, Keshi said.
Meanwhile, Keshi complimented his goalkeeper for making several crucial saves during the match against South Africa. “I believe in my goalkeeper, I believe in my players, and I make mistakes, but have to keep going, I can not stop. There was no pressure and he had a wonderful game today , and I hope he keeps going.
Nigeria will now face the Winner in Group B at the Cape Town stadium on the 25th of January.