- …Goal merchant, Osimhen fires blank.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles were crippled by a lone goal upset victory by the Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau on Friday at their home ground at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, the very ground where they lost the Qatar World Cup to the Black Stars of Ghana.
It was a miserable night for the Nigerians who security men refuse them entrance into the Main Bowl until 1530 hours for a match that was to start at 1700 hours.
The Nigerian players dominated the first half playing deep into the opponents’ space but refusing shots at goal with an odd desire to walk the ball into the net and made it obvious that all balls must go to Napoli ace Striker, Osimhen.
Suddenly, a high lob from defender, Sangate went to Mama Balde in the 30th minute of play which he chipped above Francis Uzhoho in goal which pathetically beat him neatly for the upset goal which gave the Wild Dogs advantage for their first ever victory over Nigeria and a sensational one that lifted the Wild Dogs to lead group A. The Uzoho miscalculation was in the same manner that ousted Nigeria from the World Cup in Qatar
Nigeria was lucky not to concede the second goal when a Guinea Bissau glaring chance became side netting and it was like the vociferous fans stopped drumming to shout “Ope o” meaning THANK GOD!
Nigeria had 17 shots at goal with only 3 on target while Guinea Bissau had 7 with same 3 on target; Nigeria dominated ball control with 474 passes with 84% accuracy while Guinea Bissau had 231 with 72% accuracy as well as Nigeria having 69-31 ball possession which made the Super Eagles looked destined to lose on a night the world was waiting for the three times Champions to shine.
Instead, it showed that Nigeria needs to go back and perfect their set pieces as the team squandered 5-1 corner kick advantage. Nigeria was under severe pressure from the 70th minute which made the team look they were no more in the game panicking at every move though the only two yellow cards went to the Wild Dogs.
Thus Guinea Bissau leads group A with 7 pints from 3 matches scoring 8 goals and conceding 3; Nigeria is 2nd with 6 points scoring 12 goals and conceding 2 goals; Sierra Leone is 3rd with 2 points scoring 5 goals and conceding 6 while Sao Tome has one point scored 3 goals and conceded 0ne.
Nigeria meets Guinea Bissau on Monday 27th March at 1700 hurs at the Estadio 24 De Setembro in Bissau in the reverse matches and Ref Samir Guezzez of Morocco will be in charge of the match.
The only time both teams met was at Rounde Adjia Stadium in Garona, Guinea Bissau on 19th January 2022 in the African Cup of Nations where Nigeria spanked the Wild Dogs 2-0 with goals from Umar Sadiq in 56th and William Troost-Ekong in 75th minute.
Although Guinea Bissau looks like minnows in African football, Nigeria has won the African Cup of Nations thrice defeating Algeria in Lagos in 1980; beat Zambia in 1994 and Burkina Faso in2013. Nigeria lost in the finals to Cameroun in 1984 and 1988; lost to Algeria in 1990 and again to Cameroun in 2000.
Egypt is the most successful in Men’s football winning seven times in 1957 beating Ethiopia; 1959 beat Sudan; 1986 defeated Cameroon; beat South Africa in 1998; dismissed Ivory Coast in 2006 before Cameroun bowed in 2008 and then Ghana in 2010.
Ghana won four times in 1963; 1965; 1978 and 1982 but lost in the finals in 1968; 1970; 1992; 2010 and 2015.
Senegal is current defending Champions of the Men’s African Cup of Nations as the country defeated Egypt to lift the trophy under Sadio Mane as Captain.
Samue Etoo Fils is reckoned to be the highest goal scorer in the African Cup of Nations with 18 goals.
Eniola Olatunji reporting.