Nigeria’s Super Eagles dim Kenya’s chances for maiden World Cup appearance

Published on 08/06/2009

By James Waindi and Agencies

Two goals by second half substitute Obinna Nsofor enabled Nigeria’s Super Eagles to beat Harambee Stars 3-0 in Abuja and shatter Kenya’s chances of a maiden World Cup appearance.

The result means Stars are effectively out of contention for the World Cup campaign but still stand a chance of qualifying for the African Cup of Nations in Angola next year.

Smarting from a 1-0 win over former world champions France on Tuesday, Nigeria entered the match as hot favourites but at one moment Stars seemed to totally dominate the Eagles and threatened to break their jinx against the Nigerians.

The last time Kenya scored against Super Eagles in Nigeria was in 1981 and the match ended 3-1 in favour of the hosts.

On form Getafe striker Uche Ikechukwu broke the deadlock just two minutes into the match when George Owino’s clearance ricocheted off him and gifted the Nigerian a chance to run against Musa Otieno before unleashing a fierce shot to send the Abuja National Stadium into raptures.

Kenya was shell-shocked but picked themselves up to try and chase the match. McDonald Mariga tested Nigeria’s custodian Vincent Enyiama with a long range shot in the 10th minute and Denis Oliech hit the cross bar two minutes later with a fierce shot as Kenya pilled massive pressure on the dreaded Eagles.

Nigeria rarely threatened the packed Kenyan defence marshalled by skipper Musa Otieno, John Njoroge, George Owino and Julius Awino who was preferred over veteran Mulinge Ndeto, but Nigeria almost added the tally during first half injury time when Origi let the ball slip through his hands but recovered to thwart Ikechukwu’s effort.

Missed chances

In the second half, Stars started of strongly and could have scored two goals in two minutes. Oliech beat Nigeria’s defence to remain with Enyeama and unselfishly passed the ball to Patrick Oboya who embarrassingly tumbled with an empty goal at his mercy.

Two minutes later, Oliech was again in action, this time he beat Enyeama and squared the ball for Owino who just needed to tap the ball to the net, but his first touch let him down.

Kenya were made to pay for their missed chances when Owino brought down Osaze Odimingwe in the box for Inter Milan striker Nsofor to score from the spot in the 70th minute.

Nsofor added the third in the 75th minute with a fierce shot from inside the box following a counter attack instigated by Nwanko Kanu.

The road to the 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations seemed rough for Harambee Stars after a losing start.

However, Tunisia’s 2-0 win over Mozambique on Saturday gave Stars hope.

With the top team in each group qualifying for the World Cup in South Africa next year and the top three set to book a ticket to the Africa Nations Cup in Angola, Mozambique’s loss to Tunisia is good news for Kenya.

After the loss to Nigeria, Stars can still revive their continental dream by beating Mozambique in Nairobi in a fortnight.

Kenya, who are in Group Two with Tunisia, Nigeria and Mozambique.

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