AFCON qualifier: Ikeme spares Oliseh’s blushes as Eagles hold Tanzania

Carl Ikeme

By Toby Prince

Carl IkemeNigeria Super Eagles forced the Taifa Stars of Tanzania to a barren draw in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, was the hero as he provided multiple saves to shut out the goal-thirsty Tanzanians who were on a mission to wreck Sunday Oliseh’s debut as Nigeria coach.

Eighty places separate the two sides in the latest FIFA Ranking.

In a case of David against Goliath, the East Africans showed more determination and hunger to win, a feat they had failed to achieve in recent times.

Oliseh handed debuts to Ikeme who stood in for Vincent Enyeama and Izunna Uzochukwu, while returnee striker, Emmanuel Emenike, led the line flanked by youngster, Moses Simon, and skipper, Ahmed Musa.

Also making a return to the team were midfield duo, Haruna Lukman and Obiora Nwankwo, alongside Solomon Kwambe who started in place of the injured Leon Balogun.

The Taifa Stars began the stronger of the two teams with their pace too much for Kenneth Omeruo and Kingsley Madu who struggled to cope in the early stages.

Emenike squandered a goal scoring opportunity in the 10th minute after failing to control his header on target after a fine cross from Simon.

Oliseh, who wasn’t afraid of altering his tactics, introduced 24-year-old FC Ufa midfielder, Sylvester Igboun, for Lukman who looked out of sort with 10 minutes left to play in the first half.

Ikeme came to the rescue of the eagles after some nice interchanges from the home team with the Taifa Stars showing good transition play and better ball control.

The second half resumed with both teams equally matched and the tempo of the game carried over from the first half.

Musa was put through on goal by Emenike in the 58th minute but the CSKA Moscow man shot wide to the disbelief of many.

Some sloppy play from William Ekong gave the Tanzanians room to create a goalscoring chance but the intervention from the Nigerian backline halted the move.

Anthony Ujah and Emem Edouk came on for Emenike and Simon respectively but added little to an already toothless Nigerian attack.

Ikeme was always on hand to neutralise the constant threats of the East Africans who at this point were totally on the offensive with the Eagles showing little going forward.

With this result, the Super Eagles now have four points and top Group G. pending the outcome of Sunday’s game between Chad and Egypt. While Tanzania who last made an Afcon appearance 35 years ago remain at the base of the log with a point.