Nigeria’s Super Eagles were held to a 0-0 draw by the Cranes of Uganda in an international friendly match decided at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Tuesday.
The Super Eagles sealed qualification for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-1 draw against South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday and according to head coach Gernot Rohr, they started their preparations with the friendly against the Ugandans who themselves also qualified for the tournament last weekend.
The Nigerians received a boost shortly before the start of Tuesday’s game when kit manufacturing giants NIKE signed a four-year extension to their kit manufacturing deal after successive qualifications for major tournaments.
Both teams were not at full strength for the game decided in front of a capacity crowd which included the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa who was the special guest of honour.
Emerging youngster Samuel Chukwueze and his 2015 FIFA Under-17 Championship winning teammate Victor Osimhen started the game for Nigeria and both went closest for the Super Eagles in a lively first half performance.
Chukwueze saw his effort blocked on the goalline in the 31st minute after Ahmed Musa’s free kick was headed into his path. It was Osimhen however who should have scored earlier when he rose to meet left back Jamilu Collins’ cross, his header lacking the proper direction and went wide
The much advertised debut of Enyimba goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai did not see the light of the day though as South Africa based Daniel Akpeyi played for the entire duration although he was largely untested for most parts.
Tuesday’s match is the last for Nigeria until they face Seychelles in their final Cup of Nations qualifier next March.
Nigeria’s lineup against Uganda
Akpeyi; Brian Idowu, Semi Ajayi, John Ogu (Iheanacho 89′), Jamilu Collins; Mikel Agu, Etebo (William Ekong 46′); Samuel Chukwueze (Samuel Kalu 46′), Alex Iwobi (Onyekuru 75′), Ahmed Musa (Moses Simon 70′); Victor Osimhen (Isaac Success 46′)