BY JOE APU
Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho gave teeming Nigerian football fans a respite in the 77th minute of play to rescue the Super Eagles from a near draw against the Taifa Stars of Tanzania giving the Super Eagles of Nigeria 1-0 win in Saturday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium.
Though, the match had no significance for both countries given the fact that Egypt have already won the sole ticket of the group for the bi-annual tournament, Nigeria dominated for the entire part of the match but couldn’t convert some of the glaring goal scoring chances that came their way as Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Ahned Musa and Iheanacho failed to opportunities that came their way.
However, in the 77th minute, Iheanacho gave the fans something to cheer about with a spectacular shot that went straight into the back of the Tanzania’s net for Nigeria’s only goal of the game.
The victory was Super Eagles coach, Genort Rohr’s first since been appointed by the Nigeria Football Federation in August. It will be something of delight to him ahead of October World Cup clash against Zambia in Lusaka.
Ghana ended their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on a disappointing note after playing to a 1-1 against Rwanda in their final Group H match at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday.
Muhadjiri Hakizimana scored nine minutes from time to hand Rwanda a draw away from home after Samuel Tetteh opened the scoring for Ghana
Ghana were made to pay for their missed opportunities in the 83rd minute when Muhadjiri Hakizimana levelled matters for Rwanda as the match ended 1-1.
Despite the draw Ghana still finish top of Group H with 14 points from their six matches, followed by Rwanda on six points but they could be overtaken by Mauritius who have six points as well and are in action against Mozambique later on Saturday night.
In another AFCON qualifier, Ethiopia kept their faint qualifying hopes for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations alive beating Seychelles 2-1 at home.
The win in both sides’ final Group J qualifier takes Ethiopia to 11 points, leaving them with an outside chance of qualifying as a best runner-up.
Algeria, who finish their campaign against Lesotho on Sunday, had already qualified from the group, with 13 points, while Seychelles could only muster four, a point more than Lesotho.
Elsewhere, Cameroon, who had also qualified before their final game, finished Group M unbeaten as they defeated The Gambia 2-0 in Limbe.
Striker Karl Toko Ekambi was the stand-out performer, winning a penalty which Benjamin Moukandjo converted before scoring his maiden international goal after 53 minutes and then hitting the post with a late free-kick.
The win left Cameroon with 14 points, comfortably ahead of Mauritania (8), South Africa (7) and The Gambia, who finished with two points after failing to win a game.