Latest Headlines

Eagles Fail to Fly as Wild Dogs Scream to Top of Qualification Table

Eagles Fail to Fly as Wild Dogs Scream to Top of Qualification Table

Mama Samba Balde’s 29th minute goal, a brilliant strike straight from the training ground, condemned the Super Eagles to a 0-1 defeat at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja yesterday and took Guinea Bissau’s Wild Dogs top of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification table.

Early incursions by Nigeria failed to yield dividends. Defender Bright Osayi-Samuel’s grounder was diverted away from goal in the second minute, Samuel Chukwueze’s 7th minute shot was charged

down by an alert rearguard and Victor Osimhen struck the body of goalkeeper Jonas Mendes with 16 minutes gone.

The visitors had threatened in the quarter-hour when it took a quick intervention by Wilfred Ndidi to cut off Alfa Semedo Esteves in the box. The Super Eagles’ defence failed to heed that warning, and 14 minutes later, when Fali Cande heaved a long thrust forward that escaped the attention of both Calving Bassey and Kevin Akpoguma, Balde swiftly caught on, controlled the ball expertly and flicked it past onrushing Francis Uzoho for the only goal of the match.

Coach José Peseiro threw on Paul Onuachu and Moses Simon for Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman at the beginning of the second half, but even as Nigeria created more chances, conversion remained a problem.

In the 56th minute, Simon drew gasps from the crowd as he missed from six yards, and Mendes saved brilliantly from Osimhen when the marksman was through on goal. Chukwueze blasted a couple of opportunities over the sticks and Paul Onuachu’s header flew away from goal with 12 minutes left.

Defeat meant the Eagles slipped to second place while the Djurtus climbed top, with seven points to the Eagles’ six, ahead of the two teams’ confrontation in Bissau on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, Peseiro has revealed that he decided to snub red-hot Nigerian striker Chuba Akpom for the Guinea-Bissau game because he does not have confidence in him.

Akpom currently leads the English Championship goalscoring charts with 25 goals in 34 games for Boro. And he is almost singlehandedly dragging the team to Premier League promotion.

With his rich form, it was expected that he would get a call-up to the Super Eagles for the double-header against Guinea-Bissau. Paul Onuachu has struggled recently, and Akpom was expected to fill in for the off-color Southampton man.

However, Peseiro had other ideas, and he chose not to invite the London-born striker.

Speaking on his decision, the Portuguese tactician revealed that he decided to snub Akpom because he does not have confidence in him.

“If I ask everybody to choose their 20 players, everyone would not pick the same players,” Peseiro said at the pre-match presser.

“I am a coach, I choose the best players for my team. But if I ask other people, they would have their own opinions.

“I know my job, I know my players, I visit them. If I choose a player, then it is because I know him more than others. I am the coach, if I lose, it is my neck that will be cut.

“On each weekend, we watch 48 matches at least to monitor our players. Akpom is a good player, but I don’t have enough confidence in him.

“However, something could still happen, because the National team is open to everybody,” Peseiro added.

Related Articles