Despite the one all draw with the Brave Warriors of Namibia on June 12, the Super Eagles of Nigeria still lead the group F of the World Cup 2014 qualifiers in Africa
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jun. 24, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE Super Eagles of Nigeria on June 12, maintained their leadership of group F of the World Cup qualifiers after playing a 1-1 draw against the Brave Warriors of Namibia in Windhoek. The African champions needed a win in Windhoek to take an unassailable four-point Group F lead with one game to go. But the Super Eagles had to settle for a point to extend the qualification to the last day.
The Southern Africans gave the Eagles a stern test with several dangerous incursions into the vital area of the African Champions, before opening scores through an effort from Deon Hotto Kavendji in the second half. Confident of an upset, the Warriors continued their onslaught, but Nigeria soon responded through Godfrey Oboabona, who took a thunderous free-kick that beat the Namibian goalkeeper a few minutes later.
Earlier, the Flames of Malawi had conceded a late equaliser at home to Kenya in the other Group F encounter and now sit second in the group with seven points after their 2-2 draw, two points behind Nigeria. With this development, the Eagles remain on top of the group with nine points, Namibia has five points, while Kenya is at the bottom of the table with just three points.
Nigeria will now seek to win its last group match against Malawi in Calabar to have the guarantee of the sole ticket from the group, while Kenya will host Namibia. A win for the Eagles at home against the Flames will take the African Champions to 11 points. However, a loss for the Eagles and a victory for Malawi in the corresponding fixture will see the Malawians going through on ten points as against Nigeria’s nine. A draw will see Nigeria clinch the coveted ticket.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles would be in Brazil for the FIFA Confederation Cup which starts on June 15. The team will face Tahiti in the Group B game on Monday. Spain and Uruguay are the other teams in the group.
Amodu Shuaibu, national technical director of the Super Eagles, said after the match against Namibia, that Nigerians should not put too much pressure on the present Super Eagles. According to him, most of the players are just coming into the team and need time to fully grow. “Let us be careful not to put too much pressure on the players. Apart from goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and John Mikel Obi, the rest are young players who need time to mature into the big time league. Yes, we all expected them to win tonight against the Namibians. But I tell you, the Namibians are a very good side and we can only take some positives away from this match,” he said.