Victoria City, Seychelles : Nigeria Super Eagles got their 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying campaign back on track on Saturday as they beat hosts Seychelles 3-0 in Victoria City, Seychelles.
Captain Ahmed Musa put the Nigerian side in front when he hit a thunder bolt first time from outside the box, with the ball hitting the bar and on ricocheting off the keeper’s back into the net at the 15 minute mark.
Chidozie Awaziem doubled Nigeria’s advantage with a second goal in the 34th minute after Kelechi Iheanacho’s freekick fell into Awaziem’s path who tapped it into the empty net for an easy finish.
In the second half, the Seychelles Pirates took the game to Nigeria, but failed to score.
It was over as a contest as Odion Ighalo converted a penalty on 57 minutes to give them an unassailable 3-0 lead.
Sadly, goal scorer Awaziem was stretched off in the 74th minute after a collision, allowing Semi Ajayi to make his International debut.
And debutante Ajayi almost provided the fourth goal as his inch-perfect cross was met by substitute Henry Onyekuru, who headed the ball just wide.
President of Seychelles, Danny Faure and the Vice President, Vincent Meriton were both in attendance as Nigeria thrashed the Pirates of Seychelles.
The match referee was Devis Omweno from Kenya and was assisted by Compatriot Gilbert Cheruiyot and Ugandan Mark Isorlko.
Nigeria’s next game will be against Libya On October the 10th.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles are playing catch-up in the Group E, which also parades Libya and South Africa.
In the first game of the group, South Africa came to Nigeria on June 10, 2017 to hammer the Super Eagles 2-0, while Libya beat visiting Seychelles 5-1.
Libya forced a 0-0 draw with South Africa in Durban Saturday to remain Group E leader in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying competition.
Libya and South Africa have four points each, with Nigeria only able to get three points and are third in the group.
When the mini-leagues draw was made, former African champions Nigeria and South Africa were installed as favourites to fill the two places available for the finals in Cameroon.
But with two of the six qualifying rounds completed, Libya lead with four points, South Africa and Nigeria have three each and the Seychelles are pointless.
Algeria-born coach Adel Amrouche said he hoped the goalless stalemate at Moses Mabhida Stadium in the Indian Ocean port city would bring joy to the Libyan people.
“Only football can bring the people together,” said the 50-year-old former coach of Equatorial Guinea, Burundi and Kenya.
He was talking after deadly clashes in Tripoli last week between rival militias battling for control of the Libyan capital.
Libyan national and club teams have had to host home matches outside the north African country because of safety issues since the 2011 death of dictator Muamar Kadhafi.
“I am not coaching Libya for money — I want to help bring happiness to the people by taking the national team to the 2019 Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon,” said Amrouche.
The match staged in wet conditions before a small crowd followed a predictable pattern with Libya putting virtually their entire team behind the ball whenever threatened.
It led to an international that delivered little excitement and the match appeared destined to finish goalless long before the final whistle.
“We battled to gain possession against physically strong opponents and then surrendered the ball too easily at times,” admitted England-born South Africa coach Stuart Baxter.
Libya face Nigeria twice between October 8 and 16 while South Africa host and visit the Seychelles at the same time.
Kenya beats Ghana for first time in 15 years
Kenya on Saturday beat Ghana 1-0 in their African Cup of Nations qualifier in Nairobi, breaking a 15-year jinx against the Black Stars.
The win moves Harambee Stars to second in Group F, same on points with their Saturday opponents and leaders Sierra Leone who have a game in hand.
The East African side went ahead in the 39th minute through a Nicholas Opoku own goal, seeing off the game even though they were reduced to ten men in the 62nd minute after Joash Onyango was shown a red card after reckless tackle on Ghana striker Majeed Waris.
Kenya’s next game will be against neighbouring Ethiopia, who were hammered 5-0 by the Ghanaians.
Group toppers Sierra Leone will battle the Ethiopians on Sunday, seeking to firm up their lead, and with direct AFCON qualification in mind.
Following Kenya’s victory over Ghana, congratulatory messages poured in for them on social media, including from Tottenham Hostpurs midfielder Victor Wanyama. The 27-year-old missed the game fue to lack of fitness, having just returned from a lengthy injury earlier this month and has not had game time with the Londoners.