Soccer fans in Lagos welcomed the 2-0 score line that has given the Super Eagles a berth into the African playoff, at the expense of Malawi.
Nigeria have now marched on for an opportunity to grab one of the five continental slots for the 20th FIFA World Cup, billed for Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014.
Although there were really no serious jubilations — Lagos style — with honking of car horns and revelling at drinking joints by soccer-crazy Lagosians, there was nevertheless, evidence of hushed celebration.
This is apparent because this only signalled that the national team has merely gained an opportunity to go into the most unpredictable stage of the qualifying series.
Some soccer fans, obviously excited at the victory react:
Mutiu Adepoju, an ex-international commended the Eagles 2-0 victory over the Flames of Malawi but rued over many of the chances missed by the Nigerian side.
Adepoju told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the Eagles lost a lot of goal-scoring chances, although they still dominated the match.
“It was a nice match. The boys played fantastic football even though they were unable to utilise many of the chances that came their way.
“They should be commended because they exerted themselves but showed they are a force to reckon with.’’
Adepoju, however, urged the team not to rest on their oars now as they had only qualified for the next stage. “The knock-out stages can be very testy.’’
According to him, he is still optimistic about the Eagles securing one of the five African slots for the Brazil World Cup.
Christian Chukwu, a former Captain and Coach of the Eagles, hailed the performance of the team.
“Eagles need to polish their finishing in the attacking sequence. I noticed a lot of blunders.
“But it was a good game and I have to commended them.’’
Chkukwu advised the Eagles to remain focused and maintain their determination to the very end of the competition.
Meanwhile Moshood Adebayo, the Football Coach of Team Kwara, said that he knew from the unset that Malawi were no threat to the Eagles.
Adebayo, however, advised the Eagles to be cautious as they proceeded into the next level.
The hotly contested match was staged at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
In the match, played mainly under a drizzle, Emmanuel Emenike scored the curtain-raiser in the 45th minute while newly unveiled Liverpool of England player, Victor Moses scored the second, via a well-taken penalty in the 51st minute.
Malawi needed an outright win to qualify. They suffered a big blow, when one of their players, L. Mzava, was given the marching orders in the 53rd minute.
Chelsea star Mikel Obi was named Man of the Match for an outstanding play.
Nigeria topped its group with 12 points while Malawi placed a distant second with 7 points.