5th September, 2010
Nigeriaâ€™s Super Eagles this evening began their campaign in the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series on a bright note with a 2-0 victory over Madagascar at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Cross River.
Though the Nigerian team, though won the game watched by a capacity crowd that included the Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, they could not produce the soccer artistry expected of a star studded squad playing lowly rated Madagascar who are ranked 140 on the FIFA ranking.
Obafemi Martins, who plays for Russian side Rubin Kazan, opened scoring for Nigeria in the 18th minute of the first half of the match.
Martins, the former Wolfsburg of Germany star also assisted with the scoring of the second goal, when he secured a pass to Esperance of Tunisiaâ€™s Michael Eneramo, who netted the second goal for Nigeria in the 45th minute.
The second half produced no goal for the hosts who were not spectacular in their game, but played the usual individual style the Super Eagles are known for.
Martins, however, won the Most Valuable Player, MVP award of the match with the sum of $3,000 courtesy of Tom Tom.
Martins told P.M.Sports after the game that he was glad with the outcome of the match, adding that what mattered most was the victory and the three maximum points the Eagles secured at the end of the qualifier.
“Iâ€™m happy that we won the match,” said the former Inter Milan of Italy and Newcastle of England forward.
“I wonâ€™t agree that we did not play a good game. What we needed most was the victory and Iâ€™m glad we achieved that,” he said.
By Tunde Oyedele, Calabar