29th February, 2012
The Amavubi Stars of Rwanda on Wednesday held the highly rated Super Eagles of Nigeria to a goalless draw in the first leg of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match at the Stade de Regionale in Kigali.
It was Coach Stephen Keshi’s first major match in charge of the Eagles, who were in control of the game from blast of the whistle.
Keshi fielded four home-based players and tried to blend them with Blackburn star, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and other six foreign-based stars, but the Nigerian team only managed to score a disallowed goal in the second half against a resolute Rwandan side.
Skipper of Rwandan, Oliver Karekezi, motivated his teammates as the tension-soaked game progressed by confining the Eagles to the middle of the park.
The Rwandans became very rough with their visitors, which forced the South African referee Bennett to warn some players to observe fair play.
Nigeria, in a bid to find the back of the net, substituted Osaze Odemwingie of West Brom and Ahmed Musa of CSKA Moscow for Ike Uche and Victor Moses, but the efforts of the players did not produce the needed goal for a desperate Nigerian team.
On the dot of 90th minute, the Eagles missed the biggest chance of the entire game when Oboabona’s goal-bound shot, after some great work by Victor Moses was blocked, with goalkeeper Ndori beaten and already sprawling on the turf.
With the scoreless draw in Kigali, the Nigerian time face an uphill task of winning the return leg in June to progress to the next stage of the qualifying series
Rwanda is ranked 108th and Nigeria 56th in the FIFA ranking of nations in February.
Other results today are: Madagascar 0- cape Verde 4; Burundi 0-Zimbabwe 2; Seyechels 0, DR Congo 4. Benin and Ethiopia also played a goalless draw. And it was one-all each for Tanzania and Mozambique.
Kenya upset Togo, winning 2-1 in Nairobi. Uganda lost 3-1 to Congo and Chad beat Malawi 3-2.