Sharing is caring!Facebook0Twitter0Google+0Pinterest0Nigeria, ranked 43 by FIFA in the world huffed and puffed on Saturday at the bumpy Ahmadu Bello S...
Nigeria, ranked 43 by FIFA in the world huffed and puffed on Saturday at the bumpy Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna but finally blew down the Chadian team with two second-half goals as Stephen Keshi started his third reign with a victory – much better than the 0-0 he got against Zambia, when he started his first reign in 2011.
Below is PREMIUM TIMES’ ratings of the players that played on Saturday.
Vincent Enyeama – 7/10 – The captain was his normal unflappable self of a very young Eagles team, whose average starting age was about 23. Enyeama pulled off the save of the day in the 38th minute helping the Eagles keep the match 0-0 at the interval.
Kenneth Omeruo – 6/10 – The Middlesbrough defender showed all the rustiness of not having been used regularly in the Championship. he however steadied his performance in the second half.
Kingsley Madu – 7/10 – For a debutant, the 19-year-old, who plays for Slovakian club, AS Trencin, seems to be a good find for the problematic left back slot. Not short of confidence, he tried to join the attack at every opportunity. The real test waits when the Eagles face Egypt.
William Troost-Ekong – 6/10 – The FC Dordrecht defender looked shaky but that could be down to nerves and being a debutant, coupled with the not-too-confident Omeruo who paired with him in central defence.
Leon Balogun – 6/10 – He was composed even though the heat might have affected his overlapping abilities. He was solid in his tackles and won most of the aerial balls in his area. He could have scored also from a corner kick in the first half.
Michael Babatunde – 5/10 – Babatunde was supposed to provide the offensive spark of the team but did not settle into the match until he was substituted in the second half. An excuse could be the bad pitch, which made retaining and releasing the ball a very difficult task.
Ogenyi Onazi – 4/10 – One of the more experienced players on the ABS pitch but did not cover himself in a lot of glory with the senseless sending off in the 79th minute. He showed a rashness that should not be associated with a player of his stature.
Anderson Esiti – 7/10 – The G.D Estoril Praia midfielder looks like a good midfield foil. He seemed to be in control whenever the ball got to him and he kept it moving precisely and comfortably. He could be a good midfield general for the Eagles but time will tell.
Ahmed Musa – 5/10 – The dynamic forward just did not get into his groove and looked far below his best. Even though he tested the Chadian goalkeeper with a dipping freekick in the first half, he was largely understated.
Gbolahan Salami – 8/10 – The Warri Wolves forward was the only home-based to start and he was the star man. He always wanted the ball to run at defenders and drew the most fouls before scoring a thumping opener.
Aaron Olanare – 5/10 – Also did not look his normal effervescent self as he struggled to impose his speed and physicality on the Chadian defenders. He showed some good touches but these were rare on the day.
Rabiu Ibrahim – 6/10 – The 24-year-old was a delight whenever he got on the ball as he showed assurance and composure. It would have been better to have seen him perform on a better pitch but he showed that he can become a good addition to the team.
Odion Ighalo – 7/10 – The Watford man proved a handful, winning and scoring the penalty. He demanded and got the ball to score his first international goal – one that could kick-start a great Eagles career.
John Ogu – 5/10 – He was sent on after Onazi got sent off and his brief was to make sure that the Chadians did not get going in midfield – a task he performed relatively well though he would have liked to be an offensive option.