The Super Eagles put up a brave performance as they downed Bosnia 1-0 to end a 16-year jinx that has plagued Nigeria at the World Cup.
A solitary strike from Osaze Odemwingie having combined well with teammate Emmanuel Emenike was all the Eagles needed to get their World Cup campaign back on track.
While the Eagles played better overall than in their first match, five factors contributed to their success.
1. Enyeama’s classic saves: For the umpteenth time, the assistant Super Eagles captain showed he is world class as he made save after save to deny Bosnia the chance of hanging on in Brazil. Having kept 21 clean sheets for Lille last season, Enyema has made it two clean sheets at the World Cup now and still counting.
2. Babatunde Michael shames critics: The Ukraine based midfielder gave an above average performance that should at least put to rest whether he deserves a place in the Super-Eagles set up. For Africa legends, Jay Jay Okocha and Sami Kuffor, the Nigerian midfielder nicknamed messi did perform well especially with some clear attempts at goal; only denied by the Bosnian goalkeeper, Begovic.
3. Joseph Yobo marching on: At 99 caps, Joseph Yobo’s experience did count on the backline as the Fenerbahce of Turkey defender helped Marshall Nigeria’s defence. Yobo who is on course for a centurion in the game against Argentina will hope for more good games like he did have against Bosnia.
4. Eagles soar without Victor Moses: Coach Stephen Keshi showed his no nonsense approach has he dropped the Chelsea winger on the bench for 90 minutes, with no reported injury. Keshi has sent a message that no player is indispensable and every player that gets to feature for him must be ready to give his best.
5. Odemwingie proves worth: Odemwingie proudly ended his four years goals drought for Nigeria with aruguably one of his most important strikes in the Nigerian jersey. After coming on as a late substitute against Iran last term, Osaze got the nod for a starting role and he made the most of it with the important goal which he has dedicated to his new baby and to the daughter of teammate, Austin Ejide.
1. Vincent Enyeama ****
2. Joseph Yobo ***^
3. Efe Ambrose ***
4. Juwon Oshaniwa **^
5. Kenneth Omeruo ***
6. Mikel Obi **^
7. Ogenyi Onazi ***
8. Michael Babatunde ***
9. Ahmed Musa 4**
10. Osaze Odemwingie ***^
11. Emmanuel Emenike ****
1. Shola Ameobi **^
2. Ejike Uzoenyi **
Nigeria 1-0 Bosnia
Scorers: Odemwingie 29 (NGR)
Nigeria: Enyeama; Ambrose, Omeruo, Yobo, Oshaniwa; Mikel, Onazi; Musa (Ameobi 65), Odemwingie, Babatunde (Uzoenyi 73); Emenike
Bosnia: Begovic; Mujdza, Sunjic, Spahic, Medunjanin (Susic 64); Pjanic, Besic; Hajrovic (Ibisevic 56), Misimovic, Lulic (Salihovic 58); Dzeko
Ref: O’Leary (NZL)