The rebuilding process of the Nigerian national team continued on Wednesday in far away Monrovia, Liberia, when the Super Eagles made up of wholly home-based professionals smashed their hosts, Lone Star, 2-0.
The game, which was played at the Antoinnette Tubman Stadium in Central Monrovia, was watched by Liberian President, Ellen Sirlif Johnson, who took the kick-off at exactly 6pm Nigerian time. The friendly was actually organised to mark her inauguration as President of Liberia for a second term.
Liberia took the kick-off and took the fight to the Nigerians but desperate headers and shots from Alpha James, Martins Karadu and Isaac Pupo, were repelled by Papa Idris, Azubuike Egwueke and skipper and goalkeeper of the side Chigozie Agbim.
This got Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, enraged and the players more serious and their first real attack paid off when Reuben Gabriel’s clever pass was neatly slotted in by Sunday Mba for the first goal in the 9th minute.
From then on, it was Nigeria all the way as the Liberians suddenly realised that the Eagles were the better of the two sides and the 18,000 seater stadium was kept quiet by the Eagles gallant display.
It was going to be a matter of time before the second goal came and that happened in the 30minute when a pass from Ejike Uzoenyi again found Mba lurking and he coolly took his chance to further deflate the hosts.
Several other chances were created by the Nigerians, but centre referee, Ebeneser Konah, and his two assistants, Augustine Gooding and Sylvester Johnson, ensured that the Eagles do not rub more salt on their injuries with questionable off-side calls and freekicks.
It got so bad that Keshi had to confront the assistant referee on the sideline and Johnson told him that he was a Liberian and would not watch and see his country’s President disgraced.
Big Boss Keshi said at the end of the encounter that the players have fulfilled their own part of the bargain in the rebuilding process but warned “this is just the beginning we must go to Rwanda and win and go to any part of Africa and indeed the world to continue this good performance for the world to know that our football has seen a real rebirth.”
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