Nigeria make it to the AFCON at last

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will be at the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON in 2019 after missing the last two editions in Gabon in 2017 and Equatorial Guinea in 2015.

The Super Eagles were forced to a draw, 1-1 by South Africa to ensure qualification for the biennial event, leaving the Bafana Bafana with one last chance to qualify, away at Libya in March 2019.

Playing without injured Odion Ighalo and Francis Uzoho as well as suspended Wilfred Ndidi, there were rare starts for Ikechukwu Ezenwa in goal, John Ogu in midfield and Kelechi Iheanacho in attack.

It was Nigeria that drew first blood in the 9th minute when Samuel Kalu, playing as wing back found space to cross into the box, a cross that was deflected in by Buhle Mkwanazi.

A minute earlier, a ridiculous call by the Assistant Referee denied Nigeria what would have been the first goal of the game was ruled out as offside even though video replays showed it shouldn’t have.

Percy Tau ran down the Nigerian defence all game long and when the equalizer came, it had to be from him.

He turned around with the ball in the Nigerian penalty area, leaving three markers dead in his tracks, and rather than score, set up  LEBO MOTHIBA for the easiest of tap ins. That was in the 26th minute.

The Bafana continued to dominate while the Eagles conserved their strength until half time.

After 61 minutes, the South Africans made the first substitution of the game replacing Thulani Serero with Thembinkosi Lorch.

Nigeria make their first change in the 69th minute as Isaac Success took the place of Kelechi Iheanacho.

Kenneth Omeruo should have scored in the 74th minute as he rose highest to connect a Samuel Kalu cross but his free header went wide.

The South Africans kept on teasing while the Nigerians just contained them as fatigue and the altitude began to take its toll on them.

In a counter attacking move, just eight minutes to full time, Ahmed Musa put the ball in the net, but the flag surprising went up again for offside with video replays showing he was far from it.

With the game ended 1-1 Nigeria will play in the AFCON in Cameroon in 2019 even with one game to go, at home against Seychelles

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