Nigerian Super Eagles Fly Against Cameroon

Johannesburg (AFP) - Nigeria put a disastrous start to 2018 World Cup warm-ups behind them by outclassing Cameroon 3-0 in Belgium at the weekend.

The triumph came three days after the Super Eagles suffered a 2-0 defeat by the Democratic Republic of Congo at another Belgian venue and star goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama retired.

Enyeama, widely regarded as the best current African shot-stopper, ended a 101-cap international career after being stripped of the captaincy by new coach Sunday Oliseh.

The Oliseh-Enyeama row overshadowed the clash with the Congolese and may have distracted the 10th-ranked African side.

But Nigeria were a transformed team against Cameroon, three rankings higher in Africa, and goals by Efe Ambrose, Moses Simon and Idion Ighalo secured a morale-boosting success.

Nigeria play Swaziland or Djibouti in a two-leg World Cup qualifier next month and Cameroon meet Niger or Somalia.

Meeting for the first time since a 2004 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final won by Nigeria in Tunisia, Cameroon were quickly on the back foot.

After a couple of close escapes, the Indomitable Lions fell behind on 38 minutes when Celtic centre-back Ambrose outjumped goalkeeper Fabrice On doua to nod in a John Obi Mikel free-kick.

Initially ignored by former Nigeria star Oliseh, Chelsea midfielder Mikel was outstanding in the centre of the pitch before being replaced by Wilfred Nidi just past the hour.

The Super Eagles were two goals ahead by that stage with Simon catching Ondoua napping with a shot to the near post when the goalkeeper expected the ball to go to his other side.

Ighalo, whose outstanding early-season English Premier League form has reaped five goals for promoted Watford, completed the rout two minutes from time.

Overlapping full-back Elderon Eziechiele crossed after a sweeping movement and Ighalo headed across substitute goalkeeper Guy-Roland Nd Assembe into the far corner.

Egypt, who are in the same 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group as Nigeria, also won 3-0 with Zambia the victims in United Arab Emirates city Abu Dhabi.

Portugal-based Ahmed 'Kola' Hassan struck early in each half and Amr Gamal from 19 African-title giants Al Ahl completed the scoring in the final minute.

All the goals stemmed from crosses with one a cheeky back-heel and the other two were volleys that gave veteran Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Weened no chance.

Both countries were preparing for World Cup qualifiers during November with Egypt facing Sierra Leone or Chad and Zambia playing Sudan.

Source: David Legge
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