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Nigeria makes the cut for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

by Felix Omondi
fifa world cup 2018

Nigeria becomes the first African country to secure a slot in next year’s FIFA World Cup soccer games. Following a 1-0 match between Nigeria and Zambia where Arsenals (and Nigeria’s) Alex Iwobi scored the only goal in that game.

That win puts Nigeria at the top of Group B chart with an unassailable 13 points.

Africa WC Qualifying Group B Played Points
1.      Nigeria (Qualified) 5 13
2.      Zambia 5 7
3.      Cameroon 5 6
4.      Algeria 5 1

About the Nigeria – Zambia game

The super eagles did not have an easy time; neither of the two teams did. There were multiple chances missed by both sides. It was until the 73rd minute when Shehu Abdullahi gave Iwobi a cut-back pass that Nigeria scored.

Zambia has numerous attempts by Odin Ighalo, John Mikel Obi, Moses Simon, and Victor Moses, but none was able to make the ball past Nigeria’s goalkeeper. However, one must recognize the acrobatic save made by Zambia’s goalkeeper Kennedy Mwenne to deny Wilfred Ndidi a goal in the second half of the game. Zambia might have had an early lead if Augustine Mulenga not scored the goal while on the offside.

The super eagles have a firm grip on the top of Group B and still have one more game to play. In 2018, Nigeria will be making its first appearance at the World Cup. They debuted in 1994 and played again in 1998 and 2014. They did not feature in 2002 and 2010.

The African countries that reached the second round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Cameroon and Algeria, have not qualified for next year’s games. In fact, the two had a very disappointing run during the qualifying matches, that they have no chance of qualifying.

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