Abuja - The home based Super Eagles handed a 4-1 defeat to
Nigeria National League side Prisons FC of Abuja in a friendly match played on Friday.
The Super Eagles preparations for the CHAN 2014 tournament
in South Africa next month continued with the friendly at the FIFA Goal Project
pitch of the National stadium in Abuja.
Head Coach Stephen Keshi, who was returning to the squad
after the World Cup draws in Brazil was present during the game.
The game started at exactly 7:35am and was watched by a sizable
crowd, who took time off activities at the Youth Games to catch a glimpse of
their soccer stars. The players started the game by observing a minute silence
in honour of departed South African icon, Nelson Mandela.
The Eagles went into immediate business after referee Aniete
Ukoh, signaled the start of action, with the technical crew preferring to start
with newly invited players like Isah Danladi in goal, Bright Esieme, Aliyu
Abubakar, Gbolahan Salami, Ezekiel Mba and Kelechi Iheanacho among others. With
only five minutes of play, the Eagles had forced three corner kicks.
In the seventh minute, Iheanacho’s clever chip for goal was
handled by a Prisons player inside the 18yard box and Salami promptly
dispatched it for Eagles first goal. Three minutes later it could have been two
or more, but Abubakar and Ezekiel wasted the chances.
Salami had to be pulled out, in the 25th minute after a
crunchy tackle from the rugged defence line of the Prisons team. Barnabas
Imenger took over and acquitted himself well. But by now the opposing team had
started to gain some confidence leading to a fierce shot that beat Danladi flat
but was helped out by the woodworks before Chibuzor Madu hurriedly cleared off
Then in a moment of magical inter-play, Imenger and Mohammed
Ajia, startled the defence of Prisons for onrushing Abubakar to smash home from
about 30yards. It was indeed a television goal in the 33minute to ensure the
Eagles led 2-0 at the interval.
Keshi and his crew changed the entire team for the second
half, bringing in more experienced stars like goalie, Dan Akpeyi, Azubuike
Egwueke, Sunday Mba, Benjamin Francis, Rabiu Ali and Eaglets’ Taiwo Awoniyi.
Surprisingly, it was the Prisons side that took the
initiative in the half by scoring from close range after a defence mix-up. Inuwa
Ahmed was the goal scorer, as their midfield anchor, Stanley Emesi seemed to
have seized that area from the Eagles with crisps passes and dribbles.
The goal seems to have been the tonic the Eagles needed as a
corner kick taken by Kwambe was headed in
by Ewguekwe, blocked by the goalkeeper, only for the same Egwuekwe to
slot in with his left midway into the second half for Eagles third goal.
Oghenekaro Etebor put the icing on the cake in the 83rd
minute when a fine run from Kwambe found Awoniyi, who side-stepped a defender,
before laying it perfectly for Etebor to hit home in the 85th minute.
Keshi said after the game that there was still a lot of work
to be done and the technical crew will do its best to mold the team into a