Cape Verde scores 90th minute goal to beat Liberia 0
Rangers defence ace, Leon Balogun born of a German mother and Nigerian father scored his first international goal for the Super Eagles of Nigeria against the Wild Beasts of the Central African Republic at 30 minutes of a African World Cup Qualifier Group C on Sunday afternoon at the Japouma Stadium, Douala Cameroon.
Balogun which is a Yoruba name meaning leader in battles lived to the spirit behind his name as he overlapped easily dribbling like an attacker and cutting through the Defense lines of the Wild Beasts like hot knife cut through butter given the supposed hosts unusual migraine resulting in several panic measures to contain his sleekly moves. His goal atoned for the error of the 1st leg in Lagos.
The Wild Beasts defence resulted to old football styles called “if you miss the ball, don’t miss the leg” or redefined as “Jam body” now modernized in description as ‘physical football’ common with African and German football to force the exist of Balogun in the 74th minute of play. Three of the Wild Beasts bagged yellow cards in what a journalist jokingly termed lack of sensitivity of the path of Ref Hakizimana of Rwanda because the CAR players had said they were Wild Beasts. They were very rough on Nigerian players.
He required the attention of physios and was then substituted off for former Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo.
Balogun on the turf.
Steven Gerrard will be sweating about his fitness as Rangers face Hearts in a crucial top of the league clash in a week's time.
If Balogun is unavailable then Jack Simpson may start alongside Connor Goldson at the heart of the back four.
It's also a worry for the Europa League clash against Brondby on October 21 as Simpson is not in the Ibrox squad for Euro action while Filip Helander remains out and isn't expected back until December.
Goldson missed out for the clash against Sparta Prague at the end of last month and Bassey filled in for the 1-0 defeat.
Nigeria’s wonder boy and former U17 World Cup Golden boot holder, Victor Osimhen scored the second goal to make a saccharin taste sweet revenge on the Beasts who dented their 40 year old record of no defeat on Nigeria soil when CAR slapped them with a lone goal victory in the first leg in Lagos making the vociferous Lagos fans to hang their drums and wind instruments like Israel did in Babylon while they were ferried their as slaves and the Nigerians could not sing their common lines of “O se, Ose o O se Baba” (just a song of thanks to the almighty God) which was rendered gleefully in Douala.
But the African soccer ruling body CAF regulation Patmos Media Line Sports gathered made supporters and media men to be locked out of the stadium making the Super Eagles miss the pep of support from the stands.
My former sports Commentary guide, late Earnest Okonkwo said “when the vociferous support comes from the stands, it motivates action and galvanizes goals which are the essentials of football.”
In the second match of Group C, a lone strike by Ryan Mendes of Cape Verde in the 90th minutes silenced the George Weah boys of Liberia 1-0 in the match that six yellow cards were flashed, two to Cape Verde and four to Liberia.
Nigeria tops Group C with 9 points, Cape Verde is 2nd with 7 points, CAR places 3rd with 4 points while Liberia is 4th with 3 points
In group B, Zambia and Equatorial Guinea played 1-1 draw while Mauritania and Tunisia also played goalless draw. Tunisia tops the table here with 10 points, Equatorial Guinea is 2nd with 7points, Zambia has 4 points while Mauritania scored a point so far.
Group E saw Mali consolidate lead and may be the first qualifier for next round as the Eagles beat Kenya in Nairobi 1-0 while the Uganda Cranes got a 1-0 win over Rwanda. Mali tops with 10 points, Uganda is 2nd with 8 points, Kenya has 2 points and Rwanda 1point.
Slim wins characterized Group J as the Taifa Stars of Tanzania lone strike from Simon Msuva got them three points against the Squirrels of Benin in Cotonou while Madagascar defeated DR Congo at home 1-0.
Even with the loss, Benin shares top position with Tanzania with 7 points each, DR Congo has 5 points and Madagascar has 3 points.
Fixtures for Monday 11th October
Grp A: Burkina Faso v Djibouti 1700 hrs
Grp D: Mozambique v Cameroon 1400 hrs; Ivory Coast v Malawi 1700 hrs.
Grp F: Gabon v Angola 1400 hrs; Libya v Egypt 2000 hrs.
Fixtures for Tuesday 12th October
Grp A: Niger v Algeria 1700 hrs
Grp G: Zimbabwe v Ghana 1400 hrs; South Africa v Ethiopia 1700 hrs
Grp H; Namibia v Senegal 1400 hrs; Congo v Togo 1700 hrs.
Grp I: Guinea v Morocco 2000 hrs.
- Eniola Olatunji reporting