It was meant to be a party for the Super Eagles as they faced the Cranes of Uganda in Uyo on Wednesday but it turned out differently as they lost the match which was meant to be a preparatory session for their upcoming AFCON qualifiers and also the celebration of the 100th cap for Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
The Ugandans won the match 1-0 through an 81st minute goal by Miya Faruku.
The Super Eagles surely needed a victory to win back the trust of their fans, having failed to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Instead, they earned more distrust as the fans began to cheer the Ugandans after the goal was scored.
The only aspect of the game plan that followed the scripts was the team captain Enyeama getting his 100th cap at his home state, Akwa Ibom. The Lille goalkeeper thanked the fans for their support.
He said, “This is a milestone and I am glad to have achieved this. I thank God for making it possible. I also say thank you to the fans who have supported me all the way.”
He added that the result would not dampen his feelings.
“It is a disappointment to have lost the game but then that’s football. It is a training game for both sides and you may have seen how the team was assembled. This is football for you.”
Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick, confirmed that the football body had approved the contract for Stephen Keshi as Eagles coach. He spoke on the pitch at half time of the game via SuperSport.
He said, “The executive committee of the NFF met today (Wednesday) and approved the recommendation of the technical committee for Keshi to continue as the country’s coach. It is now just left for Keshi to sign.”
Last week Pinnick had told The PUNCH that the wedding programme of Keshi’s daughter added to the delay in tying up the deal as the NFF gave him some time off to attend to family matters.
The former Nigeria captain has been given a new two-year contract after his initial three-year deal lapsed when Nigeria lost at the World Cup in Brazil last year. The new deal will give him N5m every month with add-ons of N3m for accommodation and N500,000 for transportation.
In his first stint with Nigeria which ran from November 2011 to July 2014, Keshi won the 2013 Africa Nations Cup in South Africa and led the team as far as the second round of the 2014 World Cup. His failure to qualify the country for the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea created a gulf between him and the NFF. He was initially asked to go but was later recalled.