The Super Eagles defeated the Swaziland national team by 2:0 at the packed Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt to seal a place in the African qualifiers’ for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The score-line also means the team will bag the sum $US 40, 000 promised them by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Monday, when his representatives visited the team during their training session ahead of today’s match.
Governor Wike had pledged $US 20, 000 for every goal scored by the Super Eagles in today’s match against Swaziland.
The Super Eagles were toothless in front of goal in the first leg, which ended 0-0, and needed 52 minutes of the return game to make the breakthrough.
Moses Simon scored with a spectacular free-kick to end the Swazi resistance.
A second goal was added by Efe Ambrose on 88 minutes before Swaziland had Phumlani Dlamini sent off when he was shown a second yellow card.
However, Swazis need not hold their heads having played the West Africans to a virtual standstill in Southern Africa they almost replicated the performance again.
Despite holding the ball for much of the game the Nigerians repeatedly failed to finish up front and allowed the Swazi’s enough chances to make the game a nail biter till Moses Simon struck midway through the second half.
The Super Eagles with this victory now join Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Morocco, Uganda and Zambia – who had already played their second legs – in the group stage.
Kicking off next October, the 20 second-round qualifiers will form five groups of four teams with the winners of each group booking their place at the finals in Russia.
Another of the continent’s heavyweights, Ghana, secured their passage in very similar fashion to Nigeria.
Having been held 0-0 to Comoros in the first leg, the Black Stars hit two goals without reply in the return match to go through 2-0 on aggregate.
Wakaso Mubarak grabbed the opener and Swansea striker Jordan Ayew added the second late on. And just as Swaziland ended their match with 10 men, so too did Comoros when Omar Mdahoma received a second yellow card with eight minutes remaining.
Libya were the first team on Tuesday to book their place in the next round after a 3-1 win in Rwanda gave them a 4-1 aggregate victory.
Khumaj put the visitors ahead in the second leg to put them in control of the tie.
Rwanda’s Jacques Tuyisenge made it 1-1 on the day and offered his side some hope of a comeback but Libya pulled away thanks to a brace from Mohamed Ghanudi.
And Cameroon arealso through, despite being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Niger. The Indomitable Lions secured their passage in the first leg with a 3-0 win.
Congo finally emerged victorious after a fantastic tussle with Ethiopia, the Red Devils winning their second leg 2-1 to go through 6-4 on aggregate.
Ethiopia’s Getaneh Kebede scored the opening goal of the second leg to level the tie at 4-4 on aggregate.
But Francis N’Ganga nudged Congo ahead overall when he made it 1-1 on the day and Thievy Bifouma’s strike sealed his side’s victory.