Nigeria managed a goalless draw against Botswana on Saturday
Posted: 12 November 2011 Time: 19:43
Nigeria created a multitude of chances but inexplicably ended up with a goalless draw against Botswana in a friendly international in Benin City on Saturday evening.
An enthusiastic crowd turned up to cheer the Super Eagles to victory and left with positives to take home from an encouraging performance in Stephen Keshi's first game in charge.
Fegor Ogude rattled the upright, and Kalu Uche, his brother Ike and the lieks of Chinedu Obasi and Brown Ideye all had opportunities to put daylight between the Super Eagles and the Zebras, but were denied by brave defending, and some monster goalkeeping.
Starting on a clean slate with the new coach only having three training sessions with his players, the Eagles were keen to make amends for the Nations Cup disappointment and were quickly off the blocks, pinning the Zebras to their own half for much of the game.
But Botswana were not the first team to qualify for the Nations Cup for nothing, and they put men behind the ball in numbers, breaking forward only on the rare occasions when they won the ball.
And they almost reaped reward from one of those breaks when they hit the crossbar, although Vincent Enyeama looked to have got the slightest of fingertips to direct the ball there.
At the other end, young goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe gave his coach reason to look for headache pills as he kept out the red-eyed Nigerians. Ike Uche, Joel Obi and Fegor Ogude all had efforts stopped by Dambe, and when he was beaten, he was rescued, first by his post, and then by a raft of bodies getting in the way. Further opportunites came when Keshi tossed on his substitutes and the likes of Brown Ideye, Ahmed Musa and Chinedu Obasi also found Dambe hard to beat. Bar the lack of goals, it proved to be a totally dominant performance from the Super Eagles.
But they will now need to find some way to put the ball in the back of the net.
Midfielder Dickson Etuhu, covered almost every inch of grass on the field and was deservedly voted man of the match, going home with a Samsung Galaxy Tab II. Nigeria will next play Zambia on November 15 in Kaduna as they continue their rebuilding after missing out on the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.