Iheanacho Rescues Nigeria as Shaky Start to World Cup Qualifiers Continues After Draw in Zimbabwe

Iheanacho Rescues Nigeria as Shaky Start to World Cup Qualifiers Continues After Draw in Zimbabwe

Lukman Mumuni
November 19, 2023 at 3:26 PM
  • Nigeria have been held by Zimbabwe in Rwanda
  • Kelechi Iheanacho scored in the second half to secure a point for the Super Eagles
  • The three-time African champions are without a point after two games

Kelechi Iheanacho's second-half strike earned Nigeria a point against Zimbabwe following a terrible start to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The Super Eagles continue to struggle after picking only two points from a possible six following back-to-back draws against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in Group C.

Following a slow start by the three-time African champions, Zimbabwe broke the deadlock after 25 minutes through a powerful freekick from Walter Musona.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Nigeria, Super Eagles, Zimbabwe
Kelechi Iheanacho celebrating his goal for Nigeria against Zimbabwe. Credit: @NFF
Source: Twitter

Nigeria were immediately awoken from their slumber as they chased the game, but the hosts were relentless in defence, keeping Terem Moffi at bay.

However, coach Jose Peseiro made quick changes after the break, bringing on Iheanacho and Bayer Leverkusen's Victor Boniface.

Moments later, the Super Eagles had a golden opportunity to cancel Zimbabwe's lead after they were awarded an indirect freekick. Bonfice spotted Iheanacho at the far post, but his effort was cleared off the line.

Just over the hour mark, the Leicester City attacker levelled to give Nigeria hope, after connecting to a brilliant pass from captain Moses Simon.

Pesier rang in more changes, with Umar Sadiq and Jamilu Collins coming in late, but it was not enough as the Super Eagles shared the spoils with the Warriors of Zimbabwe.

Nigeria held at home by Lesotho

Earlier, Sports Brief reported that African footballing superpowered, Nigeria have been held by Lesotho in the opening game of their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Akwa Ibon.

Lesotho where overwhelming underdogs going into the opening round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers but have emerged with a point.

The result will be a massive incentive for the remainder of the group rivals which include Benin, Rwanda and South Africa.

Mboma backs Osimhen for CAF PoTY

Sports Brief also reported that Cameroon legend, Patrick Mboma has tipped Nigerian international Osimhen for the 2023 CAF Player of the Year Award.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) recently released the list of 30 nominees for the men’s categories for this year's awards, scheduled for December 11 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Among the favourites for the prestigious prize are Napoli striker Osimhen, Al-Nassr forward Sadio Mane, Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah, and Yassine Bounou of Al-Hilal.

Lukman Mumuni photo
Lukman Mumuni
Lukman Abdul Mumin is a Sports Journalist based in Accra, Ghana. He has been writing for the past five years. Lukman joined Sports Brief as an Editor for the Local Desk in 2022.
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