Nigeria held by South Africa, qualify for AFCON
After a 1-1 draw against South Africa, the Super Eagles have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 2013.
Nigeria raced into the lead early in the game through an own goal following a drilled cross by Samuel Kalu from the right.
Samuel Kalu skinned a defender in the ninth minute before Buhle Mkhwanazi bundled the ball into his own net.
South Africa battled back to an equaliser in the 28th minute after the excellent Percy Tau played in Lebo Mothiba for the finish past goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
The Super Eagles, without some of their regulars including John Mikel Obi, Francis Uzoho, Wilfred Ndidi and Odion Ighalo, had Kenneth Omeruo, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, John Ogu and Kelechi Iheanacho in the starting line up as Gernot Rohr trumped for a three man defensive shape with a striking pair.
The Super Eagles were underwhelming at the FNB as South Africa found gaps to attack Nigeria.
After the draw, Bafana Bafana will have to wait till their final qualifying match against Libya in March to decide their qualification.
Libya thumped Seychelles 8-1 and are in third place with two points behind second-placed South Africa with a chance to still qualify.
The Super Eagles went close to restoring the lead in the 74th minute when Kenneth Omeruo’s header from Kalu’s freekick dragged wide of Ithumeleg Khune’s goal.
Ahmed Musa would have particularly felt hard done by the officials after two of his efforts were ruled out incorrectly for offside.
His last effort in the 83rd minute was adjudged an offside after he latched on to a pass in behind the defence, Musa had gotten the ball ahead of his teammate Isaac Success to finish past the goalkeeper.
While the Super Eagles were not able to avenge the defeat last year at Uyo, they gladly celebrated a return to the 2019 AFCON after missing the last two editions.
The Super Eagles play their final qualifier, effectively a dead-rubber against whipping boys of group D, Seychelles in March 2019.