Warriors charm Fulham star Iwobi Alex Iwobi

Tadious Manyepo in KIGALI, Rwanda

NIGERIA captain Alex Iwobi has credited Zimbabwe for their spirited show in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against the Super Eagles in a 2026 World Cup qualifier at Huye Stadium.

Baltemar Brito’s men were the home team in the absence of an approved stadium in Zimbabwe and after playing Rwanda last Wednesday, ZIFA saw it fit to remain in the mountainous country to host the Super Eagles in their second match of the qualifiers. And they did put on the shift with Walter Musona’s bullet free-kick 26 minutes into the match giving the Warriors the spring they needed. 

After taking the lead, Zimbabwe continued to assert themselves in the match against a panicky Nigeria who had been held by Lesotho in their opening game of the qualifiers at home. 

And the Super Eagles superstar captain Iwobi hailed Zimbabwe for their management of the game although he felt his team should have done better to collect the maximum points. He also appeared to blame fatigue as having played a part in their lukewarm showing but he was quick to say with the quality that they have they just had to own up. 

Nigeria travelled to Rwanda on Friday just a day after their 1-1 draw against Lesotho. 

“We have to give credit to them (Zimbabwe),” said Iwobi. 

“Of course it was easy for them because they got the first goal and they just sat back to defend. 

“Of course they had tactics to change the tempo of the game in their favour and credit to them they are a good side but with the players we have we should have done much better”. He said Zimbabwe were all over them especially in the first half but he still believes his Super Eagles will top the six-team group and make it to the World Cup to be staged in Mexico, Canada and the United States of America. 

“The travel was a lot for us. Of course it hasn’t been easy but as a player I can’t use that as an excuse given the level of quality in the team,” said Iwobi. 

“The first half wasn’t good enough. The second was better so we have to see what we should do to improve but it’s just the beginning. 

“We need to continue fighting. We are disappointed because we have quality in the team. Nigeria is a country of many quality players and we must have been able to score more points on the scoreboard and get more goals. But we have to push”.

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