A dominant Nigeria booked a COPA Coca-Cola African Cup quarter final spot following a 3-0 win over Zimbabwe in a group B match played on December 12, 2018 at Nakuru High School in Kenya.
Coming into the encounter off the back of a disappointing loss in their last match against Zambia, Nigeria were in need of a confidence-building performance and a contest against struggling Zimbabwe was just the boost they needed.
Gilbert Igwe’s Nigeria side always appeared a class above and left the East Africans stunned by the gulf and their silky play as they strolled to victory. Nigeria were too powerful for Zimbabwe to contain and Matenga’s men succumbed to the oppositions quality. Both Nigeria’s blistering pace and the intelligent passing of the ball were too dynamic for Zimbabwe to even plan and get a good response across.
Zimbabwe didn’t create much going forward with attackers Kawere Trymore and Muzengeza Keith unsuccessfully trying to breach Nigeria defense.
The East Africans improved late in the match but the points had already been secured by Nigeria, Chukwuemeka Prosper opened the scoring for Nigeria 5 minutes before halftime, while Gift Williams and Lekan Omodara completed the scoring in the second half.
“I am happy that we have qualified today but we have to improve because we are heading to the knockouts. We have to do better in defending, midfield and even in attack in our next game, we were not at our best,” Nigeria coach Gilbert Igwe said.
“We lost to a better team. Nigeria was the better side and congratulations to them, they deserved to win. These boys are very young and I believe such a tournament will help shape their careers as footballers. I thank Coca-Cola for organizing this tournament and urge them to continue with the same spirit,” Zimbabwe coach Bernard Matenga added.
This result ensures Nigeria and Zimbabwe qualify to the quarter-finals from the group. The Nigerian team will be playing South Africa in the quarter-finals on Thursday 13th December. You can follow Coca-Cola Nigeria’s Instagram stories (@cocacola_ng) for real-time updates.