Nigeria’s Super Eagles leaped to the top of Group C of the 4th African Nations Championship as a hat-trick from Chisom Chikatara and one from Osas Okoro gave the Super Eagles B a 4-1 win over Mena of Niger Republic in Kigali.
Abia Warriors forward Chikatara could have scored five, but after flashing a superb shot past the Niger goalkeeper in the 74th minute and finishing off a great counter –attack by Osas Okoro and Prince Aggrey seven minutes later, he fluffed two great opportunities in the closing minutes before tucking away a good pass from Aggrey in the last minute of added time.
Enugu Rangers’ attacking midfielder Osas Okoro had an impressive first half in a somewhat dour start, but he was fruitful only 30 seconds into the second half when he connected brilliantly from a pass from the left by forward Tunde Adeniji to put the Eagles in front.
Group mates Tunisia and Guinea had opened the pool with a 2-2 draw at the same venue earlier, and both the Eagles and Mena knew a winner between them would go to the top. Even as they fell behind so early in the second period, the Mena continued to chase hard and Pasairo had himself to blame for wasting so much time with a golden opportunity in the 66th minute, allowing Nigerian defenders to clear.
From then on, it was the Okoro, Aggrey and Chikatara show. Chikatara connected easily but powerfully with the ball from an Okoro pass in the 74th minute. Six minutes later, 19 –year old Zakari Adebayor scored a magnificent goal for the Mena, blasting a fierce, left –footed shot past Ezenwa.
Yet, immediately from re-taking the kick-off, the Eagles launched and Chikatara slotted in after an exchange of passes by Okoro and Aggrey.
Chikatara, a striker with a huge talent for putting himself in the best scoring position, missed two opportunities to increase the tally from Okoro and Aggrey passes in the closing minute. But he bagged his hat –trick with three minutes into added time as he connected superbly from an Aggrey pass.
The Super Eagles’ next match is against 2011 champions Tunisia at the same Stade Regional de Nyamirambo on Friday.