The chances of the Super Eagles qualifying for the 2026 World Cup have been dealt a serious blow after they could only force a second draw today courtesy of 1-1 stalemate with hosts Zimbabwe.
It was their second draw of the qualifying tournament after they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home with Lesotho.
They now have two points from as many matches, while main rivals South Africa remain top with three points after their opening day win over Benin.
South Africa will be guests of Rwanda Tuesday, same day Lesotho welcome Benin in South Africa.
Walter Musona fired Zimbabwe on 26 minutes, when he smashed an unstoppable free kick from more than 30 metres beyond goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
It was his first goal in six appearances for his country.
Second-half sub Kelechi Iheanacho drew Nigeria level in the 65th minute after some good work by stand-in captain Moses Simon, who held off his marker before laying the ball for the Leicester City striker to shoot home.
Kelechi Iheanacho pulled one back in the second half for the Super Eagles, to make it Zimbabwe 🇿🇼 1-1 🇳🇬Nigeria.— Mimi Fawaz (@MimosaFawaz) November 19, 2023
Africa’s 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.
The Eagles continued to chase for the winner with Iwobi seeing his shot sail over the crossbar, before Iheanacho headed off target from a cross by Moses Simon.
It was not meant to be and Nigeria have thus dropped four vital points in two matches they were widely expected to win.
The next round of matches will be played June 2024.
Starting XI vs Zimbabwe:
Uzoho – Onyemaechi (Collins 83), Ola Aina (Bright Osayi-Samuel 46), Bassey, Ajayi – Onyeka (Iheanacho 46), Aribo, Iwobi, Moses Simon, Nathan Tella (Boniface 46) – Moffi (Sadiq Umar 76)