Premier League’s Iheana­cho and Iwobi are Nige­ria’s lead­ing lights

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports -

Nige­ria has pro­vided a hot­bed of Premier League tal­ent over the years, but it is a pair of ris­ing stars that are lead­ing the at­tack for the Su­per Ea­gles’ new gen­er­a­tion.

Nwankwo Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha and Ce­les­tine Baba­yaro were the head­line of pre­vi­ous Nige­rian sides that lit up World Cups with flair and imag­i­na­tion.

But fol­low­ing years of de­cline after their tri­umph at the 2013 Africa Cup of Na­tions, the new stan­dard bear­ers have been found to fol­low in their pre­de­ces­sors’ foot­steps.

Manch­ester City and Ar­se­nal star­lets Kelechi Iheana­cho and Alex Iwobi started and scored in the 2-1 win over Zam­bia on Sun­day.

It got the Su­per Ea­gles’ World Cup qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign for the 2018 tour­na­ment in Rus­sia off to the per­fect start, with Cameroon and Al­ge­ria draw­ing the other game in Group “B”.

With only the top placed teams from each group qual­i­fy­ing for the com­pe­ti­tion still two years away, Nige­ria face tough op­po­si­tion in the form of the Al­ge­ri­ans, who greatly im­pressed at the 2014 World Cup.

But the nar­row win in Ndola of­fered a tan­ta­lis­ing glimpse of the fu­ture for head coach Ger­not Rohr, who took over from Sal­isu Yusuf in August.

The Su­per Ea­gles have strug­gled since win­ning the 2013 Af­con in South Africa.

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