The Super Eagles of Nigeria began their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with a gritty 2-1 win over Zambia in Ndola on Sunday.
But beyond the final result, what else did we learn?
Carl-ing on a pair of safe hands
So when Vincent Enyeama announced he was retiring from international football last year, there was almost a national day of mourning. But in the matches he has played, his replacement Carl Ikeme, has put in very fine displays. And the result on Sunday could have been different, if not for some of his excellent stops.
In Troost we trust
Gernot Rohr could have easily named William Troost-Ekong as the only defender in the team. He was a man mountain. Immense, quick and dedicated to snuffing danger. Kenneth Omeruo was all over for the place for Collins Mbesuma’s goal and the full-backs. No, let’s not talk about them.
The England boys
In the first half when the Super Eagles played some of their best football, there were two standout performers – Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi. It was the Arsenal man who opened scoring, with a sublime volley, while Iheanacho showed great composure to put Nigeria into a two-goal lead.
Captain Obi reporting for duty
Once again, John Mikel Obi, was an irrepressible presence in the centre of midfield for Nigeria. The Chelsea man, who is yet to feature under Antonio Conte, seems to be relishing wearing that armband for his country. He was denied a goal in the encounter by the Zambian goalkeeper.
They continue to roar under Rohr
It’s two in two for the German. And in both games, one can easily see what he is trying to do. The Eagles don’t look leggy and laboured anymore. There is more combination play and you feel with a few more tweaks here and there, Rohr will soon present to us a national team we can boast about again.
‘Ifreke Inyang tweets via @Ifreke