Rwanda U20s defeated Nigeria’s Flying Eagles 1-0 in a warm-up game on Tuesday at the Stade Regional de Kigali.
The Nigerian youth team had several chances to put this game away, but they failed to take them before a loss of concentration five minutes from time allowed France-based striker Bon Fils Kabanda to make hay.
“It was a good match and a draw would have been a better result for us,” said Flying Eagles coach John Obuh after the encounter watched by a fair crowd.
“But we should not lose sight of the real purpose of this match, which is to prepare for the real game in Tanzania on Sunday.
“We hope to make the necessary corrections from this outing for a good result in Dar es Salam.”
He added: “We cannot afford to be dejected, rather we should pick ourselves up and be positive going into the game in Tanzania.”
It was a cautious start by both teams with the lively Charles Mwesigye Tibingana coming close to getting the opening goal for the home team after just 12 minutes when his header from inside the box flashed narrowly off its mark.
Nigeria responded immediately. Chidi Osuchukwu’s shot from distance screamed wide and minutes later, striker Alhaji Gero’s full-blooded effort was deflected for a corner.
The classy Osuchukwu then carved out one of the best chances of the day on 42 minutes, when his left-footed shot from inside the box was somehow scrambled by Rwanda goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera for a corner.
Both Gero and Shehu Abdullahi, playing at right back, also saw their efforts fail to hit target in the dying moments of the first half.
After the restart at the same stadium that the Super Eagles held Rwanda to a goalless draw in February, Aminu Umar’s shot from an acute angle crashed against the side netting.
Nigeria dictated the pace in the second half as they introduced several of their top players like Aliyu Mohammed, Uche Agbo, Jonah Usman, Harrison Egbune, Hassan Abubakar and Yahaya Adamu.
On 63 minutes, Emmanuel Sebanani ought to have put Rwanda ahead, but he wasted a very big opening.
Agbo also threatened the Rwanda goal at least twice and in between substitute goalkeeper Jonah Usman was cool as cucumber when he saved a goal-bound header by Rwanda.
Rwanda, who recently defeated Tanzania twice away from home, are billed to host Mali in a 2013 African Youth Championship qualifier same weekend that Nigeria are up against the Ngorogoro Stars of Tanzania.
The Flying Eagles will depart Kigali for Dar es Salam Thursday afternoon ahead of their own qualifier.