The Flames’ ambitious 2014 World Cup dream came to a heartbreaking end when they went down 2-0 to Nigeria’s Super Eagles at UJ Usuene Stadium in Calabar.
The Flames put up a good fight and held the African champions until virtually the dying minutes of the first half when Emmanuel Emenike drew first blood.
The hosts, led by Chelsea’s midfield star John Obi Mikel started the second-half at full throttle and were in the comfort zone when another English Premiership winger Victor Moses scored through the spot-kick after Limbikani Mzava had fouled Ahmed Musa.
Game over? Yes, and it is the Super Eagles who have made it to the final phase of the global showcase qualifiers.
Flames coach Tom Saintfiet said while he was disappointed with the result, he was proud of his charges’ spirited performance.
He said Mzava’s sending-off partly affected the result.
“I think our performance in the first half was superb in which we nearly managed to hold the Nigerians, but the red card also affected us. But, generally, the boys played well,” he said.
Starting line up: Charles Swini, Moses Chavula, Harry Nyirenda, James Sangala, Limbikani Mzava, Chimango Kayira, Douglas Chirambo, Robert Ng’ambi, Peter Wadabwa, Atusaye Nyondo.