Two teams heading for the CHAN tournament in Rwanda bored a handful of spectators with an uninspiring performance until the last two minutes when their practice match exploded into a fierce contest at the TUKS Stadium in Pretoria on Wednesday afternoon.
Angola and Nigeria played out a storming 1-1 draw in Pretoria where both they are camping in South Africa preparing for the tournament that gets underway in Kigali in a fortnight, and both coaches must have been concerned about their impotency in front of goals.
Bartholomew Ibenegbu converted a penalty awarded to the Nigerians in the 87th minute after Nelson Sumbo Fonseca was adjudged to have fouled Paul Onobi to give the West Africans what looked like victory.
But Angola drew level a minute later when Baptista curled a perfect corner that exposed Nigeria’s defensive frailties as Domingos was given the freedom of Pretoria with the rearguard guilty of ball watching at a critical moment and goalkeeper Thomas Olufemi had no chance.
But Angola can consider themselves a little unlucky after controlling the game for longer periods and even receiving a penalty, which Adriano coolly converted past Olufemi. But the referee ordered a re-take due to encroachment and this time, Adriano disturbed the flight of birds in the sky with his second attempt.
Although dominating proceedings with their silky play, Angola were a little physical and it came as no surprise when Nigeria withdrew a couple of their players who found themselves at the receiving end of some crunching tackles from the Angolan rearguard.
For Nigeria, Ibrahim Salau was a marvel to watch and each time he was in possession, he had the opposition in all sort of troubles with his trickery but coach Sunday Oliseh had to withdraw him late in the second half, as he became a target of some crunching tackles.
But if anything, both coaches Oliseh and Jose Kilamba have their work cutout for them as their teams appeared like work in progress and they need to double their efforts considerably if they want to make any meaningful impact at the biennial contest in Rwanda.
Nigeria was ruthless in disposing of South African Premier League side Pretoria TUKS 3-0 at the same venue the previous day. The Nigerians continue their preparations with another practice match against Cote d’Ivoire while Angola will play Mali over the weekend.