World Cup Football: Nigeria prevail

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The Independent Online
SOUTH AFRICA found the reality of World Cup football a little too much to cope with on their debut in the competition in Lagos, where they were beaten 4-0 by Nigeria on Saturday in an African qualifier for the 1994 tournament, writes Rupert Metcalf. However, there was praise for the visiting side from Clemens Westerhof, the Nigerian coach.

'The South Africans are just starting out. We were not really threatened by them, but they should be encouraged by the way they played against a team with nine professionals at European clubs,' the Dutchman said.

Ricky Owubokiri, last season's leading scorer in Europe with Boavista of Portugal, beat the brave South African goalkeeper, Mark Anderson, with a spectacular header in the 33rd minute. Rashid Yekini, the top scorer at this year's African Nations Cup finals, scored twice in the second half, after Samson Siasia had doubled the lead.

Stanley 'Screamer' Tshabalala, the South African coach, said he needed more time to prepare his side: 'We need another year to be fully operational. Two months ago we were just starting to play international football again after so long locked up in a cage.'

Zimbabwe, who included Coventry's Peter Ndlovu and Bruce Grobbelaar of Liverpool, beat Togo 1-0 in Harare, where one man from each side was sent off.

Ethiopia's visit to Morocco ended in farce as, with the visitors 5-0 down, the match was abandoned in the second-half when Ethiopia were reduced to six men - one below the Fifa minimum - with no red cards. They lost six players en route to Rabat and started the game with two goalkeepers in defence and a 40-year-old coach in midfield. Two players stayed indoors at half-time and then three more gave up. The result, however, stands.