The Nigeria national football team clinched a memorable victory away to the Benin Republic on Saturday in what would likely be an unforgettable evening for Enyimba’s talismanic winger
New Super Eagles star Iwuala Emmanuel Anayo has taken to social media to express his delight at enjoying a winning debut for Nigeria following the team’s 1-0 defeat of the Benin Republic in Porto Novo.
Of the three Nigeria Professional Football League stars handed maiden invitations to the national team ahead of the Afcon qualifiers, only Anayo played an active part in the side’s hard-fought victory.
Enyimba teammate John Noble and Abia Warriors’ defender Adekunle Adeleke did not make it off the bench as Nigeria huffed and puffed against the spirited home side.
But Anayo was an 80th-minute substitute, replacing Galatasaray’s Henry Onyekuru, as the Gernot Rohr-led side battled in vain to break down the Squirrels’ stubborn resistance.
The young winger was even close to handing the Super Eagles the lead when he showed quick feet to outwit a Beninoise defender before blasting his shot wide, leaving behind an unimpressed Victor Osimhen.
It was, however, fellow substitute Paul Onuachu who broke the deadlock deep into stoppage time, reacting quickly to a loose ball and powering a header beyond the reach of goalkeeper Allegbe.
A hesitant Anayo then shyly joined his new teammates to celebrate the winning strike.
Despite featuring for only the last ten minutes, the 22-year-old attacker showed enough to convince fans that he is the real deal, many of whom applauded him on Twitter.
Now those shouting what good can come out of @LMCNPFL can attest to themselves that players abounds here in our league— Baggio Philips (@BaggioPhilips2) March 28, 2021
Congratulations @EmmanuelAnayo17 more to come thanks to @OgaNlaMedia @Emiearth and @Adaeze_michael they really made a case for you
Sometimes home based players are needed for these African teams, so that both teams fit use craze play the match man to man. You tried man.— P O L Y (@tyexploit) March 28, 2021
So so glad for you and the team for picking the victory breaking an 8yr old record of Benin not loosing at home. Nice debut. Best wishes for you with this team in future. Hopefully you get more chance against Lesotho #Team9jaStrong #SoarSuperEagles— Ejike N (@nnekeejike) March 28, 2021
Very good energy. The coach's substitutions were timely and appropriate. We hope you'll play the next one too. You need big matches to improve.— 20.10.2020 We will NEVER Forget (@exploitsfemi027) March 28, 2021
With the Super Eagles already assured of Group L’s top spot and a place at Cameroon 2022, Anayo will be hoping to make his full debut when Nigeria host Lesotho on Tuesday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.