The Super Eagles ended 2023 with two disappointing draws, but the Wasps have ensured Nigerians have a reason to smile before the year runs out
Rwanda gave Nigeria the best gift of the year after the Wasps claimed an impressive 2-0 win over South Africa on matchday two of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Having defeated Benin Republic 2-1 on home soil, South Africa were looking to bag another three points against Rwanda and extend their lead over Nigeria to four points.
Rwanda, however, had other motivations, and the Wasps executed their plans perfectly within the opening half-hour inside the Huye Stadium in Butare.
Innocent Nshuti gave the home side the lead in the 12th minute when he raced to a ball over the top and lashed a low effort into goalkeeper Ronwen Williams’s bottom right corner.
South Africa had barely recovered from that shock opener when the Wasps stung the Bafana Bafana again.
Gilbert Mugisha pounced on a defensive error inside the penalty area to expertly slot home a nice finish that doubled the advantage for the hosts.
South Africa battled hard in search of a comeback in the second half but a resolute Rwandan defence yielded no ground for even a consolation goal.
The win against one of the group favourites as catapulted Rwanda to the top of Group C with four points from two games.
South Africa are in second with three points, one more than Nigeria in third.
It would be recalled that Nigeria claimed two disappointing 1-1 draws with Lesotho and Zimbabwe, respectively.
But the Super Eagles have found themselves in a good spot ahead of their matchday three clash with South Africa in June 2024.
A win for Nigeria in that encounter will send the three-time African champions above the Bafana Bafana in Group C.
In the other group match, Lesotho held Gernot Rohr and Benin to a goalless draw in Durban.