Late winner takes Nigeria top of qualifying groupBy GERALD IMRAY , Associated Press
Jun. 5, 2013 11:18 AM ET
Ahmed Musa's late winner delivered a 1-0 win for Nigeria in Kenya and put the African champion clear at the top of its World Cup qualifying group on Wednesday after Malawi's slip.
Malawi earlier was held to 0-0 at home by Namibia, opening the way for Nigeria to establish a two-point lead atop Group F after four of six games in Africa's qualifying competition.
The 20-year-old forward Musa scored in the 81st minute to clinch Nigeria's victory in Nairobi and repay coach Stephen Keshi for his call-up in the absence of striker Victor Moses and Russia-based Emmanuel Emenike.
Malawi, which was level with Nigeria at the top of the group, couldn't find a way past the Namibians at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre for its third draw in four games.
Group F's fixtures were brought forward because of Nigeria's trip to the Confederations Cup this month. The group also will have another round of games next Wednesday before Nigeria travels to Brazil for the World Cup warmup tournament, which starts on June 15.
Nigeria will be away at Namibia and Malawi will host Kenya in those fifth-round games. The winners of Africa's 10 groups in World Cup qualifying will ultimately play off for the five places at the finals next year.
The World Cup qualifiers have provided a difficult distraction for Nigeria's Confederations Cup preparations, however. Keshi's squad traveled to the United States for a friendly against Mexico last week, is back in Africa this week, and will go to South America at the end of next week.
Nigeria's first game at the Confederations Cup is against Tahiti on June 17, followed by meetings with Uruguay and world champion Spain. Nigeria's trip to the Confederations Cup will be its first since 1995 having won the African Cup in February — its first African title since 1994.