Sunday Oliseh’s first game in charge of Nigeria will not live long in the memory as Tanzania deservedly secured a goalless draw in Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying Group D clash at Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium.
Oliseh was charged with the task of replacing Stephen Keshi in July and the former Nigeria captain would have been expected to see off the minnows of Tanzania in his maiden competitive game at the helm.
As it was he was indebted to an assured display by debutant Carl Ikeme, starting after captain Vincent Enyeama withdrew from the squad following the death of his mother, for pulling off some vital saves to deny the hosts their first win over Nigeria.
Nigeria also had their chances to make it two qualifying victories out of two, but had to settle for a point in Dar es Salaam against a Tanzania side showing plenty of promise under a new coach of their own in Boniface Mkwasa.
Oliseh would have seen plenty of room for improvement from a youthful Nigeria side as he attempts to guide his country to the 2017 AFCON in Gabon, having failed to qualify for this year’s tournament in Equatorial Guinea earlier this year.
Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike had an early opportunity to score his first international goal for almost two years when he headed Moses Simon’s free-kick wide 10 minutes in.
Ikeme was soon proving his worth by denying Farid Musa before keeping out a Mbwana Samatta free-kick as Tanzania made a promising start.
The hosts were given another warning when stand-in skipper Ahmed Musa’s shot was blocked just before the half-hour mark and Simon also came close following good work from the lively Musa.
Musa was a constant menace and the CSKA Moscow fired narrowly wide after a incisive run, then Oliseh ensured Emenike’s goal drought continues by replacing him with Anthony Ujah after 61 minutes.
The underdogs were scenting a shock victory and they came close to breaking the deadlock again after 64 minutes, when Mrisho Ngasa somehow headed wide to give Nigeria a let-off.
Thomas Ulimwengu again called Wolves keeper Ikeme into action as Nigeria remained on the back foot, but secured a point which puts them top of the group and got the Tanzania up and running following their defeat to Egypt.