By Monsurah Olatunji
Kelechi Iheanacho secured Nigeria’s place in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final with a decisive penalty against South Africa.
Introduced in the 102nd minute for a weary Ademola Lookman, Iheanacho was the hero as the Super Eagles shook off the semi-final jinx that haunted them in five of their last six attempts.
Having battled with fitness issues since his last appearance for Leicester City on Boxing Day, Iheanacho made his first mark in the tournament with a crucial involvement in the AFCON campaign.
With the weight of the nation’s expectations on his shoulders, Iheanacho calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner, securing a 4-2 shootout victory and a spot in the final for the Super Eagles.
Reflecting on the moment, the former Manchester City forward described the pressure that came with taking the decisive penalty.
“I felt at that moment, I was carrying the hope of the nation on my shoulder,” he said as reported by Allnigeriasoccer.
“The penalty was either make or break but I thank God who made it possible for us to go through to the final.”