Over the moon...John Obi Mikel (centre) Super Eagles captain celebrates with team mates

NIGERIA became the first African side to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after beating Zambia 1-0 in Uyo yesterday, to give the Super Eagles an unassailable lead at the top of Group B.

The goal was scored by Arsenal player Alex Iwobi who came on as a substitute in the tense tie against Zambia. Iwobi had been on the pitch less than ten minutes before he stroked home Abdullahi Shehu’s cutback from the right wing.

By topping Group B, which included Cameroon, Zambia and Algeria and was seen by many as the toughest group of the continent’s five qualifying tables, Nigeria have sent out a warning that they are not going to be push overs in Russia.

The highlight in the Super Eagles’s qualifying rounds was a 4-0 thrashing of the reigning African champions, Cameroon.

The current Nigerian squad has a rich mix of talented players, many of whom are plying their trade in Europe’s premier leagues, such as Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Moses.

The three UK-based players have scored crucial goals throughout qualifying world cup rounds for Nigeria.

Captained by the seasoned former Chelsea player John Obi Mikel, who made his belated World Cup debut at Brazil 2014, the Super Eagles are fancied by many to give a good account of themselves in Russia, than they did in the last world cup.

The tournament in Russia will mark the sixth appearance for the Super Eagles in World Cup finals.