The Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper was in superb form on his international debut as the Eagles failed to soar in Dar es Salam
Tanzania held Nigeria to a 0-0 draw in Saturday's 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier played at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam.
There was no separating the two sides in 90 minutes, with the impressive Carl Ikeme, who made his Super Eagles’ debut, on several occasions denying the Taifa Stars a chance to take maximum points.
The towering Wolverhampton Wanderers shot stopper's best moment was an amazing save in the 67th minute when he denied Thomas Ulimwengu with a long stretch before scrambling to Mrisho Ngassa’s follow-up which went by the post, with both shots coming from inside the six-yard box.
Without leading lights in attack Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses and Gbolahan Salami and missing veteran goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, Sunday Oliseh’s men failed to break down Boniface Mkwasa’s well-drilled hosts who were fuelled by a crowd that generated a tremendous atmosphere.
Captain Ahmed Musa showed a fine turn of pace to burst down the left and cut back for Emmanuel Emenike, only for the striker to be fouled to hand Sunday Oliseh’s men a free kick in the second minute of the match.
The resultant kick was not enough to threaten goalkeeper Ali Mustapha who was rarely troubled by the Eagles’ frontline. Not too long afterwards, the hosts got their first chance through Mlinwengu - and that seemed to knock off Nigeria out of their rhythm as they failed to create an opening of note for the remainder of the first half.
Mrisho Ngasa had a chance to open the scoring in the 13th minute, but his shot from the edge of the area was blocked as the Taifa Stars continued their dominance.
Ikeme was then called into action to keep out Farid Musa’s close-range header after the striker had got on the end of captain Nadir Haroub’s dangerous free-kick.
Nigeria went close to getting the curtain raiser, but Mustapha did well to pluck Musa’s flick-on off the line before Mosee Simon was denied by a block in the area.
Oliseh introduced Sylvester Igboun for Haruna Lukman who seemed to be lost in the midfield but that did not yield any result as the hosts dictated the pace from the middle.
Tanzania edged the initial stages, although Emenike felt that he should have earned a penalty two minutes into half time when he went down under pressure from Shomari Kapombe. Contact was minimal and the referee waved away protests before the Taifa Stars continued to threaten.
Towards the end of the game, Nigeria did not fare any better as they failed to punish the hosts’ who were lethargic in the latter part of the game as goalkeeper Ikeme held sway in goal to prevent the hosts from snatching a win.
With this result, the Super Eagles now have four points and top Group G. pending the outcome of Sunday’s game between Chad and Egypt. While Tanzania who last made an Afcon appearance 35 years ago remain at the base of the log with a point.