The Super Eagles of Nigeria will on Thursday take on the Teranga Lions of Senegal in the first of two international friendly matches in London, as they prepare for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and the continuation of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers later in the year.
The Teranga Lions had a disappointing outing at the last AFCON in January in Gabon, while the Super Eagles failed to qualify. They will be expected to have a full compliment of their main squad for the friendly, while the Super Eagles can be said to be depleted, with skipper Mikel Obi, strikers Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye and forward Victor Moses missing out.
However, that shouldn’t stop the game from being the interesting fixture it is expected to be, and as such here’s a look at the history between the two sides…
Many will say it’s only a friendly and all they can fight for are points to help climb further in the FIFA ranking released monthly. Well, that, pride, bragging right and stability in the squads are all at stake when the 2017 African Cup of Nations quarter-finalists and the three-time African champions file out in the small stadium owned by a League Two side, Barnet FC.
The Lions have not been able to get the better of Nigeria in 40 years, bar just one occasion. It was important Nigeria win that game too, but the Senegalese were just hotter then. We will revisit the occasion in this article, though.
Nigeria had lost three times in a row to Senegal before the redemption that came at the sweetest time of all – the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The Green Eagles lost the first leg match 1-3 in Dakar on October 30, 1977, then scored three un-replied goals at home on November 13 to qualify for Ghana 1978, were Nigeria eventually won bronze finishing third at the expense of Tunisia.
Since the qualifiers then, both sides have met a total of 12 times with the Super Eagles winning seven times and four games ended in stalemates. Senegal’s only victory was in the semi-finals of the 2002 AFCON in Mali, they won 2-1 after extra-time.
This is what a table of the head-to-head between both nations looks like:
|13 Apr 1963||Senegal v Nigeria||L||5-1||French Colonial Tournament|
|27 Apr 1975||Senegal v Nigeria||L||1-0||International Friendly|
|30 Oct 1977||Senegal v Nigeria||L||3-1||Africa Cup of Nations|
|13 Nov 1977||Nigeria v Senegal||W||3-0||Africa Cup of Nations|
|12 Jan 1980||Nigeria v Senegal||D||0-0||*|
|15 Nov 1983||Nigeria v Senegal||W||1-0||CEDEAO Cup|
|19 Nov 1983||Senegal v Nigeria||W||0-1||CEDEAO Cup|
|28 Jan 1990||Nigeria v Senegal||D||1-1||CEDEAO Cup|
|12 Jan 1992||Senegal v Nigeria||W||1-2||Africa Cup of Nations|
|28 Feb 1999||Senegal v Nigeria||D||1-1||Africa Cup of Nations|
|10 Apr 1999||Nigeria v Senegal||D||0-0||Africa Cup of Nations|
|07 Feb 2000||Nigeria v Senegal||W||2-1||Africa Cup of Nations|
|07 Feb 2002||Nigeria v Senegal||L||1-2||Africa Cup of Nations|
|12 Oct 2002||Senegal v Nigeria||D||2-2||Joola Disaster Charity Match|
|31 Jan 2006||Nigeria v Senegal||W||2-1||Africa Cup of Nations|
|09 Feb 2006||Senegal v Nigeria||W||0-1||Africa Cup of Nations|
The Super Eagles squad
Coach Gernot Rohr has invited some young and experienced stars scattered all over Europe with five players receiving invites to the national team for the first time in their careers, hoping to make their debuts.
Reunion: Watford's Isaac Success, Leicester's Ndidi, Gent's Moses Simon and City's Iheanacho were part of 🇳🇬 U20 team at 2015 U20 World Cup pic.twitter.com/KYsldQIp0n
— Babalola Oladapo (@Emperor_derek) March 21, 2017
Rohr has received a lot of cane from the media for inviting just one local-based player, who is FC Ifeanyi Ubah’s goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and extending call-ups to only four midfielders – Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu and Oghenekaro Etebo. Shehu Abdullahi is actually a midfielder but he has been employed at a make-shift role of right-back for the past 10 games for the Eagles and was also listed under defenders by the NFF during the release of the list. So, we might not trust the Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus player will get to be played in the middle of the pack. How the team will cope without skipper John Obi Mikel is still left to be seen also.
Senegal on their side, have a talented squad led by Sadio Mane, that were touted to win the 2017 AFCON but were very unlucky to be knocked out in the quarter-finals by eventual winners, Cameroon.
We will definitely have a very high number of Nigerians view this game because of the confidence the new coach has brought back into the Eagles. Both games will be interesting and fun, but we want wins and they are something the new set of youngsters in the team can get Nigerians. – Compiled by Football Naija’s Bayo Psalm Adeoye
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