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Super Eagles, Leopards renew rivalry

07 October 2015, 21:45Israel Ojoko

Brussels - Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Leopards of the Democratic Republic of Congo will on Thursday renew football rivalry in a friendly game in Belgium.

DR Congo, who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1968 and 1974, has remained a strong force in African football, and never a squad to treat with kid gloves. But they face a supercharged Eagles loaded with plenty of new and enthusiastic talent, and fortified by some of the old guard.

There are three –time FIFA World Cup star Vincent Enyeama, defenders Efe Ambrose and Elderson Echiejile, midfielders John Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi as well as forwards Ahmed Musa and Emmanuel Emenike (who have all played at the FIFA World Cup), and relatively new faces Carl Ikeme, Dele Alampasu, Leon Balogun, Abdullahi Shehu, Kingsley Madu, Wilfred Ndidi, William Troost Ekong, Obiora Nwankwo, Rabiu Ibrahim, Sylvester Igbonu, Moses Simon, Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi.

Also read: NFF backs Enyeama against Oliseh

Oliseh called up former junior international goalkeeper Dele Alampasu from Portugal, as well as defenders Kingsley Madu and Wilfred Ndidi, and on Wednesday directed the six players and backroom staff yet to be issued visas by the Embassy of Belgium in Abuja to report to Port Harcourt.

Thursday’s clash of the Eagles and Leopards will start at 7pm at the VISE Stadium, and will be the first between both countries’ senior teams in five-and-half-years.

A largely home –based Nigeria squad walloped the Leopards 5-2 in a friendly in Abuja in March 2010. Two goals by Rashidi Yekini (of blessed memory) accounted for the Leopards in a quarter -final match of the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, just as Yekini had scored the only goal of another quarter -final tie between the two teams in Senegal two years earlier.

Yet, the most memorable clash between both nations was far back in March 1976, when a young Green Eagles’ squad stunned the reigning African champions 4-2 in a Cup of Nations group phase match in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.

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- News24


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