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
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,
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