Nigeria will on Thursday face Senegal in the first of two international friendlies lined up for the team in the latest FIFA international window.
The game will be played in London at Barnet FC’s ground aptly named ‘The Hive’ in what should be an entertaining clash of teams who have similar styles.
The Super Eagles and the Teranga Lions will use the game to test their readiness for the start of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as well as the resumption of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Senegal is looking to get back into gears after a disappointing campaign at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
The Lions were tipped by many to lift the title, but after a blistering start to the tournament, the were edged out by eventual champions Cameroon on penalties at the quarter-final stage.
Coach Aliou Cisse knows he has to get the Lions back on winning ways for another shot at the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup.
The game against a resurgent Nigerian side will be the proper test for the Teranga Lions who are four places above their Nigerian counterparts on the Fifa rankings.
Cisse has assembled a crack squad that includes Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Kara Mbodji of Anderlecht and Cheikou Kouyate while handing maiden call-ups to Moussa Wagué (Eupen), Adama Mbengue (Orlando City) and ex-France U-20 international Opa Nguette (Metz).
Senegal is third in Group D of the 2018 Africa zone of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with 3 points from two matches. Cisse will look to change all using the Nigerian game a cue to get his wards ready.
Gernot Rohr has rejuvenated the Nigerian squad since taking over late last year. He has won all his games in charge and seems to have instilled a sense of belief and confidence in the Super Eagles again.
The Super Eagles [below] failed to qualify for Gabon 2017 after missing the 2015 edition in Equatorial Guinea but look well on course for a place at Russia 2018.
Nigeria is top of Group B of the Africa zone of the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers with maximum points from two games, a testament to Rohr’s work with the squad.
With South Africa, Libya and Seychelles as hurdles for a place at Cameroon 2019, the Eagles will definitely fancy their chances of a first Afcon appearance in six years.
Rohr has named a 25 man squad for the two games but will have to do without Chelsea wing back Victor Moses who has withdrawn from the squad.
The trio of Mikel Obi, Brown Ideye and Odion Ighalo who all moved to China in the winter transfer window have been excused from the team but Ahmed Musa, Ogenyi Onazi, Carl Ikeme, Moses Simon and Kenneth Omerou are all included.
There is a first ever call up for Hannover ‘96 man Noah Joel Sanrenren Bazee and Olanrewaju Kayode while Watford’s Isaac Success and Tyrone Ebuehi are finally with the squad after missing out previously due to injury and documentation issues respectively.
The last time the two teams met, Nigerian defeated Senegal [below] 1-0 in a third place game at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia. Garba Lawal’s goal separated the two sides as Nigeria went on to pick the bronze.
In total, there have been sixteen matches between the two sides. Nigeria has a slight edge over the Senegal's head to head.
The Super Eagles have won seven of the games, lost four and there have been five draws between the two sides.
Head to Head
1963.Senegal 5 Nigeria 1
1975.Senegal 1 Nigeria 0
1977.Senegal 3 Nigeria 1
1977.Nigeria 3 Senegal 0
1980.Nigeria 0 Senegal 0
1983.Nigeria 1 Senegal 0
1983.Senegal 0 Nigeria 1
1990.Nigeria 1 Senegal 1
1992.Senegal 1 Nigeria 2
1999.Senegal 1 Nigeria 1
1999.Nigeria 0 Senegal 0
2000.Nigeria 2 Senegal 1
2002.Nigeria 2 Senegal 1
2002.Nigeria 2 Senegal 2
2006.Nigeria 2 Senegal 1
2006. Senegal 0 Nigeria 1
Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC Ifeanyiubah)
Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); William Troost Ekong (KAA Gent, Belgium); Kenneth Omeruo (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Uche Henry Agbo (Granada FC, Spain); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Musa Muhammed (FC Zeljeznicar, Bosnia-Herzegovina); Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag, The Netherlands); Elderson Echiejile (Sporting Gijon, Spain); Kingsley Madu (Zulte Waregem, Belgium); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal)
Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense, Portugal); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium);Olanrewaju Kayode (Austria Wein) Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England); Noah Joel Bazee (Hannover 96, Germany)
Goalkeepers: Abdoulaye Diallo, Khadim Ndiaye, Pape Seydou Ndiaye
Defenders: Kara Mbodj, Saliou Ciss, Lamine Gassama, Kalidou Koulibaly, Moussa Wagué, Zargo Toure, Adama Mbengue, Cheikh Mbengue
Midfielders: Henry Saivet, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Cheikhou Kouyate, Pape Alioune Ndiaye, Salif Sané, Alfred Ndiaye, Cheikh Ndoye
Forwards: Sadio Mané, Moussa Sow, Diao Baldé Keïta, Mame Biram Diouf, Ismaîla Sarr, Opa Nguette, Famara Diediou, Babacar Khouma Gueye.
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