Nigeria will set up residential camping in France as preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations gets into gear.
The Super Eagles have missed the last two editions of the biennial tournament and are hard pressed to make it to Cameroon 2019.
Nothing short of qualification will do for Nigerians and the Amaju Pinnick led Nigeria Football Federation know that the stakes are high.
They (NFF) have reiterated the Federation’s desire to make sure Nigeria qualify for both the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Eagles' [ABOVE]fortunes are looking bright as Gernot Rohr, in charge since August 2016 has not lost any match since he took over.
He has oiled up a flapping Eagle who now seems to be ready to soar to great heights. Nigeria is top of a World Cup qualifying group that includes African champions Cameroon, Algeria and AFCON 2012 winners Zambia.
South Africa will be Nigeria’s first test for a spot at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on June 10 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo. Rohr is not leaving anything to chance as he has decided to set up camp in France to see first hand his players after a tedious European season.
The team will take on Corsica in a warm-up game with another planned for the team in Paris before the camp rounds off.
Not exactly a name that rings a bell, Corsica are not recognised as a Federation by FIFA nor are they a member of the United Nations.
Corsica is a French Island, 250 miles off the Mediterranean coast of Marseille. It has been a part of France since 1768 but still, has a lot of Italian influence as can be seen in the architecture of the castles and other houses on the Island.
Designated as under the Ajaccio prefecture, Corsica is a regional area that is likened to the principality of Monaco or Catalonia in Spain.
The French colony has about 350,000 inhabitants and is a tourist destination for a lot of Europeans because of its stretch of beaches and ambience.
Corsican National Team.
The National side of Corsica, Squadra Corsa di Balòis not affiliated to UEFA or FIFA just like Catalonia or the Basque County-both in Spain but have played friendly games against the National sides of Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Bulgaria Congo and the Basque County of recent.
The was also a friendly against the Basque County last year as the team continues to build a profile for herself despite their friendlies not being graded by FIFA. The team usually hosts games at Bastia’s Stade Armand Cesari and the Stade François Coty in Ajaccio.
French football sides Ajaccio and Bastia are the two famous clubs in the Corsica region and have contributed a majority of the players to the Corsican national selection. For a player to be part of the regional team, he has to have a parent or grandparent who is from Corsica and is a professional or part of a professional team.
Famous players who have suited up for Corsica in the past include former Monaco and Barcelona star Ludovic Guily, Sebastian Schillachi, formerly of Arsenal but now back home with SC Bastia, Johan Cavalli and Remy Cabella of Olympique Marseille.
Coached by Jean Michel-Cavalli, the team is set up as the French national side ‘Les Blues’. He is an advocate of attacking football. Cavalli, who is the current coach of Mouloudia Oran in Algeria, has also coached clubs in Saudi Arabia, France and Morocco.
The team is usually set up in a 4-4-2 formation that usually morphs to a 3-5-2 in instances as shown in the friendlies against the Basque County and Burkina Faso.
Nicolas Penneteau: [ABOVE]First choice goalkeeper who plays for Belgian side is an excellent goalkeeper and comes with bags of experience and at 36 is still doing the business for the Corsican side.
Francois Modeste: Defender with SC Bastia who is one of the most influential defenders in the team but at 37, he doesn’t have the pace that he use to have.
Jean Francois-Grimaldi, a midfielder from Ligue 1 side SC Bastia is the main man in the Corsican midfield who will try to stifle the Super Eagles in that department.
Remy Cabella: The Marseille striker is the main man in attack for the Corsican side. He’s scored six times this season for the Ligue 1 side and will be a handful for the Super Eagles defence.
Corsica might not be a major team in world football but their team, an amalgamation of players with Corsican roots brims with talent that can give the Super Eagles a proper test as they prepare for the crunch tie against South Africa next month.