Victory over another South American side, Venezuela in a friendly in Miami, USA in November will ginger African champions Nigeria as they take on Uruguay in their second match of the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament on Thursday.
Nigeria and Uruguay have never met at full international level. Both countries realize they have to take something out of their clash at the Arena Fonte Nova, making Thursday’s game something to anticipate for football followers around the universe.
Venezuela is the only South American country that Nigeria had beaten previously, but Coach Stephen Keshi says his players are history-makers and have the confidence to pick maximum points in Salvador.
The Eagles have lost a brace of friendly matches 0-1 to Colombia (1994 and 2008), lost by the same scoreline to the Colombians at the US Gold Cup in June 1995 and fell 1-3 to Paraguay at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, before drawing 1-1 with the Paraguayans in a friendly in London four years later.
Brazil, five-time world champions, hit the Eagles 3-0 in a friendly in Abuja in June 2003, and two-time world champions Argentina narrowly edged three previous clashes at the FIFA World Cup, in 1994, 2002 and 2010.
Nigeria also lost 0-1 to Peru in a friendly in Lima last year, but secured a 2-2 draw with Ecuador at the LG Cup tournament in Libya in October 2004.
However, the Eagles are two-wins-out-of-two against Venezuela, following a 1-0 defeat in a friendly in London in July 2003 and the sweet 3-1 thumping in America seven months ago.
The La Celeste are up against a mountain though, with confidence sky-high in the camp of the African champions.
Nigeria is one of only two countries never to have lost a FIFA Confederations Cup match in normal time.
Additionally, the Super Eagles have never lost a competitive match since Stephen Keshi stepped into the saddle 19 months ago.
And the swung onto a fine start with a 6-1 win over Tahiti has lifted them above every other team at the tournament.
“We’re on a good swing and the mood is great,” Keshi said in Salvador on Wednesday. “There’s nothing to be apprehensive about. We have no injury worries and the boys will simply go in there and give their best for country and continent.”
Victory over Uruguay will lift Nigeria to six points and all but assure a place in the tournament semi finals, ahead of the crunchy tie with Spain in Fortaleza on Sunday.
– Sola Rogers (Twitter – @solarogers), News Bytes Sports Desk
Leave your comment here
You are ahead…@newsbytesnow