BY BOLAJI OKUNOLA.
The Super Eagles will play a pre-World Cup friendly match with England, the UK-based Skysport has reported, quoting the general secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mohammed Sanusi. Skysports however pointed out that it was yet to get a confirmation from The FA, the football governing body of England on the proposed match.
“We plan to play a friendly against England in June, before the World Cup,” Sanusi was quoted by Skysports as saying, adding that the venue and other details of the match were still to be worked out.
Both nations will feature at next year’s World Cup in Russia, with Nigeria drawn in Group D along with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland, while Gareth Southgate’s England will play Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G.
While England might be using Nigeria to gauge what to expect from Tunisia, the Super Eagles would use England as a test case for the duo of European sides, Croatia and Iceland. The latter eliminated England from Euro 2016.
According to Skysport, England are scheduled to play the Netherlands in a friendly on March 23 before hosting Italy four days later. They will meet Tunisia in their World Cup opener at the Volgograd Arena on June 18, the same venue where Nigeria will face Iceland on June 22.
England and Nigeria last played at the 2002 World Cup in Osaka, Japan on June 12, 2002 in a match Coach Adegboye Onigbinde had to ring changes from the earlier line-up of Nigeria in the preceding matches with Argentina and Sweden.
Vincent Enyeama was handed his first World Cup cap. So also was Femi Opabunmi. Before then, the Super Eagles had played a friendly match with England on June 16, 1995 when Amodu Shaibu made his managerial debut with Nigeria.
The encounter, in which the Super Eagles first put on Nike kits, ended 1-0 in favour of England at the old Wembley Stadium.
16 NOV 1994: Finidi George OF Nigeria challenges Dennis Wise of England in the very first encounter of both countries. Nigeria debuted with a new Nike kits and coach- Amodu Shuaibu.