AMAZING FACTS – TAKE AWAYS IN THE NIGERIA-DR CONGO FAREWELL MATCH

AMAZING FACTS – TAKE AWAYS IN THE NIGERIA-DR CONGO FAREWELL MATCH

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Both Nigeria and DR Congo meet in Port Harcourt on Monday for the second time in farewell and fans’ appreciation match as the Super Eagles depart for the World Cup. Both met eight years ago for the same reason as the Super Eagles were departing to the UK for final preparations for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The Super Eagles, composed largely of the home-based players won 5-2, the March 3, 2010 match played at the Abuja National Stadium.

As usual, www.sportsvillagesquare.com takes an insightful look at the match and comes out with the following points of interest.

  • Nigeria’s opponents, the Simba of Congo have played under different names. At first, the country was called Former Belgian  Congo, then East Congo,  Congo Kinshasa, The Congo, Zaire (1971 to 1997) and for 21 years now, DR Congo.
  • The Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt opened its bowel for international matches on July 19, 2015 with a Nigeria vs. Congo encounter in a qualifying duel for Rio Olympics. Nigeria won 2-1. Apart from the matches involving the Nigeria U-23 side, Monday’s match with DR Congo will be the fourth full international match at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt.

The previous ones are:

  • 5, Sept. 2015: Sierra Leone 0-0 Cote d’Ivoire (Afcon qualifiers – owing to Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone).
  • 8 Sept. 2015 (F- Port Harcourt) Nigeria 2-0 Niger Republic.
  • 17 Nov. 2015 (WCq- Port Harcourt) Nigeria 2-0 Swaziland

 

  • Monday’s match will be Nigeria’s fourth farewell match to the World Cup as none was organized when the team departed for the 1998 and 2014 World Cup finals.
  • Nigeria won convincingly, all the previous three of such matches: 5-0 against Georgia, 3-0 against Kenya and 5-2 against DR Congo. On June 11, 1994 when Nigeria first organized a farewell match, the Super Eagles beat Georgia 5-0 at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan. Rashidi Yekini and Samson Siasia each scored a brace while Mutiu Adepoju completed the rout.
  • The match with Georgia in 1994 was the only one to have involved a team outside Africa.

 

Port Harcourt’s arena of the living legend, the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium will be the fourth Stadium to host a farewell match for the Super Eagles after those of Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan in 1994, National Stadium, Lagos in 2002 and National Stadium, Abuja in 2010.

  • Nigeria’s Super Eagles’ flight to Russia 2018 began at home with a 2-0 defeat of Swaziland in November 2015 at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium. It was therefore logical that the team returned to that stadium for the ceremonial departure to the World Cup.

It was in Port Harcourt that Victor Agali scored Nigeria’s 100th goal in World Cup qualifying series when he netted in the second in a 3-0 defeat of Sudan on January 27, 2001.

Nwankwo Kanu joins Victor Agali to celebrate Nigeria’s 100th goal of the World Cup qualifying series in Port Harcourt.

  • Monday’s match with DR Congo will be the seventh Grade A match the Super Eagles will play in Port Harcourt. The previous ones were against Sudan, Liberia and Ghana in 2001; Gabon in 2005, Niger Republic and Swaziland in 2015.

 

  • The main stream Super Eagles have won all matches played in Port Harcourt and had never conceded any goal. Consider the following results:
  • 27 Jan. 2001 (WCq-Port Harcourt) Nigeria 3 – 0
  • 5 May 2001 (WCq-Port Harcourt) Nigeria 2 – 0
  • 29 July 2001 (WCq-Port Harcourt) Nigeria 3 – 0
  • 26 Mar. 2005 (WCq-Port Harcourt) Nigeria 2 – 0 Gabon
  • 8 Sept. 2015 (F- Port Harcourt) Nigeria 2-0 Niger Republic.
  • 17 Nov. 2015 (WCq- Port Harcourt) Nigeria 2-0 Swaziland

 

Nigeria’s most capped footballer of all time, Vincent Enyeama made his Nigeria debut in a ceremonial match of this nature when on May 4, 2002, he was in goal as Nigeria beat Kenya 3-0 in a World Cup farewell match in Lagos. He went on to play 100 more times to have 101 international appearances.

Vincent Enyeama had the first of his 101 international caps playing in a farewell match.

Osaze Odemwingie another celebrated Nigerian international was one of the debuting trio Nigeria fielded in the match with Kenya.

Osaze Odemwingie also had his first international cap in a World Cup farewell match.

Femi Opabunmi became Nigeria’s 48th scoring debutant when he scored the second goal of the 3-0 defeat of Kenya.

Femi Opabunmi was a scoring debutant in a World Cup farewell match in 2002.Will the Monday match also produce another scoring debutant?

  • Before both DR Congo and Nigeria met in Vise, Belgium in 2015, Nigeria had maintained an unbeaten run for 66 year for matches played on October 8. But the October 8 magic was shattered in 2015 when DR Congo beat Nigeria 2-0. For the records, Nigeria’s first international match was played on October 8, 1949. Also, Nigeria first qualified for the World Cup on October 8, 1993. sportsvillagesquare.com brings to you every match:

 

  • 8 Oct. 1949 (F- Freetown) Sierra Leone 0-2 Nigeria.
  • 8 Oct. 1963 (F-Monrovia) Liberia 2-2 Nigeria
  • 8 Oct. 1977 (WCq- Lagos) Nigeria 4-0 Egypt
  • 8 Oct. 1993 (WCq- Algiers) Algeria 1-1 Nigeria. 1st time Nigeria qualified for the World Cup.
  • 8 Oct. 2005 (WCq – Abuja) Nigeria 5-1 Zimbabwe
  • 8 Oct. 2010 – FIFA in apparent deferment to the 8 October magic provisionally lifted a ban imposed on Nigeria.
  • Oct. 2011 (AFCON q- Abuja) Nigeria 2-2 Guinea.

Nigeria upstaged DR Congo (then Zaire) 4-2 as the defending champions of the Africa Cup of Nations in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia in 1976.

One of the earliest clashes of Nigeria and DR Congo. Nigeria’s skipper, Aloysius Atuegbu and DR Congo’s skipper, Boba Lobilo just before the opening game of 1976 Africa Cup of Nations Group B match in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.

  • Nigeria rode on the back of DR Congo (Zaire) 1-0 in Super Eagles’ march to the semi-finals of the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal.

Nigeria repeated the performance, beating the team 2-0 in the march to the semi-finals in 1994 in Tunisia.

Rashidi Yekini gallops away in a 2-0 defeat of DR Congo in 1994.

All previous farewell matches have been goal-laden: 5-0 against Georgia in 1994, 3-0 against Kenya in 2002, 5-2 against DR Congo in 2010 making a total of 13 goals which incidentally represented the number of points Nigeria acquired to qualify for World Cup 2018. The figure 13 also represents the number of valid goals Nigeria scored in the flight to Russia 2013.

  • If Junior Lokosa, Simeon Nwachukwu and Uche Agbo are fielded, they will be making their international debut.
  • Alex Iwobi made his Nigeria debut in the friendly match Nigeria played with DR Congo on October 8, 2015 in Visé, Belgium. He came in in the 57th minute to replace skipper Ahmed Musa.

 

  • Super Eagles’ Wilfred Ndidi made his Nigeria debut in a match with DR Congo when he came in as an 82nd minute substitute for Ogenyi Onazi in an October 8, 2015 friendly match in Vise, Belgium.

 

Head-to-Head: NIGERIA vs. DR CONGO

                            P        W        D        L         F        A

Nigeria                 8           5        0         3         15      14

DR Congo            8           3        9         5         14      15

  • 5 Nov. 1966 (F- Lagos) Nigeria 3-2 DR Congo
  • 27 Nov. 1966 (F- Kinshasa) DR Congo 1-0 Nigeria
  • 13 Dec. 1969 (F- Kinshasa) DR Congo 5-0 Nigeria
  • 1 Mar. 1976 (Afcon- Dire Dawa) DR Congo 2-4 Nigeria
  • 19 1992 (Afcon – Ziguichor) DR Congo 0-1 Nigeria
  • 2 April 1994 (Afcon – Tunis) DR Congo 0-2 Nigeria
  • 3 Mar. 2010 (F- Abuja) DR Congo 2-5 Nigeria
  • 8 Oct. 2015 (F- Vise) DR Congo 2-0 Nigeria

 

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