BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
When Nigeria faces Algeria at the massive Cairo International Stadium on Sunday, it will be a reenactment of seven previous Africa Cup of Nations fixtures, one of which happened to also be a semi-final duel
In continuation of tradition, www.sportsvillagesquare.com presents analysis, which reveal that the Algeria-Nigeria encounter has great significance for eternal storage. Here are some of the insightful points of the encounter.
- Algeria has never beaten Nigeria outside Algerian soil in any Africa Cup of Nations’ duel.
- The match will be Nigeria’s 92nd match in Africa Cup of Nations’ history and the seventh semifinal match the Super Eagles will be playing in the 62-year old competition.
- Algeria are playing their 73rd Africa Cup of Nations’ match and go into the match with 26 won games, 21 drawn and 25 lost.
- Nigeria’s national team won its first Africa Cup of Nations’ title by beating Algeria 3-0 in 1980.
- Algeria won their only African title by beating Nigeria 1-0 in Algiers.
- Nigeria was the last team Algeria faced to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 1981. Algeria beat Nigeria 0-2 in Lagos on October 10, 1981 and 2-1 in Constantine on October 30, 1981 to qualify for 1982 World Cup.
- Algeria was the last team Nigeria faced to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 1993. Needing just a draw, the Super Eagles played 1-1 draw with Algeria on October 8, 1993 to become the first Anglophone country in Africa to qualify for the World Cup.
- Nigeria’s Super Eagles’ unbeaten run of 34 matches in the World Cup qualifying series was technically broken by Algeria in November 2017 when FIFA reversed the on-field result of 1-1 to a 0-3 draw by Nigeria following Super Eagles’ fielding of Shehu Abdullahi who on account of yellow cards in preceding matches was ineligible. Otherwise, Nigeria’s unbeaten run could have been 35. The figure 34 however still remains the longest in Africa. Nigeria last lost a World Cup qualifying match in Luanda on June 20, 2004 when Angola had a 1-0 win in the race to Germany 2006. Nigeria’s record is the second longest unbeaten run globally after that of Spain’s 59. Nigeria’s 34 unbeaten run is even four ahead that of 2014 World Cup winners, Germany.
- Both Algeria and Nigeria were the last two African teams standing at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
- Both teams lost to European sides on the same day at the Brazil 2014 Round of 16 encounters. Nigeria lost 0-2 to France; Algeria lost 1-2 to Germany. If the two African teams had won their respective Round of 16 matches, they would have clashed in the quarterfinals, thus an African team could had gotten to the semi finals. It would have also been the first time two African teams clashed at the World Cup.
- When both met in Uyo on November 12, 2016, it was a milestone – Nigeria’s 100th World Cup qualifying match.
- Former Nigeria’s strongman of defence, Bright Omokaro, got his nickname of “Ten-Ten” when he hacked down an Algerian player who could neither return to the field nor be substituted and that evened the line-up after Nigeria’s Ademola Adeshina had been red-carded during a semi final clash of the two teams at Maroc ‘88. Maverick Nigerian radio commentator, the late Ernest Okonkwo screamed: “Omokaro has made it ten-ten.” From then, ‘Ten-Ten’ became the nickname of the hard tackling defender.
- Both Algeria and Nigeria have green as their dominant national colours.
- Their names have almost the same alphabets, and sounding almost the same. The differences in the names of Algeria and Nigeria are just the first two alphabets of their respective names.
- When both teams met in Uyo last year’s November, it was Nigeria’s milestone of 100th World Cup qualifying match and 50th home game.
- Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha scored the first of his 16 international goals for Nigeria when he converted free kick against Algeria in a July 13, 1993 World Cup qualifying match in Lagos which Nigeria won 4-1.
- Austin Jay Jay Okocha’s brother, Emma Okocha made his international debut in a match with Algeria on March 2, 1990.
- Emma Okocha’s only goal for Nigeria was scored against Algeria in the opening match of the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algiers. Nigeria lost 5-1.
- Algeria was the team Nigeria beat to win its first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980. The then Green Eagles won 3-0 on March 22, 1980.
- Nigeria was the country Algeria beat in 1990 to win its only Africa Cup of Nations title till date. Algeria beat Nigeria 1-0 in the final match played in Algiers on Match 16, 1990.
- Nigerian football legend, Segun Odegbami played his last international match when Nigeria faced Algeria in Constantine on October 30, 1981. Nigeria lost the match 2-1.
- Rabah Madjer, Algeria greatest football icon had his baptism of fire as Algeria’s coach when the team faced Nigeria in a World Cup qualifying match in 2017.
- Former Nigeria’s captain, Christian Chukwu’s last match for Nigeria was against Algeria on October 10, 1981 in a World Cup qualifying duel which Nigeria shockingly lost 0-2 at home. It was also the case for Thompson Usiyen, one of Nigeria’s potent strikers in the 1970s.
- Algeria was a victim of an alleged World Cup match-fixing episode in Gijon Spain in a West Germany versus Austria match. Two years later, Algeria and Nigeria were alleged to have played an “accord match” in a Group B Africa Cup of Nations match in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire. The referee of the match, Karim Camara of Guinea, had to issue a yellow card to the captains of both sides, Stephen Keshi for Nigeria and Ali Feghani for Algeria.
- Algeria once beat Nigeria silly, 5-1 in Algiers, Algeria. Nigeria also once beat Algeria silly 5-2 in Oran, Algeria.
- If fielded, Ahmed Musa, will be having his 84th cap for Nigeria.
- The Cairo International Stadium encounter on Sunday will be the 21th of both countries overall, but the eighth in Africa Cup of Nations’ history.
Head-to-Head: ALGERIA vs. NIGERIA
P W D L F A
Nigeria 20 8 4 8 27 25
Algeria 20 8 4 8 25 27
- 10 January 1973 (2AAG) Nigeria 2-2 Algeria
- 28 March 1978 (3AAG) Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
- 22 March 1980 (Afcon) Nigeria 3-0 Algeria
- 10 October 1981 (WCq) Nigeria 0-2 Algeria
- 30 October 1981 (WCq) Algeria 2-1 Nigeria
- 10 March 1982 (Afcon) Algeria 2-1 Nigeria
- 11 March 1984 (Afcon) Algeria 0-0 Nigeria
- 15 January 1988 (Oq) Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
- 30 January 1988 (Oq) Nigeria 2-0 Algeria
- 23 March 1988 (Afcon) Algeria 1-1 Nigeria *(8 -9 penalty shoot-out)
- 2 March 1990 (Afcon) Algeria 5-1 Nigeria
- 16 March 1990 (Afcon) Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
- 13 July 1993 (WCq) Nigeria 4-1 Algeria
- 8 October 1993 (WCq) Algeria 1-1 Nigeria
- 21 January 2002 (Afcon) Algeria 0-1 Nigeria
- 3 July 2004 (WCq) Nigeria 1-0 Algeria
- 8 September 2005 (WCq) Algeria 2-5 Nigeria
- 30 January 2010 (Afcon) Algeria 0-1 Nigeria
- 12 November 2016 (WCq) Nigeria 3-1 Algeria
- 10 November 2017 (WCq) Algeria 3-0 Nigeria* actual result 1-1 was annulled