CAUTION TO SUPER EAGLES: SQUIRRELS COULD BE BANANA PEELS

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Some years back, a clash of Nigeria, especially at home, with Benin Republic is as good a walkover. Three of such clashes produced a whooping 24 goals for Nigeria and just one against.

In fact Nigeria’s biggest victories in history have been against the western neighbours. In one of such encounters in 1959, Nigeria won 10-1. It remained Nigeria’s biggest win ever. 

On two other instances, Nigeria won 7-0 in successive years in 1977 and 1978.  Those results belong to the ancient past. There is a new football world order in which no team is regarded as absolute minnows.

Recent records have shown the charred bodies of hitherto big teams consumed by lesser powers. On account of pedigree, the Super Eagles’ encounter with the Squirrels should lend itself to predictable outcome.

Adios predictability; bye to form books. Who could have predicted that Benin would eliminate Morocco from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations? Did anyone foresaw that Ghana’s Black Stars would have difficulties with Benin Republic at the last Africa Cup of Nations’ tournament in Egypt?

Those instances are instructive enough for the Super Eagles to put every foot right as they engage Benin Republic in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying opening duel in Uyo. It was on the same ground that the Nigerian side was shocked with a 2-0 defeat at home in the opening glee of the qualifiers of the last edition.

Affliction shall not strike a second time.  

Nigeria Previous 22 Encounters with Benin Republic

P         W        D         L          F          A

Nigeria            22       16       5          1          63       9
Benin Rep.      20       1          5          16       9        63

• 8 Nov.1959 (Nkrumah Cup) Benin 0-1 Nigeria
• 29Nov.1959(Nkrumah Cup)Nigeria 10-1 Benin
• 25Jan.1963 (Nkrumah Cup) Benin1-1 Nigeria
• 2 Feb.1963 (Nkrumah Cup) Nigeria 4-1 Benin
• 2 Jan.1965 (AAGq) Nigeria 1-1 Benin *Abandoned
• 11 December. 1965 (F) Nigeria 1-0 Benin
• 27 Feb. 1966 (F) Benin) 1 -2 Nigeria
• 20 Dec. 1972 (F) Nigeria 3- 0 Benin
• 14 Feb. 1977 (F) Nigeria 7- 0 Benin
• 14 Jan.1978 (3 AAGq) Nigeria 7-0 Benin
• 17 Jan.1978 (3AAGq) Nigeria 2-0 Benin
• 14 Oct. 1979 (F) Benin 1-1 Nigeria
• 4 Nov. 1979 (F) Nigeria 5-0 Benin
• 1 Feb. 1987 (SCSA) Benin 1-1 Nigeria
• 30 Sept. 1990 (ACNq) Benin 0-1 Nigeria
• 27 April 1991 (ACNq) Nigeria 3-0 Benin
• 2 Feb 2004 (ACN) Benin 1-2 Nigeria
• 10 Aug, 2005 (F) Nigeria 6-0 Benin
• 28 Jan.2008 (ACN) Benin 0-2 Nigeria
• 16 Jan. 2010 (ACN) Benin 0-1 Nigeria

•19 Aug. 2017 (CHANq) Nigeria 2-0 Benin