BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles are scheduled to begin their quest for qualification for the 2022 World Cup in October. With Tuesday’s draw, the Nigerians are in Group C along with Liberia, Cape Verde and Central African Republic.
The Nigerian team is one of the 13 out of 56 African teams to have taken part in the previous editions of the World Cup. All the 13 are still in the race.
As usual, www.sportsvillagesquare.com takes an insightful look at the fixtures and comes out with the following points of interest.
- Thirteen African teams have already taken part in the World Cup, and they are all still in the running to grace the 2022 edition: Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Congo DR, Senegal, Tunisia and Togo.
- Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa with four goals, ranks among Africa’s top scorers at the World Cup. The leading African scorers are Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan (six), Cameroon’s Roger Milla (five) and Ahmed Musa (four).
- Nigeria with six victories in 21 matches, leads among African teams in the number of games won at the World Cup. Cameroon and Ghana with four wins each in 23 and 12 matches respectively, jointly follow the Nigerians.
- When the Super Eagles take on Liberia in the week of October 5 to 13, the encounter will mark Super Eagles’ 105th World Cup qualifying match, the second highest in Africa after Morocco’s 112.
- The encounter with Liberia will be the fifth time both teams will meet in a World Cup qualifier having met four times in the 1986 and 2002 qualification series.
- Overall, Nigeria and Liberia have met 18 times in the past across all competitions. What could have been the 19th clash was reduced to an exhibition match owing to the inclusion of President George Weah who featured for 75 minutes for his country in a match that was to mark the ten 51 year old president formal hanging of boots.
- P W D L F A
Nigeria 18 10 4 4 28 15
Liberia 18 4 4 10 15 28
- 8 Oct. 1963 (F) Liberia 2 -2 Nigeria
- 26 Oct. 1963 (F) Nigeria 3-0 Liberia
- 24 Nov. 1972 (F) Liberia 1-2 Nigeria
- 9 Feb. 1975 (F) Liberia 0-0 Nigeria
- 25 Oct. 1979(F) Liberia 1-1 Nigeria
- 26 Jan. 1980 (F) Nigeria 1-0 Liberia
- 3 Oct. 1981 (F) Nigeria 3-0 Liberia
- 20 Oct.1984 (WCq) Nigeria 3-0 Liberia
- 4 Nov. 1984 (WCq) Liberia 0-1 Nigeria
- 18 Jan. 1987 (SCSA) Liberia 2-0 Nigeria
- 30.Jan. 1987 (SCSA) Liberia 2-0 Nigeria
- 28 June. 1987 (OQ.) Liberia 2 -1Nigeria
- 11 Jul. 1987 (OQ.) Nigeria 4-1 Liberia
- 9 Jul. 2000 (WCq) Liberia 2 -1 Nigeria
- 5 May 2001 (WCq) Nigeria 2-0 Liberia
- 28 Jan. 2002 (CAN) Liberia 0-1 Nigeria
- 8 Sept. 2012 (CANq) Liberia 2-2 Nigeria
- 13Oct. 2012 (CANq) Nigeria 6-1 Liberia
- Super Eagles’ other World Cup qualifying opponent is Cape Verde. Nigeria and Cape Verde have met only once. That was a friendly match of both teams on January 9, 2013 in Faro, Portugal. It ended 0-0.
- When Nigeria and Central African Republic meet Central African Republic (CAR), it would be their first ever confrontation. Both were initially in the same qualifying frame for the Argentina ’78 World Cup, but CAR withdrew in the opening round against the then Zaire (now DR Congo) which also withdrew in the second round schedule with Nigeria.
- If on-field results are put into consideration, Nigeria’s Super Eagles’ have an unbeaten run of 35 matches in the World Cup qualifying series. But that was technically broken by Algeria in November 2017 when FIFA reversed the on-field result of 1-1 to a 0-3 loss 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 35 unbeaten run is even four ahead that of 2014 World Cup winners, Germany.