AMAZING FACTS: 24 take-aways ahead of Nigeria-Tunisia AFCON Round 16 match

AMAZING FACTS: 24 take-aways ahead of Nigeria-Tunisia AFCON Round 16 match
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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Nigeria and Tunisia meet in the second match of the Africa Cup of Nations’ Round of 16 this Sunday night in Garoua.

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

  • Both teams are among the seeded five teams among the 10 jostling for World Cup 2022 qualification.
  • Both teams have staged walkout in previous encounters. Nigerian players walked out in their Africa Cup qualifiers against Tunisia on 10 December 1961 in Tunis, CAF awarded the match to Tunisia.  Tunisia staged a walkout in the third place match of Afcon 1978 when Baba Otu Mohammed scored a goal that leveled scores at 1-1. CAF Awarded the match to Nigeria.
  • Apart from the 7-0 defeat of Nigeria by Ghana (then Gold Coast) in 1955, the biggest defeat suffered by Nigeria was inflicted by Tunisia – 5-0 in a 29 September friendly match in Tunis.
  • This match is Nigeria’s 97th in Africa Cup of Nations’ history.
  • This match is Tunisia’s 79th  in Africa Cup history.
  • The two teams are meeting in the Africa Cup of Nations’ tournament for the sixth time having met in 1978 in Kumasi, 2000 in Lagos, 2004 in Rades, 2006 in Port Said, and 2019 in Cairo.
  • In their previous five confrontations in the Africa Cup of Nations, all results have been in Nigeria’s favour except the penalty shoot-out loss in the semi final of the 2004 edition held in Tunisia.
  • Tunisia denied Nigeria qualification in Nigeria’s maiden entry for the Africa Cup of Nations in 1962.
  • Tunisia is the first country Nigeria had altercation with in competitive match as the team foolishly walked out of the return leg of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Tunis on 10 December 1961 after Tunisia drew level at 2-2 with 25 minutes to go. Nigeria had won 2-1 in the first leg match in Lagos and were thus leading 4-3 on aggregate before the walk-out. Nigeria were protesting bias officiating by Egyptian referee Mohammed Hassan Helim.
Tunisian team that eliminated Nigeria from 1962 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers
  • It was in an Africa Cup of Nations duel with Tunisia that Nigeria recorded their milestone goal of 100 in the competition in 2006, courtesy of the sixth minute goal by Obinna Nsorfor.
Super Eagles celebrate Nigeria’s sixth minute goal against Tunisia in 2006. It turns to be Nigeria’s 100th goal in AFCON
  • Nwankwo Kanu is a legend in African football and played in 27 matches in six editions without putting the ball in the net. The only goal that could be attributed to him was from the penalty shoot-out with Tunisia in 2006 when he was Nigeria’s  reluctant eighth and final penalty taker.
  • It was in Tunisia that Nigeria’s Jay Jay Okocha scored the 1,000th goal of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Jay Jay Okocha scores the AFCON’s 1000th goal in Tunisia
  • The infamous own-goal scored by Godwin Odiye was in a World Cup qualifying match which Tunisia won in Lagos on 12 November 1977.
Godwin Odiye scoring the infamous own goal for Tunisia in 1977
  • Nigeria’ s national team’s first penalty shoot-out incident was in a World Cup qualification encounter with Tunisia. That was on 26 June 1980 after an aggregate score line of 2-2. Nigeria won the tie-breaker 4-3.
Nigeria’s first penalty kick shoot-out was in the match with Tunisia in 1980
  • The referee who officiated Nigeria’s loss to Cameroon in ensuing penalty shoot-out with Cameroon is a Tunisian, Mourad Daami
  • Nigeria have been involved in penalty shoot-out in the Africa Cup of Nations on seven occasions. Two of the instances were in games with Tunisia. The honours were even shared as Tunisia had the edge in the semi-finals of 2004 edition on home soil, Nigeria won in the penalty shoot-out at the 2006 quarter-finals.
  • Tunisia on the other hand had been involved in AFCON penalty shoot-out on six occasions and won on four instances against Gabon in 1996, Burkina Faso in 1998, Nigeria in 2004 and Ghana in 2019. They lost twice in 2000 to South Africa in losers’ final and to Nigeria in the quarter-finals of 2006.
  • When Kadiri Ikhana missed his kick in Nigeria’s penalty shootout with Tunisia on 12 July 1980, he became the first national team players to do so.
  • Of the eleven penalty shootout situations involving the Super Eagles of Nigeria, three of them had been in duels with Tunisia in 1980, 2004 and 2006. It was only in the11 February  2004 situation in Rades, Tunisia that won 6-3 after 1-1 scoreline.
  • Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying match against Tunisia on 12 November 1977 was the last international engagements for the duo of Nigeria rear guards, Patrick Ekeji and Samuel Ojebode.
  • Until the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Nigeria missed all editions of World Cup in which Tunisia fell in the country’s fixtures. First Tunisia eliminated Nigeria from Argentina’ 78 qualifiers. Even after eliminating Tunisia, Nigeria still missed qualifying for Spain ’82. Tunisia eliminated Nigeria from Mexico ’86 qualifiers.
  • Apart from the 7-0 defeat on Nigeria by Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1955, the next heaviest defeat on Nigeria was by Tunisia; a 5-0 defeat in a 29 September 1984 friendly match.
  • Former Nigeria coach, Chris Udemezue had his baptism of fire as Nigeria’s coach when his team was walloped 5-0 by Tunisia in a friendly match in 1984. At the time, Adegboye Onigbinde who led Nigeria to the final of 1984 Africa Cup of Nations had been cleverly eased out to assist Shooting Stars in prosecuting club continental assignment.
  • Figure six is prominent in Nigeria’s upstaging of Tunisia to grab the 2010 FIFA World Cup ticket. First to be noted is the fact that the Nigerian player that scored an own goal that put an end to Nigeria’s Argentina 1978 World Cup qualification was Godwin Odiye, who wore shirt number six. Sports Village Square notes that six was the number of African teams at South Africa 2010. Six was the number of teams that Nigeria played to qualify. Six was number of matches Nigeria played in the final lap. Six was the number of matches Nigeria had had with Tunisia before the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Six was the minute that Tunisia scored against Kenya in Nairobi to take the lead in Group B ahead of Nigeria, Mozambique and Kenya. Sixth was the last game Tunisia played to relinquish the group leadership to Nigeria. Six was the number of minutes remaining in Tunisia’s ill-fated match with Mozambique in Maputo before the North Africans conceded the goal that earned Nigeria the World Cup ticket.

NIGERIA vs. TUNISIA: HEAD-TO-HEAD

                         P        W        D        L        F        A

Tunisia            18       5         7          6        23      18

Nigeria            18       4         7         5         18       23

  • 25 Nov.1961 (Afconq) Nigeria 2-1 Tunisia
  • 10 Dec. 1961 (Afconq) Tunisia 2-2 Nigeria  *inconclusive (Nigeria walked out).
  • 25 Sept. 1977 (WCq) Tunisia 0-0 Nigeria
  • 12 Nov. 1977 (WCq) Nigeria 0-1 Tunisia
  • 16 Mar. 1978 (Afcon) Tunisia 0-2 Nigeria (w/o) (actual scores 1-1 before Tunisians walked out)*.
  • 26 June. 1980 (WCq) Tunisia 2-0 Nigeria
  • 12 Jul. 1980 (WCq) Nigeria 2-0 Tunisia * (2-2 on aggregate: Nigeria won penalty shoot-out 4-3).
  • 29 Sept. 1984 (F) Tunisia 5-0 Nigeria
  • 6 Jul. 1985 (WCq) Nigeria 1-0 Tunisia
  • 20 Jul. 1985 (WCq) Tunisia 2-0 Nigeria
  • 22 Feb. 1992 (SCSA) Tunisia 1-1 Nigeria
  • 9 Aug.1997 (LG Cup) Tunisia 2-0 Nigeria
  • 23. Jan.2000 (Afcon) Nigeria 4-2 Tunisia
  • 11. Feb.2004 (Afcon) Nigeria 1 -1Tunisia   *Tunisia won 6-3 in penalty shoot out
  • 4. Feb 2006 Tunisia 1-1 Nigeria (6-5pen)
  • 20 June 2009 (WCq) Tunisia 0-0 Nigeria
  • 6 Sept. 2009 (WCq) Nigeria 2-2 Tunisia
  • 17 July 2019 (Afcon) Nigeria 1-0 Tunisia
  • 13 Oct. 2020 (F) Tunisia 1-1 Nigeria

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