By Samuel Ifetoye
• Scouts for African opposition for Nigeria
As part of their preparation for the forthcoming Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers and the African Nations Cup games, the Super Eagles will play a series of friendly matches, beginning with a game against Brazil in Singapore, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed.
The Super Eagles played a thrilling 2-2 draw with Ukraine in Dnipro earlier this month and now Gernot Rohr’s men will engage Brazil, which on paper looks like a tougher opposition than the Eastern Europeans, on October 13.
In an statement yesterday, the NFF said it was working hard to secure a match for the Super Eagles against an African team as Nigeria prepares for the qualifiers.
Nigeria’s match against Brazil at the Singapore National Stadium, Kallang, Singapore comes 23 years after the Eagles, on their way to winning Africa’s first Olympic football gold, spanked the Selecao in the semi finals at the Athens Stadium in the State of Georgia, U.S.
Efforts to match the two teams in a friendly match after that spectacular game came to naught for several years, until the organizers of the Eighth All Africa Games that Nigeria hosted in 2003 flew the Brazilians to Abuja in June of that year. Brazil won 3-0.
There has been no competitive tie between both countries’ senior teams since that memorable U-23 match in Georgia, and next month’s session will test the character of the African champions who are somewhat building a new team after a rash of retirements and injuries to key players.
That newbreed came close to shocking Ukraine in a friendly match in Dnipro a week ago, before bungling a two-goal lead to stalemate at 2-2.
“We are happy to have sealed this encounter with Brazil, the five-time champions of the world. It is not everyday that you get to Brazil, and I think it is very good for our young team.
“The Nigeria Football Federation must also commend Eurodata Sport, our FIFA–licensed Match Agent, for pulling this off. Having said that, the focus now is on getting an African team for the Super Eagles as a second match for the FIFA window in October, ahead of their 2021 AFCON qualifying matches in November,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said.
The Super Eagles have two 2021 AFCON qualifying dates in November. After hosting the Squirrels of Benin Republic on November 14, they will fly to Maseru for a Day Two encounter with the Crocodiles of Lesotho on November 19.