The Super Eagles of Nigeria will take on the Leopards of DR Congo in an international friendly match at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Monday. The Nigerian side will be hoping to return to winning ways after suffering a 2-0 loss to Serbia in their last match played in London.
Gernot Rohr and his charges would also want to use the match to garner support and lift up the spirit of the home fans ahead of the World Cup which begins in a few weeks time. A convincing win for Nigeria will give the team confidence ahead of two other much tougher international friendly matches against England and the Czech Republic.
The Super Eagles successfully navigated through what looked like a very difficult World Cup qualifying group without losing a match and were the first African side to secure qualification for the Mundial in Russia.
Nigeria won four and drew two of six fixtures in the World Cup qualifying matches, the feat was remarkable considering the strength of teams like Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia who were in the group.
Super Eagles have a great record playing in front of their home crowd and the highly expectant Nigerian fans will need nothing short of a convincing win against DR Congo on Monday to assure them that the team is on the right part in terms of preparation for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
DR Congo failed to qualify for Russia 2018 and has struggled to find their feet after the disappointing World Cup qualification campaign, the Leopards were surprisingly beaten 2-0 by Tanzania in their last friendly game in late March.
Jean-Florent Ibenge’s side narrowly missed qualification for the World Cup by just a single point as they finished behind Tunisia. Other teams in the group were Libya and Guinea, In their second group game against Tunisia, DR Congo gave up a two-goal lead late in the game, hence ruining their chances of qualification.
The two teams have never met in a competitive fixture since the country was renamed to DR Congo, however as Zaire the Super Eagles defeated the Leopards 2-0 in the Quarter Final of the African Cup of Nations in Tunisia. Legendary Nigerian striker Rasheed Yekini scored both goals as the Clemence Westerhoff led side went on to emerge the Champions of Africa for the third time.
Nigeria has played the Leopards as DR Congo twice, the first meeting was played eight years ago and Nigeria claimed a resounding 5-2 victory, but DR Congo got some kind of a revenge five years later when the Leopards registered a 2-0 victory in an international friendly played in London.
Victor Moses of Chelsea is unavailable for this match as he is expected to join the team in London before the friendly against England in Wembley on June 2, Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester is expected to miss the match against DR Congo as he is still recuperating from injury. Moses Simon of Belgian club Gent picked up a slight knock and might not play.
Gernot Rohr has preferred the 4-2-3-1 formation but has also experimented with a number of different formations like the 4-3-3 and 4-4-1-1. The coach looks set to hand Oghenekaro Etebo the number 10 role with Iheanacho and Simeon Nwankwo (Simy) likely to start up front.
Possible Nigeria Lineup
Leopard’s head coach Florent Ibenge has faced a lot of challenges putting together a team as many of his regular players decided to pull out of the match due to one reason or another, the coach has decided to settle for an experimental squad for this game, and many of whom have no caps.
Florent Ibenge has a preference for a 4-2-3-1 formation but with a lot of his regular players absent, he might well settle for a different formation that will suit the players available for the match. However, the coach has Banik Afobe of Wolverhampton Wanderers at his disposal with the likes of Yannick Bolaise of Everton unavailable for the match.
Possible DR Congo Lineup
The Super Eagles are massive favourites for this match and given the fact that the Leopard’s team is highly depleted, it is mainly an experimental squad with lots of uncapped and inexperienced players, It is almost impossible to see DR Congo come out of this match with any tangible result.
The Super Eagles are expected to win this match very comfortably with a big margin as they build up momentum for the World Cup, the Nigerian team might take things easy as the players would want to avoid injuries that will jeopardise their World Cup dreams. Taking all factors into consideration we predict a 4-0 victory for Nigeria.
Time And TV Station
The Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Leopard of DR Congo international friendly match will take place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Monday. Kick off time is 5 pm, the match will be shown live on DStv SuperSport 3 and GOtv SuperSport 1. It might also be shown on terrestrial TV like the NTA.