Super Eagles’ delegation off to Tanzania tomorrow
The country’s delegation to the Gabon 2017 African Nations Cup qualifier between the Super Eagles and the Taifa Stars of Tanzania, will leave Abuja by 3.00 p.m. tomorrow for Dar es Salaam, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed.
Nigeria will meet Tanzania in their second game of the qualifiers on Saturday. The team will arrive at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar es Salaam, by 10pm (8pm Nigeria time) of the same day, the NFF added.
According to the Federation, the delegation will be made up of 23 players, technical officials, some members of the NFF executive committee and management, some representatives of the media, football stakeholders and members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club.
Both countries have not met at senior level since December 1980, but there have been clashes at junior level, and an African Women Championship qualifying fixture, in recent years.
That December, 35 years ago, the Taifa Stars had good reasons to hope for an upset when they held reigning African champions Green Eagles to a 1-1 draw in Lagos in the first leg of a 1982 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture.
But two first half goals by John Chidozie and Christian Nwokocha in Dar es Salaam two weeks later sent Tanzania packing from the race. In 2011, Nigeria’s U-23 lost 0-1 to their Tanzanian counterparts in a 2012 Olympics qualifier away, but thrashed the visitors 3-0 in Benin City.
The following year, the Flying Eagles also sent Tanzania’s U-20, known as Ngorongoro Heroes, out of the race for the 2013 African Youth Championship.
Last year, the Super Falcons eliminated Tanzania’s senior women from the race to the 9th African Women Championship in Namibia. The first –ever meeting between both countries was on July 6, 1972 – a scoreless draw in a friendly in Dar es Salaam.
Four months later, Nigeria’s Eagles edged two quick friendlies 2-1 and 3-2 in Benin City and Lagos respectively, and then achieved another 2-1 win over the Taifa Stars during the 2nd All-Africa Games Nigeria hosted in January 1973.
In February 1976, both countries played out a 0-0 draw in a friendly in Dar es Salaam on the Green Eagles’ way into Ethiopia for the Africa Cup of Nations. And in March 1980, Nigeria won the opening match of the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations (for which they eventually emerged champions) 3-1 in Lagos.