Super Eagles will have an opportunity of restoring confidence of Nigerians in the team with the friendly match against Cranes of Uganda in Uyo today.
The encounter will also be another opportunity for Stand-in-coach, Daniel Amokachi, to prove if he can handle the team. This will be his third time in charge, having lost 1-0 to Cote d’ Ivoire in his first match and beat Yemen 1-0 in his second.
However, this will be the seventh time the two sides are meeting with Nigeria winning two, losing three and drawing one. The team will use the friendly to fine-tune their preparation ahead of the forthcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches starting in June.
Coincidentally, the first and last clashes between Nigeria and Uganda at senior level ended in 2-1 wins for the Cranes.
On March 14, 1978, Nigeria lost an Africa Cup of Nations semi- final to Uganda 1-2 in Ghana. The last time both teams squared off was on June 2, 2007, the Cranes coming from behind to win 2-1 after John Utaka had put Nigeria ahead in a 2008 Nations Cup qualifier in Kampala.
In-between, Uganda won a friendly match 1-0 in Kampala on September 26, 1981; the Eagles won a Cup of Nations qualifier 2-0 in Lagos on August 28, 1992 and both teams drew 0-0 in Kampala on July 17, 1993. The two teams’ clash in Abeokuta on March 24, 2007 sticks in the memory: it took a last-gasp Nwankwo Kanu header for Nigeria to earn a 1-0 win.
Former Nigerian manager, Paul Hamilton, says the Cranes does not look like a side that will trouble Super Eagles.
“I expect quality challenge and good match but expect Eagles to win.
“The Ugandans are unknown quantity in the continent but for the purpose of rebuilding the team, the match will be helpful.
“The Ugandans will be too excited playing at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium than actually challenging us.
Uganda Coach, Micho Sredojevic, has revealed that though the team has respect for the former African champions, the Cranes will not be distracted but play to win.
“Amokachi (Daniel, Nigeria coach) has summoned 28 big name players,” said Micho. They deserve respect but not over respect as we need to think about ourselves, have self-respect and most importantly, check where our players making the travelling team are at present – in mental, physical, technical and tactical aspect.”
“We look forward to the match as sportsman and thanking Nigeria that has chosen us as partners to check up both teams present state before June qualifiers.”