Super Eagles Battle Ghana, Mali In Friendlies

Super Eagles Battle Ghana, Mali In Friendlies

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By Our Correspondent

 
Nigeria will take on Ghana’s Black Stars and Les Aigles of Mali in two top-grade friendly matches in the Moroccan city of Marrakech later this month.
 
Both matches have been put together by NFF’s FIFA Match Agent, Jairo Pachon of Eurodata Sport.
 
The clash with Ghana’s Black Stars, which comes up on Friday, 22nd March, is bound to resurrect vintage memories of a 73-year rivalry involving the West African giants, dating back to October 1951 when Nigeria bounced then Gold Coast 5-0 in a Jalco Cup encounter in Lagos.
 
Most recently, the two teams clashed in March 2022 in a two-legged play-off for a place at that year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar, with the Black Stars edging the fixture on the away-goal rule after a 1-1 aggregate.
 
Nigeria and Mali, both teams incidentally nicknamed ‘Eagles’, last clashed in a friendly match in Rouen, France in the summer of 2016. The encounter ended scoreless. The Malian Eagles had, three years earlier, lost 1-4 to eventual winners Super Eagles in Durban in the semi-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
 
While Nigeria and Ghana will resume their rivalry at the Grand Stade de Marrakech as from 4pm Morocco time on 22nd March, the encounter between Nigeria and Mali will commence at the same venue as from 9pm on Tuesday, 26th March.
 
Nigeria have retained the bulk of the squad that finished as runners-up at the 34th Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, but have recalled England-based defender Jamilu Collins, as well as Empoli FC of Italy’s Tyronne Ebuehi and Glasgow Rangers’ forward Cyriel Dessers.
 
Midfield enforcer Wilfred Ndidi, who missed the continental houseparty in Cote d’Ivoire returns from injury, while Bayer Leverkusen of Germany’s Nathan Tella and Turkey-based Fisayo Dele-Bashiru have fresh opportunities to stake claims to permanent shirts.
 
England-based defender Gabriel Osho and Tanzania-based Benjamin Tianimu are teaming up with the group for the first time.
 
ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:
 
Goalkeepers: Stanley Nwabali (Chippa United, South Africa); Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba FC)
 
Defenders: Gabriel Osho (Luton FC, England); Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista FC, Portugal); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Empoli FC, Italy); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (Cardiff City, Wales); Benjamin Tianimu (Ihefu SC, Tanzania)
 
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Alhassan Yusuf (Royal Antwerp FC, Belgium); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Fulham FC, England)
 
Forwards: Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Sadiq Umar (Real Sociedad, Spain); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Fisayo Dele-Bashiru (Hatayspor, Turkey); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Cyriel Dessers (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland)  

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