Tanzania vs. Nigeria: Sunday Oliseh’s Super Eagles out to prove a point

By Toby Prince

Super EaglesSuper Eagles of Nigeria are in Tanzania to face the Taifa Stars in the second matchday of the 2017 Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Saturday September 5, in Oliseh’s first official game as coach.

The former Nigeria skipper will be aiming to begin his era with a victory in Dar es Salaam while Tanzania will be looking for an upset against the former African Champions.

Unlike the Nigerians who camped in Abuja, the Tanzanians had a one-week intensive training camp in Turkey where they played a high profile friendly and lost 2-1 to Libya.

Match background

While the Super Eagles were cruising to a 2-0 win over Chad at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium Kaduna in June, the Taifa Stars were being mauled 3-0 by the Pharaohs of Egypt.

The North Africans currently sit top of group G with superior goal difference to Nigeria while Tanzania are rock bottom of the group having shipped in three goals in Cairo.

The East Africans would take some consolation from the fact that they lost away and would hope to kick-start their campaign against an unpredictable Nigeria at home.

Head to head

The two countries have only met once in a competitive match with Nigeria coming out tops.  Nigeria as tournament host crushed their opponents 3-1 en route to winning the 1980 Nations Cup.

The other meeting between the two teams was in an international friendly in 1972 which ended in a barren draw.

Team News

Nigeria will be without inspirational leader and keeper, Vincent Enyeama, who understandably opted out of the tie due to the death of his mother.

Coach Sunday Oliseh confirmed his withdrawal saying it has put him in a “tight corner” while Enyimba keeper, Femi Thomas, was called up as a late replacement for the veteran.

Also, Torino midfielder, Joel Obi, might miss the game after failing to shake-off a muscle injury.

“Obi is likely to miss the game because I don’t think he has recovered fully from the injury,” an official told completesportsnigeria.

From the Tanzanian camp, they will be without England based Adi Yussuf who plays for Mansfield Town due to an injury sustained last week and South Africa based Hassan Sembi who is unavailable due to technical reasons.

What the coaches are saying

Interim Tanzania coach, Charles Mkwansa, confident ahead of the encounter said: “The training has helped build their stamina. The team can now maintain high tempo play for long and press forward as a unit while striking which is a good sign as we plan for Nigeria. ”

Oliseh was a little bit on the defensive.

“We are building from the scratch; the players are just getting to know one another. I am not looking at if we lose, draw, win or whatever. What I am after is to see my team put in their best and whatever the result is, we will take it like that,” he said.

Last five games

Tanzania: W D D L L

Nigeria: D L W D W

Players to Watch

Anthony Ujah

The Werder Bremen forward will be leading the Sunday Oliseh revolution as he is preferred to Watford’s Odion Ighalo.

Despite not scoring in four attempts for Nigeria, the player was still picked to lead the line for his country.

“Hopefully, this time it would be my time to shine in the Super Eagles. I hope to take my club form of goal scoring into the Eagles.” a confident Ujah said.

John Bocco

The Azam FC skipper will have to be at his inspiring best if Tanzania are to overcome the Nigerians.

The 26-year-old scored his country’s only goal as they fell 1-2 to Libya in their most recent friendly.

Capped 34 times by the East Africans, the striker has netted eight times for his country.

Possible XI

Tanzania: Ally Mustafa, 
Shomari Kapombe, Haji Mwinyi, Nadir Haroub, Kelvin Yondani, Himid Mao, Saimon Msuva, Frank Domayo, John Bocco, Said Ndemla and Fardi Mussa

Nigeria: Carl Ikeme, Leon Balogun, William Ekong Troost, Kingsley Madu, Obiora Nwankwo, Haruna Lukman, Anthony Ujah, Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon and Emmanuel Emenike

Other Significance

The battle between Nigeria and Tanzania is not just for footballing superiority but bragging right is at stake for top entertainers

Africa’s fastest rising music star, Diamond Platnumz, will be hoping his countrymen do him proud as they battle the Nigerians.

The 25-year-old has grown into prominence after working with Nigeria artiste such as Davido, Iyanya and Flavour.