Nigeria took the lead to shatter the hearts of Argentines both in the venue and at home. The victory marked Nigeria’s first and only gold medal in football at the Olympics. The victory announced Nigeria to the world given their exploit two years prior at the world cup which held in the USA. Nigeria and Argentina played at the Olympic final many years later with Argentina winning the match with a single goal victory scored by Angel Di Maria after getting an assist from Lionel Messi who is currently rated as one of the best players in the history of the game.
Now let’s get to the business of the moment which is Nigeria vs Brazil match billed to take place on Sunday the 13th day of October 2019. While the match is friendly and nothing is really at stake, both teams would be looking to win the match because of the history of both teams. Brazil is clearly the favourite to win the match which is going to take place in September. But the young Nigeria team would make the match very tough for their opponent because of there no certainties in the squad yet. Every player would be hoping to impress the Super Eagles coach who is building a new team after several senior players called it a quit after the just concluded African cup of nations which held in Egypt where Nigeria finished in 3rd position. On parade for Nigeria would be the likes of Alex Iwobi who plays for Everton football club in England after departing his boyhood club, Arsenal in the recently concluded transfer window.
Another player expected to feature for the Eagles is Victor Oshimehin who is currently plying his trade in Lille FC of France after his impressive performance for a Belgian side Sporting Lolcehroi last season. Recall that Victor was swapped up by his employers to replace the departing fellow African Pepe who joined Arsenal after a scintillating performance last season. Another player expected to feature for the Super Eagles is the burgeoning left-footed player in the person of Chukwueze who plies his trade in Villa Real FC of Spain.
This match is expected to be a top-notch encounter, the two teams last met about 16 years ago in a friendly match in Abuja, Nigeria. Nigeria had just concluded the construction of the beautiful National Stadium Abuja and they needed a high profile match to launch the stadium and what better team to invite than Brazil? No other team, Brazil had just won the world cup the previous year in a tournament that held in Korea and Japan. They were the best team in the world then so that the Nigerian President in the person of Olusegun Obasanjo invited the Samba boys of brazil to the friendly match, the stadium’s cotton opener.
The Brazilian side paraded a team devoid of some their best stars such as Delima Ronaldo and Rivaldo but the talismanic Ronaldinho was on hand to lead the young Brazilian team which also had the veteran Emerson on parade. The match lived up to the spectacle it promises with the Brazilian carrying the day with a resounding 3 – 1 victory. Nigeria on the hand paraded their best team with the likes of Austin Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo also known as Papilo, Garba Lawal and a host of other top players.
The game ended in favour Brazil meaning the upcoming friendly match between both sides may turn out to be more than a friendly match. Nigeria would be looking to get their pound of flesh while Brazil would be looking forward to maintaining their dominance over their African opponent. The match is expected to be tough for another reason. Brazil recently played a friendly match against another west African team, Senegal and it ended in a draw with Brazil heavily tipped to carry the day. They would be looking to win Nigeria to exert their team as the best in the world but would Nigeria allow that to happen? No one can say, let’s keep our fingers crossed as the game is barely some hours away.
Brazil has invited their best players for the encounter, the likes of Neymar Junior who plays for PSG after a failed transfer deal between the French Club and the two Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Brazilian had wanted to return to his former club Barcelona after switching sides two years ago in world transfer record deal but the deal fell through after Barcelona were unable to meet the demand by PSG. Well, the young man has since resumed his duty with the French outfit with his future for the club in a clear doubt. Messi recently stated in an interview that he would love to have Neymar back in Barcelona but his statement is clearly reminiscent of the proverbial say – if wishes were horses…
Well, back to the issue at hand, Nigeria against Brazil. Another player expected to feature for Brazil is Gabriel Jesus who plays for Man City of England. The prolific striker is expected to lead the Brazilian attack alongside Neymar. Brazil also has another poacher in the person of Firmino who plays for Liverpool FC in England. Firmino made the move from Germany to England under former coach Brendan Rogers and he played as an attacking midfielder. But under Jurgen Klopp, the talismanic German tactician, Firmino has since been deployed as a point man where he has teamed up with two African players Sedu Mane and Mohamed Salah to form a deadly trio that has been terrorizing defenders both in England and Europe alike. Recall that Liverpool won the Champions League last season after evoking one of the best comebacks in the history of the competition to upset Barcelona in the semi-final on their way to lifting the trophy.
The game between the South American champion and Nigeria would take place in Singapore and it promises to be a spectacle. I can’t say who is going to win the match but Brazil is always a favourite heading into any match. Another player to watch out for is Coutinho who currently plays for Bayern Munich. The young man accepted a loan to move to Germany after failing to make an impact in Ernesto vervalde’s Barcelona. But to be fair, The Brazilian is not to be entirely blamed for his poor outing for Barcelona. He was used out of position while at Barcelona making it difficult to replicate the form he had for Liverpool that made Barcelona paid a huge sum to Liverpool for his signature.