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Echoes from ‘Abuja 2011’ as Eagles confront Guinea


Guinea’s midfielder Naby Keita attends a training session at the Alexandria stadium in Alexandria, northern Egypt, on June 25, 2019, on the eve of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Nigeria and Guinea. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

In 2011, the Super Eagles were pitched against the Syli Nationale of Guinea in a Nations Cup qualifier in Abuja. Nigeria needed a 1-0 win to scale through, but the visitors proved too difficult a nut to crack, forcing the Eagles to a 2-2 draw with a few minutes to full time. The Eagles thus failed to reach the Nations Cup for the first time since 1986.

Then in Abuja, the Super Eagles under coach Sampson Silesia dominated play, created series of chances, but failed to convert the numerous opportunities that came their way.

The Syli Nationale’s opened scores through Ismael Bangoura in the second-half, but Nigeria responded with a goal from Obinna Nsofor, while another from Ikechukwu Uche put the team on the driver’s seat, before Ibrahima Traore’s goal deep into stoppage time sent millions of Nigerians to early bed.

That was in October 2011 in the race to Equatorial Guinea and Gabon 2012 African Nations Cup.


Today, the Super Eagles will square up against the Syli Nationale again, this time in a Group B tie at the on-going Egypt 2019 African Cup of Nations in the city of Alexandra. A win for Nigeria will guarantee Nigeria a place in the round of 16, having defeated Burundi 1-0 on Saturday.

The Guineans on their part, need the three points badly after ending their tie against Madagascar 2-2 four days ago.

In the 2011 episode, the two teams battled in Group B and Madagascar was also in the group.

At the end of their training yesterday, players and officials of the Syli Nationale boasted that they would spoil the show for the Super Eagles in this race.

“I know the Super Eagles have a lot of stars, but we will make sure they don’t get a point in this match. We have done it before even in Abuja and we will do it again,” the coach said.

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