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Nigeria Versus Equatorial Guinea: All African Games Qualifier Match Preview

The Nigerian Under-23 team, officially dubbed the Dream Team V, will face their Guinean counterparts in a scheduled Olympics qualifying match on Saturday (March 26, 2011) at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, Nigeria. The team has been in camp for over a week preparing under coach Austin Eguaveon.

An important fact about this match is that the winner will get the chance to represent Africa in the 2012 Olympics football event.

The Nigerian team

The Nigeria squad is made up of a mix of foreign and local players with extensive experience at club level. A unique incident that would have seen the senior national team coach clash with the Olympic team coach was averted, when three players who were previously invited for the Africa Cup of Nations tie Nigeria along with Ethiopia were eventually drafted into the Olympic team. The players in question were:

  • Ehiosun Ekigho (Warri Wolves FC, Nigeria)
  • Nnamdi Oduamadi (AC Milan, Italy)
  • Obiorah Nwankwo (Inter Milan, Italy)

The Nigerian Olympic team received a major boost when the 15 invited professional players showed up at their camp ground in Benin. Guest professionals include Lukman Haruna of Monaco FC of France, Terna Suswarn of Victoria Setubal of Portugal and striker Odion Ighalo who captained the U-20 national team at the 1999 FIFA Youth World Cup which was held in Egypt.

Equatorial Guinea team

Not much is known about this team as they don’t have an established star in their fold. This unknown has been a serious source of concern for the technical team of the Nigerian Olympic team.

Facts and figures

  • Equatorial Guinea has never qualified for the Olympic football event in the history of the Games
  • Nigeria have a strong pedigree in Olympic football events, having qualified for Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008.
  • Nigeria’s Olympic team won gold at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and silver at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
  • The two teams have never met at this level of football

Match officials

The African/Olympic Games cracker between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea will be managed by the following people:

  • Alex Asante (Ghana) – Match Commissioner
  • Ibrahim Chaibou – Central Referee
  • Abdoulaye Mamane – Assistant Referee 1
  • Mani Abdou Salam – Assistant Referee 2
  • Ibrahim Mamane – Fourth official

Predictions

The statistics favor the Nigerian team with the added advantage of playing at home and having the complement of experience and quality players. It will be the biggest surprise in football history if Equatorial Guinea wins the game. However, a draw cannot be ruled out. Kick-off time is set for 4 p.m. Nigerian time.

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