Nigeria’s army for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 playoff battle with Ghana on Tuesday started their preparations in the Federal Capital, Abuja ahead of departure to Kumasi on Thursday.
Three-time African champions Nigeria and four-time African champions Ghana tango at the 40,000 –capacity Baba Yara Stadium on Friday evening, in the first leg of a potentially –explosive fixture in which both teams will battle for a single ticket to the 22nd FIFA World Cup finals. The return leg at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja is expected to be even pulsating and fiery.
Friday’s encounter in Kumasi will be the 58th clash between the two countries’ senior teams, with 18 of those matches have ended in draws. The first encounter was on 20th October 1951, when Nigeria won 5-0.
The last time both teams were involved in a FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture was in 2001, with both seeking a spot at the Korea/Japan 2002 finals. The opening leg at the Accra Sports Stadium was stalemated 0-0, before Nigeria won the return 3-0 inside the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt on 29th July 2001.
Their last meeting, in a friendly match that was staged in London on 11th October 2011, ended 0-0.
Captain Ahmed Musa and deputy captain William Ekong are among the players who are already in camp for the two big games.
According to Musa in an interview with NFF TV, Nigeria Vs Ghana is beyond football. It Includes everyday life (Politics), Movies, Music and food (Jollof). On the H2H between both countries: It’s a new generation of Eagles he asserted.
Click to watch the interview.
Here is the history of Nigeria and Ghana in football.
20 0ct 1951 (Jalco Cup): Nigeria 5 Ghana 0
11 Oct 1953 (Jalco Cup): Ghana 1 Nigeria 0
30 Oct 1954 (Jalco Cup): Nigeria 3 Ghana 0
30 Oct 1955 (Jalco Cup): Ghana 7 Nigeria 0
27 Oct 1956 (Jalco Cup): Nigeria 3 Ghana 0
27 Oct 1957 (Jalco Cup): Ghana 3 Nigeria 3
25 Oct 1958 (Jalco Cup): Nigeria 3 Ghana 2
10 Oct 1959 (Olympics Qualifier): Nigeria 3 Ghana 1
26 Oct 1959 (Olympics Qualifier): Ghana 4 Nigeria 1
22 Nov 1959 (Jalco Cup): Ghana 5 Nigeria 2
28 Aug 1960 (WC Qualifier): Ghana 4 Nigeria 1
10 Sep 1960 (WC Qualifier): Nigeria 2 Ghana 2
9 Oct 1960 (Nkrumah Cup): Nigeria 0 Ghana 3
29 Oct 1960 (Zik Cup): Nigeria 1 Ghana 1
8 Apr 1961 (AFCON Qualifier): Nigeria 0 Ghana 0
30 Apr 1961 (AFCON Qualifier): Ghana 2 Nigeria 2
17 Dec 1961 (Friendly): Ghana 5 Nigeria 1
10 Nov 1962 (Friendly): Nigeria 0 Ghana 0
23 Feb 1963 (Nkrumah Cup); Ghana 5 Nigeria 0
30 Oct 1965 (Zik Cup): Nigeria 0 Ghana 4
7 Nov 1965 (Zik Cup): Ghana 3 Nigeria 0
23 Jan 1967 (Zik Cup): Nigeria 2 Ghana 2
12 Feb 1967 (Zik Cup): Ghana 2 Nigeria 0
22 Oct 1967 (Zik Cup): Ghana 2 Nigeria 1
23 Dec 1967 (Zik Cup): Nigeria 2 Ghana 2
10 May 1969 (WC Qualifier): Nigeria 2 Ghana 1
18 May 1969 (WC Qualifier): Ghana 1 Nigeria 1
8 Jan 1973 (All-Africa Games): Nigeria 4 Ghana 2
10 Feb 1973 (WC Qualifier): Nigeria 2 Ghana 3 – abandoned, match awarded 2-0 to Ghana
25 Feb 1973 (WC Qualifier): Ghana 0 Nigeria 0
11 Aug 1974 (Festival): Nigeria 1 Ghana 0
17 Aug 1974 (Festival): Nigeria 0 Ghana 1
24 Aug 1975 (Festival): Ghana 1 Nigeria 2
30 Aug 1975 (Festival): Ghana 3 Nigeria 0
4 Sep 1977 (Ecowas Cup): Nigeria 2 Ghana 1
8 Mar 1978 (AFCON): Ghana 1 Nigeria 1
21 July 1978 (All-Africa Games): Ghana 0 Nigeria 0
1 May 1983 (ECA Anniversary): Ghana 1 Nigeria 0
15 Oct 1983 (Olympics Qualifier): Nigeria 0 Ghana 0
30 Oct 1983 (Olympics Qualifier): Ghana 1 Nigeria 2
5 Mar 1984 (AFCON): Ghana 1 Nigeria 2
27 July 1986 (Friendly): Ghana 2 Nigeria 0
While both countries will take pleasure in the prospect of surpassing the other for a World Cup ticket, claiming bragging rights in this particular derby depicts one of the narratives leading into this encounter.
Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has fallen ill and Coach Augustine Eguavoen has extended an invitation to Enyimba FC goalkeeper John Noble to join the squad.
Wilfred Ndidi’s absence may be a situation for Eguavoen who may be forced to re-strategise and probably make changes in the middle.
Any follower of the Super Eagles will want to see how Victor Oshimen will be paired with Odion Jude Ighalo as both of them were absent from the just concluded Africa Nations Cup.
With the plethora of players in the Super Eagles, it will seem like a stroll in the park when they face the Black Stars of Ghana, this might not be so easy as history favours Ghana it is not short of world-class players.
Vice-captain William Ekong has arrived camp, likewise Leon Balogun, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi, Olaoluwa Aina, Frank Onyeka, Odion Ighalo, Daniel Akpeyi, Ahmed Musa, Oghenekaro Etebo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Abdullahi Shehu, Francis Uzoho, Moses Simon, Emmanuel Dennis, Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, Calvin Bassey, Innocent Bonke, Kenneth Omeruo, Zaidu Sanusi, Akinkunmi Amoo, Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen and Sadiq Umar
Still exected is Ademola Lookman and John Noble
General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Dr Mohammed Sanusi has reiterated that the nation’s football –the ruling body is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the Super Eagles overcome Ghana’s Black Stars in this month’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 playoff fixture.
“I want to assure that the NFF is putting all arrangements in place to motivate and incentivize the players and officials for the two big matches. We have concluded most of the arrangements and expect no glitch anywhere. We are also ready to deal with eventualities as they arise because these are matches that we must win.
The NFF is very much alive to its responsibilities and will put everything in place to inspire the Super Eagles to triumph”.
Sanusi watched the team’s training session under floodlights at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Tuesday night.
— 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) March 22, 2022
Picking the ticket to the world cup in Qatar will no doubt reduce the impacts of the group stage and Round of 16 exits respectively of both teams from the AFCON tournament. However, only one side can come out at the end.