Home-Based Super Eagles Face Mexico Test In Los Angeles
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) would literally be on display when a full complement of players drawn from the domestic league face-off against the CONCACAF Gold Cup holders Mexico in an international friendly match on 3rd July 2021.
The match will be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the State of California, USA, is part of the Mexican’s MexTour Series.
“Our training sessions have been good, the coaches have been pushing us enough because the task ahead is a big one,” Abia Warriors defender Adekunle Adeleke said on the eve of the team’s departure to the US.
“We already know what we are going to face and we are hopeful of coming out with a great performance.”
Enyimba winger Anayo Iwuala who impressed in his side TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup campaign is equally upbeat.
“It’s been fun and all of us have been giving out our best and this is a great opportunity for the home-based Super Eagles to represent the nation,” Iwuala said. “We are all putting our heads together to fulfil the task against Mexico.”
The clash in Los Angeles will be the sixth confrontation between the senior teams of both countries, four of which have ended in draws with the Mexicans claiming the only win (2-1) in the 1995 US Gold Cup encounter in Dallas.
Closely-fought clashes include a 1-1 draw at the FIFA Intercontinental Tournament for the King Fahd Cup (now FIFA Confederations Cup) in Saudi Arabia in January 1995 when Mexico prevailed 5-4 on penalties in the third place playoff.
There were also goalless friendly draws in Houston and Atlanta, as well as a friendly game in Mexico that ended 2-2.
In the absence of German coach Gernot Rohr, the domestic Nigeria side will be led by former national team captain Austin Eguavoen who incidentally was a player when Nigeria and Mexico clashed for the first time ever at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh in 1995.
He would be assisted by former national U-20 coach Pau Aigbogun and they have since pulled together a strong home-based squad to square up against the Mexicans.
“Our training sessions are very impressive because the NPFL is still in season and this is a big advantage for us, there is nothing to worry about,” noted Eguavoen who led Nigeria to win the Bronze medal at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
“Of course, it was not easy to pick the payers because I’ve read and heard about criticisms in the media but this is just one match and hopefully those who were left out of this friendly against Mexico would have their chance when the qualifiers for CHAN begin.”
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Stanley Bobo(Lobi Stars)
Defenders: Olisa Ndah (Akwa United); Adekunle Adeleke (Abia Warriors); Tope Olusesi (Rangers International); Enyinnaya Kazie (Rivers United); Mohammed Zirkiflu (Plateau United); Imoh Ubot (Enyimba FC); Tebo Franklin Degaulle (Nasarawa United); Lawal Oriyomi Murtala (Kwara United)
Midfielders: Anthony Shimaga (Rangers International); Seth Mayi (Akwa United); Uche Nwasonaya (Plateau United)
Forwards: Anayo Iwuala (Enyimba FC); Stephen Jude (Kwara United); Ibrahim Olawoyin (Rangers International); Charles Ashimene (Akwa United); Chinonso Ezekwe (Rangers International); Auwalu Ali Malam (Kano Pillars); Neurot Emmanuel (Plateau United); Abdulmutalif Sanusi (Katsina United).