Warriors seek to avoid 5th consecutive loss to Nigeria
Nigeria will host Zimbabwe at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State on Saturday in a pre-2019 Africa Cup of Nations friendly seeking their fifth win against the Warriors.
The three-time African champions have won all four of their last encounters against Zimbabwe, conceding just one goal and scoring 11 goals.
Gernot Rohr’s team are coming into the game off the back of a rare win of positivity having beaten Egypt 1-0 in March with a second string team.
The stars of the show in that game were Paul Onuachu and Moses Simon, with Henry Onyekuru and Jamilu Collins also showing promise in the encounter.
Given the avalanche of talents available to coach Gernot Rohr, he will hope that his young team can continue to perform as he makes preparations for the AFCON, which starts in Egypt on June 21.
“I want to see a lot of players who are not playing so much, give them the opportunity to play against Zimbabwe,” Rohr told reporters in Asaba.
“It can be for some defenders like Balogun, he is fit but he didn’t play so much, so we want to see him playing on Saturday and also some players like Kelechi (Iheanacho).”
On his part, Warriors head coach Sunday Chidzambga, says his charges are in Nigeria to learn from the Super Eagles.
Chidzambga spoke on the sidelines during his team’s training Friday evening at the stadium.
“Super Eagles are a strong team, not only in Africa but the world,” Chidzambga said.
“And it is always important to play such team going into a big tournament like the Nations Cup. They have won the Nations Cup many (three) times and it is important we use this game to learn from them.”
Asked what specifics his team will learn from the three-time African champions, Chidzambga retorted: “everything about football”.
The Warriors will be feeling equally ebullient going into this fixture: a comfortable qualifying run to the AFCON, which saw them top Group G, was followed by a 2-0 friendly win over Comoros in the COSAFA Cup and a goalless draw against Zambia.
The following is the head-to-head for Zimbabwe and Nigeria, courtesy of ZOOMZimbabwe Sports:
|01 Aug ’81||Zim v Nigeria||L||2-0||International Friendly|
|16 Jul 1989||Nigeria v Zim||W||3-0||Africa Cup of Nations|
|30 Jul 1989||Zim v Nigeria||D||1-1||Africa Cup of Nations|
|05 Sep 2004||Zim v Nigeria||W||0-3||FIFA World Cup|
|07 Oct 2005||Nigeria v Zim||W||5-1||FIFA World Cup|
|27 Jan 2006||Nigeria v Zim||W||2-0||Africa Cup of Nations|
|08 Jun 2019||Nigeria v Zim||International Friendly|