BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have broken an apparent jinx as they recorded their first victory of a friendly match since 26 March 2019.
In the process, they have raked up seven losses and six drawn games.
On Monday in Portimäo, Portugal, they beat Mozambique 3-2. It was the first time they won a friendly match since June 2019 when Paul Onuachu scored a record-making fastest goal within eight seconds of kick-off against Egypt in Asaba.
Ever since, Nigeria has gone a streak of 15 friendly matches without a win. A possible win against Saudi Arabia last Friday was cancelled when they conceded a goal in the added time.
But on Monday, though with an uninspiring 3-2 win against Mozambique, a new chapter appeared oppened.
Goals by Terem Moffi, Frank Onyeka and Moses Simon steered Nigeria to a 3-2 victory over 10-man Mozambique.
The Mambas got in front with a shock goal after only six minutes when Catamo dragged the ball past goalkeeper Francis Uzoho who anticipated the ball in a different direction.
France -based striker Moffi ensured parity in the 19th minute, when he had the last laugh as the Mozambican defenders threw themselves at every shot in their penalty area.
Midfielder Frank Onyeka put Nigeria in front on the half hour, when his measured shot from the edge of the box sailed into the net unhindered.
The Super Eagles, who have adopted the battle-cry ‘Let’s Do It Again’ for their quest for a fourth Africa Cup of Nations title in Cote d’Ivoire early next year, dominated afterwards and got a third goal when the irrepressible Moses Simon netted from the penalty spot in added time in the first period.
The southern Africans were bullish in the second period, unhindered by the numerical disadvantage following a red card to one of their players in the first half, and got a second goal through Bangal with 10 minutes into the closing half.
Victory means the Eagles have established a winning mentality ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches starting in November as well as the 34th Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Cote d’Ivoire.
SUPER EAGLES’ NO-WIN STREAK IN FRIENDLY MATCHES
- 8 June 2019 Nigeria 0-0 Zimbabwe
- 16 June 2019 Senegal 1-0 Nigeria
- 10 September 2019 Ukraine 2-2 Nigeria
- 13 October 2019 Brazil 1-1 Nigeria
- 9 October 2020 Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
- 13 October 2020 Tunisia 1-1 Nigeria
- 4 June 2021 Cameroon 1-0 Nigeria
- 8 June 2021 Cameroon 0-0 Nigeria
- 21 May 2022 Mexico 2-1 Nigeria
- 2 June 2022 Ecuador 1-0 Nigeria
- 27 September 2022 Algeria 2-1 Nigeria
- 9 November 2022 Costa Rica 0-0 Nigeria
- 17 November 2022 Portugal 4-0 Nigeria
- 13 October 2023 Saudi Arabia 2-2 Nigeria
- 16 October 2023 Mozambique 2-3 Nigeria