Congo v Nigeria Preview

AFCON 2015 Qualifier | Saturday 15 November | Pointe-Noire | 16:30




Congo host Nigeria in a crucial Group A qualifier on Saturday. Congo lie second in Group A with seven points from four games, a point less than leaders South Africa. Nigeria lie three points off Congo in third place and a win for the Super Eagles will mean they stand a good chance of qualifying if they can win again at home to Bafana Bafana on Wednesday night.

To Win (90mins)
Congo 14/10
Draw 21/10
Nigeria 19/10

CONGO

Congo shocked Nigeria in the reverse fixture, winning 3-2 in Calabar. It was Nigeria’s first loss at home in a qualifier since 1981 - 33 long years. Congo sit second in Group A and will seal their place at next year’s finals should they beat Nigeria here.

The Red Devils have bolstered their attack by acquiring Scottish based striker Dominique Malonga. The 25 year-old striker joined current club Hibernian from Italian Serie A side Cesena  and has hit the ground running, netting six times in nine appearances.

Nigerian midfielder, Ramon Azeez has sounded a note of warning about another Congo striker, Thievy Bifouma, to Super Eagles players ahead of Saturday’s clash. Azeez, Bifouma’s teammate at Almeria, says Bifouma has the capability of ruining Nigeria’s chances of reaching the 2015 Afcon if he’s not carefully watched. Bifouma will come into this match even more confident than he usually is. Besides netting a double against Nigeria in the reverse fixture, he underlined his worth by scoring a brilliant goal against Barcelona in La Liga last Saturday.

Another key factor for the Congolese is their coach, Claude Le Roy, one of the most respected coaches in African football. The Frenchman has transformed a team who are only in the group stages of qualifying due to Rwanda being suspended into a well oiled machine that humbled the African Champions on home soil.

Congo Squad:
Goalkeepers: Chansel Mohikola (AC Leopards), Christoffer Mafoumbi (Le Pontet, France), Pavhel Ndzila (Etoile du Congo).
Defenders: Magnokele Bissiki (AC Leopards), Francis N’Ganga (Charleroi, Belgium), Igor N’Ganga (FC Aarau, Switzerland), Bouka Moutou (SC Angers, France), Bernard Itoua (FC Platanias, Greece), Mamic Itoua (FC Kondzo).
Midfielders: Hardy Binguila (Diables Noirs), Delvin Ndinga (Olympiakos, Greece), Prince Oniangue (Reims, France), Hermelin Boukama-Kaya (Recreativo Libolo, Angola), Sagesse Babele (AC Leopards).
Forwards: Dore Ferebory (CFR Cluj, Romania), Thievy Bifouma (Almeria), Dominique Malonga (Hibernian, Scotland), Ladislas Douniama (Guimgamp, France), Franci Litsingi (Teplice, Czech Republic), Kevin Koubemba (Lille, France), Ulrich Kapolongo (Teplice, Czech Republic), Dzon Delarge (Slovac Liberec, Czech Republic).

NIGERIA

Stephen Keshi was officially reinstated as the Super Eagles coach after being fired two weeks prior due to a poor run that included just one win in 11 matches.

Keshi has since recalled Ikechukwu Uche to his squad. The Villarreal frontman was Nigeria’s best striker in Europe last season, but has been frozen out of the national team set up by Keshi for almost two years.

There is also a recall for Sunshine Stars defender Solomon Kwambe and first call ups for Dolphins duo Emem Eduok and Tony Edjomari of Nasarawa United. The Super Eagles are third in Group A of the qualifying rounds and must win their remaining two games against Congo and South Africa to stand a chance of defending their title next year.

Nigeria find themselves in the deep end after a horror start to the qualifiers that saw them lose to Congo, draw in South Africa and then lose 1-0 in Sudan. However, The Super Eagles are still in with a chance after beating Sudan 3-1 at home in their last match.

Second-half strikes from CSKA Moscow forward Musa opened the scoring three minutes into the second half, but Sudan stunned Nigeria with an equaliser only seven minutes later. The Super Eagles were not to be denied, though, and Aaron Samuel marked his full debut with a goal to put them back in front before Musa eased the tension with a third goal after 89 minutes.

Nigeria Squad:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille, France), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United).
Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco, France), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel), Efe Ambrose (Celtic FC, Scotland), Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars), Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor FC, Turkey), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, England), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves).
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio, Italy), Hope Akpan (Reading, England), Raheem Lawal (Eskisehirspor FC, Turkey), Omatsone Aluko (Hull City, England), Tony Edjomari (Nasarawa United).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey), Gbolahan Salami (Warri Wolves), Osaguona Ighodaro (Enugu Rangers), Ikechukwu Uche (Villarreal, Spain), Aaron Samuel (Guangzhou R&F, China), Sunday Emmanuel (SV Scholz Grodig, Austria), Babatunde Michael (Volyn Lutsk, Ukraine), Emem Eduok (Dolphins FC).

Betting Verdict: DRAW 21/10

Congo have the vital advantage of playing at home and looking at Nigeria’s recent record, the Congolese will be confident of keeping them at bay. Nigeria are yet to score a goal on the road in their two travels against South Africa and Sudan. Congo will be confident after beating Nigeria in the reverse fixture. A draw against the continental champions will be enough for Congo to book their spot in next year’s showpiece and they are tipped to do just that.  

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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