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When Nigeria faces Algeria in Constantine on Friday, it will be 13 years four months and 21 days since the Super Eagles last lost a World Cup qualifying match. This translates to 4,891 days of an unbeaten streak across 34 matches.

The dead rubber match will be the 20th encounter of both teams since their first clash at the second All Africa Games in Lagos in 1973. That maiden encounter ended 2-2 draw, Algeria being the only team Nigeria did not beat on the road to win its first continental honour – the gold medal of the football event of the All Africa Games.

In significance, Friday’s match  may not have much value as Nigeria’s Super Eagles are already qualified for the Russia 2018 World Cup, while Algeria have since crashed out two match days before now.


It is therefore not a star attraction in the mould of the Cote d’Ivoire versus Morocco clash which is a winner-takes-all episode.

But Sports Village Square analysis will reveal that the Algeria-Nigeria encounter has great significance for eternal storage.  Here are some of the insightful points of the encounter.


  • Nigeria was the last team Algeria faced to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 1981. Algeria beat Nigeria 0-2 in Lagos on October 10, 1981 and 2-1 in Constantine on October 30, 1981 to qualify for 1982 World Cup.


  • Algeria was the last team Nigeria faced to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 1993. Needing just a draw, the Super Eagles played 1-1 draw with Algeria on October 8, 1993 to become the first Anglophone country in Africa to qualify for the World Cup.


  • Nigeria will be attempting to extend the Super Eagles’ unbeaten run to 35 matches in the World Cup qualifying series. This is the longest in Africa. Nigeria last lost a World Cup qualifying match in Luanda on June 20, 2004 when Angola had a 1-0 win in the race to Germany 2006. Nigeria’s record is the second longest unbeaten run globally after that of Spain’s 59. Nigeria’s 34 unbeaten run is even four ahead that of World Cup holders, Germany. Next to that are those of Cote d’Ivoire and Switzerland both at 25 matches each.


  • Both Algeria and Nigeria were the last two African teams standing at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.


  • Both teams lost to European sides on the same day at the Brazil 2014 Round of 16 encounters. Nigeria lost 0-2 to France; Algeria lost 1-2 to Germany. If the two African teams had won their Round of 16 matches, they would have clashed in the quarter finals, thus an African team could had gotten to the semi finals. It would have also been the first time two African teams clashed at the World Cup.


  • Former Nigeria’s strongman of defence, Bright Omokaro, got his nickname of “Ten-Ten” when he hacked down an Algerian player who could neither return to the field nor be substituted and that evened the line-up after Nigeria’s Ademola Adeshina had been red-carded. Maverick Nigerian radio commentator, the late Ernest Okonkwo screamed: “Omokaro has made it ten-ten.”  From then, ‘Ten-Ten’ became the nickname of the hard tackling defender.


  • It is another clash of Rabah Madjer and Alloy Agu, the two captains of the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations final match which Algeria won 1-0. Rabah Madjer who captained the Algerian team is now the head coach. Agu who also captained Nigeria in the match is in the technical crew of the Super Eagles as the goalkeeper trainer.


  • Since the third round of the World Cup qualifying series began in Africa last year October, Algeria, the initial highest ranked African team and hot favourites to top the Group 2 which was aptly tagged “Group of Death”, has not won any match in the series, losing all, and drawing just the opener against Cameroon. Will Nigeria achieve a double over Algeria as Zambia did?
  • Both Algeria and Nigeria have green as their dominant national colours.


         ALGERIA FLAG                                                                                                NIGERIA FLAG

  • Their names have almost the same alphabets, and sounding almost the same. The differences in the names of Algeria and Nigeria are just the first two alphabets of their respective names.
  • The Constantine encounter will be the 20th of both countries overall, but the eighth in World Cup qualifying series.


         Head-to-Head: ALGERIA vs. NIGERIA


                    P        W        D        L        F        A

Nigeria        19       8        4        7       27      22

Algeria        19       7        4        8       22      27


  • 10 January 1973 (2AAG) Nigeria 2-2 Algeria
  • 28 March 1978 (3AAG) Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
  • 22 March 1980 (CAN) Nigeria 3-0 Algeria
  • 10 October 1981 (WCq) Nigeria 0-2 Algeria
  • 30 October 1981 (WCq) Algeria 2-1 Nigeria
  • 10 March 1982 (CAN) Algeria 2-1 Nigeria
  • 11 March 1984 (CAN) Algeria 0-0 Nigeria
  • 15 January 1988 (Oq) Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
  • 30 January 1988 (Oq) Nigeria 2-0 Algeria
  • 23 March 1988 (CAN) Algeria 1-1 Nigeria *(8 -9 penalty shoot-out)
  • 2 March 1990 (CAN) Algeria 5-1 Nigeria
  • 16 March 1990 (CAN) Algeria 1-0 Nigeria
  • 13 July 1993 (WCq) Nigeria 4-1 Algeria
  • 8 October 1993 (WCq) Algeria 1-1 Nigeria
  • 21 January 2002 (CAN) Algeria 0-1 Nigeria
  • 3 July 2004 (WCq) Nigeria 1-0 Algeria
  • 8 September 2005 (WCq) Algeria 2-5 Nigeria
  • 30 January 2010 (CAN) Algeria 0-1 Nigeria
  • 12 November 2016 (WCq) Nigeria 3-1 Algeria
  • When both teams met in Uyo last year’s November, it was Nigeria’s milestone of 100th World Cup qualifying match and 50th home game.


  • The November 12, 2016 match in Uyo was Nigeria’s 100th World Cup qualifying match.
  • When they meet again on November 10 in Constantine, it will be Algeria’s 95th World Cup qualifying match and Nigeria’s 104th, the second highest in Africa after Morocco’s 111st.
  • Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha scored 16 goals for Nigeria in his entire career. The first of the goals was a converted free kick against Algeria in a July 13, 1993 World Cup match in Lagos which Nigeria won 4-1.


  • Austin Jay Jay Okocha’s brother, Emma Okocha made his international debut in a match with Algeria on March 2, 1990.

  • The Okocha Brothers: Emma ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha and Austin ‘Jay Jay ‘ Okocha scored land mark goals against Algeria.


  • Emma Okocha’s only goal for Nigeria was scored against Algeria in the opening match of the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algiers. Nigeria lost 5-1.
  • Algeria was the team Nigeria beat to win its first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980. The then Green Eagles won 3-0 on March 22, 1980. 
  • Nigeria’s Skipper Christian Chukwu lifts the Africa Cup of Nations trophy after a 3-0 defeat of Algeria on March 22, 1980 in Lagos.


  • Nigeria was the country Algeria beat in 1990 to win its only Africa Cup of Nations title till date. Algeria beat Nigeria 1-0 in the final match played in Algiers on Match 16, 1990.


  • Nigerian football legend, Segun Odegbami played his last international match when Nigeria faced Algeria in Constantine on October 30, 1981.Nigeria lost the match 2-1.



  • Segun Odegbami unfamiliarly put on shirt number 9 in his very last international match, a World Cup qualifying match with Algeria on October 30, 1981.


  • Rabah Madjer, Algeria greatest football icon will have his baptism of fire as Algeria’s coach when the team faces Nigeria on Friday.

  • Rabah Madjer, captain of Algeria in confrontation with Nigeria’s Isaac Semitoje during the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations final match. Madjer will be leading Algeria to face Nigeria, this time as a coach.
  • Former Nigeria’s captain, Christian Chukwu’s last match for Nigeria was against Algeria on October 10, 1981 in a World Cup qualifying duel which Nigeria shockingly lost 0-2 at home. It was also the case for Thompson Usiyen, one of Nigeria’s potent strikers in the seventies.
  • Algeria was a victim of an alleged World Cup match fixing episode in Gijon Spain in a West Germany versus Austria match. Two years later, Algeria and Nigeria were alleged to have played an “accord match” in a Group B Africa Cup of Nations match in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire. The referee of the match, Karim Camara of Guinea, had to issue a yellow card to the captains of both sides, Stephen Keshi for Nigeria and Ali Feghani for Algeria.

  • Dateline: Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire March  11, 1984 – Guinean referee, Karim Camara issues a yellow card to skippers Stephen Keshi of Nigeria and Ali Feghani of Algeria. The gesture is actually a general caution to both teams for ‘unsporting’ behaviour.


  • Algeria once beat Nigeria silly, 5-1 in Algiers, Algeria. Nigeria also once beat Algeria silly 5-2 in Oran, Algeria.






Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Manu Garba proud of Eaglets as team countenances Niger Republic



Coach Manu Garba has asserted that he is proud of the Golden Eaglets after Thursday’s scoreless encounter with their Burkina Faso counterparts in the Group B opener of the WAFU B U17 Championship.

 Five-time champions Nigeria created several scoring chances particularly late in the game at the Accra University Stadium, but failed to utilise even one that could have earned them the three points and handed them early leadership of the pool.

 However, Garba said the boys played a cohesive game in their first-ever international outing and deserve credit for their display.

 “We are proud of our team’s performance. Although we didn’t secure the win that we hoped for, our players showed great teamwork and sportsmanship. We look forward to our next match and the opportunity to continue growing and improving.

 “The boys will get better with experience and exposure.”


 Against the Burkinabes, the Eaglets showed flair and fluency, but a heavy downpour in the final 15 minutes of the game disrupted the general flow of play, with the pitch waterlogged and effective control and passing impossible.

 The Golden Eaglets go up against their counterparts from the Niger Republic on Sunday evening (6pm Ghana time; 7pm Nigeria) with renewed hope and vigour to pick up the three points that will enhance their chances of a place in the last four.

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Paris to face major disruption ahead of Games opening ceremony, says police chief



Paris will face major disruption ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony along the Seine on July 26, as organisers ramp up security measures to safeguard the event, the city’s police chief said on Thursday.

Organisers hope the opening ceremony, in which 160 boats carrying athletes from around the world will travel a 6 kilometre route along the Seine river towards the Eiffel tower, will deliver a jaw-dropping spectacle. Some 300,000 spectators will watch from the banks of the Seine as a global audience tunes in on TV.

But the ceremony is also a major security headache, taking place against a backdrop of wars in Ukraine and Gaza. French President Emmanuel Macron has already floated the possibility of scrapping the river ceremony and reverting to at least two back-up plans if the security risks become untenable.

Paris residents with a view of the Seine can invite friends to watch the opening of the 2024 Summer Games from their balconies, but should prepare for heavy traffic and limited movement, Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said at a press conference.

Adjacent metro stations, most river crossings and all water traffic will be halted in the week before the open-air ceremony, Nunez said, adding that some bridges will remain open “in order not to cut Paris in two halves.”


Everyone who wants to access the immediate surroundings of the Seine in the week before the Games will need to sign up on an online platform, Nunez said. Local residents hoping to access their homes, which are among the most prestigious addresses in France, will need to do the same.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who also spoke at the event said the disruption would impact around 20,000 residents and business owners.

Asked about Macron’s comments earlier this month, Nunez said his teams were still working on the ‘Plan A’ of the river ceremony.

“As of today, we have no reason to be worried,” Nunez said.



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New dawn expected as Nigeria sports ministry partners with Yanga Games



Towards creating a new dawn for Nigerian Sports,  the Federal Ministry  of Sports has signed a landmark  agreement with  top lottery  company Yanga Games to raise the revenue profile of the Ministry  and ensure a new deal for the welfare of athletes. 

Speaking during the unveiling  of the partnership between  the Ministry  and  Yanga  Games in Lagos on Friday,  Chairman/CEO of Yanga Games  Derrick  David Kentebe  said: “we are so super excited by this opportunity to work  with the Ministry  of Sports Development to change the narrative about Sports in the country. 

Continuing, he remarked: “We see opportunity for marketing our athletes  and sports generally . We shall avail ourselves  the best use  of this unique and  special partnership. We shall pursue this mandate with vigour, passion and unrivaled  commitment  to bring benefits to all the critical stakeholders.”

The agreement  according  to Kentebe  will provide  support for retired athletes, enhance grassroot  sports Development and advance the potentials of  special athletes.

He assured that ” Yanga Games has the capacity to  raise funds on behalf of the Ministry  of Sports for athletes  Development, endorsement and sponsorship deals for athletes”. 


Minister of Sports Senator John Owan Enoh assured that the Ministry has total and absolute  confidence  in Yanga Games to deliver on the given mandate.

“Gone are the era when we depended solely  on government  to fund sports  development.  We are partnering with  Yanga Games to bring maximum  benefits  to the athletes and all critical stakeholders.

“We shall give institutional encouragement and support to the Management of  Yanga Games to succeed in this onerous task of rebuilding our sports sub sector.”

Speaking further, Kentebe  said ” We shall raise about 34 Billion in the next four years to assist athletes and improve sports in the country.

“We shall help to develop  grassroot  sports and  sustain youth involvement  through raffle draws, fund raiser and other avenues.

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