Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh suffered his first defeat since assuming the position bare two months ago when the national team slumped to a 0-2 loss to the DR Congo in an international friendly match in Vise, Belgium, Thursday.
Despite having their preparation overshadowed by Vincent Enyeama’s announcement of his retirement from the Nigerian team hours before kick-off, Oliseh named a three-man forward of captain Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo and Sylvester Igbonu with the midfield trio of John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi and Rabiu Ali.
Leon Balogun and William Ekong paired in the heart of defence while full-backs were Shehu Abdullahi and Elderson Echiejile with Carl Ikeme in goal.
England-based trio of Yannick Bolasie, Dieumerci Mbokani and Chancel Mbemba were named in the DR Congo starting list in the absence of head coach Florent Ibenge and his assistant, Mwinyi Zahera, who stayed back in their country to oversee league games involving their clubs, AS Vita and DC Motema Pembe respectively.
The game also featured Emmanuel Emenike and Moses Simon who came on for Ibrahim and Igbonu respectively while Arsenal striker, Alex Iwobi, made his international debut for Nigeria for Musa.
Mikel got the chance to play in advanced role after defensive midfielder Obiora Nwankwo came in to replace Ighalo and in the 65th minute, the Chelsea man’s effort was aimed at Mandanda.
It could have been three-nil to the Congolese in the 71st minute but for Balogun’s timely tackle to foil Bolasie from going through on goal.
Meanwhile, former captain and goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama has expressed his disappointment over the side loss to the Leopards of Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Lille of France shot stopper however enthused that the three-time African champions will come back to winning way in not too distant time.
“Naturally I feel bad as a Nigerian that Super Eagles loss 0-2 to the Leopards of DR Congo in Belgium. However, I strongly believe that Nigeria will get up shortly to start winning matches.
“I don’t want to say that the side lost because I did not feature in the match, the outcome may not have been anything different if I had played the match,” Enyeama had told ChannelsSports.
However, Enyeama who shocked the entire football community with his sudden retirement from national assignment said he will be too willingly to pick up his gloves if it’s professionally allowed.
“I retired from international duty in order for Nigerian football to move forward. I never planned to retire the manner and time I did but things happened too differently and suddenly.
“I must confess that I did what I did for the development and growth of the game in Nigeria.
“However, I will do everything professionally to make Nigeria succeed, if to stay out of the national team permanently is what will make Nigeria professionally to succeed then I won’t consider a comeback,” said Enyeama.
Eagles will on Sunday confront the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in another international friendly match at the Edmond Machtens Stadium in Brussels.