Super Eagles look to add to their two African Nations Cup crowns this month in Angola.
Last Updated: 08/01/10 12:04pm
Two-time Africa Cup of Nations winners Nigeria will be looking to rekindle the glory days that saw them win the tag of being Africa's powerhouse when they take part in the 2010 edition of the competition to be played in Angola.
Even though they are ranked third in Africa, the Super Eagles have lost their past dominance, which was evident during the AFCON/World Cup qualifiers as they had to rely on Mozambique to book their place at the World Cup.
Their trip to Angola formally started against South Africa during the second stage of the qualifiers, where they were also grouped alongside Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone. They progressed untainted winning all their matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding only one in the process.
The third round for the African giants proved a trickier test, despite their tag as favourites in the group. Their mini-pool comprised of Tunisia, Kenya and Mozambique.
The Super Eagles started badly when they were held by a resilient young Mozambique squad to a 0-0 draw. They won their next match against Kenya convincingly, but then failed to overcome Tunisia, who held them to two stalemates.
The results caused widespread anger among Nigerians who called for coach Shaibu Amodu to be axed. The side went on to win their remaining two fixtures, which saw them qualify for the AFCON. However, to book their spot at the World Cup, Nigeria needed the Mambas to do them a favour by beating Tunisia.
SuperSport United's Dario Monteiro was on target for Mozambique to help Amodu's men advance to the World Cup for the fourth time.
Nigeria will mark their 16th appearance at the continental competition, in which they have received two winners' medals.
Amodu's men were drawn in Group C along with Egypt, Mozambique and Benin.
One to watch: Yakubu Aiyegbeni
The Everton striker is currently Nigeria's leading goal-scorer with 19 strikes in 46 matches. The 27-year-old is an experienced campaigner who is the highest scoring African player in the English Premier League.
He scored one of the crucial goals that saw the Super Eagles secure a 3-2 victory against Kenya which to booked their place in both Angola and South Africa.
Coach: Shaibu Amodu
The Nigerian mentor is in his third spell with the side having previously led them during two unsuccessful stints.
When he was hired in 2008, the Nigerian Football Association said his mandate was "qualifying Nigeria for both the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and Nations Cup in Angola as well as doing well in the later."
After some jittery moments the 48-year-old was called by the Nigerian president to explain the poor string of results in qualifying.
After the meeting they won all their matches and with the help of Mozambique made it to the World Cup.