Thursday’s ‘friendly game’ between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Teranga Lions of Senegal is arguably the biggest game involving African teams in the current international break.
We will, in this post,beem the searchlight on the five key Teranga Lions players to look out for against the Super Eagles.
1. SADIO MANE
The star of the Senegalese national team, Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, has never played against Nigeria before now and he will be at the forefront of the quest to defeat the Super Eagles in Thursday’s friendly at The Hive, home ground of London side, Barnet FC.
Mane has been one of Africa’s best players in Europe and despite missing the vital penalty against Cameroon that cost his side a semifinals place at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, he is still one of the most feared forwards on the continent.
The twinkle-toed forward usually darts to the right side of an attacking three deployed at Liverpool, and if that formation should be the case against the Super Eagles, then any of the Super Eagles left-backs on duty will have to be on top of his game.
2. KALIDOU KOULIBALY
Towering defender Kalidou Koulibaly will be a player to watch out for on Thursday as he comes up against the likes of Kayode Olarenwaju, Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi.
Napoli’s Koulibaly has made 20 Serie A appearances so far this season with a goal to his name and his aerial ability will be key for his team against the Super Eagles forwards going by his statistics on that front.
The 25-year-old centre back has won 2.5 of his aerial battles in the Serie A this season. His discipline though could be a factor that plays into the hands of the Nigeria forward players. Koulibaly has been booked seven times in all competitions this season.
3. HENRI SAIVET
Attacking midfielder, Henri Saivet, will pull the strings in the middle of the pack for the Teranga Lions in Thursday’s game against Nigeria.
Saivet is dangerous on set-pieces and his fantastic strike against Zimbabwe in Senegal’s 2-0 win at the 2017 African Cup of Nations comes to mind.
That is the quality the midfield gem whom the likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Ogenyi Onazi will confront possesses.
4. IDRISSA Gana GUEYE
Idrissa Gueye has never played against Nigeria in his 40 international matches for Senegal, and will relish the chance to come up against one of the powerhouses of African football.
Mobile enough to move around the pitch, this Teranga Lion is tenacious and hungry enough to prove he belongs in the top bracket of Africa’s best defensive midfield battlers in recent memory.
The Everyone midfielder has made 4.5 successful tackles per game and 2.5 interceptions per game so far this season in 23 Premier league appearances and will look to break up the play of the Super Eagles in midfield on Thursday night.
5. MOUSSA SOW
Interestingly, Moussa Sow made his debut for Senegal in an international friendly against DR Congo on August 12, 2009 which his team won 2-1.
The Super Eagles defenders will come up against a man (if he starts as expected) who is adept at scoring audacious goals as he is running at his markers. And he has never played against the Super Eagles before, so will be in a buoyant mood.
Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost Ekong and Leon Balogun, in Nigeria’s central defence, could have a torrid time dealing with the monstrous striker who has nine league goals so far for Fenerbahce