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  • November 15, 2012
  • • 02:08
  • • Marlins Park, Miami, Florida
  • Referee: T. Vaughn

Venezuela - Nigeria Preview: Keshi looking to test new players ahead of 2013 Afcon

Venezuela - Nigeria Preview: Keshi looking to test new players ahead of 2013 Afcon

Lolade Adewuyi (

The national team coach will have the chance to see new players who stand the chance of making his squad to South Africa for January's continental showpiece tournament



Vizcarrondo, Rosales, Perozo, Tunez
Rincón, Arango, Figuera
Rondon, Fetscher, Aristeguieta


  Oboabona, Egwueke, Onduku, Kwambe
Igiebor, Ogenyi, Uche , Lawal
 Ameobi, Martins

The last time these two teams met in 2003 - the tie was settled by a goal from Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha. Wednesday's tie could follow the same route too.

The players that have been invited into the national camps of both countries will be keen to impress the coaching crew so as to get another chance to prove their mettle, which will make for a cagey affair and a chess-match style game that could lead to both teams cancelling themselves out.

Venezuela are currently fourth in South America’s qualifying round-robin stage after nine matches and will want to keep that position or improve to get a berth in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. And the coach believes the country should aim to fortify the squad with younger players for when the qualifying matches commence again in March 2013, with a trip to Buenos Aires to face log leaders, Argentina. Venezuela are hoping to relinquish the tag of being the only Conmebol side never to have qualified for the Fifa World Cup.

Coach Cesar Farias has been in charge since 2010 within which time Venezuelan football has come to be taken seriously where baseball was previously the sport of choice.

In Nigeria’s case, coach Stephen Keshi will be looking at the character of some players like Obafemi Martins, whom he will have mentally pencilled down to be in the squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa and players like Shola Ameobi can use the occasion to push their case for the trip.

The home-based know that not a lot of their number will be at the Nations Cup so the ten chosen for this encounter will also want to make a final push for shirts in that squad – if not in the first eleven then a place on the bench will suffice. Players like Chigozie Agbim, Godfrey Oboabona, Solomon Kwambe, Azubuike Egwueke, Benjamin Francis, Umar Zango, Henry Uche, Sunday Mba, Ejike Uzoenyi and Gomo Onduku know they are fighting for between three and five places in the team.


Stephen Keshi, favours the 4-3-3 formation but there is the likelihood that he will use a 4-4-2 formation to test the combination of little/big striker in Ameobi/Martins.

The midfield will have Raheem, Ogenyi Onazi, Nosa Igiebor and Henry Uche while the defence will be led by Egwueke and Oboabona.

The Venezuelans play a fluid system – interchanging between a 4-3-3 which easily morphs into a 4-5-1, when they are defending but one thing is sure, their captain, Juan Arango will not be caught dead defending so that is short one.

Four players had to withdraw from the Venezuelan squad because of injuries and these are Francisco Pol from Panachaiki GE in Greece, Josef Martinez from Young Boys in Switzerland, the two home-based players - Pablo Camacho and Rubert Quijada. Tomás Rincón from Hamburg in Germany and Fernando Aristeguieta, who is based in Venezuela were called in as replacements.

  • If Juan Arango (pictured left) scores against Nigeria, he will equal Giancarlo Maldonado’s record of 22 goals for the national team.

  • Obafemi Martins will have an opportunity to increase his goal haul of 18 goals which he currently has in 37 matches.

  • Nigeria is ranked 56th in the world by Fifa compared to Venezuela’s 48th place ranking.
  • Nigeria has won the only match played between the two countries.

  • Nigeria is using the friendly match to prepare for the 2013 Afccon.

  • Shola Ameobi and Bright Ejike will make their national team debuts if they play.

  • At the 2011 Copa America championship, Venezuela reached the semi-finals round for the first time by defeating Chile in the quarterfinal, 2–1.

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