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Ahead of Int.l friendlies against Ghana, Mali: Iwobi makes Super Eagles U-turn 

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.Ndidi, Awoniyi returns to team

African vice champions Nigeria will take on Ghana’s Black Stars and Les Aigles of Mali in two top-grade friendly matches in the Moroccan city of Marrakech later this month.

Both matches have been put together by NFF’s FIFA Match Agent, Jairo Pachon of Eurodata Sport.

The clash with Ghana’s Black Stars, which comes up on Friday, 22nd March, is bound to resurrect vintage memories of a 73-year rivalry involving the West African giants, dating back to October 1951 when Nigeria bounced then Gold Coast 5-0 in a Jalco Cup encounter in Lagos.
 
Most recently, the two teams clashed in March 2022 in a two-legged play-off for a place at that year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar, with the Black Stars edging the fixture on the away-goal rule after a 1-1 aggregate.

The Malian Eagles had, three years earlier, lost 1-4 to eventual winners Super Eagles in Durban in the semi-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

While Nigeria and Ghana will resume their rivalry at the Grand Stade de Marrakech as from 4pm Morocco time on 22nd March, the encounter between Nigeria and Mali will commence at the same venue as from 9pm on Tuesday, 26th March.
 
Embittered Alex Iwobi invited despite facing cyber bully after his AFCON 2023 performance. Nigeria have retained the bulk of the squad that finished as runners-up at the 34th Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, but have recalled England-based defender Jamilu Collins, as well as Empoli FC of Italy’s Tyronne Ebuehi and Glasgow Rangers’ forward Cyriel Dessers.
 
Midfield enforcer Wilfred Ndidi, who missed the continental houseparty in Cote d’Ivoire returns from injury, while Bayer Leverkusen of Germany’s Nathan Tella and Turkey-based Fisayo Dele-Bashiru have fresh opportunities to stake claims to permanent shirts.
 
Luton Town central defender Gabriel Osho and Tanzania-based Benjamin Tianimu are teaming up with the group for the first time.

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