Super Eagles and AS Monaco wing-back, Elderson Echiejile, has said the Super Eagles will not underrate the Corsica Senior National Team when both sides lock horns Friday evening at the Stade Francois Coty, Ajaccio.
The Super Eagles play the tiny island of Corsica in a warm up game ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on June 10, and despite Corsica’s non-affiliation with either UEFA or FIFA, Echiejile insists they expect some kind of challenge from the team.
“I know a bit about them, when I was here in France. Most of their players play in the Ligue 1 so I expect a tough challenge from them. We cannot afford to, and will not underrate them,” Elderson who is going to captain Eagles in the absence of injured John Mikel Obi announced Thursday.
A number of first-team players are not in Corsica either as a result of visa hitch or injury, but Nigeria’s camp in Ajaccio boast a number of young, ambitious fresh legs called up to jostle for positions in the team.
The former Sporting Braga FC defender believes healthy competition for first team places in the team is a welcome development.
“The team is improving after every game but there are places in the team the coach thinks need more competition which to me is a welcome development. Every good team needs a good back up and I think that is what has informed the reason for the new faces in the team for these friendlies,” he opined.
The Nigeria versus Corsica clash is scheduled to hold at the Stade Francois Coty, Ajaccio starting from 8pm.
FACTS ABOUT CORSICA
1. Corsica: A French region and island in Mediterranean Sea
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 13 regions of France. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the Italian island of Sardinia.
After being ruled by the Republic of Genoa since 1284, Corsica was briefly an independent Corsican Republic from 1755 until it was conquered by France in 1769.
The native Corsican language, whose northern variant is closely related to the Italian language, is recognised as a regional language by the French government.
2. Corsica’s population is less than 500,000
As of January 2013, the population of Corsica was put at 322,120 inhabitants.
At the 2011 census, 56.3% of the inhabitants of Corsica were natives of Corsica, 28.6% were natives of Continental France, 0.3% were natives of Overseas France, and 14.8% were natives of foreign countries.
The majority of the foreign immigrants in Corsica come from the Maghreb (particularly Moroccans, who made up 33.5% of all immigrants in Corsica at the 2011 census), and from Southern Europe (particularly Portuguese, 22.7% of immigrants on the island), and Italians (13.7%).
3. Corsica’s ever football match was against France
Corsica’s first ever football match was against France on 28 February 1967, in a friendly game.
The game which was played inside Stade Vélodrome, home ground of Olympique Marseille, saw Corsica winning 2-0.
That was the first and only time both teams have met.
4. First African opponent was Indomitable Lions of Cameroon
The first African team Corsica played against was in a friendly game against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in 1998.
It was a preparatory game for Cameroon ahead of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.
Played at Stade Armand Cesari, Bastia, Cameroon triumphed 1-0 against Corsica.
5. Corsica not affiliated to FIFA or UEFA
Unlike Nigeria who are registered member of Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) and Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), Corsica are not affiliated to FIFA or Union of European Football Association (UEFA).
Due to their status, Corsica do not get any rankings from the world and European football governing body.
This means they are not part of the 206 recognised National teams by FIFA.
6. Corsica last played a football game in 2016
The last time Corsica played a football match was on 27 May 2016 in a friendly against Basque Country.
They lost 9-8 on penalties against Basque Country after regulation time ended 1-1.
This means Corsica has gone almost a year without playing a football match.