On Friday the African qualifying draw for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup was held in Cairo, Egypt, headquarters of CAF. To the dismay of most Nigerians, the Super Eagles were drawn against heavyweights like Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia.
Looking ahead of the qualifiers which start in October, Completesportsnigeria.com's JAMES AGBEREBI unearths the Eagles' past records against these teams in qualifiers for major tournaments, revealing that it has not been one-way traffic…
NIGERIA VS CAMEROON
NIGERIA 1-1 CAMEROON (MEXICO 1970 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 1ST LEG, 1ST ROUND)
Nigeria's first ever meeting with Cameroon in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers was in the campaign for Mexico 1970.
Both teams met in the first round with Nigeria hosting the first leg. Cameroon held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw.
CAMEROON 2-3 NIGERIA (MEXICO 1970 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 2ND LEG, 1ST ROUND)
In the reverse fixture in Yaounde, Nigeria defeated Cameroon 3-2 to progress into the second round 4-3 on aggregate.
Nigeria met Ghana in the second round and eliminated them 3-2 on aggregate. But in the final round, Nigeria lost top spot to Morocco in a three-team group that also had Sudan.
Morocco went to the 1970 FIFA World Cup as Africa's sole representative.
NIGERIA 2-0 CAMEROON (ITALIA 1990 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 1ST LEG, GROUP C, 2ND ROUND)
The second round group stage of the 1990 World Cup qualifier saw Nigeria drawn in Group C alongside Cameroon, Angola and Gabon.
Nigeria and Cameroon first met in the group at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan. Goals from Stephen Keshi and Samson Siasia sealed a 2-0 win for Nigeria.
CAMEROON 1-0 NIGERIA (ITALIA 1990 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 2ND LEG, GROUP C, 2ND ROUND)
Needing to avoid defeat to stand a chance of advancing into the play-off round, Nigeria unfortunately lost 1-0 to Cameroon in their last group game in Yaounde to crash out. The only goal of the game was scored by Francoise Omam-Biyik.
Cameroon went on to beat Tunisia 3-0 on aggregate to qualify for their second FIFA World Cup after debuting in Spain 1982.
NIGERIA VS ALGERIA
NIGERIA 0-2 ALGERIA (SPAIN 1982 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 1ST LEG, FINAL ROUND)
Algeria bounced back from losing 3-0 to Nigeria in the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations by picking the 1982 World Cup ticket ahead of the late Otto Gloria's side.
After seeing off Tunisia, Tanzania and Guinea in the first, second and third rounds respectively, Nigeria were paired with Algeria in the final play-off round.
The first leg was played at the National Stadium, Lagos. But to the surprise of all, Algeria won 2-0.
ALGERIA 2-1 NIGERIA (SPAIN 1982 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 2ND LEG, FINAL ROUND)
To stand a chance of qualifying for their first ever World Cup, Nigeria needed to beat Algeria by two clear goals but came up short.
Algeria won the second leg 2-1 to qualify for the 1982 World Cup 4-1 on aggregate.
Both Algeria and Cameroon represented Africa at the Spain 1982 FIFA World Cup.
NIGERIA 4-1 ALGERIA (USA 1994 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 1ST LEG, GROUP A)
Nigeria got their pound of flesh against Algeria during the qualifiers for the USA 1994 World Cup.
Drawn with Cote d'Ivoire and Algeria in Group A, Nigeria bounced back from a 2-1 defeat to the Ivorians by thrashing Algeria 4-1 in Lagos, to get back on track in the race.
The Algerians had taken an early lead before goals from Austin Okocha, late Rashidi Yekini (brace) and Daniel Amokachi secured the win.
ALGERIA 1-1 NIGERIA (USA 1994 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 2ND LEG, GROUP A)
The ticket for the USA 1994 World Cup was finally secured after Nigeria played 1-1 against Algeria away in the group's last game.
Finidi George gave Nigeria the lead in the first half before Abdelhafid Tasfaout drew Algeria level in the second half.
NIGERIA 1-0 ALGERIA (GERMANY 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 1ST LEG, GROUP D)
Once again Nigeria crossed paths with Algeria in Group D in the qualifiers for the Germany 2006 World Cup.
Aside from Algeria, Nigeria had Angola, Gabon, Zimbabwe and Rwanda to contend the World Cup sole ticket with.
And in their clash against Algeria in Abuja, after a win and a loss in their first two games to Rwanda and Angola, a late goal by Joseph Yobo gave Nigeria a slim 1-0 win.
ALGERIA 2-5 NIGERIA (GERMANY 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER, 2ND LEG, GROUP D)
The away leg between Nigeria and Algeria in the Germany 2006 World Cup qualifier was a must-win for Nigeria as they aimed to keep pace with leaders Angola.
And for the first time ever, Nigeria defeated Algeria right there in their backyard, winning 5-2 thanks to goals from Obafemi Martins (brace), Yusuf Ayila, John Utaka and Christian Obodo.
Unfortunately, Nigeria lost the ticket to Angola who beat Rwanda 1-0 away to qualify for their first ever World Cup.
NIGERIA VS ZAMBIA
ZAMBIA 5-1 NIGERIA (EGYPT 1974 AFCON QUALIFIER, 1ST LEG, 2ND ROUND)
Nigeria's first ever meeting with Zambia in any qualifier was in the race for the Egypt 1974 Africa Cup of Nations.
The first leg in Lusaka saw the Zambians thrash Nigeria 5-1, and put their chances of returning to the AFCON for the first time since 1963 in serious jeopardy.
NIGERIA 3-2 ZAMBIA (EGYPT 1974 AFCON QUALIFIER, 2ND LEG, 2ND ROUND)
In the reverse fixture, Nigeria won 3-2 but it wasn't enough as they crashed out 7-4 on aggregate and missed out on a place in the 1974 edition.
Zambia qualified for the 1974 AFCON and went as far as the final only to lose to Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo).
NIGERIA 0-0 ZAMBIA (EGYPT 1986 AFCON QUALIFIER, 1ST LEG, 2ND ROUND)
Just like in 1974, Zambia stopped Nigeria from qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations, once again hosted in Egypt in 1986.
Nigeria hosted the first leg of the second round tie but couldn't break down the Zambians with the game ending in a 0-0 draw.
ZAMBIA 1-0 NIGERIA (EGYPT 1986 AFCON QUALIFIER, 2ND LEG, 2ND ROUND)
Zambia took full advantage of playing at home as they ran out 1-0 winners in the second leg to join seven other teams for the 1986 AFCON.
NIGERIA 1-0 ZAMBIA (MALI 2002 AFCON QUALIFIER, 1ST LEG, GROUP I)
For the third time Nigeria and Zambia clashed in the AFCON qualifiers when they were grouped alongside Namibia and Madagascar in the qualifiers for the 2002 AFCON billed for Mali.
In the first meeting between both teams inside the National Stadium, Lagos, a lone strike by Victor Agali sealed a hard-fought 1-0 win for Nigeria.
ZAMBIA 1-1 NIGERIA (MALI 2002 AFCON QUALIFIER, 2ND LEG, GROUP I)
Nigeria maintained their firm grip in the group following their 1-1 draw in Chingola against Zambia.
Despite going behind after an own goal, Benedict Akwuegbu's goal ensured the two teams shared the spoils.
Both Nigeria and Zambia eventually qualified for the 2002 AFCON in Mali, with Nigeria finishing top of the group.