Nigeria vs. Uganda: Third time lucky for Super Eagles?

Ahmed Musa of Nigeria is challenged by Tiyani Mabunda of South Africa Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Having secured qualification to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Johannesburg on Saturday, Nigeria host Uganda in an international friendly at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on Tuesday.

The Super Eagles will aim to end the year on a winning note, but can they halt a two-game losing run - and generally poor record - against the Cranes?

Nigeria have struggled in meetings between the two sides - they have two wins, one draw and four loses - and have lost both of their last two matches against Uganda.

The Eagles were humbled 2-1 in Kampala, in a 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, before being stunned 1-0 in an international friendly played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo in March 2015.

The match coincided with the 100th international cap of Vincent Enyeama and it was the first time the Super Eagles' A team played at the venue.

However, Farouk Miya's match-winner ultimately overshadowed both landmarks.

Like Nigeria, the Cranes have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations, and are the only team yet to concede a goal during the qualifying campaign.

They should prove formidable opposition for the Super Eagles despite missing key players Miya and inspirational captain Denis Onyango.

Gernot Rohr, who qualified Nigeria for a second successive tournament with a game to spare, has stated in clear terms that AFCON preparations begin with the visit of Uganda.

"The game against Uganda is part of the preparations for the 2019 Nations Cup," he told journalists [as per The Guardian].

"Uganda are a strong force in African football, and we believe that the encounter will help us to look at the lapses in the team and how to correct them.

"It will also help us to focus on getting the right mix for the Nations Cup."

The match offers Rohr an opportunity to access his fringe players and further integrate more youngsters into a multi-talented squad.

Breakout star Samuel Chukwueze, barring any last-minute setback, should earn the first of many international caps, while Victor Osimhen and Isaac Success have an opportunity to impress Rohr in the centre-forward position.

History may not be on Nigeria's side, but they certainly have the quality - and the momentum - to avoid a third successive defeat by Uganda.