“Why the friendly match against Nigeria was important for Ecuador”

Ecuador skipper Enner Valencia has explained why the friendly against Nigeria’s Super Eagles is important for them.

A third-minute goal from Pervis Estupinan secured a 1-0 win for Ecuador en route to the 2022 World Cup.

It was the Eagles’ second loss in five days after also losing 2-1 to Mexico.

Ecuador are drawn in Group A of this year’s World Cup alongside hosts Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands.

Also read: Exclusive: Mexico, Ecuador Friendlies good for Eagles’ AFCON qualifier against Sierra Leone – Tijani

And looking back on Valencia’s win, a former West Ham United striker wrote on Twitter: “It wasn’t just a pre-season game for our (Qatar) dream, it was to give some joy to our people who makes a homeland outside our homeland.

“We all dream of our beloved united Ecuador, where our children can grow up in an environment of peace and national unity.”

History of Ecuadorian football

Rejecting an invitation to participate in the inaugural FIFA World Cup held in Uruguay, Ecuador only made their tournament debut in 2002 in Korea/Japan.

After finishing above Brazil and Uruguay in the standings, the qualification campaign marked the emergence of several players, such as Agustín Delgado, Álex Aguinaga, Iván Hurtado, Ulises de la Cruz and Iván Kaviedes, who will set the stage for Ecuador’s achievements in the next decade.

After reaching the knockout stages in a memorable 2006 World Cup campaign, they were expected to perform well in the 2007 Copa América but were knocked out in the group stage.

With Venezuela, they did not win the continental tournament. La Tri’s best performance was fourth in 1959 and 1993, both times at home.

Ecuador play the majority of their home matches at the Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa in Quito. It was to be demolished at the end of 2020 to make way for a new, more modern place.

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