Reigning African Champions, Nigeria’s campaign to retain its crown in Morocco next year started on a sour note as the Eagles were defeated 3-2 at the U.J Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
The team that was reinstated in the 2015 AFCON qualifiers would have wished for a better task than facing the African Champions.
But on a day when Congo played Nigeria at the home of the AFCON Champions, the away side were the better team.
Nigeria had a host of chances they managed to squander but on the day, former Ghanaian coach Claude Le Roy’s Congo side had a perfect game plan and stuck to it in Calabar.
Efe Ambrose opened the scoring for home side Nigeria in the 14 minute, but Prince Oniangue equalized for Congo after just three minutes.
A good work on the right side of Congo attack which left the Nigeria defence unawares found Thievy Bifouma at the end of its final cross who struck home with his left foot to give the away side a 2-1 lead as they went into the first half break.
Quick feet in the Nigeria penalty box won Congo a penalty kick which Thievy Bifouma stepped up to convert in the 53 minute of the game as his side went 3-1 up.
Gbolahan Salami pulled on back very late on in the game for Nigeria after a host of missed chances but was not enough for the African Champions as Congo held on to win 3-2 away from home.
Eagles face South Africa in the second Group A match in Cape Town on Wednesday.