Striker Joseph Akpala is best-remembered as the player who gave the Super Eagles a 1-0 victory in their first - and to date only - match against 1998 FIFA World Cup™ winners France. Akpala, who at the time was playing for Club Brugge in Belgium, scored in the first half to give the west Africans a historic victory. But instead of providing the starting block for a great international career, Akpala's call-ups stayed at a minimum and prior to Keshi taking over Nigeria, Akpala last played for his country in 2010.
With Emmanuel Emenike being ruled out of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 through an injury, Keshi had to look elsewhere and he opted to go for Akpala, who joined Bundesliga club Werder Bremen from Brugge in 2012. Akpala scored just once for Werder Bremen in 21 Bundesliga matches this season, although in only one of those was he on the pitch for the full 90 minutes. Keshi started with the powerful Akpala in Nigeria's last friendly (2-2 against Mexico) ahead of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 qualifiers and the Confederations Cup and the 26-year-old is now hoping to be given a chance in the tournament in Brazil.