*Six new Eagles on parade against Algeria
Super Eagles of Nigeria having already qualified for the 2018 World Cup have one more qualifying match considered by pundits as a formality. The west Africans defeated the Zambians in their last encounter at home in Uyo.
The Nigerians will square up against the Fennec Foxes of Algeria in their final Group B match. The game has been described as a dead rubber. It is a match of pride for the Algerians. To the handlers of the Super Eagles, it affords them the start of the experimentation towards the world cup.
The Nigerians having accumulated 13 points from its first five matches, while the Zambians who occupy the second spot- a distant 6 points behind, have one round of matches left to play.
Coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr, has kept faith with majority of the players that have been the base in the team all through the campaign, with the exception of Francis Uzoho, Chidiebere Nwakali and Brian Idowu (on standby) who are joining up with the team for the first time. Six new players are said will debut against the Algerians.
Rohr, has however been faced by injury worries to some of his key players heading into the game, with the likes Ogenyi Onazi, Moses Simon and Odion Ighalo suffering various degrees of injuries respectively.
Nonetheless, he has handed a late minute call up to the duo of Olanrewaju Kayode (Girona FC) and Kenneth Omeruo (who was on the stand by list) to replace them.
The Algerians on their part, will be hoping to use this game to start a rebuilding process for their team after their dismal performance all through the qualifying series, which has seen them gather just a single point from their five Group B fixtures to date.
They have appointed former ex-international Rabah Madjer as their new manager and he has named a strong squad to face Nigeria, handing call ups to the Leicester City pair of Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez, while also extending an invite to FC Porto’s attacking midfielder Yacine Brahimi, and Schalke 04 midfielder Nabil Bentaleb.
The last time these two teams met was in November 2016, with the Super Eagles winning by 3 goals to 1. Nigeria has acquired 13 points from 5 matches while the Algerians got 1 from 5 matches. While the Nigerians have had 3 runs without a loss the Algerians have 2.
Punters have staked 2-1 odds against the Super Eagles. Though, the Nigerians have a 33% possibility of not losing in an away game in this qualifier.
Meanwhile, an interesting fat is that the current Captain of Nigeria, Mikel John Obi, was less than three years old the last time Algeria defeated Nigeria, in the final of the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algiers.
After a three-day camp in the Moroccan city of Rabat, the Super Eagles took off for Constantine on Thursday morning. The team left their camp in Rabat at about 9 a.m. and arrived in Constantine at about 10.05 a.m They got very warm reception from the Algerian people.
The team will on Saturday move to Krasnodar, the Russian city which will host Tuesday’s international friendly between Nigeria and Argentina.
Players to Watch:
- Alex Iwobi (Nigeria): His two goals against the Zambians in Ndola and in Uyo have been very crucial in the Super Eagles World Cup qualifying campaign. He’s got great vision when in possession of the ball while his interchange of passes with his teammates in the final third of the opposing half can cause havoc in the blink of an eye.
- Riyad Mahrez (Algeria): He and his teammates have really under-performed throughout this World Cup qualifying series, but on his good day, he can be unplayable.
Head to Head clash:
- Nigeria won 9
- Algeria won 6
- Drawn games 3
- Gernot Rohr (Nigeria)
- Rabah Madjer (Algeria)
Date, Time and Venue of the match:
- November 10, 2017
- 8:30pm (Nigerian time)
- Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium, Constantine