Nigeria seek home win over Algeria
NIGERIA will hope to beat one of Africa’s leading teams in Algeria tomorrow at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo to consolidate their leadership of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group. Kick-of is at 6:00PM. The Super Eagles are buoyed by a 2-1 win in Zambia last month, while Algeria were held by visiting Cameroon to a 1-1 draw.
Three-time African champions Nigeria have won back a great deal of public confidence under Franco-German coach Gernot Rohr, who has won his first two games in charge.
“We are building a team for the future. I want to build a really good team, a team who will win but also play very, very good football,” said the 63-year-old Rohr, who has been tasked to qualify Nigeria to a sixth World Cup.
“We have tried to do these in our first games (vs Tanzania and Zambia. But now it will be difficult against Algeria, who are the top team in Africa.
“We will try to beat them so that we could have a good position in our qualification group for the 2018 World Cup.”
The major talking point for Nigeria leading up to Saturday’s showdown is the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, who has been ruled out due to a hip injury after he has established himself in the Eagles goal since his debut in September 2015.
South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi was a late replacement for Ikeme and he will jostle for the No 1 shirt with Portugal-based Dele Alampasu and Ikechukwu Ezenwa from FC IfeanyiUbah.
The home team have been boosted with the return of defender William Troost-Ekong, Oghenekaro Etebo and Victor Moses, who all missed the Zambia match due to injury.
Victor Moses, for one, has been in the form of his life at Premier League club Chelsea, where he now plays as a right wing-back.
A lot of changes have taken place for Algeria since the draw at home with Cameroon.
Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac has been replaced by Georges Leekens, who is back after a short first spell.
The Desert Foxes have been ravaged by injuries with Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam, Rachid Ghezzal, Ryad Boudebouz and Hilal Soudani opting out of this qualifier.
The team’s class act is Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez, who has as expected formed a good understanding with compatriot Islam Slimani at “The Foxes”.
His tricky down the right flank will be expected to be a big source of concern for the Nigeria defence believed to be the Achilles Heel of the home team.
Schalke 04 midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has returned to international duty after he missed last month’s game against Cameroon and he warned Algeria cannot afford any mistakes in Uyo.
“We cannot afford any mistakes,” said Bentaleb, whose recent form has seen him fire five goals in the German Bundesliga.
“Nigeria are a quality team, but Algeria have the class to get a result in Nigeria. We are feared in Africa.”
Nigeria enjoy an upper hand in head-to-head meetings with the North Africans.
Since 1973, they have won eight, drawn three and lost six matches with their last clash being in January 2010, when they won 1-0 to finish third at the 2010 Afcon in Angola.
Meanwhile, Kanu Nwankwo believes the Nigeria’s Super Eagles have a great chance of beating Algeria’s Desert Warriors in tomorrow’s 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier in Uyo.
The two sides meet toe to toe at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium with a win for Nigeria guaranteeing them top spot in Group B after match day two.
Kanu says the attitude and body language of the players fills him with enormous confidence that a win could be on the cards for the Super Eagles on Saturday.
“I can see the joy and happiness in our Super Eagles players,that’s sign of good team spirit and the will show it in the game against Algeria,” Kanu wrote on his official twitter account, @papilokanu.
Kanu, who scored 12 goals for Nigeria at senior level, earning 87 caps for the Super Eagles between 1994 and 2011.— Supersport.