Nige­ria seek home win over Al­ge­ria

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

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.

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