Nigeria’s quest to maintain its recent dominance over Algeria received a big boost, yesterday, with the arrival of the remaining two players, Francis Uzoho and Ebube Duru, to the Super Eagles’ camp in Constantine. The Super Eagles are in the Algerian city preparing for an international friendly against the 2019 African champions, whom like Nigeria failed to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Duru, a left back who plays for Rivers United, was invited as replacement for the injured Leon Balogun. He could not travel with the contingent from the home front because of a CAF Champions League engagement with Rivers United in Liberia.
According to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) media, apart from Balogun, team captain, Ahmed Musa and forwards, Henry Onyekuru and Samuel Chukwueze are also out of the clash due to injuries.
The NFF said Coach José Santos Peseiro has approved that the three-time African champions have a training game against Algeria’s ‘B’ squad on Saturday to see a number of new and returning players in action, ahead of the official game against the Fennecs (Algeria’s ‘A’ team) in Oran on Tuesday evening. The match against Algeria’s ‘B’ squad will start at 5.30 p.m. on Saturday, while the official game on Tuesday will commence at 8.00 p.m.
Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, defender Kevin Akpoguma, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forward Chidera Ejuke are returning to the squad after some period out, while midfielder Richard Onyedika and forward Godwin Saviour are joining up with the big boys for the first time. Israel-based goalkeeper Adeleye Adebayo was in the squad for summer’s AFCON qualifying matches against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe, but did not see action.
Tuesday’s clash will be only the second-ever friendly match between the Fennecs and the Super Eagles, with the two-time African champions edging a clash in Austria in October 2020 by the odd goal. When both teams clashed in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Oran in September 2005, the Super Eagles ran out 5-2 winners.