SOME Nigerian football enthusiasts have urged the Super Eagles to play with passion and pride when they face Algeria in their final qualification match for the Russia 2018 World Cup.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Super Eagles with the World Cup ticket already in the bag, face the Fennecs in Constantine on Friday.
A cross-section of football enthusiasts who spoke to NAN however noted that even though the Super Eagles have already qualified, they should approach the game with all sense of seriousness.
Nduka Ugbade, an ex-international and former Flying Eagles Coach, said the game at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui must not be played with over-confidence.
He said it should rather be used as part of preparations for next year’s World Cup finals.
“The Eagles must not be lackadaisical in their approach to the game. They must be relentless as the Algerians will be out to prove a point.
“The players must therefore be primed to go full speed for the 90 minutes as this is what it takes to play at the big stage.
“We can be sure that the Algerian team will want to break the momentum of the Eagles, but that must not be allowed to happen.
“We must be at full speed the whole 90 minutes,” Ugbade said.
Emmanuel Babayaro, also an ex-international, said coach Gernot Rohr must ensure that he used only his best and fully-fit players in the match.
“This is not a mere game. It is against the former number one-ranked team in Africa and so it must not be taken lightly.
“The North Africans will come all out with everything in their arsenal, as they will be playing for pride on home soil.
“So, this is a perfect opportunity for Rohr to test his team in order to ascertain how prepared they are both mentally and physically ahead of the World Cup,” he said.
Babayaro added that, depending on how the match goes, other players who have not been used in the previous matches could be introduced.
“This will help to also test the depth of the squad, especially in the goalkeeping department,’’ he said.
Emmanuel Iorsar, coach of Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi, said Rohr must not be predictable in his approach.
He said the coach should rather bring up some surprises in order to catch the North Africans off-guard.
“Whilst the Algerians would have watched the video clips of past matches of the Eagles and would have noted the team’s first obligation is to play the ball on the ground, Rohr should ensure the style on Friday is that of `mix and match’.
“Although, it will look really good to dictate play with neat triangles, but it will be much better if the opponent is not sure of what is really going to happen.
“The Eagles must become very unpredictable in those 90 minutes,” the former goalkeeper said.
Emmanuel Amakiri, the Proprietor of Amakson Soccer Academy in Abuja, said the players must see the match as an opportunity to impress the coach.
He said this would help to boost their chances of making the World Cup squad.
“The match is really very important not just because both teams will be playing for pride but also because the players will be hungry to prove a point and seal their positions in the squad.
“So, that will make it a very interesting match for Nigerians to watch and use to judge the players’ performance.
“It will as well also help the coach to begin to assemble his final squad for the World Cup,” Amakiri said.
He however added that the players must be very strong and physical in their approach to the game.
“We must use one of the advantages we have against the slightly smaller North Africans by employing a very physical approach.
“We can be very sure that the Algerians are going to be coming at the Eagles like flies at every moment in the match.
“So, the formation largely required to ensure the Algerians are pushed back at every opportunity is to stretch the pitch as wide as possible,” Amakiri said. – NAN
– Nov 8, 2017 @ 11:18 GMT |