2018 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
- FIFA clears Bordeaux star, Ounas, for Algeria
Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report
Ahead of the November 12 World Cup qualifying clash between the Super Eagles and Fennec Foxes of Algeria in Uyo, Adlene Guedioura who is Odion Ighalo’s teammate at the English Premier League club, Watford, has engaged his Nigerian colleagues in a mind game.
The Algerian star revealed yesterday that he joked with both Ighalo and Isaac Success that they are now ‘enemies’ not to be spoken with before next month’s Russia 2018 qualifying clash between their two countries.
Though Guedioura may have made light the matter, Nigeria’s away victory against Zambia in Ndola last Sunday may have made the Algerians to take the trip to Uyo with the serious it deserves.
“I said to them I won’t talk to them until next month because they are my enemy now,” the 30-year-old Algeria midfielder told the Watford official website wednesday.
“Of course it’s a joke, but it will be a pleasure to play against them. It’s special to meet teammates who you are used to training with every day and to play against them in one game, so it’s quite good and strange at the same time.
“It’s going to be an important game for us. I’m sure we’ll have a good welcome from the Nigerian people and from Ighalo and Isaac, but when we go into the pitch they’re not going to be my teammates or my friends any more.
“It’s going to be a tough game and I can’t wait for it.”
The Algeria star further said the North Africans were disappointed with the home draw with Cameroon, but still remain confident they will qualify for Russia 2018.
“We wanted to win this game and we expected to win, so it was a bit of a disappointment to draw, but we faced a good team and especially a good goalkeeper,” he said.
“That was our first game of World Cup qualification so we still have five games to go and we have a really good team. I have a big trust in my teammates and in the team.
“It’s been a good moment for Algeria recently. We performed well at the last World Cup and we’ve been at the last two World Cups, so we want to continue and go to the next one.
“People are saying we are maybe the best team in Africa recently, so it’s good for us, but we want to keep that and improve.
“We have big players in our team – people like Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani are playing for the team that won the Premier League last year – so hopefully we will keep improving and qualify.”
However, following the clearance given to Franco-Algerian Adam Ounas to play for the North African nation by world football governing body, FIFA, the Fennec Foxes may have been boosted with this development.
The Algeria Football Federation (FAF) announced wednesday that Ounas has been given the all-clear signal to play for Algeria.
“Adam Ounas has officially opted to play for Algeria and his eligibility papers have been sent through to FIFA.”
Ounas represented France at Under-20 level, but he is now in line to make his debut for Algeria as early as a November 12 against Super Eagles in Uyo.
The 19-year-old Ounas, who has made a total of 29 appearances and scored five goals in Ligue 1 with Bordeaux, will be expected to help out the Algerians, who lost the midfield to Cameroun in Blida last Sunday.
Over the years, Algeria has swooped on players, who were born in France but have Algerian roots.They include Adlene Guedioura, Majid Bougherra, Rais M’Bolhi, Yacine Brahimi and Sofiane Feghouli.