WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFIER
- Says last Group B qualifying game not a friendly one
Even as Super Eagles handlers are lamenting the absence of six key members of the team due to injuries, Fennecs of Algeria Head Coach, Rabah Madjer, has insisted that his wards will play Fridayâ€™s dead rubber World Cup 2018 qualifier with Nigeria with all seriousness.
Madjer announced at a press conference ahead of the last Group B Russia 2018 game in Constantine that Algeria will not play the game like a friendly despite already eliminated from Russia 2018 Mundial.
â€œThe match against Nigeria is not a friendly, to me this is the first match of the qualifiers for next yearâ€™s World Cup,â€ Madjer declared at the press conference.
The former Algerian World Cup star admitted that the Fennecs have been in crisis and this game against Nigeria presents a chance to return the North African team to winning ways.
â€œOur team is in crisis, it has been a difficult period for the players and that is why we have to get back to winning matches immediately (defeating Nigeria),â€ stressed Madjer.
The Algeria coach picked Arsenal player, Alex Iwobi, as the star of the Super Eagles after he studied several videos of the Nigerian team.
Madjer also said Iwobi is the one player that coach Gernot Rohr does not have a replacement for after studying videos of the Eagles.
Rohr is going into the last World Cup qualifier unbeaten in the series. The Franco-German coach picked the ticket to the Mundial with this Algerian game to spare.
But tomorrow, the Eagles gaffer is going to be without six players who pulled out of the trip to North Africa due to injury.
Turkey-based midfielder Mikel Agu was the latest injury casualty to hit the team after Victor Moses, Moses Simon, Ogenyi Onazi, Odion Ighalo and Elderson Echiejile were ruled out of the 2018 World Cup qualifier as well as a friendly against Argentina four days later.
â€œWe have six injuries, so it means six changes at least in this game,â€ Rohr said wednesday.
â€œBut we hope to do a good game. We play to make a good game with good result.
â€œItâ€™s also an opportunity to see those players who did not play so much during the qualifiers,â€ he noted.
Rohr also admitted that his Algerian counterpart will be aiming to beat Eagles to return his team to reckoning.
â€œThey have changed coaches, they are yet to win at home (in the qualifiers), so they will be very aggressive, they have one of the best African players (Riyad) Mahrez and also (Islam) Slimani.
â€œIt will be interesting to see how some of the players will do in in our team,â€ concludes the Super Eagles gaffer who is expected to lead his wards to Constantine this afternoon from the teamâ€™s Rabat, Morocco camp.