Femi Solaja in Cairo
Ahead of the titanic battle between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Desert Foxes of Algeria tonight at the Cairo International Stadium, the duo of Coach Gernot Rohr and Kenneth Omeruo has assured Nigerian that the team is battle ready to face the Algerian team.
At the pre-match press conference yesterday at the stadium, the coach said although the Algerians are tournament favourites but that his players are fully ready to stand their ground.
“I am not afraid to say we have a chance to win the match but we are ready for this match no doubt because all the players are back to shape.
We had some injury worries in the last match but as at Friday evening everybody is back to shape and we all trained meaning we are not in any way lacking in both physical and mental ability,” the coach expressed.
Nigeria is going into the match against an Algerian side that has not lost any match and are second in Africa in the current FIFA ranking. But coach Rohr said that his match plan will do the magic and he is delighted that his players are responding to the best approach to the encounter.
“No doubt the facts that we are impressed with the Algeria/Côte ‘d’ Iviore match on Thursday night but we are ready to match them toe to toe tomorrow in that big stadium which is now our adopted home ground in the tournament after we left Alexandria.
“When I said South Africa are favourite before the match and now that we have won against them, logically we have to inherit the favourite tag but I will say no because the Algerian team has improved from the one we met at the last World Cup qualifying round of matches to Russia,” he explained.
On his part, Super Eagles central defender, Omeruo said the team is well prepared for all sorts of antics the Algerian team may want to adopt during the match.
“We know them to be a good side but that will not translate to respect because we have an assemblage of players who wants to dominate the continental scene in the next couple of years.
“This is the time for them to get into the grove and if we win this match for millions of Nigerians they will equally become instant heros among them.
This team doubt is different to the 2013 winning squad of AFCON because that team was an assemblage of star players on the big stage while the present one are talents but will become star players using this tournament,” he remarked.
NIGERIA & ALGERIA AT SENIOR LEVEL
10 Jan 1973: Nigeria 2 Algeria 2 – Lagos (All-Africa Games)
28 July 1978: Algeria 1 Nigeria 0 – Algiers (All-Africa Games Final)
22 March 1980: Nigeria 3 Algeria 0 – Lagos (AFCON Final)
10 Oct 1981: Nigeria 0 Algeria 2 – Lagos (World Cup Qualifier)
30 Oct 1981: Algeria 2 Nigeria 1 – Constantine (World Cup Qualifier)
10 March 1982: Algeria 2 Nigeria 1 – Benghazi (AFCON)
11 March 1984: Algeria 0 Nigeria 0 – Bouake (AFCON)
15 Jan 1988: Algeria 1 Nigeria 0 – Annaba (Olympics Qualifier)
30 Jan 1988: Nigeria 2 Algeria 0 – Enugu (Olympics Qualifier)
23 March 1988: Algeria 1 Nigeria 1 – Rabat (AFCON semi, 8-9 penalties)
2 March 1990: Algeria 5 Nigeria 1 – Algiers (AFCON)
16 March 1990: Algeria 1 Nigeria 0 – Algiers (AFCON Final)
13 July 1993: Nigeria 4 Algeria 1 – Lagos (World Cup Qualifier)
8 Oct 1993: Algeria 1 Nigeria 1 – Algiers (World Cup Qualifier)
21 Jan 2002: Algeria 0 Nigeria 1 – Bamako (AFCON)
3 July 2004: Nigeria 1 Algeria 0 – Abuja (World Cup Qualifier)
4 Sept 2005: Algeria 2 Nigeria 5 – Oran (World Cup Qualifier)
30 Jan 2010: Algeria 0 Nigeria 1 – Benguela (AFCON)
12 Nov 2016: Nigeria 3 Algeria 1 – Uyo (World Cup Qualifier)
11 Nov 2017: Algeria 1 Nigeria 1 – Constantine (World Cup Qualifier).
Match later awarded 3-0 to Algeria as Nigeria fielded ineligible player.