Uyo - Captain Mikel John Obi has assured that the Super
Eagles will take to the pitch of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on
Saturday determined to earn all three points in the World Cup qualifying match
The 29 –year old midfielder told thenff.com on Friday
morning that all the players appreciate the importance of this particular game
and its ramifications for Nigeria’s march to a sixth FIFA World Cup finals.
“We all know what this match means, why we have to give
everything. Yes, we started the race well by winning in Zambia, but we have to
approach this match even more seriously. The Algerians will come with
determination and they will play hard, but we will play harder.
“The World Cup is the biggest stage; every player wants to
be there. I am happy we have such a young and energetic team. I played at the
World Cup in Brazil in 2014 but there are many of these players who have never
been to the World Cup. They want to be there.”
The dogged playmaker insisted that the team is looking
forward to nothing less than victory against the invading Fennecs.
“Three points; that is what we will be playing for. We are
committed and the visit of the Vice President (Professor Yemi Osinbajo) to our
training in Abuja has motivated us even more.”
Nigeria represented Africa at the 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and
2014 FIFA World Cup finals, reaching the Round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014.
Nigeria and Algeria were Africa’s best teams at the last
World Cup finals, in Brazil, each eliminated in the Round of 16 on the same
day: Nigeria fell to France and Algeria were pipped by Germany.
The rivalry between Nigeria and Algeria at senior level is
one of the fiercest in African football.
Nigeria beat Algeria to win her first Africa Cup of Nations
in 1980; 10 years later, Algeria beat Nigeria to win her first Cup of Nations.
Algeria beat Nigeria to qualify for her first FIFA World Cup
- Spain 1982; Nigeria beat Algeria to qualify for her first FIFA World Cup –
Also read: Mikel, Musa, 18 others participate in Super Eagles first training
The first meeting between both teams, at the All-Africa
Games that Nigeria hosted in 1973, ended 2-2. Algeria enjoyed a three –match
winning streak against Nigeria between October 1981 and March 1982, but Nigeria
has won the last four confrontations between both nations.
The Super Eagles have never lost a World Cup qualifying home
match outside of Lagos. And they have lost only one out of six World Cup
qualifying matches played in the month of November, winning the remaining five.
The Algerians hit Uyo on Thursday evening with a delegation
of 61 persons, aboard a chattered flight, and will have the official training
on the pitch of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Friday evening. They
were received at the Ibom International Airport by NFF Deputy General
Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme and protocol officer, Emmanuel Ayanbunmi.
The match officials, led by Hassan Osama Atta Ibrahim El
Manan (match commissioner from Sudan) slept in Lagos on Thursday, to hit Uyo on
The referee is Gambian Bakary Papa Gassama, with Jean-Claude
Birumushahu (Burundi) as assistant referee 1; Marwa Range (Kenya) as assistant
referee 2 and; Maudo Jallow (Gambia) as fourth official. Jean-Olivier Mbera
from Gabon will serve as referee assessor and Kenyan Nicholas Chumba Musonye
will be security officer.
The match kicks off at 5pm on Saturday.
that Super Eagles Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr accused Chelsea manager Antonio
Conte of punishing Mikel for playing for Nigeria at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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- News24 Nigeria