The Super Eagles take on the Desert Foxes 15 months after their meeting in the Africa Cup of Nations
Retired Nigeria striker, Victor Ezeji, believes the result of the Super Eagles friendly clash against Algeria on Friday is of no consequence, that testing new faces will be the real deal.
Both African powerhouses locked horns at the Jacques Lemans Arena in the Austrian city of Sankt Veit an der Glan and coach Gernot Rohr heads into the game with first timers that include Mathew Yakubu, Zaidu Sanusi, Samson Tijani, Chidera Ejuke and Cyriel Dessers, while the likes of Maduka Okoye, Mikel Agu and Paul Onuachu, will have a chance to also get minutes on the pitch.
“For me, it’s a friendly game and it’s an opportunity for the manager to try new players so it’s not about the result but trying to see if the new players can gel,” Ezeji told Goal.
“A situation where we have friendly games but can’t test players won’t be nice. It’s a friendly game and we have nothing to lose.”
The last encounter between Nigeria and Algeria ended on a bitter note for the latter team after they were defeated by the Desert Foxes 2-1 in the semi-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez scored a brilliant last-minute free-kick to send Algeria to the final which they ultimately won.
The Super Eagles claimed third place by edging past Tunisia. The manner of the semi-final defeat still hurts and Ezeji asserts this is not the moment to enact any form of revenge because it will not count.
“We have many opportunities for revenge on Algeria when we are in a proper competition but this is just a friendly game,” the Caf Champions League winner said.
“The result means nothing. We could beat Algeria 10-0, it’s nothing as far as I’m concerned, but the most important thing is testing new players invited to the camp.”
Since that semi-final defeat, the Super Eagles have been unbeaten in five matches (W3 D2).