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NFF confirms live coverage as Belmadi explains decision to play Eagles

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PHOTO: AFP.

Nigerians can watch tomorrow’s international friendly between the Super Eagles and the Fennecs of Algeria live through either African International Television (AIT) or SuperSports, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has disclosed.

Nigeria will take on African champions, Algeria, in the first of two international friendly games in Austria this FIFA window. The second game against Tunisia comes up three days later. All the matches will hold in Austria.

According to NFF Media Director, Ademola Olajire, the federation’s marketing department has reached an understanding with both AIT and SuperSports to broadcast the games to Nigerians as part of efforts to get Super Eagles’ fans close to the team.

Both matches will kick off by 7.30 Nigerian time, Olajire disclosed that the Super Eagles camp at the Hotel die Zeit an der Glan in Austria is brimming with excitement following the arrival of all invited players, adding that there is stout confidence that the mixture of old boys and new acts would turn back African champions Algeria tomorrow and the continent’s second-ranked team Tunisia on Tuesday.

He reaffirmed that former Germany U20 captain, Kevin Akpoguma, who arrived in camp only to bond with Nigeria’s international train ahead of his switch to fatherland, was cleared by FIFA’s single judge to dorn the green-white-green henceforth.

“His clearance solidifies a dependable backline of Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun, Chidozie Awaziem, William Ekong, Olaoluwa Aina, Jamilu Collins, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi and first-time invitee Zaidu Sanusi,” he added.

Algeria, who have a second game against Mexico in The Netherlands on Tuesday, come into Friday’s game not only as the champions of Africa, but also on the back of an 18-match unbeaten run. They have not lost on the pitch since they were bumped by the odd goal in an AFCON 2019 qualifier away in Benin Republic in October 2018.

Djamel Belmadi, the former Algerian international, who coached his country to a second continental title in Egypt last year, has included standout names Riyad Mahrez, Yassine Brahimi, Sofiane Feghouli and Baghdad Bounedjah in his 24-man squad to confront the three-time African champions.

Coach Gernot Rohr also has in his team Captain Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze and Kenneth Omeruo, but he has to do without electrifying forward Victor Osimhen and midfield lynchpin Wilfred Ndidi. New birds Frank Onyeka and Chidera Ejuke, and former U17 captain Samson Tijani have the opportunity to impress.

Meanwhile, Belmadi has explained that he opted to face Nigeria because ‘the Super Eagles are difficult opponents.’

Of the last seven games played between the Super Eagles and Desert Foxes, the West African giants have won five and lost two and one of the defeats came in the boardroom when Nigeria used in an ineligible player Abdullahi Shehu in their final game of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Algeria managed to beat Nigeria 2-1 in the semifinals of last year’s Africa Cup of Nations thanks to a brilliant free-kick scored by Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez with the last kick of the game.

According to Belmadi, “Nigeria is a benchmark match, especially in the first half, we could have led 3-0.

“They are always very close matches against them, moreover they won more than we did. I am looking for the difficulty against Nigeria to progress.

“We could have opted very quickly against smaller teams but I had the requirement to obtain these two prestigious matches against Nigeria and Mexico.

“Nigeria everyone knows, it is the third best team in the FIFA / CAF ranking.”


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