Nigeria’s Super Eagles will face the Pharaohs of Egypt under floodlights on Tuesday evening in a pre-2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) friendly game at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Southern Nigeria.
Both Nigeria (three times AFCON champions) and Egypt (seven times champions and also the hosts of this year’s edition) are among the 24 teams that have secured qualification for the biennial tournament and are expected to use Tuesday’s game to start preparations for the tournament.
The match is now scheduled to kickoff at 6pm (local time) as against the initial 4pm scheduling. This may not be unconnected to requests both formal and informally by Nigeria’s head coach Gernot Rohr.
“Tomorrow, we should play at 5pm because the sun at 4pm on Friday (when they play against Seychelles) was very much. Although we will have to confirm with Football Federation,” Rohr said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Rohr hinted on some of the changes he will make in Tuesday’s game during the same press briefing, confirming that Denmark based striker
Paul Onuachu and Leon Balogun will start.
The Franco-German has however called up Italy-based David Okereke for Tuesday’s game. The Spezia forward scored the last goal in Nigeria Under 23s’ 4-0 demolition of Libya on Monday.
Okereke’s invitation was made the more necessary by the unavailability of team’s incumbent captain Ahmed Musa and China-based forward Odion Ighalo who have both been excused from the game.
Nigeria’s opponents on Tuesday, the Pharaohs will be without poster boy Mohammed Salah for the friendly encounter. The Liverpool forward was left out by head coach Javier Aguirre who claims he wants to assess “new players”.
“I’m willing to prepare the team so that they can actually compete in the (AFCON) tournament. I did not call up Salah for this game because I want to see new players and give them the chance to be part of the team. It was my own decision,” Aguirre told journalists on Monday afternoon.
Possible Nigeria XI:
Daniel Akpeyi; Abdullahi Shehu, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Jamilu Collins; Semi Ajayi, Wilfred Ndidi; Henry Onyekuru, Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon; Paul Onuachu.
Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde