Three days after falling 0-1 to current African champions, Desert Foxes of Algeria, in a friendly match, the Super Eagles will again face another tricky tie, this time, against Tunisia in Austria.
Today’s big game at the Jacques Lemans Arena in the Austrian city of St. Veit an der Glan, is coming about 14 months after the Gernot Rohr-led Eagles defeated the Carthage Eagles in their bronze medal match at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo. The event was the Egypt 2019 African Cup of Nations.
NFF officials confirmed yesterday that a fresh round of COVID-19 tests was conducted on Eagles players and coaches yesterday. On Friday, the entire Nigerian contingent of players and officials returned COVID-19 negative results after tests conducted on Thursday, ahead of the clash with African champions, Algeria.
Friday’s match against Algeria saw Ramy Bensebaini reacting fastest to the ball in the box from a corner kick to poke the ball behind goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.
Many Nigerian fans went to bed in disappointment, as the Super Eagles failed to level up the early minute goal scored in the sixth minute of the match.
But Coach Rohr and the players say they have put behind them the disappointment of losing a second match in a row to Algeria. He has challenged the squad to up the ante and show vibrancy, especially in attack against the 2004 African champions in today’s match.
“We definitely must put up greater effort against the Tunisians. It is an opportunity for some of the players to rise up to the occasion, stake a claim. They are ready to go and I believe we will see a much better game on Tuesday (today).”
Nigeria capped four new players against Algeria, with midfield dependable Wilfred Ndidi, Joseph Ayodele-Aribo and Oghenekaro Etebo, as well as forward Victor Osimhen unavailable.
In their absence, Rohr had to start first-cap Frank Onyeka alongside Alex Iwobi and defender Oluwasemilogo Ajayi in midfield, with Paul Onuachu as the lone striker.
In a match that also saw wing back Zaidu Sanusi, centre-back Kevin Akpoguna and midfielder Samson Tijani also earning their first senior caps, the Eagles huffed and puffed and strove hard to find cohesion and some sort of solidity, but failed to match the mentality and organisation of the Fennecs.
Today, the three-time African champions must be at their best against a motivated Carthage Eagles, who thumped Sudan 3-0 in Tunis on Friday.
All 24 players in camp were involved in yesterday evening’s training session, and are available for selection. Goalkeepers Dele Alampasu and Matthew Yakubu, defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awaziem, Olaoluwa Aina and Jamilu Collins and forwards Cyril Dessers and Chidera Ejuke were not part of the run-out with Algeria and could be considered for action this night.
Tunisia have not beaten Nigeria in a competitive game since the 2004 AFCON that they hosted, when they edged the Super Eagles in a penalty shoot-out after both teams tied 1-1 in regulation and extra time at the Stade Olympique in Rades, outside Tunis.
Matches between Nigeria and Tunisia have always been supercharged, the 2004 encounter no less so. After Jay Jay Okocha gave Nigeria the lead from the spot, Tunisia restored parity with only eight minutes left, Khaled Badra also poking in from the spot. Osaze Odemwingie missed during the shoot-out and the Eagles had to be content with the bronze medal after beating Mali. Tunisia went on to defeat Morocco in the final for their only continental title so far.
Tiger Woods Hospitalised After Car Crash
US golfer Tiger Woods was hospitalized Tuesday after a car crash in which his vehicle sustained “ major damage , ” the Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s department said .
Woods, the sole occupant, was removed from the wreckage by firefighters and paramedics and taken to a local hospital for treatment , a statement said.
The extent of his injuries was not known . The roll -over collision near Los Angeles did not involve any other vehicles .
FIFA Clears Eight Players For Super Eagles
FIFA has cleared eight new players for the Super Eagles.
Fulham’s forward Ademola Lookman is on top of the list.
Others on the list are:
* Jordan Torunarigha Hertha BSC
* Nathan Tella Southampton FC
* Tosin Adarabioyo Fulham FC
* Ovie Ejaria Reading FC
* Noni Madueke PSV
* Sheyi Ojo Cardiff City
Arsenal Complete Martin Odegaard Signing
By Agency Report
Arsenal have made an official statement to confirm that they have signed Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan. The 22-year-old Norwegian international has joined the Premier League heavyweights for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
Odegaard was touted for big things upon returning from his impressive loan spell at Real Sociedad, having been recalled from a two-year spell with La Real early, last summer. However, the 22-year-old has struggled to nail down his spot in Zinedine Zidane’s side, managing just nine outings in all competitions till date. His situation alerted Arsenal, who have quickly moved to sign him.
The interest from Arsenal makes a great deal of sense, seeing as they have lacked a genuine creative powerhouse in the squad this season. While Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka provided respite in recent weeks, the Gunners have still been in need of another out-and-out attacking playmaker, especially following the infamous departure of Mesut Ozil.
On his part, the young Norwegian was intent on temporarily leaving Real Madrid, which brought Arsenal on the verge of signing him this week. With Los Blancos unwilling to let him join Real Sociedad again, Arsenal became the favourites to sign him and have now secured his services. Upon his arrival, Mikel Arteta expressed his delight at having landed Odegaard.
The Arsenal boss said, “It’s great that we’ve secured Martin to come to us until the end of the season. Martin is of course a player that we all know very well and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while. Martin will provide us with quality offensive options and we’re all excited to be integrating him into our plans between now and May.”