Rohr: Poland And Nigeria Will Benefit From The Friendly

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr believes both his side and Poland’s will benefit greatly  from Friday’s international friendly in Wroclaw

The Eagles will officially kick start for the 2018 FIFA World Cup when they face the Poles, who will also be in Russia, from 8.45pm Friday night.

After the game in Poland, the Eagles will then travel to London to face the Serbs in the friendlies.

Speaking at a press conference, Rohr stated why Poland picked the Eagles for a friendly.

“We know very well the Senegalese team who play good football, they have a strong team,” Rohr said during his pre-match press conference on Thursday night.

“I suppose we are invited because they (Poland) are playing Senegal (at the World Cup). And we and Senegal are the only two black African teams at the World Cup, the other three African teams (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco) are from North Africa.

“It will be good preparation for Poland but also for us because Croatia has very high level. And we play Serbia next Tuesday in London so we have two good preparation games for the World Cup.”

Rohr also revealed that young Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper Francis Uzoho will make his first start for the Super Eagles in the game against Poland.

Uzoho made his first appearance for the Eagles when he came on for Daniel Akpeyi in the 4-2 win against Argentina on November 14, 2017.

Super Eagles Camp In A Great State  

The training camp of the Nigerian National Football team, the Super Eagles, was agog on Wednesday with invited players arriving in camp and participating in the first training session.

The Super Eagles  on Friday take on Polish national team at the Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw, Poland, come March 23.

According to tweets from the official Twitter handle of the Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles), among the early arrivals to camp on Wednesday were: Troost Ekong, Alex Iwobi, Ola Aina, Tyronne Ebuehi, Brian Idowu and Leon Balogun.

They were followed by Francis Uzoho, Elderson Echiejile, Stephen Eze, Joel Obi, Shehu Abdullahi, John Ogu, Moses Simon, Kenneth Omeruo.

Later in the day, the team announced the arrival of Odion Ighalo, Ogenyi Onazi, Uche Agbo and Ahmed Musa to the camp.

This brings the number of players in camp to 18 as others are expected to arrive later.

One of the players invited by coach Gernot Rohr for the friendlies against Poland and Serbia, Shehu Abdullahi, said he was delighted to be invited.

“I’m delighted to have received an invitation for the friendlies against Poland and Serbia. It’s a great honour to represent my dear country! Thanks, @thenff, Gernot Rohr and my fans in Nigeria.”

The pre-World Cup friendly match between Nigeria and the Polish national team, who are ranked 8th in the recently released FIFA Ranking, will kick off on Friday at 8:45 pm Nigerian time.

The Super Eagles will then take on the Serbian national team on Tuesday, March 27 in London.

Matic: Nigeria Are A very Good Side, I Know Mikel And Moses

Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic believes Nigeria is a country blessed with gifted and fantastic players and he is looking forward to facing the Super Eagles on March 27 in an international friendly at the Hive stadium in London.

The Manchester United star who was newly named the assistant captain by coach Mladen Krstajic admitted that the super eagles are a very good side and playing against them will be an encounter to enjoy.

“Let’s see in these two games where we are,” Matic told kurir.rs.

“We do not know Morocco, but the expert staff has saved the material. Nigeria is good, I know some of their players, and it will be a game to enjoy,”

The former Chelsea star played alongside Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Ola Aina at Stamford Bridge before he switched to United last season.

Matic has also faced Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo in English Premier League encounters.

All seven players are expected to feature for the Super Eagles against his Serbia team next Tuesday.

Matic has scored twice for Serbia in 36 international appearances since he made his debut against Poland in the 14 of December, 2008.

Eagles’ Camp Opens In Wroclaw

The camp of the Super Eagles Of Nigeria will officially be opened on Monday in Wroclaw, a city in Poland ahead of Friday’s international friendly against the Bialo-Czerwoni (White and Red) or Eagles, as the Senior National Team of Poland is popularly known as.

Both teams who have made it to the group stage of the Russia 2018 will battle it out at the 43,000 –capacity Stadium Wroclaw on Friday, 23rdMarch 2018.

Nigeria’s 28 –man playing squad has been empaneled to also serve the purpose of the friendly against equally Russia 2018 –bound Serbia, at The Hive, London (home ground of Barnet FC and London Bees) four days later.

Team Administrator, Dayo Enebi Achor confirmed to thenff.com on Sunday that the Eagles would be staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Wroclaw.

THE FULL LIST

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, The Netherlands); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas, Spain); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Joel Obi (Torino FC, Italy)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Gabriel Okechukwu (Akwa United)

FIFA Rankings: Nigeria maintains 52nd, Poland Rise; Serbia, Argentina Remain Static

The Super Eagles have not moved in the latest FIFA World Rankings released on Thursday on FIFA’sofficial website as the Nigerian side remain 52nd in the world.

Also, the Eagles maintain their position in Africa sitting still on the 7th position in the continent.

Poland who will challenge Eagles in an international friendly on March 23rd, are the only movers in the top 20 as they climbed one spot to joint-sixth with Spain.

Serbia who will also play the Eagles in another friendly billed for March 27, maintained 34th position.

The Eagles 2018 World Cup Group D opponents Argentina are still in fourth spot, Croatia remain 15th and also Iceland stay 18th.

For the Eagles’ 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying Group F opponents, South Africa moved one spot to 76th, Libya stayed at 99th and Seychelles rose one place to 191st.

The next FIFA Coca-Cola rankings come up April 12, 2018.

 

 

Super Eagles Not Scared Of Messi, Claims Rohr, Ezenwa

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr and goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa say the form of the Argentine superstar isn’t giving them any problems ahead of the world cup games in Russia later in 2018.

The Eagles are in Group D alongside Argentina, Iceland and Croatia at the Mundial and would clash in the Saint Petersburg with their South American foes in their final group game on June 26.

Both teams have clashed four times consecutively  in the World Cup with the more illustrious South Americans triumphing on all occasions.

Messi has been in terrific form in La Liga helping Barcelona claim top spot with 72 points in 28 matches, eight points above second-place Atletico Madrid and 15 points above champions and bitter rivals Real Madrid.

In separate interviews, Rohr and Ezenwa said they were not shaken by the dazzling displays of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who was excused from La Albiceleste’s friendly 4-2 defeat to the three-time African champions in Krasnodar, Russia, last November.

“We know he’s (Messi) one of the best players in the world but we are not worried about anybody because we have a good team. The game against Argentina will be a tough one and it will be very interesting going into the group’s last games,” Rohr said

“Perhaps we don’t have players we had in the 1990s, when only one player could make the difference. But now, we have a young team playing good and quality football, not only one or two quality players who can make the difference.”

Enyimba keeper and Eagles current first choice Ezenwa also reiterated his coach’s view when asked if he could stop the sleek Argentine.

Ezenwa copped an injury in January at the 2018 CHAN but despite initial fears that he might be sidelined from the trip to Russia, he’s back and hoping to stop Messi if he gets the nod to man the posts at the Mundial.

Asked if he could stop the Argentine from scoring, Ezenwa replied curtly with a smile, “Yes, I can stop Messi.”

“We play as a team always and collectively we have been doing well. That’s the mentality we are taking to the World Cup. If I get chosen by the coach, I will do my best always to stop any player from scoring,” Ezenwa said.

World Cup Winner Karembeu Tips “Exciting” Super Eagles For A Successful Campaign

Former France and Real Madrid star Christian Karembeu is sure the Super eagles are a team to look out for at the Russia 2018 World Cup and is confident they are going to be having a successful campaign.

Karembeu who accompanied the FIFA World Cup Trophy to Nigeria on a four-day tour predicted the three-time African champions will be one of theteams to stand out at the tournament.

Nigeria have been grouped alongside Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D.

“Yes, we know there are a number of strong African countries in the game but Nigeria has always been a great footballing nation, and they have an exciting team heading to the FIFA World Cup in Russia,” Karembeu, a member of France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad, said during a world press conference held in Abuja on Wednesday

“I have played alongside and against so many Nigerian players and I can attest to their strength and ambition.

“I believe the present Super Eagles squad is capable of great things.”

Eguavoen: Rohr Should Give Chance To Home-Based Players In Super Eagles

Former Nigeria coach, Austin Eguavoen, has urged Super Eagles  gaffer, Gernot Rohr, to give space and chances to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) players to his squad as he prepares for the 2018 World Cup.

Rohr invited two home-based  players for the upcoming international friendly matches  against Poland and Serbia, namely; Enyimba goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Akwa United striker, Okechukwu Gabriel. It was Gabriel’s first first senior call up.

Al Ahly forward, Junior Ajayi and Nigeria’s CHAN 2018 defender, Stephen Eze also got their first national team invitations in Rohr’s 28-man squad for the friendlies against Poland and Serbia.

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The former Super Eagles captain, Eguavoen, believes that the inclusion of new players with quality in  the squad will offer him more options in Rohr’s section process.

“I saw the list and it’s a good one, but I think there should be more players from the league (NPFL) in his squad,” the former Super Eagles captain told CSN.‎

“Eze was a standout player from (African Nations Championship) CHAN,  so he deserved his place.

“Gabriel Okechukwu is good striker and he posseses a certain unpredictability when playing which could be an asset relatively unknown, and he could spring surprises. Ajayi as well has proved his worth playing for Al Ahly in the continent, but let’s see how they will all fare.”

Eagles Invitation Excites Ajayi

Al Ahly forward Junior Ajayi has shown his delight has regards his first invite to the Super Eagles.

Ajayi is the second player to have been called into the Eagles from Egypt in recent time after Zamalek’s Moruf Yusuf was invited last year.

The 22-year-old has been in a fantastic form for his Egyptian side this season and has been named by Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr in his 28-man squad for the  friendly matches against Poland  in Wroclaw on March  and Serbia in London four days later.

The former CS Sfaxien forward, who   revealed his dream of playing in the World Cup, said he would push for a place in Rohr’s  Russia  2018 squad.

“Playing for the Nigerian national team is not easy at all and requires more effort and concentration in the upcoming period,”  Al Ahly’s official website quoted the former national Under-23 team player as saying.

According to  Egyptian outlet KingFut, Ajayi won the league, cup and super cup since joining Al Ahly. He also led the team to a silver medal in the 2016/17 CAF Champions League.

The player said  he is happy with the club’s officials  and players reactions following his call-up, saying they all congratulated him.

The former Tunisia-based  winger  also revealed that he had not received any offers from other clubs and that he was happy at the club.

He said  his target was  to win all the trophies with the Red Devils this season, especially the CAF Champions League as he wants to play in the Club World Cup.

 

 

Croatia Coach: We Must Clip Super Eagles, Argentina Our Easiest Opponents

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic says his team’s first group game against Super Eagles is a strong determinant in how long they would go in the world cup.

The encounter against the Super Eagles, Dalic reckoned is very  important to pick maximum points against the three-time African champions with games against the favorites Argentina and also the underdog Iceland.

“The first goal must be to qualify from the group. The first match against Nigeria will decide that, it is the key to everything for us in Russia,” Dalic stated during a lecture at the Split Hotel Duilovo in Zagreb on Tuesday.

“Then against Argentina we can not look for much. It will be easiest game for us because we have nothing to lose.

“The last game is against Iceland where everything will be decided.”

Dalic further stated that his team will be ready to take on the rest of the world in Russia.

“There is four months before the World Cup, there is still time, everything will be ready. We are monitoring all the players,” he added.

“What’s most important is that all players are healthy and ready. If that is the case then we have no reason to worry.”

 

Morocco Wins CHAN 2018, Downs Super Eagles 4-0

The hosting team of the Africa Nations Championship 2018, Morocco have made history by lifting the 2018 trophy after defeating Nigeria with four unreplied goals at the finals.

The match which was played at Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca in Morocco saw a goal in the 43rd minutes when Morocco got their first goal, it was one-sided till the final whistle.

The CHAN Eagles side got depleted as Moses Eleji was issued a second yelow card and was sent off just as the second half got underway, after he committed a fowl with a hard tackle against a Moroccan player.

With three more goals in the second half, the Moroccan team celebrated their first ever CHAN championship.

Nigeria automatically won the silver medal while Sudan which won the third place match earlier played against Libya clinched bronze. The third place match ended in a penalty shoot out with Sudan winning 4-2.