By Olawale Ayeni, Abuja
Nigeria’s Super Eagles will today battle with their Tunisia counterpart, Carthage Eagles, in an international friendly match in Klagenfurt, Austria, as both sides continue their preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying game. The clash will be the third time both countries will take on each other in a friendly game.
Super Eagles will hope to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat to Algeria in another friendly game on Friday, while Tunisia would hope to maintain their winning runs after 3-0 loss to Sudan in last Friday’s friendly encounter.
Nigeria and Tunisia had met 19 times in the past across friendlies, World Cup qualifications, AFCON qualification and Africa Cup of Nations.
The head-to-head record between these two African powerhouses is even, and this match could finally separate them. Both sides have six victories apiece, with seven matches between them ending in stalemate.
The most recent meeting between the teams was July 2019 in the third-place playoff at the AFCON when a third-minute goal by Odion Ighalo was enough to give Nigeria a 1-0 win.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr, who described the game as preparation for future engagements, is expected to make a number of changes in his starting line-up, following his side’s poor showing against Algeria.
The West African side were completely outplayed by the Algerians, with Ramy Bensebaini netting the winner in the sixth minute.
Left-back Zaidu Sanusi, Tyronne Ebuehi, Leon Balogun, Maduka Okoye and Alex Iwobi, all put up impressive displays for the Super Eagles, while majority of their teammates struggled all through.
Genk forward, Paul Onuachu had a disappointing game, while the likes of Semi Ajayi, Samuel Chukwueze, William Troost-Ekong and Samuel Kalu were not at their best.
Rohr is likely to drop Onuachu for either Kelechi Iheanacho and Cyriel Dessers against the Carthage Eagles.
Talented winger, Chidera Ejuke is also likely get the chance to make his debut against the former African champions.
“We are preparing for the AFCON and World Cup. The game is like a test for us and preparation for the future,” Rohr said.
The Super Eagles will to face Africa’s second-ranked team, Tunisia, at 7.30 p.m. (Nigerian time).