5 Key Questions On Super Eagles Ahead Friendly Clash With Algeria

5 Key Questions On Super Eagles Ahead  Friendly Clash With Algeria

With the Super Eagles set to face African champions Algeria in a friendly at the Worthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria on Friday, Completesports.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU presents five key questions on the Gernot Rohr’s team ahead of the game…

1. Who Leads The Attack In Osimhen’s Absence

With Victor Osimhen already ruled out of the games against Algeria, and Tunisa, most of the talks ahead of the Friday’s game against the Desert Foxes will centre around who takes the place of Napoli forward in attack.
Head coach of the side, Gernot Rohr will have to choose between Genk of Belgium duo, Paul Onuachu and Cyriel Dessers, as well as Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho.

Onuachu, who was handed a late invitation as replacement for Osimhen has been painting the Belgium Pro League with goals this season.


The 26-year-old has scored seven goals, while Dessers has a goal to his name. Iheanacho, who is once again playing second fiddle to Jamie Vardy at Leicester City, is yet to score this season.

2. Can The Super Eagles End Algeria’s 18-match Unbeaten Run?

The Super Eagles will attempt to end Algeria’s 18-match unbeaten streak when both teams clash on Friday. The Desert Foxes’ last defeat came almost two years ago, a 1-0 loss to the Squirrels of Benin in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Since then, the African champions have won 13 and drawn five matches.

3. Who Gets The Nod To Start In Goal?

With regulars Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa not included in the squad for the Algeria game and next week’s friendly against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, the trio of Dele Alampasu, Maduka Okoye and Mathew Yakubu now have the chance to impress the technical crew.

Also Read: LASK Goalkeeper Lawal Joins Super Eagles’ Austria Camp

Alampasu, who is second choice goalkeeper at Latvian outfit Ventspils, has made six league appearances for the club this season.

Okoye is yet to make an appearance for his new Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam, while Yakubu, who is first choice at Slovakia side, Sered, has made eight league appearances for the club.

There is also a Fourth goalkeeper in camp, Tobias Lawal, who plays for Austrian Bundesliga side, LASK .

4. Can The New Boys Stake Claim For Regular Playing Berth?

Cyriel Dessers, Chidera Ejuke, Mathew Yakubu, Zaidu Sanusi, Samson Tijani and Frank Onyeka will look to impress coach Gernot Rohr and his technical assistants following their maiden invitation to the Super Eagles.

An impressive performance from any of the players could see them cement a place in the team.

Tijani and Onyeka in particular, have a chance to impress in midfield in the absence of Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo.

Left-back, Zaidu Sanusi has a tough battle in his hands to dislodge Jamilu Collins from the position, while Ejuke, Dessers and Yakubu face similar situation.

5. Can The Makeshift Midfield Stand Up To Algeria?

With Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi and Joe Aribo all ruled out of this game and next week’s encounter against Tunisia, Gernot Rohr will have to put his trust in new invitees; Samson Tijani, Frank Onyeka and Mikel Agu.

It remains to be seen how they will fare against experienced and quality stars like Sofiane Feghouli, Ismael Bennacer and co.

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  • Our main concern here is the midfield, hopefully the trio of Agu, Onyeka, and Tijani can stand up and be counted.

  • Dr. Drey 2 years ago

    1. Based on form and consistency, I fancy Onuachu to lead the lines. He has been with the SE till as recent as last October when we faced Brazil. He to a large extend understand how the team plays and how the coach wants them to play. He was been in closed camping with the likes of Kalu, Samu, Musa, Simon and others b4, during and after AFCON, 2 of whom will flank him on friday. He is not stranger to any of them. If only they can get to play to his strenghts and if he can do well to improve on his hold up play for the SE so far. Ironically, his last goal for the team was against another North African giant Egypt.

    2. Algeria is really a team in-form. And to know that Benin rep (our fellow west africans and AFCON qualification group mate) was the last team to see their scalp is quite interesting…that only shows Benin Rep IS NOT TEAM TO DISMISS WITH THE WAVE OF THE HAND. Whether the Desert foxes extend their run remains to be seen on Friday, but my gut feeling tells me its going to be either a narrow SE or a draw after 90 mins on the 9th.

    3. Okoye is my best bet to start in goal. He was the last to be in goal amongst all the goal keepers currently in camp. He has been with the team since after the last AFCON and has some match-situation understanding already with the Central defenders. For a “high stake” friendly match like the one we will be playing on friday, I wouldnt risk an entirely ‘new’ guy starting in goal. The ‘new’ guys can come in in the 2nd half

    4. The ball is now in the courts of Cyriel Dessers, Chidera Ejuke, Mathew Yakubu, Zaidu Sanusi, Samson Tijani and Frank Onyeka to impress coach Gernot Rohr and his technical assistants following their maiden invitation to the Super Eagles, especially Dessers (in absence of Osimhen), Onyeka (in absence of Ndidi and Etebo) and Sanusi (with collins blowing hot and cold). There might not be a 2nd chance to make a good 1st impression for there 3 guys.

    5. The makeshift midfield will have to show that they are worthy to bear the mark. There would have been no better test for them than a match like this one against a power house like algeria. A fantastic performance from them, particulary Mikel Agu, and Ndidi Etebo would have to start thinking of what to do to retain their places.

    • I will like to concur with you that Maduka okoye is our best bet on goal, not forgetting that he even stood in between the sticks against Brazil in the friendly we played.

  • Uchenna Nnaji 2 years ago

    The result of the match is not important, team cohesion and understanding is what the coaches are looking out for.
    The reaction of the players in match situation is important.

  • Wilfred Ndidi and Joe Aribo is a big miss for any team in football today.

    Azeez is good cover for Etebo and Ajayi can Play CDM so can Mikel Agu. But Everybody knows what happens to Leicester City if Ndidi is Injured. Also Aribo is a big talent and a Big miss for us, Just Ask Steven Gerrard.

    Ndidi and Aribo will be a big loss for any big club or team today more so Wilfred Onyinye Ndidi.

    • Continuation

      Ndidi and Aribo will be a big loss for any big club or team today more so Wilfred Onyinye Ndidi.

      I am Looking forward to see Zaidu Sanusi he looks really exciting player

      Osimhen is a Big loss for us He is quality and would have ripped Algeria apart no doubt.

      For me Osimhen, Aribo, Ndidi and Chukwueze coupled with Etebo and Iwobi were our stand out players in those Games against Brazil and Ukraine

      We all saw what Osimhen did against Lesotho 2 goals and 2 Assist best performance I have seen from a Super Eagles attacking Player in a long time.


      • Osimhen was on fire that day, I so much love his energy and fighting spirit

    • Edoguy 2 years ago

      I dont think Aribo is that great yet…may be I am the only one watching, but apart from the goals he scored, Aribo has not impacted the game the way i expect. Aribo does not see key passes and did not track back when needed. Physically he was absent from those games and he left the tracking back and defending to etebo against ukraine and to ndidi and etebo against brazil.

      Please, go watch the 90 mins of both games and judge for yourself. This was really evident against the african oppositions. In a crucial game, I will leave out Aribo, he needs to improve physically.

  • Michel 2 years ago

    For me I would rather have Iheanacho start in d attack and Mathew Yakubu in goal,he is a regular for his club.frank semi Ajayi should play as a DM with frank onyeka and Iwobi I’m from of them,Sanusi will easily displace Jamilu Collins who is below average for me.cyril Dessers should not bring his club form to d eagles otherwise,he might find invitation hard to come by with d emergence of lookman and co.

  • Ikeben 2 years ago

    Honestly the future is in the hands of God and also in our hands. At the end of last season, when we ranked our strikers based on goals scored, the top 5 strikers of Eagles was Osimhen, Dessers, Simmy, Sadique and Kelechi. And Onuachu was coming around no. 8. And most fans predicted that with the coming of Dessers to Super Eagles and also Genk, that Onuachu’s days in the team was past. At the time of March call up, Onuachu was very far from the lips of the coach and Nigerian fans.

    But all that has changed suddenly with the fire he used to start this season. But it is still yet to be seen if he can transfer his club fire to the National team.

    The fight for who becomes the second striker of the SE to join Victor in that position is ups for grabs. Will the Leicester city man and once upon a time, very reliable SE forward in the person of Kelechi Iheanacho take back his position or will the belgium based giant in the person of Onuachu, presently on fire who is having a second opportunity, take that coveted position. Or will it be the the Nigerain oyibo called Cyril Dessers who has long dreamt of leading the line for our darling Super Eagles.

    Another area where, Nigerians will be watching keenly is the midfield. Ndidi and Etebo has long made this position their right, but after a two-header friendly like this a certain Joe Aribo pushed his way into Super Eagles starting 11. But by a stroke of fate, All 3 Defensive mid-fielders are not available. So the battle at the Middle of who joins the already established ones. Onyeka, Tijani and Mikel Agu are ready to battle it out. Azeez was not so priviledged to get into the battle, but like we know Rohr any string of improved performance in his club and easily bring him to the fore.

    Then the last curcial battle is the battle of who joins the Goalkeeping department. Despite Akpeyi heroics with his club last season, he was was omitted from the friendly match, showing clearly that the gaffer wants to shop for fresh opitons. Uzoho not realesed by his club makes it an open ground for so many freshers to stake their claim. Okoye, Alampasu, Yakubu and now Lawal all linning up for that fight of who joins Uzoho in the goal post. Will the home grown Alampasu who ones ruled the world in his U-17 days and many predicted will become an established Super Eagles goal tender finally fulfil the promise or will that position be seeded to any of the foreign grown Naija talents, lets wait and see.

    These 3 areas and even more are some of the reasons this friendly match is setting the stage for the New Improved Super Eagles that is about to emerge. And how the squad finally turns out will be very interesting to watch. But only time shall tell.

    • The was no way that I would not acknowledge such a nice write-up. Well done Ikeben. It made for good reading.

  • Watching Ejuke play just sweetens my heart, that boy is good


    • Kazeem 2 years ago

      It’s people like you Dr Drey is talking about. Watching 2 min Youtube clips to justify a players performance. Why is he not doing the same in Russia. We always quick to hail players when they perform good in 2 or 3 matches and suddenly they are SE material. Even the coach is russia is complaining of his performance. What is special in the video you just shared.

  • Baddest 2 years ago

    What is the time of the match guys? And also will it be televised, cos I don’t want to miss the match for anything

  • greenturf 2 years ago

    Maduka Okoye has not played actively for his new club so in that regards could be match rusty to start games unless the goalkeeper coach thinks otherwise.

    This is a friendly game but the results are however,taken seriously by FIFA in it’s monthly ranking so winning both games is important to the super eagles as well our opponents.So we are looking forward to a very competitive and entertaining encounters.

    In the absence of our regular midfielders,Semi Ajayi should be drafted to the midfield.So we are looking at the oyinbo wall flanked by Aina and Collins.Matthew Yakubu in goal.In the midfield the trio of Ajayi,Agu and Iwobi will hold sway.

    I wish the super eagles luck.

    • this looks good… if we take control of the match, we can make early changes in the second half

      • greenturf 2 years ago

        Thanks mate,we can only hope for a good result because when you have a few new players in a team,it becomes hard to predict results because you don’t know what they are bringing to the team.

  • Great opportunities for upcoming players to get into the main stream. Hope some of them take the opportunity. Goalkeeper department is dicey, on paper, okoye is more familiar with the team, but there is always a first time. knowing rohr avoid risk taking like plague, we will see how it all goes … Perhaps, he should try at least two of the goal keepers, whatever, he should field the best defenders as available

  • JimmyBall 2 years ago

    … I have a question to raise here for Super Eagles well-meaning fans to contribute. Why is it that Abduljeleel Ajagun despite being a very good midfielder in a the mould of a number 10, has never been invited by Coach Rohr and NFF? I want to believe he rated as well if not better than Onazi and Azeez in all his junior national tournaments for Nigeria. He seems to still be doing very fine for sometime now from Netherlands league and now in Belgium with KV Oestende if I am not mistaken. The guy Ajagun has a direct play and very good close ball control and shooting. Sometimes a player just needs his next level with a little showing at his country’s senior national team… Why have we never extended any callups to Ajagun till date? Contributions please forumites…

    • @Jimmyball, the players that have been managing the role since Rohr came on board, have they been doing bad?
      Before you add Chrisantus and Rabiu Ibrahim to your scouting report, think about the players holding their roles presently. Thanks.

    • greenturf 2 years ago

      Ajagun has struggled for his club Kortrijk fc in the Belgian top-flight since the past season.Before then he did so well for them and on loan to a club in Greece.Previously before moving to Belgium,he was on the books of Panathinaikos of Greece,I would say he was rather unfortunate for not getting an invite to the super eagles because at some point in his career I think he merited to be part of the team but it is still a mystery why he wasn’t given a look in or rather overlooked.

      At the moment he was demoted to the under 23 of Kortrijk.That is how bad his form has gone,a shame indeed.

      I hope he is able to pick his form back because at his best he can be a menace to opponents.

      • Even the contract has been terminated as we speak currently has no club.
        Together with imoh ezikiel

    • “The guy Ajagun has a direct play and very good close ball control and shooting. Sometimes a player just needs his next level with a little showing at his country’s senior national team… Why have we never extended any callups to Ajagun till date? Contributions please forumites”

      The SE is not a platform to advertise players, so they can get better clubs, if he is as good as you said, let him secure a transfer to bigger clubs via his performance. if a player is good even if he is in the most obscure league in the world, big suitors will still come for him

    • Kenneth 2 years ago

      His bribe was not tempting for Adelakun, thats why he wasn’t invited. Are they going to say Ajagun is not super eagles material. It is all politics going on.

  • Elijah samson 2 years ago

    Analysis. Ekong just moved to Watford and has not play active football this season. Aina just moved to fulham and has not played this season. I will pick Ebuchi, Kevin, Balogun and Sanusi fo defence. Simi, Frank and iwobi midfield. As for the front we have plenty of good options there so any of the guys can be picked. As for the goalkeeping Dept, I will pick Yakubu the reason is because he is the first choice of his club and has about 5-6 clean sheets in 8matches this season who among the other goalkeepers has that same record this season?
    Thanks you my beloved fellow SE fans

    • @Elijah, Aina started for Fulham in the mid week and played 90 mins over the weekend. That’s 2 caps

    • Vince 2 years ago

      Good selection, but Germans do not like short goalkeepers from time immemorial, so Yakubu might not start

  • Proudly 9ja 2 years ago

    I am seeing lots of fans including Semi Ajayi in the midfield, that’s very interesting to me, dont get me wrong I understand he has played the DM role b4 but dont we have Agu, Tijani, and Onyeka who are natural DMs, is it that we dont trust these guys. I would play Agu-Onyeka-Iwobi midfield. Play a backline of Ebuehi-Ekong-Valogun-Sanusi. My frontline will be chukwueze-Desser-Kalu for the 1st 60 mins. Does anyone know how many changes are allowed in these kinds of friendlies, +3? I would make the following 6 changes (if 6 changes are allowed) in the 2nd half. Aina for Ebuehi, Semi for Ekong, Awaziem for Balogun, Ejike for Kalu, Iheanacho for Iwobi, Simi for Desser. This will allow us to really see some of the boys in their usual habitat for at least 30-60 mins.

    • Chairmanfemi 2 years ago

      @Proudly 9ja, I concur with you 100 cent. I don’t know why fans are putting SEMI AJAYI in DMF when we have a Starlet in TIJANI who has done well for his Club so far and Onyeka the best DMF in Denmark and also Tireless Agu. Well, it’s up to the Coach. We can only keep dropping names here

      • Proudly 9ja 2 years ago

        Thanks my broda. Wetin u think about Tijani instead of Agu, the reason y I decided against Tijani was sole lack of senior team experience otherwise he would be in there as he is younger, more energetic and faster than Agu. Agu needs these games to really sell himself not only to the coaches but 9ja fans as a poor display from him could result in permanent omission. Just look at the guys he is battling with, Ndidi, Etebo, Azeez, Aribo (maybe not due to his role as an AM), new boys onyeka and Tijani. Also, I 4 like that Yakubu boy in goal due to the fact that he has played more games than any of the other goalies (l may be wrong). Am curious about your take on those 2 questions. Omo9ja, Deo, Oakfield, Drey, and AY mek I see una line up, am curious what una think too. Also is the game gonna be televised?