Former Nigeria goalkeeper, Peter Rufai, has played down Super Eagles’ 1-0 loss to the Desert Foxes of Algeria in the first of their two international friendlies in October saying he foresees a ‘better Eagles’ team performance when the Gernot Rohr’s men take on the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in their today’s clash at the Jacques Lemans Arena, Austria.
‘Dodo Mayana’, as the former Super Eagles captain is called, told Complete Sports that the defeat didn’t do any harm to Nigeria’s status in the FIFA ranking, but stressed that the three time African Champions have had a whole lot to gain from the game.
“Friendly games provide coaches opportunity to take a deeper look, technically at their teams,” Rufai, the 1994 and 1998 Super Eagles’ World Cup goalkeeper told Complete Sports.
“Firstly, you look at the fitness level of your players, especially given the long non-footballing (sporting) period as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.”
“Again, you would want to try out players for some kind of new tactical variations that could occur in major tournaments.
Rufai added: “Of course, don’t forget the aspect of testing new players in the team which I understand the coach (Rohr) capped some new players.
“So, given these and other scenarios, I don’t think it was a bad performance by the Eagles against Algeria for which we should crucify the team, no.
“I believe that against Tunisia, we could see a ‘better Eagles’ who would be on their real strides to do the nation proud,” Rufai stated.
Tonight’s match is the 20th confrontation between the North African giants and their West African counterparts. The two Eagles are neck to neck on head-to-head, with both sides holding five wins each and nine drawn games.
Tunisia’s biggest ever win against Nigeria was on September 26, 1984, in an international friendly played inside the Stade El Menzah, Tunisia, with the hosts running out 5-0 winners.
But the last tie involving the two sides was on 17 July, 2019 during the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, with Super Eagles smiling home with a 1-0 win to emerge as bronze medalists of the tournament.
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