On Thursday evening, the Algerian team arrived Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, ahead of this weekend’s 2018 World Cup qualifying game against Nigeria.
The team who were received by top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), arrived in a chartered flight, led by its association president, Mohamed Raouraoua.
Booked into the Le Meridian Hotel, where the Super Eagles are also staying, Algeria’s delegation brought along with them stacks of bed sheets, pillows, packs of bottle water, among other items…
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Nigerians have unsurprisingly reacted to their actions, with some calling it a show of distrust by the Algerian team to their host country.
Algeria’s new coach, Georges Leekens, has among his team an injury-hit squad for Saturday’s match which will kick off at 5pm.
Though he arrived with the team, Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam remains a huge doubt as he has been battling a groin problem, while Ryad Boudebouz is ruled out.
Speaking in Algeria before their arrival, Georges Leekens says the key to neutralizing the threat of Nigeria going forward is to stop the duo of Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho from getting on the ball.
Leekens said from the past games of the Super Eagles, the players are usually in a hurry to release the ball to the duo of Iheanacho and Iwobi, who are by far the most creative among the Nigerian forwards.
In his words; “We have found out the two most important players in the Nigeria team Iwobi and Iheanacho, in tight spaces their teammates are always looking for them. They are also good at running behind unnoticed.
The key is to deny them access to the ball, as whichever formation Nigeria play, they are key not even their captain Mikel. Stopping Iheanacho and Iwobi will neutralise Nigeria’s complex formation.”