Three-time Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions, Nigeria rounded up their training session on Thursday night ahead of Friday’s 2019 AFCON qualifier fixture against Seychelles at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have booked their place in the AFCON slated to hold in Egypt between June and July of this year with 10 points from five games in Group C. South Africa have garnered 9 points while Libya are third in the group with seven points. Interestingly, Libya will host South Africa in Tunisia for the second spot in the group.
Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr said his team will set out to finish strong in the qualifiers and also use the game to kick start their AFCON preparations.
“We want to finish top of the group, if South Africa beat Libya and we fail to win, we’ll finish behind them. The game is important to the team and we are not taking the game for granted, it’s also the first phase of preparation for the AFCON,” said Rohr to Naijafootballplus.com at the presser on Thursday.
Naijafootballplus.com was at the training session and made notes on some happening in the team camp and the possible line-up for the Seychelles game.
The team started training with light warm up, then after played the volley ball game that kept the players in good mood. The training was fun and witnessed the players laughing and hugging each other.
The Training Game:
Rohr divided the players into two teams with Team A looking like the possible line-up for the game against Seychelles. Francis Uzoho was in goal for Team A, the back-four had Shehu Abdullahi, Troost Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo and Jamilu Collins. The trio of Etebo Oghenekaro, Wilfred Ndidi and Alex Iwobi played from the midfield while the front-three had Henry Onyekuru, Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo.
The Team B had two goalkeepers in both halves, Ikechukwu Ezenwa started the game while Daniel Akpeyi came on in the second half. This team featured the four new boys playing with the regulars. The duo of NPFL stars Ndifreke Effiong and Ikouwem Udo played as fullbacks respectively, John Ogu and Leon Balogun paired in the central defence. Semi Ajayi, Chidozie Awaziem and Valentine Ozornwafor played in the midfield, while the front-three of Team B had Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen and Paul Onuachu.
The practice match ended 1-1, Ighalo put Team A into the lead in the first half. The new invitee Onuachu levelled the game for Team B with a low drive shot in the second half.
Free-kick session were also practiced with Etebo, Musa and Ekong all partakers in the session. Another unusual moment in training was the penalty session, Akpeyi denied Ndidi and Ekong penalties while Ighalo scored his penalty kick to make it two goals in training for the Chinese Super Lig forward.
All invited players featured in training without any injury concerns on Thursday ahead of the game.