December 3, 2021

Everton’s Iwobi leads early arrivals in Nigeria camp for Algeria, Tunisia friendlies

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The Super Eagles nest has begun to fill up ahead of this week’s international games against the Desert Foxes and Carthage Eagles

The Nigeria national team camp is beginning to bubble ahead of the international friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia.

The games against the North African nations are expected to prepare Gernot Rohr’s team for November’s double-header Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone.

Everton star Alex Iwobi, Kenneth Omeruo, Moses Simon, Samuel Kalu, Chidera Ejuke, Leon Balogun and Mathew Yakubu are the early birds at Austria’s Hotel die Zeit an der Glan – where the three-time African champions are camped.

Others who teamed up with squad are newly Watford defender William Troost-Ekong, West Bromwich Albion’s Semi Ajayi, Leed United’s Ola Aina as well as Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho.

Hours later, Dele Alampasu, Jamilu Collins, Frank Onyeka and Cyril Dessers stormed the camp with the rest of the invited Eagles expected by Monday night.

Also, former Germany youth international Kevin Akpoguma is at Nigeria’s hotel in order to familiarise with Rohr’s team ahead of his maiden call-up.

Born to a German mother and a Nigerian father, the 25-year-old Hoffenheim defender confirmed he has switched his allegiance to the Nigeria national team despite representing the Europeans in the U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20 teams – featuring in over 60 games.

Nigeria’s encounter against Algeria would be the fourth meeting between the two countries in three years.

A brace from Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel propelled Nigeria to a 3-1 triumph over the North Africans in the first leg of the third round of 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

Although the second leg ended 1-1 at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui, Constantine, Fifa awarded the game to Algeria, while the Nigeria Football Federation was fined for fielding Abdullahi Shehu, who was meant to serve a suspended following yellow-card offences against Swaziland and Zambia.

The most recent outing saw Djamel Belmadi’s men defeat Nigeria 2-1 en route to winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt thanks to an own goal by William Troost-Ekong and Riyad Mahrez’s goal, with Odion Ighalo’s strike rendered as a mere consolation.

Since defeating Lesotho 4-2 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Maseru’s Setsoto Stadium on November 17, 2019, the Super Eagles are yet to play a match in 2020 owing to the outbreak of the coronavirus.