As Nigeria face Brazil in a prestige friendly on Sunday, Super Eagles’ manager, Gernot Rohr on Saturday said his immediate goal is to prepare three–time African champions Nigeria for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying matches.
Concise News reports that Rohr spoke at a pre-match press conference in Singapore, ahead of Sunday’s clash with five–times world champions Brazil at the Singapore National Stadium in Kallang.
He explained that the high-profile friendly was an opportunity to test his team’s capacity and make adjustments where necessary before playing against Benin Republic and Lesotho.
“The game against Brazil will show how much we are progressing after finishing third at the AFCON in Egypt.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for us to learn a few more things that will make us better and stronger for future challenges.
“This is an important test game for us, and we are here to learn from the best. We hope for a very good game against Brazil on Sunday.
“This will help us prepare ourselves for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho next month,” Rohr said.
He also noted that the friendly would afford him the opportunity of testing new players in order to fill the void created by the retirement of some old top players in the team.
“After the 2019 AFCON, two of our top players (Mikel Obi and Odion Ighalo) retired and we have to see how to replace them.
“We saw a little bit in our friendly against Ukraine last month and hope we can improve on that performance tomorrow (Sunday).
“A good showing against Brazil will help our confidence a great deal,” the team handler said.
Super Eagles respect but don’t fear Brazil, Ekong says
In related news, Super Eagles’ stand–in captain William Troos-Ekong says while they respect five–time world champions Brazil, they however have no fear as both teams step out in a friendly in Singapore.
Ekong made the remarks on Saturday at a pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash with Brazil at the Singapore National Stadium in Kallang.
He said his team was inspired by the 1-1 draw fellow West African neighbors Senegal played with the South Americans.
Brazil were held to a 1-1 draw by Senegal on Thursday in Singapore.
“Brazil are a top team, probably the best team in the world, but Senegal gave them a good fight on Thursday.
“We can pick some inspiration from that performance when we play the Brazilians on Sunday.
“It will be tough because they will want to win at least one game against an African team on this tour, but we will also want to take something off them,” he said.
Sunday’s encounter starts at 8 p.m. Singapore time (1p.m. Nigeria time).