By Akinwale Kasali
The Super Eagles have the objective of coming out of Wednesday’s friendly against the Czech Republic with a win to set them in great psychological tune for the FIFA World Cup finals.
Coach Gernot Rohr has revealed that is bent on seeing his team triumph against the Czechs to further make them determined and prepared for the tournament when hostilities resume next week for the FIFA World Cup.
Rohr is expected to start Francis Uzoho in goal, Bryan Idowu, and Tyronne Ebuehi in the left and right back positions, with Williams Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun in the central defense.
Wilfred Ndidi is expected to feature for the first time since the warm-up matches began, with John Ogu and Mikel Obi in the midfield.
Ogenyi Onazi is out of the game, while Joel Obi will start from the bench. Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi will be deep at the midfield, while Odion Ighalo will spearhead the attack.
As revealed in the NFF official Twitter handle, the match kicks off at 2:00pm Nigerian time on Wednesday (today).
Rohr said on Tuesday that a win would be the target, against the backdrop of consecutive losses in friendly matches against Serbia and England and with Nigeria’s first match of the FIFA World Cup against Croatia only 10 days away.
“We will go for victory that would boost spirit and earn team confidence ahead of our first match in Russia. It would not be an easy pick but we will work hard for it,” Rohr said.
Wednesday’s encounter at the Rudolf Tonn Stadium – a multi-use facility in Rannersdorf, a city in the sub-division of Schwechat, outside Vienna – will be the third official meeting between both
Nigeria and then Czechoslovakia drew 1-1 in a group phase match at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, with Vizek scoring for the Czechs in the first half and Henry Nwosu equalising for the Eagles with six minutes left on the clock.
Nigerian forward Emmanuel Osigwe had a goal from a long range free-kick disallowed.
The Czechs edged their second meeting in Rabat on 11th December 1996 by two goals to one – as part of the King Hassan Cup Tournament.
Team spirit was further lifted ahead of the match following the arrival of backroom staff members Nnaemeka Anozie (Team Physiotherapist), Chidi Ngoka (Equipment Manager) and Labaran Awaku (Equipment Officer) from London.
The three persons were denied entry visas into Austria by that country’s embassy in Nigeria, but the Nigeria Football Federation approached the Embassy of Austria in the United Kingdom, with the assistance of the Nigeria High Commission in London, and the visas were issued on Tuesday.