Algeria clash: Ezeugo defends Mikel invite

Idris Adesina

Former Nigeria defender, Emeka Ezeugo, has  defended the invitation of  Chelsea midfielder, Mikel Obi, for  the Super Eagles’ Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Algeria in Uyo on November 12.

Nigeria, who top Group B with three points, will host the third-placed Desert Foxes, who have a point, at the Uyo Stadium.

Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr, on Saturday named Mikel, who has not played a match for Chelsea  this season on his 24-man list for the Algeria tie amidst growing concerns over the player’s match fitness.

But former Enugu Rangers defender Ezeugo told our correspondent that Mikel would help   the Eagles  in the match.

“Mikel will be important because he has the leadership quality to drive the others to work harder,” the former Denmark-based player, who represented Nigeria at the USA ’94 World Cup, told our correspondent on the telephone on Wednesday.

 “His club form will not affect his performance in the Eagles.He has the discipline and  has the ability to stop  Algeria stars  because he has played at the highest level.”

 He added, “The match will be a very tough one for the Eagles and they have to be careful.

“The mistakes  the Eagles  made the last time they played against a North African side (Egypt in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers) must be avoided.

“The Eagles must not play their usual pattern,  which will allow room for their opponents to  attack them.

 “The  defenders and the goalkeeper should be up to the task to stop the chances  created by Algeria from being converted.

“North African teams are very difficult to play and playing an Algerian team with a new coach, who is desperate for results, will be very challenging.”

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