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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