Even though Friday’s tie between Algeria and Nigeria is only a friendly match, the Desert Foxes Coach, Djamal Belmadi, has said he is anticipating a tough tie with the Super Eagles
Belmadi believes playing the Super Eagles will provide the much-needed test for his team as the country step up preparations to defend their AFCON trophy won in Egypt last year.
Fielding questions from reporters in Wednesday’s press conference ahead of the friendly match in Austria, Belmadi said Super Eagles pose more threat than Morocco given the pedigree of Nigerian players in Europe at the moment.
“Playing against Nigeria is a benchmark match, especially in the first half, we could have led 3-0,” Belmadi said as he recounts 2019 AFCON semi-finals clash with Nigeria.
“They are always very close matches against them, moreover they won more than we did. I am looking forward to a tough game against Nigeria to make progress.
“We could have opted very quickly against smaller teams but I had the requirement to obtain these two prestigious matches against Nigeria and Mexico,” he said.
Belmadi said Nigeria’s recent status as the third-best team in Africa gave credence to his resolve to engage coach Gernot Rohr side.
“Nigeria everyone knows is the third-best team in the FIFA / CAF ranking,” he told Algerian sports platform DZ foot on Wednesday.
Nigeria is yet to taste defeat in their last five matches since losing to Algeria in 2019 AFCON semi-finals after Riyadh Mahrez’s free-kick sent Desert Foxes through.
Super Eagles drew against Brazil and Ukraine, but their last three wins came against Tunisia, Benin and Lesotho.