Nigeria’s friendly with Cote d’Ivoire — which was scheduled for October 9 — has been called off, with the Super Eagles now set to play African champions Algeria on that date instead.
The cancellation follows Federation Ivorienne de Football’s notice to the Nigeria Football Federation informing them about the unavailability of the Cote d’Ivoire team due to “internal problems”.
Algeria accepted to replace Cote d’Ivoire after the NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, contacted Fédération algérienne de football (FAF)
“We have permission from our government to travel from Algeria to Austria and our country has reopened international flights. We also would like to confirm that FIFA match agent Me Jairo Pachon is authorised to carry on all the required work and planning in Austria in order to stage this event,” wrote Mohamed Saad, General Secretary of the Federation Algerienne de Football.
The match — the first of two friendlies arranged for the Super Eagles in October — will hold at Jacques Lemans Arena in Sankt Veit an der Glan, Austria.
Having met the Fennecs twice during the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and in the semifinals of last year’s Africa Cup of Nations, it would be Nigeria’s fourth meeting with the north Africans in three years.
Nigeria beat Algeria 3-1 in Uyo and then drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture, which was a mere formality, given that the Super Eagles — then captained by Mikel Obi — had already sealed top spot of their group before the tie in Constantine.
Algeria, though, defeated Nigeria 2-1 in 2019 to progress to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, with a Riyad Mahrez late freekick sealing the win for the Foxes.
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr, on Monday, released a 23-man squad for the friendlies, with a number of players — including CSKA Moscow’s Chidera Ejuke and KRC Genk striker Cyriel Desserts — handed their first call-ups.
Four days after the match, Rohr’s men will turn their attention to Algeria’s neighbors, Tunisia, whom they beat 1-0 during their last meeting — the 2019 AFCON third-place match.
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