Nigeria’s on-the-pitch captain Ahmed Musa and forward Odion Ighalo are struggling to be fit for Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 semifinal clash with Algeria in Cairo, reports www.aclsports.com
Both players started Nigeria’s quarter final win over South Africa on Wednesday with Musa substituted late in the game while Ighalo lasted the entire duration.
The two players trained separately from the rest of the squad during Thursday’s training session at the Aero Sports Club, Cairo International Airport and head coach Gernot Rohr confirmed to www.aclsports.com that the duo are struggling after Wednesday’s exertions.
“We had some players today who could not make the normal programme so they did special recovery session. These players are Musa and Ighalo but i hope that tomorrow (Saturday), everybody will be fit for the last training before the match,” said Rohr to www.aclsports.com
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Algeria are the third team in succession that Nigeria will face in this competition after having previously met them under current coach Gernot Rohr. The Super Eagles beat the Fennecs Foxes en route to qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia but Rohr says their preparation for the game will be the same.
Rohr added; “We prepare very well for our games like we do all the time. We don’t change our usual preparations, the players must be focused but stay calm.
“There is no too much emotion because everybody must be coolheaded in these important games.”
Algeria have won all their games in AFCON2019, the last albeit on penalties against Coted’voire, Rohr however insists that his team are now mentally strong enough to deal with their opposition on Sunday.
“We know that Algeria are a wonderful team also but I think mentally now, we’re strong. Our young team learnt a lot at the World Cup and now it’s counting, they’re present here, I think they will be present on the pitch on Sunday.
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Cairo