AUSTRIAN authorities have informed Nigeria and Algeria that their friendly game taking place on Friday October 9 at the Jacques Lemans Arena will now take place behind closed doors as Super Eagles talisman Victor Osimhen pulls out of the squad over Covid-19 fears.
This week, Nigeria will be playing friendly games against Algeria and Tunisia on October 9 and 13 during the first Fifa window of the coronavirus lockdown period. Yesterday, the Algerian Football Federation (Faf) confirmed that the match will be played behind closed doors, advising its fans not to travel to the game.
An Faf spokesman said: “Due to the many requests it has received on this subject, the Algerian Football Federation regrets to inform the general public, in particular the supporters of the Greens established in Europe, that the two matches Algeria – Nigeria on 10/09/2020 and Algeria – Mexico on 10/13/2020 will take place without the presence of the public behind closed doors. It is therefore useless to travel or pretend to acquire entrance tickets.”
Nigeria players and officials have begun arriving the national team’s camp in Austria this weekend but will be without their star striker Victor Osimhen of Napoli. Currently Nigeria’s most expensive player, Osimhen joined Napoli from French side Lille this summer for a record fee of €81m.
Head coach Gernot Rohr has already handed a late call-up to Racing Genk striker Paul Onuachua as a replacement for Osimhen. This was after the Nigeria Football Federation announced that Osimhen has been excused from the games after two Napoli players contracted the virus.
Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas, and staff member Giandomenico Costi tested positive for Covid-19 in the wake of their 6-0 win against Genoa last weekend. To prevent the spread of the virus, the club has recommended that players, including Osimhen, who were in direct contact with the duo be quarantined for 14 days.
Rohr not naming Onuachu in his original squad list was a controversial decision as the former FC Midtjylland man has been firing on all cylinders since the start of the new season, scoring in each of his last four matches in the Belgian league. His last appearance in a Super Eagles shirt was in a friendly against Brazil on October 13, 2019, coming off the bench to replace Osimhen in the 74th minute.