SUPER Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr is confident tonight’s friendly match against Ukraine will produce one or two players that will go on to become the mainstay of the team when it commences the 2020 World Cup and 2021 African Nations Cup qualifiers.
Tonight, Nigeria plays Ukraine in the southern city of Dnipro in what will be the first meeting of the two nations at senior level. Nigeria will be missing several key players including Kenneth Omeruo, Tyronne Ebuehi, Wilfred Ndidi, Ahmed Musa and Henry Onyekuru but Mr Rohr is confident their replacements will do well.
Several new players including Bordeaux striker Josh Maja, Glasgow Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo, Anderson Esiti and Lokomotiv Moscow fullback Bryan Idowu have been brought in as replacements and Mr Rohr is confident they will do well. This game will provide them with an opportunity to lay claims to permanent places in the squad.
Mr Rohr added:“This game is a big opportunity for us to begin our build-up towards the 2021 African Cup of Nations and the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Some of our key players retired from the team after the last Nations Cup in Egypt and some others are not here owing to injuries and other issues.
“We have some new and young players here so it is a good opportunity to see what they can bring to the team. We hope for a good game against a very solid team playing at home.”
Stand-in captain William Ekong, added: “Ukraine is a strong team with a lot of very good players across Europe and I know a few of those in Italy where I play. This game is definitely going to be very tough but we will give our best and also make it very difficult for them.”
Italian referee Paolo Valerie will take charge of proceedings at the 31,000 capacity arena, with his compatriots Alessandro Costanzo and Stefano Alassio assisting, while Ukrainian Vitaliy Romanov will serve as fourth official. Due to kick off at 7.30pm, the match is likely to see Nigeria wear white and green tops with white shorts, while the Ukrainians will appear in all yellow.