The stage is set for another high-profile international friendly game between the Nigeria national team and its Tunisian counterpart.
Tuesday’s friendly, coming four days after Nigeria lost 1-0 in another warm-up game against Algeria, could pass for a battle of Eagles; as it pitches the Super Eagles against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.
Tunisia currently occupies the second-highest position by an African team on the monthly FIFA rankings, so no one expects them to be a pushover for the Super Eagles who are ranked three steps below them in 29th position by the world football governing body.
Going into the game billed for the Jacques Lemans Arena in the Austrian city of St. Veit a der Glan, the Tunisians will be high on confidence having emerged 3-0 winners albeit against a less-fancied Sudanese side.
The win was their fourth in a row.
Rohr is positive
Already, Coach Gernot Rohr has told his players they need to step up their game to make Nigerians happy as the defeat against Algeria did not go down well with many.
The Franco-German tactician admits the absence of a number of first-team players somewhat weakened his team, but he has nonetheless challenged those available in his present squad to up the ante and show they deserve to soar with Super Eagles
“We definitely must put up a greater effort against the Tunisians. It is an opportunity for some of the players to rise up to the occasion, stake a claim. They are ready to go and I believe we would see a much better game on Tuesday,” Rohr told the media in Austria.
In the game against Algeria, Nigeria capped four new players, with midfield dependables Wilfred Ndidi, Joseph Ayodele-Aribo and Oghenekaro Etebo, as well as forward Victor Osimhen unavailable. In their absence, Rohr had to start first-cap Frank Onyeka along with Alex Iwobi and defender Oluwasemilogo Ajayi in midfield, and Paul Onuachu as the lone striker.
It is expected that Rohr will make some changes with the captain Ahmed Musa expected to lead the line going by the feelers from the Super Eagles’ camp and the duo of Cyril Dessers and Chidera Ejuke getting a chance for their debuts for the national team.
Head to Head
The head-to-head record between the Super Eagles and the Carthage Eagles is even.
This will be the 20th time the two former African champions have met over the years, claiming six victories each while the seven other games have ended in draws.
However, it was Nigeria that had the upper hand in the last meeting which was in the 2019 AFCON third-place play-off match.
An early goal from Odion Ighalo gave Nigeria the victory which ended a run of three successive draws between these two nations.
Though today’s game is a friendly, Tunisia have not beaten Nigeria in any competitive game since the 2004 AFCON that they hosted.