Super Eagles’ Etebo Oghenekaro (right) tries to outwit Algeria’s Mehdi Abeid during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Uyo…at the weekend. PHOTO: AFP.
• Wants Ekong out of Belgian league
Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, believes Nigeria’s January friendly match against Egypt would give him the opportunity to get to know more players before next year’s World Cup qualifier against Cameroun.
Speaking through the team’s Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye, yesterday, Rohr said he wants to play more quality friendlies to maintain the momentum of the team, adding that he would invite more players to join the fight for shirts in the team.
He affirmed that the victory over Algeria was a pointer that the Eagles meant business in their quest to be at the Russia 2018 World Cup.
“We have lined up other matches for the team in March. The players are happy over the defeat of Algeria and they have assured that they will continue to fight hard for the 2018 World Cup ticket,” he said.
Rohr revealed that his dream is that defender, William Troost-Ekong, would move to a bigger club than Gent of Belgium so as to improve as a full international.
Troost-Ekong has been on loan at Norwegian club, Haugesund, but will return to parent club Gent in January.
“Ekong is changing clubs, he must play at a high level. He has been playing in Norway, which is not bad, but he must play at a higher level,” Rohr said.
“He wants to go to Belgium, but it is not enough for him, we will try to help him so that he could go to a club, where he could play better and at a higher level.”
The 23-year-old Ekong, who represented Holland at age-group levels, was recently linked with a move to England, where he was once on the books of Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur.
Ekong, an international since June 2015, has formed a great central defence partnership in the Super Eagles with Leon Balogun, who features for Mainz 05 in the German Bundesliga.
It is a combo Rohr said has given him a great deal of satisfaction.
“We already have a good central defence. They have given us a good satisfaction,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles Goalkeepers’ Trainer, Alloy Agu, has noted that Nigeria’s win at the weekend was a clear manifestation that the players were determined and mentally focused to qualify for the Russia 2018 World Cup.
The former Super Eagles goalkeeper also assured that the Rohr-led technical crew was building a well organised and committed team that would put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
“Every player in the team knows what it takes to play at the World Cup and they are ready to fight till the end to get the ticket. We thank God we are on the right track and the most important thing now is to focus on our next game, which will hold next year. The race for the World Cup ticket is still on and the Eagles are not ready to drop points,” he said.