Turkey-based midfielder Mikel Agu has joined the growing list of injured Super Eagles players ahead of Nigeria’s clash with Algeria in their final match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Eagles are presently in Rabat, Morocco preparing for Friday’s game in Constantine. A statement on the Super Eagles’ official Twitter handle on Wednesday indicated that Agu was out of the team’s game against Algeria, as well as Tuesday’s friendly with Argentina.
The 24-year-old who has been touted as a replacement for Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi has made four appearances for the three-time African champions but has struggled to impress. Agu, one of the earliest arrivals in the Super Eagles camp, had made his international debut for Nigeria in the friendly win against Togo in June. The midfielder’s injury adds to team head coach Gernot Rohr’s major headache, as he is also missing five other players due to various injuries.
Already, Victor Moses, Elderson Echiejile, Odion Ighalo and Moses Simon have all pulled out due to injuries, while defender Leon Balogun is also reportedly short of match fitness. Rohr however said he was not worried by the spate of injuries ahead of the two games, adding that it was a blessing in disguise as it would afford him the opportunity to try out other players. “Already, we have six injured players, so we have to make six changes. It will be an opportunity to see players who didn’t play so much and it will be very interesting to play Algeria in these conditions. “They have changed their coach and have not won a game at home yet in the qualifiers and so they will be very aggressive. “I know this team.
They have some of the best players, like Mahrez, Brahimi, Silimani, among others. “So, it will be very interesting to see our players perform against their North African counterparts as it will be a first experience for some of them, especially the new players arriving,” Rohr said in a video posted on the NFF official Twitter page. Rohr added that the Super Eagles’ second game would be an even more interesting one as some other players may have returned from injury before then. “We only have three days to prepare for Algeria because the game is taking place on Friday, but we have the opportunity in the second game to see everybody.
“So, the second game will be an even more fantastic game also, because Argentina is one of the best teams in the world and perhaps boast of the best players in the world. “So, we will see what we can do with such a big South American team. It is very important because I think we will have at least one South American team in our group after the draw is made.
“It will also be an opportunity for us to see Russia, to feel what the atmosphere is like over there and also to see our base camp. “So, it’s already a big preparation ahead of the World Cup for us,” he said. The Super Eagles, with the Russia 2018 World Cup ticket already in the bag, will depart Rabat for Constantine, where they face the Fennecs on Friday.
The match is at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui, and will hold from 8.30 p.m. Algeria time. The team will then on Saturday move to Krasnodar, the Russian city that will host Tuesday’s international friendly against Argentina.