Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr has called on newly-invited players to seize their opportunity against Cameroon to prove they deserve a place in the national team for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers which kicks off later this year.
The Eagles and the Indomitable Lions face off in back-to-back friendlies at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Vienna, first on Friday and then again four days later.
The matches will be Nigeria’s last preparatory games before qualification for Qatar 2022 commences in November.
A raft of withdrawals by regular first-teamers means Rohr will be forced to play both games with a bunch of fringe players many of who would normally have never been called up in normal circumstances.
Following the mass withdrawals of Victor Osimhen, Semi Ajayi, Tyronne Ebuehi, Ola Aina, Simy Nwankwo, Zaidu Sanusi and Kevin Akpoguma due to injuries, the Franco-German tactician is now poised to give the likes of Abraham Marcus, Peter Olayinka, Valentine Ozornwafor and Terem Moffi a chance to prove their worth as preparations for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers get underway.
While it is far from an ideal situation for the 67-year-old Franco-German, the former Gabon manager believes the situation presents an excellent opportunity for most of the players to stake a claim for a regular national team shirt.
The Eagles boss says he’s been impressed by what he’s seen in the training sessions in their Austria camp and called on the team to maintain their momentum from the AFCON qualifying wins against Benin Republic and Lesotho in the Eagles’ last international outing.
“The players are motivated, they want to do well,” he told NFF media after the team’s last training session on Thursday. “They did good training sessions and they were happy to come together again.”
“The last time was in March, when we had the two victories against Benin and Lesotho. Now, in June, we’ll have the last preparations, and at the end of June, the draw for the AFCON. Then, September, October, November, world cup qualifiers.
“So, this is the last preparation game for the World Cup. Very important, and all the players who are here want to do well and want to show the best, to be in the 23-man team for the World Cup.”
Nigeria are in Group C of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers alongside Liberia, Cape Verde and the Central African Republic, and will open their campaign in September against the Lone Stars.
Eagles in Camp
Goalkeepers: Maduka Okoye, Francis Uzoho and John Noble; Defenders William Ekong, Valentine Ozornwafor, Chidozie Awaziem and Jamilu Collins; Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Abdullahi Shehu, Abraham Marcus and Samson Tijani; Forwards: Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Anayo Iwuala, Ahmed Musa, Paul Onuachu, Terem Moffi and Peter Olayinka.