Former Super Eagles’ striker, Victor Okechukwu Agali has come out with a daring declaration that the Nigerian national team will not lose next month’s high-profile international friendly match against The Samba Boys of Brazil.
Although many pundits the world over are expecting Brazil to emerge tops during the October 13 fixture at Singapore National Stadium, due to their richer pedigree, vast array of stars and better placement on the current rankings by global soccer governing body, FIFA, Agali insists the Eagles will hold their own during the much-anticipated encounter.
The one fondly called ‘Okey Banana’ during his youth days in Isolo and Okoko areas of Lagos, went on to declare that he is banking on a good result for Nigeria due to the fact that Eagles’ handler, Gernot Rohr is set to line oput his best players for the game.
Speaking in his position as Rohr’s special scout for Nigeria’s foreign-based players, Agali further disclosed that the Franco-German gaffer does not intend to lose to the Copa America champions, hence his decision to line out the Eagles’ best possible squad for the match.
While Rohr stated as much in a separate interview granted a foreign newspaper at the start of this week, Agali went on to buttress that he and the gaffer reached the same conclusion on the matter, with a verdict that the tactician will field a strong side against The Samba Boys.
Brazil’s coach, Tite has already released a star-studded list, which includes such icons like Paris Saint-Germain of France forward, Neymar, Manchester City of England striker, Gabriel Jesus and Bayern Munich winger, Phillipe Coutinho, which Agali says adds credence to the importance of the game.
While Nigerian soccer fans expected an official release of Rohr’s list of 24 players for the fixture in Singapore, Agali stressed that the roster of invitees will have mostly the same set of lads that were called up for the last friendly game against Ukraine, which ended in a 2-2 draw at Dnipro-Arena, but Ramon Azeez from Granada of Spain looks set for a recall.
Team sources hinted that Rohr’s list will be made official later this week, with the team expected to regroup on October 10th, ahead of the October 13th match, which will be used as part of the Eagles’ preparations for the start of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against visiting Benin Republic on November 11.
Nigeria and Brazil have clashed only once at full senior level, as they first tangoed in a friendly at Abuja National Stadium in 2003, with former world player of the year, Ronaldinho inspiring The Samba Boys to a huge 3-0 away win in the FCT, and Agali says it will be a different story this time.
Agali told AOIfootball.com: “The coach is happy with the performance of the boys against Ukraine and I’m sure from my conversations with him, he wants them to continue in such fashion even against Brazil. I’m sure he will field a very strong side and will not want to lose to Brazil.”
Rohr added in an interview with Record: “My plan was to play a very experimental line-up against Ukraine and use several new players but then go back to playing my strongest team against Brazil.
“I wasn’t going to include some of those new players that played against Ukraine but I had to change my mind because of their performances.”