Super Eagles’ manager, Gernot Rohr has charged his wards to step up their game when they file out against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in tonight’s friendly tie at the Jacques Lemans Arena in Austria.
The Franco-German tactician believes victory over the Northern African side would make Nigerians happy after the defeat by Algeria drew flaks from everywhere.
Rohr however admits the absence of a number of first-team honchos somewhat weakened the texture of his band, but has challenged the squad to up the ante and show vibrancy especially in the fore against the 2004 African champions.
“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,” the gaffer assured.
Nigeria capped four new players against the African champions, 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 Alex Iwobi and defender Oluwasemilogo Ajayi in midfield, and Paul Onuachu as the lone striker.
Tunisia have not beaten Nigeria in a competitive game since the 2004 AFCON that they hosted, when they edged the Super Eagles on penalty shoot-out after both teams tied 1-1 in regulation and extra time at the Stade Olympique in Rades, outside Tunis.
Matches between Nigeria and Tunisia have always been supercharged, the 2004 encounter no less so. After Jay Jay Okocha gave Nigeria the lead from the spot, Tunisia restored parity with only eight minutes left, Khaled Badra also poking in from the spot. Osaze Odemwingie missed during the shoot-out and the Eagles had to be content with the bronze medals after beating Mali. Tunisia went to defeat Morocco in the final for their only continental title so far.