Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has said he still believes his team can win in Egypt on Tuesday night to get their AFCON 2017 campaign back on track after they were forced to a 1-1 draw at home in the first game.
Nigeria have their backs against the wall even more after Chad pulled out of the AFCON qualifiers citing financial constraints as only one team could only qualify for Gabon 2017 from this three-team group with Egypt in pole position two points clear at the top of the standings
“We can still make the difference in Egypt,” said a confident Samson Siasia, who has been appointed in temporary charge of the Super Eagles last month after the shock resignation of Sunday Oliseh.
“We have to encourage the boys so that they could play for Nigeria.”
Turkey-based forward Umar Aminu made his full international debut for the Eagles as a second half substitute and he said Egypt were lucky to get a draw in Kaduna.
“We’re going to Egypt to win. They were lucky to get an equaliser (in the first match), but we have learnt from this experience,” he said.
The Eagles departed Abuja Monday morning for Alexandria on a chartered flight.
Meanwhile, Carl Ikeme will not be part of the Super Eagles that will travel to Alexandria for Tuesday’s game with Egypt, the NFF has announced.
The 29-year-old missed the team’s training at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna on Saturday evening and media officer Toyin Ibitoye told Goal that the player needed some rest.
However, it has now been confirmed that the goalkeeper has stomach upset which means he won’t be strong enough for the trip.
“After the game last Friday, Carl has been struggling with some stomach upset and it has not allowed him train with the rest of the squad,” said team doctor Ibrahim Gyaran on the NFF website.
“He is stable but needs a lot of rest to be back in 100% shape for the kind of high profile game that we have on Tuesday. Considering the amount of travel involved as well, it is best we give him a break.”
Coach Siasia said he would have to get his back up goalkeepers to do the job against the Pharaohs which has become more important following news of Chad’s withdrawal from the qualifying campaign.
“We will surely miss Carl but the good thing with our team is that we have capable replacements in every department. Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa are still here and any one of these two will help us get the job done in Alexandria,” Siasia said.