Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr says today’s international friendly match against the Ukrainian national team will kick start Nigeria’s preparations for the 2021 AFCON qualifying games, Completesports reports.
Speaking ahead of the Dnipro Arena showdown, Rohr reiterates he is looking forward to a good game that will help in the development of his young squad, and recalls his first match against Ukraine as Niger Republic coach.
“This match is the beginning of our preparations for the qualifying round of the next Africa Cup [of Nations]. Our team has been updated, and now we have a very young team. With a new captain. I really want to successfully start our new stage, so I hope to see a good game in the match with Ukraine, which, most likely, will reach the European Championship,” Rohr said.
“The match against the Shevchenko team is a challenge for us. Five years ago, I was the head coach of the Niger team, and we met with the Ukrainian team in Kiev. Lost then 1 – 2, but we were very close to a draw.
“This time, we are faced with a test game, the result of which goes into the background for us.” Rohr absolves Ukraine officials of any blame as regards the Super Eagles’ tough travel itinerary.
“Yes, we arrived in the Dnieper on September 7th. This is related to logistics. For example, we received our luggage on Sunday. Perhaps this is due to some nuances in the work of airlines. But it certainly has nothing to do with Ukraine,” Rohr explained.
“We were very warmly received, we trained these days on the condition of Dnipro, this is a great place for playing football.”
The kickoff of tonight’s Ukraine vs Nigeria international friendly match is 7:30pm (Nigerian time).
Top 5 Ukraine Facts
– Have never lost to any African team. Past results include; Libya (1-1, 3-0) Tunisia (1-0); Cameroon (0-0); Niger (2-1); Morocco (0-0).
– Have not lost a friendly match in the last 7 years playing 20 matches in a row, winning 12 and drawing 8.
– Have featured in only one World Cup appearance, in 2006 and 2 European Championships in 2012 and 2016.
– The most capped player is Anatoliy Tymoshchuk with 144 caps between the year 2000-2016.
– The top goalscorer is Andriy Shevchenko (current coach) with 48 goals in 111 games between 1995-2012.
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