Nigeria‘s Super Eagles will today Sunday play Columbia in a friendly match at Milton Keynes, in London suburbs.
The match had been widely advertised as taking place in West Ham but there have been a venue change announced in the past two days.
With coach Lars Lagerback now determined to pick his 23-man team for the FIFA 2010 World Cup after the match, the true picture of the team’s state preparedness will emerge, with every player displaying his best talent side wanting to impress Lagerback and for World Cup team ticket.
Last Tuesday this week, the Super Eagle
s played a goalless draw against Saudi Arabia in Lagerback‘s first match in charge of the Nigeria‘s World Cup team.
It was his fifth day with the players but the performance of the team in the match attracted divergent opinions with many describing the match as lackluster.
But a 3-2 victory yesterday by Italy over the Saudi’s has tilted opinions in favour of the Super Eagles as now it is viewed that the Eagles performance might have not been too bad after all.
Today’s match will serve as a major assessing signal for what is up for grab by the Eagles in the next World Cup, especially as they face Argentina in their first encounter.
Thirty players are currently on board, with not less than seven returning home to Nigeria or other destinations by Tuesday afternoon.
Twenty three players are are to be picked this week from the list of 30, whoinclude goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama, Dele Aiyenugba, Akpan Bassey and Austin Ejide. Others are Taye Taiwo, Echeijiele Elderson, Chidi Odiah, Joseph Yobo, Danny Shittu, Onyekachi Apam, Dele Adeleye, Rabiu Afolabi, Peter Suswan, Nwankwo Kanu, Brown Ideye, Kalu Uche, Dickson Etuhu, Mikel Obi, Sanni Kaita, Haruna Lukman, Yusuf Ayila, Peter Utaka, John Utaka, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Victor Anichebe, Chinedu Ogbuke, Obafemi Martins, Uche Ikechukwu, Obinna Nsofor and Osaze Odemwingie.
Goalkeeper Akpan Bassey and Peter Suswan are drawn from the Nigeria Premier League and they have to fight for their positions among the other established players in the team. Bassey, from Bayelsa United, has a huge task to beat one of Vincent Enyeama, Dele Aiyenugba and Austin Ejide who had an impressive outing against Saudi Arabia.
Suswan had his chance on Tuesday while Lukman Haruna, another youngster in the team, also had the chance to show the coach why he should be in the squad. The poor performance of the team in general made it difficult for anyone to pick at least four players from the squad, yet, the coach must accommodate more than half of the players who did badly- only in a life –on line- gamble.
However,reports emerging from Nigeria hinted at the weekend that Super Eagles will face North Korea in a friendly in Johannesburg five days before the World Cup.
A spokesman for the Nigeria Football Federation said on Saturday that the match will be on June 6 at Makhulong Stadium.
Spokesman Ademola Olajire also said the Super Eagles will fly from London to Durban on Monday to prepare for the match and the World Cup.
Nigeria faces Argentina in its tournament opener on June 12. North Korea’s first World Cup match will be against Brazil on June 15.