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How will Algeria approach the friendly against Nigeria?

The Super Eagles of Nigeria face the Desert Warriors of Algeria in a friendly encounter on 9 October after their initial opponents Ivory Coast controversially pulled out of the match. Whatever the reason for Francophone African country declining to play Nigeria, fans have quickly moved on from this and are expecting a fascinating encounter against a North African powerhouse that condemned Nigeria to third place playoff in the 2019 Afcon with a late, late Mahrez' magnificent freekick in the semi-finals. The question now is how the Algerians will approach this match. Will they play it safe and try to come away with a draw or will they go all out for a win? One thing is for sure, either team will see a draw as a fair result on the night if the match is as fiesty and keenly contested as the last 3 encounters between both sides (which ended on the pitch with 1 win and 1 draw a piece). In truth, there is not and has never been daylight difference between Algeria and Nigeria. Historically, both are as close in results between them as they are in the current Fifa rankings where Nigeria sit just 1 place above Algeria in the CAF category in 3rd and 4th positions respectively. If you then visit head-on-head records, out of 20 recorded encounters since 1973, Nigeria have won 9, drawn 3 and lost 8 against Algeria (pretty tight if you ask me).

So, from that statistics only, I think the Algerians will be going for a victory in this friendly to even the scores. Afterall, if they neutralised us in the Afcons, they will be buoyed to believe they can do it again. Algeria are undefeated in their last 6 matches so the Desert Warriors will be keen to preserve this record whilst doing a double on one of their closest rivals. Having looked closely at the matches between Nigeria and Algeria since 1973, I couldn't help but spot a trend: the team on the ascendancy in African and World football seems to win against the other for a specific period. For example, between 1981 and 1990 when Algerian football was in the ascendancy (2 impressive world cup outings and 1 Afcon trophy), Nigeria could not live with them. In that period, we managed 1 win, 1 draw and a humiliating 5 losses.

However, between 1993 and 2010 when we had arguably some of our most flamboyant and fascinating players to date (Okocha, Kanu, Yakubu, Martins, Enyeama and Co), Algeria could not lay a glove on us. They managed 1 draw and 6 staggering loses? So, who is better at the moment? Who is on the ascendancy? A Nigeria boasting of some truly exciting talents who were only just unlucky to be pipped by Algeria in the narrowest of losses in last year's Afcon semi finals or an Algeria who want to go back to the days of Rabah Madjer where they were a truly exciting outfit in the world game. They are currently an exciting outfit as well as Nigeria whose rise in the Fifa rankings in recent times shows no sign of abating. I think this match will go some way in determining which of the 2 teams is more on the ascendancy than the other. Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. The information contained here may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of the author.

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