Franco-German coach Gernot Rohr has hinted that the Pharaohs of Egypt without their mercurial striker Mohammed Salah would still be a good test for the Super Eagles in the pre- 2019 Africa cup of Nations (AFCON) international friendly to be held later this month.
Both Nigeria and Egypt have already sealed their places for the biennial continental showpiece to be held in June and would both engage themselves in the high profile international days after the last round of AFCON matches.
While Nigeria play host to Seychelles in a dead-rubber game, Egypt will be away to Niger in Niamey in an equally formality match after getting the nod to host the AFCON before making a whistle stop for the eagerly awaited match fixed for March 26 in Asaba.
“NFF already has my list (for the match against Seychelles and Egypt),” the 65-year-old coach told Sportinglife.ng.
Incidentally, Egypt’s Mexican head coach Javier Aguirre has named a 25-man list with the two-time African Footballer of the Year Salah dropped for their upcoming matches but Rohr reckoned the absence of the Liverpool striker cannot be taken for granted. “Yes, I know (absence of Salah); he has many important matches with his club (Liverpool).
“Of course, yes; Egypt will be strong without Salah,” Rohr reiterated.
Though Rohr did not reveal the identity of players to be called up for the upcoming matches, it would seemingly be complete with the usual, with his eyes fixed firmly on the continental most sought-after trophy.
“Our ambition is to go very far in this competition in Egypt and with a country like Nigeria, the ambition is to get to the podium,” he explained. “The target is to prepare very well for the AFCON and we want to start good preparation with these two good matches against Seychelles and Egypt in March.
“We must ensure that we have the fittest and best players so that our team can make a good impression; we know people expect so much from us when we go for this competition (AFCON) because, presently, we are number three in Africa but our priority in AFCON will be to be among the best three teams, ” he said.