Super Eagles to face national team of French tourist island Corsica in Ajaccio tonight

NIGERIA'S Super Eagles will face the national team of Corsica today at the Stade Francois Coty in Ajaccio in a friendly game organised to get the squad prepared for its forthcoming World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

At the venue on the French island, the play the national team in a warm-up game ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on June 10. As Corsica is technically part of France and not a Fifa-registered member, the game will not count as a Grade A friendly

Defender Elderson Echiejile, who plies his trade in France and who will captain the Eagles tonight, said: “I know a bit about them and most of their players play in the Ligue One. I expect a tough challenge from them, so we cannot afford to and will not underrate them.”

In the run-up to game a large number of Nigeria's first–team players have had to drop out of the squad due to visa hitches or injury, so team manager Gernot Rohr intends using the game to try out some young and fresh players. Echiejile said he believes healthy competition for first team places in the team is a welcome development.

“The team is improving after every game but there are places in the team the coach thinks need more competition which to me is a welcome development. Every good team needs a good back up and I think that is what has informed the reason for the new faces in the team for these friendlies,” he added.

In the run-up to the game, the Corsica football federation, Ligue Corse de Football, have offered free tickets to children up to 12 years old living in the island. Association president Dédé Discala said he wants to give an opportunity to the children to see the big names on the Nigerian team, including Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Leicester City striker Ahmed Musa.

Mr Discala said: "We want them to share this moment and that it remains a beautiful memory for them. Around the flags of Corsica and Nigeria, it seemed interesting to us to send the message of a welcoming island with children, social categories and very different origins as that is what it is to live together and it is very important for us."

Coach Rohr has seen strikers Ahmed Musa‚ Moses Simon‚ Olarenwaju Kayode and Henry Onyekuru withdraw because of injury or club commitments while Victor Osimhem has to play in the Bundesliga promotion-relegation play-off match with VfL Wolfsburg. Nigeria already has to do without Ola Aina of Chelsea and Alex Iwobi of Arsenal‚ who are staying at their clubs as previously arranged.

Leon Balogun‚ the Mainz defender is also doubtful for the game after being injured in the last round of Bundesliga matches last weekend. It is not clear if he will be available for the second warm-up friendly against Togo in Paris on June 1.