After their embarrassing capitulation against arch-rivals Egypt, Algeria will be looking to gain a small consolation in taking third place by defeating Nigeria on Sunday. Likewise, Nigeria – who have finished third three times in the last four competitions – will try and put their heartbreak against Ghana aside, where they were guilty of missing several opportunities. Billed as a sluggish encounter between two tired sides, Algeria will have to dig deep to motivate themselves.
- Shaibu Amodu is under severe pressure to keep his job
However, the ‘Super Eagles’ appear to have more than just motivational issues. Shaibu Amodo is under severe pressure to keep his job, after what has deemed to be a failed campaign. And to further continue his demise, star man Peter Odemwingie publicly criticised his manager following their narrow defeat to Ghana. Claiming that their tactics weren’t the correct choice, Odemwingie also highlighted their lack of motivation to beat Algeria, telling BBC Sport, ‘It will be difficult. We will have to travel again for the last game and have only one day to train. We will be tired. Maybe those who have not had a chance will play.’
Nigeria will be boosted by the return of Onyekachi Apam who has completed his suspension, whilst Joseph Yobo may make a shock return after he limped off against Benin. Algeria, in stark contrast, will be severely depleted following their ill-disciplined display against Egypt. Without the skill and experience of Halliche, Belhadj, and Chaouchi, ‘Les Fennecs’ defence could open up like a tin of beans to Nigerian stars such as Yakubu, with the bookmakers odds of 11-10 for a Nigerian win reflecting this.
- Peter Odemwingie will be a huge threat to the Algerian defence
If Algeria are to take third place, they will have to keep Lokomotiv Moscows’ Peter Odemwingie quiet. The Russian-born starlet can combine amazing trickery with terrifying bursts of speed to scare even the best of defenders, shown during the ‘Super Eagles’ win over Mozambique in the group stage. Odemwingie also likes to shoot from distance, and with rookie ‘keeper Zemmamouche making his first Algerian start, don’t be surprised to see the ‘shoot on sight’ approach.
- Algeria’s Chaouchi is suspended, handing a start to rookie Zemmamouche
Personally, I think the result of the game lies in Nigeria’s hands. If they put in maximum effort and play a full-strength side, they should have too much in the locker for their depleted North African counterparts. But with the pressure cranked up on Amodu, the ‘Super Eagles’ could find Algeria harder than they thought…
Prediction: Nigeria 3-0 Algeria