Isaac Semitoje believes Nigeria can run riot against Algeria in their Russia 2018 World Cup Group B qualifier in Uyo on November 12 with in-form Chelsea winger Victor Moses called up for the encounter.
Moses pulled out of the Super Eagles’ opening World Cup qualifier against Zambia on Sunday after picking up a hamstring injury while playing for Chelsea against Hull City in their Premier League fixture.
However, the 25-year-old’s absence didn’t affect the Eagles, who defeated Chipolopolo 2-1 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia.
Arsenal’s rising star Alex Iwobi opened the scoring for the Eagles in the 33rd minute – and Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the three-time African champions’ lead 10 minutes later as he pounced on a pass from Greece-based Brown Ideye before rounding Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene and hitting home.
Veteran striker Collins Mbesuma capitalised on Kenneth Omeruo’s schoolboy defending to score Zambia’s goal in the encounter.
Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nations winner Semitoje, who hailed Nigeria’s performance in the historic clash, which saw them beating Chipolopolo at home for the first time since 1973, says Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr should invite Moses for next month’s fixture against Algeria.
The former Iwuanyanwu Nationale captain, who was dropped by Dutchman Clemens Westerhof on the eve of the Eagles’ departure for the United States for the 1994 World Cup, is tipping Nigeria to overrun the Desert Foxes in Uyo. Algeria on Sunday threw away an early lead to draw 1-1 against Cameroon in the second Group B fixture in Bilda.
The outcome of the game drew outrage from the fans and the media, prompting the Algeria Football Federation to fire their Serbian manager Milovan Rajevac on Tuesday.
“I’m satisfied with the outcome of our game against Zambia; it was a deserved win,” the Algiers ’90 Africa Cup of Nations silver medallist told our correspondent on the telephone from his base in Denmark on Wednesday.
“Judging by the fighting spirit I saw in the Eagles against Zambia, I believe we will beat Algeria home and away.
“I think Cameroon will be our greatest problem in the group, but we can go for a draw against them at home (Yaounde) and try to beat them in Nigeria.”
He added, “We need Moses badly. With him, Iheanacho and Iwobi will be guaranteed great chances to score goals for us.
“Moses is an intelligent player. He can create something from nothing. He possesses the quality to unlock defences with his movement. He’s quick and reads the game.
“Iheanacho and Iwobi will be happy to have a player like Moses playing in the same side with them because he is a fighter.
“We also need Odion Ighalo back in the team. He’s a quality striker. Our problem right now is our central defence.
“There seems to be a lack of understanding between (William) Troost-Ekong and Omeruo. The coach should work on this fast.”
Semitoje praised Rohr’s team selection, saying the German also made the right substitutions in Sunday’s game.