Portugal plans to play Nigeria in a friendly international game with their best team. The match is scheduled for November 17, eight days before Portugal’s first Group H encounter against Ghana in the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Ghana kept Nigeria from qualifying for the World Cup, but the Portuguese think the Super Eagles and the Black Stars play in a similar way, so they want to see the Eagles play in a friendly in Lisbon.
Fernando Santos announced his final team for Qatar on Thursday. It includes superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who will play in his fifth World Cup. Before him, only four players had reached this milestone.
According to sources, Ronaldo will captain the squad against Nigeria, with veteran defender Pepe poised to extend his amazing run of games for his adoptive nation. Pepe is a native of Brazil.
Santos is likely to pick his team for the Copa Mundial game against Nigeria from the list he just released. Goalkeepers Diogo Costa, Rui Patricio, and Jose Sa will all be competing for time against the Super Eagles.
The team’s defenders are Joao Cancelo, Diogo Dalot, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Danilo Pereira, Antonio Silva, Nuno Mendes, and Raphael Guerreiro, while the midfielders are William Carvalho, Ruben Neves, Joao Palhinha, Bruno Fernandes, Vitinha, Otavio, Matheus Nunes, Bernardo Silva, and Joao Mario.
Apart from Ronaldo, the squad also has Joao Felix, Rafael Leao, Ricardo Horta, Andre Silva, and Goncalo Ramos as strikers. In the group stage, Portugal will also play Uruguay and South Korea on November 28 and December 2, respectively.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said that the Super Eagles will have two new players on their team when they play Portugal.
The NFF has called up Chidozie Awaziem, a loanee from Boavista, to replace Orlando Pirates player Olisa Ndah, who withdrew from the team due to injury.
Awaziem is a good replacement for the South African defender. This season, he has been Nigeria’s best central defender in Europe, scoring four goals in 14 games for Hajduk Split in the Croatian SuperSport HNL.
Cyriel Dessers, a Cremonese attacker, has been called up to replace injured Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, who has also withdrawn from the team, claiming injury, despite playing the full distance for Napoli in their 3-2 victory against Udinese on Saturday.