Lagos – Tajudeen Disu, a member of the 1983 Mexico FIFA World Youth Championship, says Super Eagles friendly matches against Burkina Faso and Senegal will be crucial in testing the fitness of the players.
Disu, who spoke on Wednesday in Lagos, advised the players to take the matches seriously.
He added that the players’ fitness and current form should be well assessed.
Super Eagles will be up against Senegal’s Teranga Lions on March 23 before taking on the Etalons of Burkina Faso four days later.
Both matches will be played at The Hive, home ground of Barnet Football Club.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had said that the friendly was scheduled in preparation for the World Cup qualifier against the current AFCON champion, Cameroon in August.
Disu said: “We have so much to gain in these friendly matches, it’s not particularly about winning, but to be assured that we have a capable team come August’’.
When asked if the friendly was not too far from when the qualifiers would kick off in August, he said that the timeliness of the friendly matches was fair enough.
“I believe the timing is okay as long as they can schedule another friendly match by June,’’ he said.
Similarly, ex-Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu, advised handlers of the team to use the international friendly matches to test more players.
Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr had listed goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi and forwards Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho for the friendly matches.
Also included are home-based goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Leon Balogun and William Ekong, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo and forwards Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon.
Experienced left back Elderson Echiejile, Portugal-based Chidozie Awaziem, Israel-based John Ogu and Watford FC of England forward Isaac Success are also called.
Germany-based forward Noah Joel Bazee and Holland-based defender Tyronne Ebuehi will join up with the squad for the first time, while youngster Victor Osimhen, record top scorer at the FIFA U17 World Cup, returns.
Shorunmu, who spoke in Lagos, said the players should be assessed based on their performance during the friendly matches.
The Super Eagles are ranked 41st in the world, 10 places below Senegal’s Teranga Lions and three places below the Stallions of Burkina Faso.