Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has revealed that about 50% of his players fell sick during their preparations in Egypt ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) due to weather conditions.
During this period in the region of the host nation, temperatures are forecast to reach up to 40C, with calls already being made for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to allow four cooling breaks for players during games.
After a short camping in Asaba, Delta state, the Nigerian team fled to Egypt and have been there for about two weeks finalising their readiness for the event.
They are set to begin their campaign against newbies Burundi in Alexandria on Saturday, and speaking on Friday to the media, Rohr says one of his players is still sick.
“The weather is a bit different from what we are used to in Nigeria, and it affected us because half the team fell sick, but now only one player is sick,” said the German gaffer.
“Everyone isn’t fit. Four or five players missed one week of training and have only trained for a few days. We are not in the best shape, but we don’t complain.
“The team have solidarity, perhaps even too much solidarity. But we will be ready; the fittest one will play tomorrow.
“We’re used to the pressure and we are cool. We are happy to start this competition and we have been together for three weeks.”
The Eagles, three-time champions of Africa, will begin their campaign for a fourth continental title this weekend when they take on in the opening game of Group B.
Despite being the favourites of the group, Rohr says his team will play against the newcomers with humility especially due to the less-than-100% fitness of the players.
“We prepare to face them (Burundi) with humility because they were unbeaten in the qualifiers. It’s difficult because all the big countries are here, but I believe the competition will be wonderful with passionate fans and nice pitches,” he stated.
The match will hold at the Alexandra Stadium by 6:00p.m Nigeria time.
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