Former Nigeria international Friday Ekpo has hailed the performance of the Super Eagles in their 1-1 draw against Algeria in their final African Group B Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier in Constantine on Friday.
The Eagles were without the likes of skipper John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Moses Simon, Mikel Agu and Odion Ighalo.
John Ogu give Nigeria the lead on 62 minutes after sending in a superb curler into the top corner.
But in the 88th minute, Yacine Brahimi equalised for Algeria from the penalty spot after a controversial penalty was awarded for a non-existent foul.
“I want to say a big congratulations to everyone of them who played against Algeria,” Ekpo said. “It is difficult to pick a particular player that was the most outstanding. Everyone of them was impressive and I say kudos to them.”
Ekpo, who was in the Eagles squad that won bronze at the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal, praised the players who replaced their injured colleagues.
He said: “Also, let me congratulate the players who were brought on for the injured players. They never fizzled out against Algeria nor were they complacent because we had qualified already. They came to play and felt they are also good like other regulars. I believe they played to the best of their ability.”
And looking ahead to the international friendly against Argentina in Russia on Tuesday, Ekpo said: “Argentina is a different ball game.
“Nothing but their pride is at stake and we should expect their very best players against Nigeria. I will advise our players not to go on to the pitch and be looking at Messi, they should go and play their own game and it will work for them. They should follow the instructions of the coach and I believe if this is done, we will see a game from our players.”