Nigeria held the five-time world champions to a 1-1 draw on Sunday at the Singapore National Stadium, a result that is satisfactory to the team’s German head coach.
The 34th ranked team in the world had several key players missing including captain Ahmed Musa while still adjusting to the recent retirement of two stars but they still matched the Copa America champions man for man and their 66-year-old tactician is pleased with the feat.
Nigeria national team coach Gernot Rohr has expressed his delight after his young team – with an average age of 23.5 years – gave as much as they got from Brazil.
Joe Aribo – making his second appearance for the Super Eagles – scored the opening goal in the 35th minute before Casemiro’s second-half effort saved the South American champions from defeat.
Rohr could not hide his pleasure with the performance of his side but he was quick to admit that his young side still have to improve.
“It was tough for us as the second game because Brazil would not have wanted to leave Singapore without winning, and it feels very good to know that we can play so well against some of the biggest names in football,” Rohr told the press after the match.
“We didn’t have our best team here, but our wingers gave Brazil a lot of problems on the counter-attack and I am proud of our players. They can have a good future.
“We can still improve in defending set-pieces. We have height, with players as tall as two metres, but we have to be better in the air.
“It is not enough just to have good size, they need to jump well with good timing.”
“These results are good for African football when Senegal and Nigeria did not lose to Brazil, one of the strongest teams in the world,” he added.
Nigeria will seek to capitalize on the momentum gained in Singapore by picking up good results when they take on Benin Republic and Lesotho in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games in November.