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The former Nigeria captain says the Afcon qualifier is more important than the friendly game and that the Super Eagles must not be distracted at this crucial time

Former Nigeria captain Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha has said that Nigeria should find a way to rearrange the proposed rematch with Argentina in a way that will not remove focus from their important African Nations Cup qualification match against Madagascar on September 3.

The Super Eagles are billed to play the Albiceleste in Bangladesh on September 6, three days after their Afcon qualifier in Antananarivo. The last time they played they defeated the Argentines in Abuja by 4-1, the Nigerians struggled to a 2-2 draw against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa a few days later. It left their chances of qualifying for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea hanging.

“[The Argentina game] could be a big distraction because the schedule is too tight. I believe we need the away game in Madagascar badly with goals,” Okocha told The Punch.

Nigeria trail Guinea by three points in their group and need an away win to keep sight of the leaders who will host Ethiopia in a fixture they are expected to win in Conakry.

“We cannot sacrifice it for a friendly. It is a must-win match and we have to learn from the mistake we made in Abuja by playing the Argentines with full strength and being unable to win in Ethiopia.

“We need to stay focused and so for now, we should only think of the qualifier,” Okocha said.

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