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Brazil prepare for African double-header in Singapore

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Brazil's Luis Fabiano challenges John Utaka of Nigeria
’s Luis Fabiano challenges John Utaka of Nigeria in the only meeting between the two countries which won 0-3 in Abuja in 2003

Brazil’s assistant coach Cleber Xavier is expecting a stern test when the five-times world champions play their first ever match against Senegal.

Brazil will also face Nigeria for just the second time as part of a friendly double-header against African opposition in .

“Senegal is a very well trained and strong team,” Xavier told BBC Sport.

“They conceded few goals during the Africa Cup of Nations with interesting players like Sadio Mane and Idrissa Gueye.

“Ismaila Sarr on the wing is a player of individual actions and in the centre M’Baye Niang plays as a pivot, a support player for Sarr and Mane to feed off.

“It is a direct team that seeks Mane with the long ball, a transition from defence to attack geared around him. It is a demanding team.”

Cameroon are the only African side ever to have beaten Brazil, a 1-0 victory in the 2003 Confederations Cup.

Nigeria’s only previous meeting with the Selecao also came in 2003, when goals from Gil, Luis Fabiano and Adriano Leite resulted in a 0-3 defeat for the Super Eagles in Abuja.

This time around, Alex Iwobi has been picked out as Nigeria’s danger man.

“At Nigeria, Iwobi plays more of an inside role as a second striker than at Everton,” said Xavier.

“He is the link in the counter attack, drags opponents out of position and infiltrates well in the box.

“Nigeria defend less than Senegal. The Senegalese are more about positioning with Gueye marking strongly.”

Fresh from winning this year’s Copa America, Brazil plan to use the games to plan for the start of World Cup qualification which starts in March.

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“These two friendlies and the two November friendlies will allow us to test new players and to adjust and tweak some tactical details in attack and defense,” explained Xavier.

“We did this in the preparation for the Copa America. We succeeded in the objective of winning and did so unbeaten. Every time the qualifiers become more difficult. It is a very hard competition. Last time we qualified with four rounds to go, which was a great achievement.”

Brazil play Senegal on 10 October before the clash with Nigeria on 13 October.

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