Thursday, 12 November 2020

Nigeria aim to build on strong start to Afcon qualifiers


Nigeria will be aiming to build on their strong start to the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers when they host Sierra Leone at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City on Friday evening.

The Super Eagles head into the match at the newly renovated venue in Edo State on six points in Group L following back-to-back wins to start their campaign. Nigeria defeated Benin 2-1 in Uyo before thumping Lesotho 4-2 in Maseru last November, with Victor Osimhen playing a part in all four goals for the visitors.

Osimhen will be one of many attacking weapons at head coach Gernot Rohr's disposal with Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Emmanuel Dennis, Alex Iwobi and Ahmed Musa all having made the trip to Benin City.

For Rohr the most important thing is for his team not to underestimate their opponents. The three-time Afcon champions will be clear favourites heading into matches in Benin City and Freetown this month.

"We are expecting a tough match because our opponent, Sierra Leone, have quality players too. It will not be an easy game because they have professional players," said Rohr.

"My work is to first explain to the players that this will not be an easy game. We cannot underrate this Sierra Leone team."

Sierra Leone sit bottom of the group after two rounds of fixtures having followed 1-1 draw at home to Lesotho with 1-0 defeat away to Benin in their most recent outing. John Keister and his team will be boosted by the return of veteran forward Kei Kamara who expressed his delight at being involved with the Leone Stars once again.

"A year ago I made the decision to step away from our national team, and it was a decision I made with good intentions." Kamara said in a statement. "During this year of being on the outside watching and listening, I can tell you it has not been easy.

"In the past few months I have heard some wonderful conversations with newly appointed head coach John Keister about his vision for the national team, and they're remarkable.

"I'm very honoured to be considered by Coach Keister as someone that could impact the team. To be included on the roster for the upcoming games is an invitation I have accepted.

"I'm very excited to wave the green, white and blue flag and will proudly represent my country. I'll do what I have always done - play my heart out for mama Sierra Leone. I look forward to joining the team in the quest for qualification."

This will be the first meeting between the two nations since 2008 when the Super Eagles claimed a 4-1 win in a 2010 Fifa World Cup qualifier hosted in Abuja, with goals from Christian Obodo, Victor Obinna, Peter Odemwingie and Chukwudi Odiah.

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