By Olawale Ayeni, Abuja
Nigeria’s Super Eagles will arrive in Porto-Novo today on a ferry ride for Saturday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying game against Republic of Benin.
The three-time African champions, Nigeria who defeated the Squirrels in their first leg tie 2-1 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium last November, will battle the Republic of Benin at the Porto-Novo’s Stade Charles de Gaulle on Saturday.
Benin and Nigeria had met in seven international matches, dating back to 2004. The Super Eagles claimed six wins compared to one for the Squirrels. The teams’ Group L meeting in November 2019 at Uyo was won 2-1 by Nigeria, thanks to goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles team coordinator, Patrick Pascal, who spoke to LEADERSHIP sports from the Eagles camp in Lagos yesterday, said all the players are physically fit and battle ready ahead of the crucial clash against Benin.
“The players know what is at stake for them, they also know that Benin have not lost a match for eight years at home, the last time they lost was in 2013, so you can imagine that we want to be the first team to win there in eight years” he said.
“We don’t have any injury worries in the camp now, and with the motivation from the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and the encouragement from the Lagos State government, the players are ready to do the nation proud”.
Pascal, who is also the chairman of Bauchi State Football Association was optimistic about the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) players’ chances of being selected ahead of their foreign-based counterparts for the matches if the coaches are satisfied with their performance in training.
“For the NPFL players, getting national team call-ups is a plus to them; it will boost their confidence going forward. They also stand a chance to play if they can prove themselves to the coaches,” Pascal stated.
Gernot Rohr’s men remained in Group L with eight points after four games and a draw over Michel Dussuyer’s men and would secure the country’s ticket for the continental showpiece in Cameroon 2022.