Nigeria Super Eagles

The unbeaten Super Eagles look to secure their spot at Africa’s continental showpiece coming up in January 2022. 

Nigeria lead Group L of the qualifiers table with eight points from four games and victory over Benin or Lesotho will take them to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The 2013 AFCON champions will square off against Benin at Porto-Novo’s Stade Charles de Gaulle Stadium on Saturday, then complete their qualification campaign against Lesotho on Tuesday at Teslim Balogun Stadium Lagos. 

Before returning to Lagos for the first time since January 2001, Nigeria will travel to Benin by boat for their penultimate game. The Super Eagles are 2.25 to beat Benin.

Betway Nigeria

The Squirrels are on a five-game unbeaten run, with the Super Eagles their last victors in November 2019. Michel Dusseyer’s men have also not lost at home for eight years and Nigeria will have to be at their best to clinch the points.

Gernot Rohr has cautioned his players on the immense task at hand, with it apparent they secure qualification as early as possible.

“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,” Rohr told reporters.

“It will not be easy, they have a very good defence, they were quarter-finalists in the last Afcon. They eliminated Morocco.”

Rohr has 24 players in camp including three home-based players and clubless captain Ahmed Musa, who is training with the squad but will not play any games.

New strike-partnership?

The double-header against Sierra Leone in November was quickly forgotten by Nigeria fans after Victor Osimhen’s injury preceded a collapse in intensity and calamitous errors at the back, as the opponents roared from behind to draw 4-4. The away leg was not much different with a stalemate on a poor playing surface.

Nigeria Super Eagles
The Nigeria team are training in Lagos for the March International break.

The Franco-German tactician would be wise to pair the Premier League’s in-form man, Kelechi Iheanacho, with Napoli striker Osimhen upfront. Iheanacho is on a four-game scoring streak for Leicester, with his FA Cup brace against Manchester United taking him to seven goals in that period.

It translates to a purple patch of nine goals in his last 10 games. 

Particularly, his linkup play and fluidity of movement with Jamie Vardy can be replicated with the equally mobile Osimhen at international level. The Partenopei frontman has had an unfortunate season with injuries and an exciting strike partnership with his fellow U-17 World Cup hero could be a game-changer for Nigeria.

Indeed, the dearth of wingers in the squad due to travel restrictions may well force Rohr’s hand into a tactical switch to a two-striker system. The away side are 2.52 to score over 2.5 goals

Should it prove successful this month, the three-time African champions might have a plan B going into January’s tournament in Cameroon. 


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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