Nigeria’s failure to see off Sierra Leone in a double header, means they now have to get the right results against Benin Republic and Lesotho, to qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
Indeed, the Super Eagles failed to win a single match all of 2020.
In their last two fixtures of a pandemic-stricken year, Gernot Rohr’s casually threw away a 4-0 lead to draw 4-4 with the Leone Stars in Benin City, Edo state.
Four days later, both teams stared each other eyeball-to-eyeball in Freetown and there were no goals.
Nigeria, however, go into the last two qualifying fixtures top of Group L.
The three-time African champions have eight points, one more than Benin Republic.
And on Saturday, they face the Squirrels in Porto Novo.
It won’t be an easy task. Michel Dussuyer’s men are on a five-match unbeaten run. They have also not been defeated at home for eight years.
The last time they were beaten was against Algeria in 2013.
Still, you will fancy the Super Eagles to at least get a point.
Except for the France-based players, Rohr will have a strong squad to call on. Although Napoli’s Victor Osimhen has not been in convincing form for the Serie A, Kelechi Iheanacho has been flying for Leicester City in England. Before flying to Lagos, Iheanacho scored twice to dump Manchester United out of the FA Cup last weekend.
There is fierce competition for the goalkeeper’s spot between Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho. Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong will likely form a central defence partnership ahead of whoever gets picked.
The imperious Wilfried Ndidi will start at the base of defensive midfield, with Alex Iwobi just in front supporting the attack.
What can possibly go wrong in Porto Novo? Only Nigeria can stop Nigeria from qualifying for the next year’s tournament in Cameroon.