Both teams need to win to stay in contention for a place in the round of 16.
The Super Eagles will Saturday night file out against Bosnia for their second group game at the ongoing FIFA 2014 World Cup.
For both teams, victory is crucial in order to stay in contention for a place in the round of 16.
While Nigeria, in their first game, struggled to an unimpressive 0-0 draw against Iran (the first at the Brazil World Cup), Bosnia gave a brave display but fell 2-1 to Argentina.
The aforementioned results underlines why victory is quite crucial for both Nigeria and Bosnia in the game taking place in the Brazilian city of Cuiaba at 11:00 p.m. Nigerian time.
With criticism mounting on the Eagles and their handlers for the seemingly poor start, the Nigerian players have all vowed to step up their game against Bosnia who incidentally are greenhorns at the Mundial while the Eagles are featuring at this stage for the 5th time.
Speaking on arrival in Cuiaba, Lazio of Italy midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi, said he can’t wait for tonight’s crunch duel to show how important the game is to him.
“One of the players of the Bosnian side is my teammate at Lazio, he plays from the left side of the attack and I want to prove to him that I am a great player at the world stage”, Onazi, who was one of the standout players in the Eagles first game against Iran, stated.
Going by some noticeable lapses in the game against Iran, the Super Eagles will need more creativity in the hole, some urgency in midfield and improved play from the full-backs if they are to get a win over Bosnia and effectively end the 16 years tortuous wait of for victory at the Mundial since France 1998.
Coach Keshi has declared that he is not God to predict what the outcome of tonight’s game will be. He, however, has some selection problems with Godfrey Oboabona being ruled out with an ankle injury.
Three other players – Kenneth Omeruo, Ahmed Musa and Reuben Gabriel – are said to be fighting a race against time to be fully fit to face the Edin Dzeko inspired Bosnian side
On his part, Bosnia coach Safet Susic could name as much as 10 of the starting 11 players that stared in the group opener against Argentina.
One of Bosnia’s key players, Miralem Pjanic, says his team is fully focused on the task in hand.
“We’re raring to go, if we lose it’s over for us, we won’t let that happen,” he said. “We will fight, not just for us but for the country.”
Nigeria, Pjanic added, were not African champions by chance.
“I`m sure they didn’t play their best against Iran (0-0). The pressure is a bit greater on us, but we are convinced in our strength, we believe we will win tomorrow (Saturday).” Pjanic told fifa.com
Already, a trio of Oceania match officials led by New Zealand referee Peter O’Leary, at the helm has been named for the match.
Making up the trio for the Group F match in Cuiaba are New Zealand assistant referees Mark Rule and Jan Hendrik Hintz.
It is the first appearance for O’Leary and his assistants at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, although he was engaged as a fourth official for the Group E game between France and Honduras.