The time has come for the eagerly-awaited 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game between the Benin Republic and Nigeria’s national football team, the Super Eagles.
The two West African sides will battle it out at Stade Charles de Gaulle for a berth at next year’s AFCON’s tournament to be staged in Cameroon.
The Super Eagles are in pole position in Group L with eight points from their four games played while the Squirrels are a close second-just one point adrift; a development that suggests Saturday’s tie will be testy encounter.
Benin Republic’s national football team boast an eight-year unbeaten record at home and Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr admits they could prove a hard nut to crack.
“It’s a big challenge to win here tomorrow (Saturday) because they didn’t lose a match since eight years, so we want to do that,” Rohr told the media.
“We know that with a draw we have the ticket for the AFCON. This is our first target and then later we speak about the second match. Everybody is fit, no injuries and I hope we can do what we want to do,” the Franco-German tactician added.
While a point will be okay in Porto Novo, three-time champions Nigeria could make sure of a 19th appearance at African football’s flagship tournament even before the kickoff of Saturday’s tie.
If Sierra Leone and Lesotho end their tie in a stalemate in their early game in Maseru on Saturday, then the Eagles would have booked their place even before facing the Squirrels.
However, the Eagles are insisting on focusing on their own game and result rather than wait for help from one bumpy pitch in southern Africa.
With the Nigeria national team coach already confirming the fitness of his 24 invited players; Rohr would be spoilt for choice for the game against Benin Republic.
The Super Eagles finished third at the last edition of the continental tournament in Egypt, behind winners Algeria and Senegal but they are looking to conquer the continent for a fourth time.
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