The last 2 outings of the Super Eagles have been disappointing draws. Both matches were against Sierra Leone in the last rounds in November. Gernot Rohr and his team now have a must-win win tie in Stade Charles de Gaulle Port-Novo vs Benin Republic on Saturday before going to face Lesotho next week. Well, it is not exactly a must-win tie as Nigeria (8 points) needs only a point against the Squirrels of Benin Republic (7) but they will want to make a statement after two dour games. They are making quite the entrance, they need to back it up. The three-time African Champions Nigeria will be looking to qualify immediately for the showpiece set to be played in 2022 in Cameroon. Nigeria defeated Michel Dussuyer’s men 2-1 in the first leg at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo with goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu.
What Do the Record Books Say?
The records point to a Nigerian win as they have won the last 5 times they have met. No draws or losses, clean sweep, but the Super Eagles have not been impressive recently. Also, this Benin team is in good form, they have won their last 3 games and they are unbeaten at home in the past eight years. But squad issues/travel restrictions also make the game more difficult for Benin Republic as its squad is composed mostly of foreign-based players and due to these restrictions, as many as 10 players won’t be going to Porto-Novo ahead of the two international fixtures. They will miss vital players such as defender Olivier Verdon and striker Rudy Gestede. Some players were unable to travel with Nigeria too with Spanish second-tier side Leganes refusing to grant permission for defender Kenneth Omeruo Nantes also did not release Moses Simon for the games.
Who are the Players to Watch out For?
Stade Brestois striker Steve Mounie is a handful for any defense even though he is yet to open his account in the qualifiers. 29-year-old Jodel Dossou of Clermont Foot is Benin’s highest goalscorer with 4 so far and Nigeria will have to keep an eye on him. Kelechi Iheanacho is nominated for the Premier League Player of the month award after finding some incredible form between February and March. Victor Osimhen is a battler and Paul Onuachu has 27 goals for Genk this season.
17:00 Saturday, 27th of March 2021.
Super Eagles of Nigeria Called Up For the Game
Goalkeepers: Maduka Okoye, Francis Uzoho, John Noble
Defenders: William Ekong, Olaoluwa Aina, Adekunle Adeleke, Chidozie Awaziem, Leon Balogun, Tyronne Ebuehi, Jamilu Collins, Zaidu Sanusi
Midfielders: Semi Ajayi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Abdullahi Shehu, Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, Wilfred Ndidi
Forwards: Ahmed Musa, Henry Onyekuru, Anayo Iwuala, Alex Iwobi, Paul Onuachu, Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho
Players Called Up For Benin Republic
Goalkeepers: Saturnin Allagbe, Fabien Farnolle, Marcel Dandjinou
Defenders: Youssouf Assogba, Seidou Baraze, Khaled Adenon, Moise Adilehou, Cedric Hountondji, Yohan Roche, David Kiki, Emmanuel Imorou
Midfielders: Sessi d’Almeida, Jordan Adeoti, Anaane Tidjani, Rodrigue Kossi, Matteo Ahlin, Jerome Agossa
Forwards: Michael Pote, Cebio Soukou, Jodel Dossou, Marcellin Koukpo, Steve Mounie, Jacques Bessan