- Sierra Leone national head coach John Keister has urged his players to have the right mentality and belief going into matchday three of the African Cup of Nations qualifier in Nigeria.
- Keister’s men face with a tough away job at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
- The Leone Stars have only won once in their last six outings that include the two recent friendlies in October.
- Ranked 88th places below Nigeria, Sierra Leone must avoid a back to back defeat, worst-case scenario a win at home, if they are to rejuvenate their chances for Cameroon next year.
- Sierra Leone full 23-man squad will train for the first time in Nigeria today.
- The Leone Stars’ going into Friday’s tie in search to reach their third Afcon finals. They last featured at the 1996 edition in South Africa.
Fifteen of the sixteen foreign-based named will be available for the quick-double on 13 and 17 as Keister urged his players to put faith in their abilities.
Keister will bank on the likes of MLS veteran Kei Kamara, who scored Leone Stars winner against Liberia in Freetown during the World Cup elimination last September.
Randers striker Alhaji Kamara is in good form with his Danish Superligaen side same could be said of China-based striker Mohamed Buya Turay who has accounted for six goals four assists in all competition with Hebei China Fortune.
LA Galaxy striker Augustine William is another secret weapon in Keister’s side. A proving goal scorer with 13 goals for LA Galaxy II this season. His 13 goals and two assists helped him finished second in the race for the USL Championship’s Golden Boot.
Williams’ impressive form this campaign has led to USL key observers named him to the 2020 USL Championship All-League First Team.
Nigeria, on the other hand, in dire need of a win to strengthen their Cameroon 2022 ambitions.
Their last international game in Benin City was a friendly against Botswana which ended in a goalless draw. Without any exaggeration, the Eagles have only won one of their four matches in the multi-purpose stadium named after two-time Governor of the old Bendel State (now Edo State), the late Dr Samuel Ogbemudia.
With the likes of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, Genk and Jupiler top-scorer Paul Onuachu who replace Moses Simon, Everton attacker midfielder Alex Iwobi, German coach Gernot Rohr has a lot of firepowers.
Nigeria’s last eight goals have been scored by six different players. Victor Osimhen is the highest goal scorer in Group L with three goals. Everton’s Alex Iwobi, Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze and Bordeaux’s Samuel Kalu have a goal each to their names.
“As a group, we have to be positive in our approach in both games. It’s not the easiest of games taking on one of the best nations in our continent,” Keister to FSL UK a day before departed Freetown.
The Manchester-born, former Sierra Leone International further urged his players to have the right mentality.
“Going into the game against Nigeria, we have to be clever in our method, and we have to be honest about it. We have been working on our strategies, but we must have the right mentality.”
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