Sierra Leone must not be complacent in Nigeria rematch

Sierra Leone must not be complacent in Nigeria rematch

  • John Keister’s men must be brewing with confidence going into matchday four of the African Cup of Nations qualifier at the Siaka Steven Stadium on Tuesday.
  • Leone Stars must replicate a reverse performance of the second half first leg if they are to combat a rejuvenated Super Eagles, who will be coming to write-off the wrongs of the meeting in Nigeria.

The group top scorer Napoli’s hitman Victor Osimhen has been ruled out. Regardless, German coach Gernot Rohr still have a host of strikers to call upon.

A win for the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone will surely pave a new direction and improve their chances to reach their third African Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon 2022.

However, a defeat or draw depending on the result in Lesotho will leave the Leone Stars with a slim hope which will not be good for a side that exhibited passion and resilient at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City on Friday.

Having come from four-goal down to draw 4-4 sharing of the spoils against one of Africa’s footballing powerhouse, self-assurance must be brewing within the Leone Stars camp, but they must not be complacent in Freetown.

History can repeat itself as in 2001 when big names like centre back Taribo West, midfield maestro Jay-jay Okocha, enforcer Sunday Oliseh, winger Finidi George, present assistant coach Joseph Yobo were all part of a strong Eagles first team when local hero Sidique Mansaray under the supervision of Sam Obi Metzger trampled the Eagles wings to a 1-0 victory.

Coach John Keister was in the Leone Stars side during the FIFA World Cup Africa group B April 2001. On that day, he was a destroyer in the middle of the pack for Sierra Leone.

It’s not an exaggeration to say Nigeria can win in Freetown because they are proving soccer power in our continent, but Tuesday’s tie can go either way.

The three-time African Champions faced an embarrassing score-line to their West African counterparts’ 88th places below then in the global ranking which led to the President of the Nigerian Football Federation Amaju Pinnick to immediately summoned coach Gernot Roh, his technical crew and players to a stressful meeting just to command a four-goal victory without a reply from the host.

A strong message many have described as a possible team talk for the Leone Stars technical team.

Sierra Leone last Cup of Nations finals was South Africa 1996 some 26 years ago.

 

Connect with us @football_sierra, on Facebook/ Instagram Football Sierra Leone, the writer @bittar32 Contact bittar@footballsierraleone.net.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Paul Onuachu in line to replace injured Victor Osimhen

Kelechi Iheanacho, Paul Onuachu in line to replace injured Victor Osimhen

  • Nigeria German coach Gernot Rohr has confirmed that Napoli striker Victor Osimhen will miss Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations return qualifier against Sierra Leone in Freetown.
  • However, Rohr still has Jupiler Pro-League top scorer, Paul Onuachu or Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho either of them can replace injured Osimhen in the rematch at the Siaka Steven Stadium.
Osimhen, 21, was subbed off after he dislocated his shoulder at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City on Friday.
 
He scored one of the goals in the exciting eight-goal thriller in Benin City.
 
The former Lille striker has since been discharged from hospital, but Rohr said he will not be available for Sierra Leone.
 
“He is out of the match after he dislocated his shoulder,” Rohr disclosed.
 
Meanwhile, Benin steps closer to Nigeria on six points after a 1-0 win over Lesotho at the Stade Charles de Gaulle on Saturday.
 
The Squirrels will be aiming to avoid defeat when they face Lesotho in the rematch to strengthen their grip closed to AFCON 2022.
 
Jodel Dossou’s 24th-minute goal was enough for Michel Dussuyer’s men who secured maximum points against Thabo Senong’s Crocodiles.
 
Nigeria still standing tall with seven points, Benin on six, Sierra Leone two and Lesotho one.
 
Connect with us @football_sierra, on Facebook/ Instagram Football Sierra Leone, the writer @bittar32 Contact bittar@footballsierraleone.net.