Sierra Leone captain Steven Caulker has urged focus from his national teammates ahead of crucial 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification matches this week.
Caulker, 31, acknowledged that every player must focus and be ready for challenging encounters against their Central African opponent. Any fumble displayed in São Tomé ties will hurt Sierra Leone AFCON’s back-to-back qualification chances.
45,000 seater Grand Stade Adrar Agadir in Morocco will host both critical 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification matches on the 22 and 26 of March, respectively.
The Wigan Athletic centerback has called on his colleagues to be mentally ready ahead of Wednesday and Sunday crunch ties against the ‘Falcons and True Parrots of Sao Tome of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nation qualifiers at the Grand Stade Agadir, Morocco.
“It’s a must-win game for us. Because if we must qualify, we should win these games. “These are two important games against São Tomé and Príncipe, and today (Monday) is our first training session. We all know the importance of these matches,” Caulker told FSL News.
He reiterated, “I don’t need to tell them much because every player here knows how significant these two matches are. The coach gave us his message before the training, and the match will not be easy. We have to be mentally and physically ready for these matches.”
- On injuries to Osman Kakay and Rodney Michael
“Unfortunately, we have suffered two big losses (Osman Kakay and Rodney Michael), but that’s football.
“Both injuries are a big blow, but the boys who’ve come in have shown today their quality and are more than able to replace these guys. We’re expecting Sao Tome to put up a strong fight and go at us defiantly.
“We have to be ready because I am sure we will see a different Sao Tome to the side that played against Nigeria”. He, however, called on Sierra Leoneans to be patient and pray for success ahead.”
Sitting third in Group A, Sierra Leone will resume action in the race to Ivory Coast 2023 against São Tomé and Príncipe on Wednesday 22nd, 2023, before the second leg on 26 in Morocco.
This will be the sixth meeting between the two nations. Their last meeting was a goalless draw in Africa Cup of Nations 1st round 2nd leg Freetown 16 June 2012. Sao Tome e Principe won the first leg 2-1 at home on 29 February 2012.
By Martin Wusha Conteh in Agadir, Morocco.
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