Nigeria Relies on Paper Superiority to ‘Kill’ Crocodiles of Lesotho in World Cup Qualifier

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By Eniola Olatunji 

…Meets in Uyo on Thursday at 5pm.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will on Thursday open their African zone final qualifier series with a Boardroom soccer tactics as she files out against the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the 30,000 capacity, Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Thursday at 1700 hours.

The aspect of the Boardroom tactics is reliance on past experiences and assumption of superiority as the Eagles who assembled at Uyo on Tuesday had two training sessions on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and are supposed to have the last session this evening.

New goal tender, Amas Obasogie of Bendel Insurance was the last to report in camp on Tuesday and was not part of the training whereas two defenders hard tackler, Omeruo and Boavista of Portugal Defender, Chigozie Awuziem boasted of a battle ready team that is stringing a hype of LET’S DO IT AGAIN.

Perhaps the Eagles are dependent on records as the Crocodiles lost three of their last four matches across all competitions, conceding seven goals and scoring three since July. Nigeria is unbeaten in three of last four home matches winning two and one draw since March.

Thrice have both teams clashed. Nigeria won 2-0 on 8th September 2007; also cut the tails of the Crocodiles 3-0 in an AFCON encounter on 30th March 2021, but the biggest win for Nigeria against Lesotho was the 4-2 recorded in Lesotho on 17th November 2019.

Four of the last five matches of Lesotho were in the regional competition in South Africa in July this year where Lesotho slapped Mozambique 1-0 on 10th July; lost to Angola 2-4 on 12th July; played 1-1 with Malawi on 14th July and lost 0-1 to Zambia on 16th July. On 9th September 2023 the Elephants of Ivory Coast could only manage a 1-0 victory over Lesotho in Abidjan.

Nigeria had a 1-0 away win over Guinea Bissau on 27th March 2023; another 3-2 away win over Sierra Leone on 18th June and a lavishing 6-0 victory over Sao Tome on 10th September 2023 at Uyo all in the AFCON qualifiers. Had two international friendlies playing 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia on 13th October and defeated Mozambique 3-2 on 13th October.

The Super Eagles will miss the services of some key players like goal talisman, Victor Osimhen, midfield ace, Wilfred Ndidi and will rely on Victor Boniface and senior man, Kelechi Ihenacho who is now a super sub. The goalkeeping area is still suspect as the coach adamantly invited Francis Uzoho who Nigerian fans now call Basket Uzoho because of his frequent mistakes in goal.

Uzoho was culpable in the ouster of Nigeria at the last world cup when the Black Stars of Ghana silenced the vociferous Nigerian Supporters in Abuja.

Meanwhile Africa opens the world cup last qualifiers this evening as Equatorial Guinea faces Namibia at 1400 hrs; Rwanda battles Zimbabwe at 1400 hrs; DR Congo slugs it out with Mauritania at 1700 hrs; and Ethiopia versus Sierra Leone is scheduled for 2000 hrs.

Tomorrow, Thursday Burundi will face the Scorpions of Gambia at 1400 hrs; Botswana will lock horns with Mozambique at 1400 hrs; Nigeria versus Lesotho at 1700 hrs; Sudan versus Togo at 1700 hrs; Gabon tackles Kenya at 1700 hrs; The Pharaohs of Egypt will have Djibouti at 1700 hrs; Cape Verde hosts Angola at 2000 hrs but the encounter between Morocco and Eritrea has been cancelled because Eritrea withdrew from the race.

Matches continue till next Wednesday when there will be a break from the world cup qualifiers for the best of the African teams including three times African Champions, Nigeria to assemble in Ivory Coast for battles in the AFCON finals from January to February next year.

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