AS THE SUPER EAGLES of Nigeria, take on the Black Stars of Ghana, in the first leg of the final play-offs, for qualification for 2022 World Cup tick in Qatar, well-wishers and lovers of Nigerian football, will heave a sigh of relieve, if on Friday, March 25, the Eagles secure an away victory against the Black Stars. With an away victory, the hope of qualification is sealed.
Team captain, Ahmed Musa, assures that victory and Nigeria’s qualification for the world cup in Qatar are certain. He said the Super Eagles would want to pay Nigerians back with the world cup ticket, for the team’s dismal performance in the 2021 African Cup of Nations held in Cameroon. Nigeria won all the group stage matches, but crashed out in the round of 16.
The Black Stars of Ghana, also, had what the Ghanaians feel was a “shambolic” performance, crashing out of AFCON, woefully. Both sides will not take the World Cup qualification play-offs for granted. On the rating of both teams, the present crop of the Super Eagles, according to analysts, seems to have the advantage over the Black Stars.
Nigeria parades “world class” talented professionals, against the Ghanaian Black Stars squad, which team list was released, few days ago, by the Ghanaian Coach. Super Eagles Coach, Augustine Eguavoen, said the opportunity beckons on his players, to join the best footballers in the world in the biggest soccer event in Qatar 2022 World Cup, by beating Ghana.
The Super Eagles players, however, are optimistic that not even the home support, expected from the Ghanaians, will stop them from securing victory over the Black Stars in Kumasi on Friday. This will make the return leg in Abuja national stadium, a formality.
“I have been hearing that (the rivalry) for a long time now but we have players who are playing in very big clubs in Europe, so I don’t think any of us will say he is not ready”, Ahmed Musa, captain of the Super Eagles told journalist ahead of the game.
He added: “We know the importance of the game; I think I played against Ghana once I think in 2010 and I know how it was. Like I said, we are ready, it is just to get into the field. We want to be in the World Cup just like them and I also know it is going to be tough”.
NIGERIA’S SOCCER lovers, believe the stake is quite high, but nothing short of victory is expected from Coach Eguavoen and his team. During a media briefing, Eguavoen described the Black Stars as “familiar foes”, not easy to beat at home.
He had led Nigerian side against Ghana for the third time as a Coach. And appears to be in familiar terrain. But the Ghanaian Coach, kept his team list to his chest, perhaps, playing minds game, against the Super Eagles. Eguavoen said that will not affect his team’s mind set for victory during the encounter.
According to records, 10 out of the 25 players invited for the encounter, have World Cup experience. They are assets to the team. They include Captain Ahmed Musa, Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Kelechi Iheanacho, Odion Ighalo, Francis Uzoho, Abdullahi Shehu, Daniel Akpeyi, Kenneth Omeruo and Oghenekaro Etebo.
Others are debutants – using Qatar 2022 as springboard into global football tournament, such as the World Cup. Nigeria is home for soccer. And looks forward to the best outcome in Nigeria versus Ghana two legs encounter for the World Cup qualification in Qatar. The task before Coach Eguavoen.