Eagles arrive in Morocco, seek second win against São Tomé
Nigeria will go into today’s qualifier against ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’ of Sao Tome and Principe knowing that a win will take them a step to qualifying for the Cote d’Ivoire 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Super Eagles failed to qualify for this year’s FIFA World Cup billed to hold in Qatar in November and stakeholders in the country’s football agree that qualifying for Africa’s biggest sports show will in some ways cushion the effects of missing the Copa Du Mundo.
Nigeria’s delegation to the game arrived in Agadir, Morocco, yesterday morning. The match will be played in Morocco as hosts, Sao Tome, has no standard stadium for a game of such magnitude,
According to thenff.com, the delegation’s Air Peace airline’s Embraer 195 E2 plane touched down at the Aeroport Agadir Almarissa at exactly 8.15am yesterday, with 25 players and technical and administrative crew.
The team had its first training session at the stadium yesterday evening, ahead of today’s game, which will start by 1.00 p.m. Moroccan time, which is 2.00 p.m. in Nigeria.
Speaking on the match against the Indian Ocean island nation, Coach Jose Peseiro said the team was primed to make Nigerians proud, adding that every member of the squad knows the importance of beating Sao Tome and Principe.
He said the match against ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’ would bring the best out of his team as they seek to go top of the Group A table.
“We want to be the team at the top of the table, so we must fight hard against the opponents. Every match, we must commit ourselves fully to winning it. As I said earlier in the week, Nigeria have huge pedigree and they also have both quality and quantity of players. It is important that we select the best all the time to win the big games.”
Stand in Captain, William Troost-Ekong and midfielder Innocent Bonke will not be part of the game as they are injured.
Thenff.com reports that the duo has returned to their respective bases in England and France to attend to injuries copped during the international break. “Bonke was injured in the friendly game against Mexico in Dallas on May 20, while Ekong suffered a groin strain in the 2-1 defeat of Sierra Leone in Abuja on Thursday.”
It added that fans have nothing to worry about, as there are adequate replacements for them.
In Ekong’s absence, Kenneth Omeruo, Semi Ajayi, Calvin Bassey, Leon Balogun, Chidozie Awaziem and Ola Aina are available in the central defence positions, while Oghenekaro Etebo and Frank Onyeka are capable hands in defensive midfield.
Nigeria defeated Sierra Leone 2-1 in their first game of the qualifying series in Abuja and a win today will cement their position on top of Group A table,
The match will be handled by Liberian referee, Hassen Zinnah Corneh, with his compatriots Joel Wonka Doe, Ephraim Grant Whengar and Moses Forkpah as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively.
Alim Konate Aboubakar from Cameroun will be match commissioner.