Former chairman of Lagos State Football Association Waidi Akanni, is hopeful that the Super Eagles will live up to expectations when they take on the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match today.
The Eagles have not got the better of the Leone Stars in their last two competitive games. The West African neighbours forced Nigeria to a 4-4 draw in a qualifier for the 2021 AFCON at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium in Benin City, in November 2020, with the visitors recovering from a four-nil down.
The return fixture days later in Freetown also ended goalless. Today’s encounter will take place behind closed doors at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, which could further motivate the John Keister’s side.
Speaking ahead of the game, Akanni expressed optimism that it will be the beginning of a turnaround in the Eagles.
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The former junior international noted that the two international friendly matches the Nigerian side played in the United States of America will prepare the players up for the game.
“We hope the game on Thursday will be a turnaround for the Super Eagles, we are not underrating the Sierra Leoneans. Remember the game we played against Sierra Leone, it was 4-4, from 4-0 to 4-4. It was really bad, but my point again is that we are hoping and believing in the boys that they will come to the party on Thursday,” Akanni said.
“We have a new coach, having just returned from America because those are the things that will spur you on; you are down now and you need to come up. So playing two games in America is a kind of spirited game they needed, even though they lost those games.
“They are coming back together, and hopefully, once the coach can pick the best legs, I think Sierra Leone will not be a big problem. We are not underrating them, but they will not be a big problem.”
By Femi Ashaolu
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