Can Benin pour sand in Super Eagles' garri in March Afcon qualifier?
The Super Eagles of Nigeria face the Squirrels of Benin away next month in a crucial Afcon 2022 qualifier in a game Rohr and his boys can ill-afford to lose.
If the unthinkable happens and results elsewhere go Sierra Leone's way, then nothing but a win against Lesotho in the last group match will suffice for Nigeria.
And Benin rarely lose at home.
They have also been known to be a dark horse team capable of proving to be a hard nut to crack for some giants of African football.
They famously dumped hitherto-undefeated Morocco out of the 2019 Afcon in the second round after holding former champions Ghana and Cameroon to 2:2 and 0:0 draws respectively in the group stages.
It took the slimmest of scorelines (1:0)for a star-studded Senegal to end Benin’s advance in the quarter finals of the same Afcon.
In fact, they have rarely lost by more than 1 goal margin in the last 2 seasons having played teams like Algeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia. Even Nigeria had to come from behind to mercifully record a 2:1 home win in the Afcon qualifier in 2019.
They have transformed their home ground to a fortress as you have to go back more than 2 years for when they last felt the cold hands of a defeat there.
Plus, they have players in reputable clubs from decent leagues forming the spine of their squad.
Benin vs Nigeria match will be a fascinating encounter, one in which the Super Eagles can scarcely take their eyes off the ball throughout.
Our defensive line have to be alive more so when they batten down the hatches while our attack has to be razor sharp.
Ndidi, Aribo and Iwobi have to come to the party eloquently cladded with the appropriate mental attire to keep things tight in midfield.
I am looking forward to this encounter as victory will mean that we definitely qualify for Cameroon 2021 with the customary game (no “s” this time around) to spare.
A win for Nigeria against Benin is most achievable but it will not come easy.
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Victory for Nigeria is possible but I think it would be hard-fought.