By Unukere Oboh
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have landed in the capital of Lesotho, Maseru for Sunday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against that country’s senior team, known as Crocodiles.
The Crocodiles themselves have just returned from Freetown, where they earned an inspiring point in a 1-1 draw with the Leone Stars on Day 1 of the campaign on Wednesday.
On the same day, the Super Eagles edged Benin Republic 2-1 in an intense encounter at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo to go top of the qualifying pool. France –based duo of Victor Osimhen (from the spot) and Samuel Kalu (angled low drive) secured the win for Nigeria after the Squirrels had taken a second minute lead through Stephane Sessegnon.
The chartered Max Air aircraft that flew the delegation had a stop-over in Angola but safely arrived in Maseru on Saturday afternoon, and players and officials were immediately ferried to their Avani Lesotho hotel.
Nigeria were scheduled to have the official training at the match venue – Maseru-Setsoto Stadium – at 7pm Lesotho time (6pm in Nigeria) on Saturday.
Sunday’s encounter will kick off at 6pm Lesotho time (5pm in Nigeria), and it is exactly one year to the day that the Super Eagles secured a 1-1 draw with South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg to grab a ticket to this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, where they finished third and with the bronze medals.
Team doctor Ibrahim Gyaran confirmed to that there are no injuries within the 23 –man playing body.
The Confederation of African Football has named 41 –year old Botswanan official, Joshua Bondo as the referee, with Bondo’s compatriots Meshack Medupi, Mogomotsi Morakile and Tshepo Mokani Gobagoba as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively.
Johannes Jakob Vries from Namibia will serve as match commissioner while South African Carlos Henriques will be referee assessor.
23 EAGLES IN LESOTHO
Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)
Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Ifeanyi Anaemena (Enyimba FC)
Midfielders: Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ramon Azeez (Granada FC, Spain)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge, Belgium); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France)