Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is poised to keep faith with Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye in goal for Friday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations against Sierra Leone.
The game which is billed for the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium in Benin, Edo State will be without fans.
Rohr will also recall Oghenekaro Etebo and Victor Osimhen to the starting line up for the game. Both players missed the international friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia in Austria last month.
“We have our first team players back in the team and they are going to be in from start to give us a good chance of winning,” Rohr said.
Rohr also added that the team wants to continue with the tradition of qualifying for tournaments with at least a game to spare.
“We have the determination to win our competition games and since the beginning, we have been in this direction, and we are absolutely lucky to win our first game, but the determination of the staff and the team gives us this opportunity to be ready when the moment comes.
“The moment has come tomorrow (Friday) to win a game again, it will not be easy, but if we get nine points in three games, even a draw in Sierra Leone could be enough for us to qualify. But of course, we go all the times to win our games.
“Our tradition is to qualify with games to spare and we want to continue in this tradition,” he added.
Nigeria will be hoping to continue their 12-year unbeaten run against the Leone Stars.
Since their first meeting in 1961 in an international friendly – which Nigeria won 4-2 – the teams have gone on to meet 13 more times, with the Eagles winning nine of the encounters while the Leone Stars have won twice with three of the encounters ending in a draw.
Sierra Leone’s first win against the Eagles came in 1987 in a 2-0 win during the 1988 AFCON second round qualifier with Nigeria upturning the result 3-0 in the second leg but the Leone Stars other win came in a 1-0 win of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, The PUNCH reports.