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Sports News of Friday, 18 February 2022


How Nigeria’s Super Eagles have been ‘talking big’ ahead Ghana match

Nigeria’s Super Eagles Nigeria’s Super Eagles

GhanaWeb Feature

Nigeria appears to be winning the war of words ahead of their highly-anticipated game against Ghana’s Black Stars in the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoffs.

Although Ghana has a good record against the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Black Stars have been muted by their neighbours who have taken over the media space.

In their 49 matches played, the Black Stars have enjoyed 21 wins while Nigeria has seen 10 victories with 18 matches ending in stalemate.

But in terms of recent form, Nigeria dominate with 3 wins, 1 defeat and a draw in their last five matches while the Black Stars have suffered 3 defeats, managed only 1 win and a draw.

But in the last couple of days, the Nigerians have been emphatic with their ambition to defeat Ghana and book one of the five tickets available to represent Africa at the Mundial.

Nigeria’s playing body made up of their captains and technical team, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Sports Minister have all aired their views on how the game against Ghana is more important to them than even equalling Ghana’s 4 AFCON titles.

Nigeria captain Ahmed Musa

Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa sent a strong word of caution to Ghana, claiming that they would capitalize on their massive fans attendance to beat the Black Stars.

According to him, “The FIFA World Cup is the biggest football tournament in the world, and every player wants to feature there. A good number of the players in the team now have not been there, and the few of us that have been there want to experience it again.”

“We just want the NFF to help us get enough fans into the Abuja Stadium for the second leg. We will go to Ghana and dig our feet and ensure we get a result. We must admit that Ghana also wants to qualify and they have a strong team. The return leg will be crucial and we are ready for the battle, but we want our fans to be in there cheering us on”, Musa told the officials at the meeting on Tuesday night, as reported by the NFF.

Nigeria vice-captain Troost-Ekong

Nigeria vice-captain, William Troost-Ekong pleaded with the NFF and Sports Ministry to ensure that the MKO stadium in Abuja is in quality shape to help them beat the Black Stars in the 2022 FIFA World Cup play-off tie.

He noted that the football pitch in Garoua contributed to their group stage success at the AFCON 2021.

“We loved the pitch of the stadium in Garoua and it helped us play some good football. We would be delighted if the Abuja Stadium is in similar condition for the second leg,” Ekong said in a meeting with the NFF, Sports Minister and technical team.

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick

President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick described the Super Eagles game against Ghana in March as a non-negotiable affair.

In a social media post, Pinnick explained the steps the NFF has taken to ensure there are no hiccups in the qualification process.

"We will play at the World Cup and give a good account of ourselves. We are not going to Qatar to make up the numbers." Make no mistake. World Cup qualification is non-negotiable. We are putting all of our efforts into getting the ticket. And I'm so proud of the commitment and zeal I'm seeing and getting from the team," Pinnick tweeted.

Nigeria chief coach Emmanuel Amuneke

Chief coach of the Super Eagles, Emmanuel Amuneke is also confident in Nigeria’s team of players to face in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

According to him, the Super Eagles have a good team who will beat the Black Stars in March.

“I have worked with some of the players in the U17 and U20 teams, and some others I have known for many years. We have the team to earn the World Cup ticket and we will put our best foot forward for each game," Amuneke said in a zoom meeting with the players and the Sports Ministry.

Nigeria coach Augustine Eguavoen

Technical Advisor and interim coach of the Super Eagles, Augustine Eguavoen rather noted that he was not too worried about facing Ghana despite the Super Eagles history against them.

For him, his only headache is selecting the best players to face the Black Stars as a result of the pool of quality players at his disposal.

"We have two tough games against Ghana next month but I am not too worried because we have a squad that knows it is a mountain that we have to climb. We have a good headache to deal with – which is a surplus of good players. I want to thank the Government and the NFF for all the support during the AFCON; we will need even greater support for the World Cup play-off," Eguavoen said.

Nigeria Sports Minister Sunday Dare

Nigeria Sports Minister, Sunday Dare in his meeting with the team charged the players to channel their anger from their exit at AFCON 2021 into the Ghana clash to secure a place at the 2022 World Cup.

He said, “I know you are still unhappy about the loss to Tunisia, but I want you to visit the anger of the defeat by Tunisia on Ghana. We all know about the history of the rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana in football, and this is one fixture that we must not lose”.

If the words by the Nigerians are anything to go by then Ghana should expect a humiliation in March.

By Joseph Adamafio