The clock ticks down to a match that has been elevated to the status of epic confrontation owing to a back-to-back humiliating defeats Nigeria suffered from Togo in the past three weeks.
When the domestic national teams of Nigeria and Togo meet at the Agege Stadium on Saturday, the home side has an herculean task of overturning a three-goal deficit.
For Togo, it will be a major breakthrough if they get a favourable result. They qualify for the African Nations Championship for the first time. In doing so, they would have denied Nigeria a fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament that enters its sixth edition.
Which team will explode into joy and which side will slum in agony? That will be revealed on Saturday. The Togolese arrived Nigeria on Thursday evening buoyed with the soul-lifting 4-1 win in the first leg.
They got an additional lift when they beat the Nigerian team 2-1 a week later in the WAFU Cup. They are not just gunning for a favourbale result, they are determined to further their upset with a possible home defeat of the Nigerian side.
But the home-based Super Eagles have since been rejigged. Head Coach Imama Amapakabo on Thursday unveiled a list of 20 players.
Super Eagles’ goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa tops the list, with Nasarawa United’s stormy forward Sunusi Ibrahim and Akwa United’s Ndifreke Effiong, who netted a brace for the U23 team in the 5-0 defeat of Sudan in Asaba in September, also selected.
Kano Pillars’ ace Nyima Nwagua, Fatai Gbadamosi of Shooting Stars and Lobi Stars’ trio of Ebube Duru, Sikiru Alimi and John Lazarus make the list, alongside goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar of Wikki Tourists and Enugu Rangers’ Anthony Shimaga are included.
20 EAGLES TO WRESTLE DOWN SPARROW HAWKS
Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Adamu Abubakar (Wikki Tourists); Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Nwagua Nyima (Kano Pillars); Stephen Manyo (Enyimba FC); Ifeanyi Nweke (Kano Pillars); Ifeanyi Anaemena (Enyimba FC); John Lazarus (Lobi Stars); Reuben Bala (Enyimba FC); Ifeanyi Nweke (Kano Pillars); Ebube Duru (Lobi Stars); Daniel James (Plateau United); Sikiru Alimi (Lobi Stars); Olisah Ndah (Remo Stars); Anthony Shimaga (Rangers International); Fatai Gbadamosi (Shooting Stars); Ibrahim Olawonye (Rangers International); Ndifreke Effiong (Akwa United); Samuel Mathias (Akwa United); Sunusi Ibrahim (Nasarawa United); Mfon Udoh (Akwa United)