BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
The Super Eagles have a great task of turning around what has been a miserable weekend for Nigerian football as they land in the high altitude Maseru, the capital of the landlocked Lesotho Kingdom completely encircled by South Africa.
Barely 48 hours after the U23 national team was booted out in the race to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Super Eagles have an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying duel with Lesotho, a kingdom that is crisscrossed by a network of rivers and mountain ranges including the 3,482m-high peak of Thabana Ntlenyana.
While it may be the first time these crop of Nigerian players are playing in Lesotho, the national team had been in the kingdom before and scrapped a 1-0 win which was followed by another 2-0 win in Warri in the march to Ghana 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
Considering the inconsistent form displayed recently by Nigerian national teams, can the Super Eagles win again in Maseru as they did on October 8, 2006? A win gives the team a good head start in the qualifying series.
But the defeated Lesotho in 2006 and 2007 appeared to have had an improvement following their 1-1 away draw last Thursday in Freetown in their matchday 1 tie with Sierra Leone.
However, the team will be without their skipper, Basia Makepe who was given a red card in the 1-1 draw with Sierra Leone.
release from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) reports that the team, which
flew aboard a chartered Max Air aircraft arrives Maseru on
Saturday afternoon after a stopover in Angola.
The Nigerian delegation is housed at Avani Lesotho Hotel. The players 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, which is exactly one year after picking the ticket to 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, will kick off at 6pm Lesotho time (5pm in Nigeria).
According to the NFF, the team doctor Ibrahim Gyaran has confirmed that there are no injuries within the 23 –man playing body.
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)