Nigerian football fans will bank on rave-of-the-moment Victor Osimhen to bang in the goals for the Super Eagles against the Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau as the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign reaches the halfway mark.
Top-of-the-table Nigeria square up to second-placed Guinea Bissau at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Friday from 5pm, with both teams eyeing the full marks in order to consolidate on earlier gains towards landing in Cote d’Ivoire.
Osimhen, with 25 goals in all competitions this season, netted a significant four in a remarkable 10-0 win for Nigeria against Sao Tome and Principe in June last year, days after he had netted the winner in a 2-1 win over Sierra Leone on Matchday 1 at the same Moshood Abiola National Stadium.
With five goals, the former U17 World Cup winner and record goalscorer (with 10 goals) is among the leading marksmen in the qualifying race, and will grab his opportunities with both hands in the two matches against Guinea Bissau in order to put daylight between himself and other contenders.
Coach José Santos Peseiro will surely put his best foot forward in only his third match, with the objective of keeping intact his hundred per cent record in competitive matches.
Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho could start in goal, and there are Semi Ajayi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Kevin Akpoguma, Kenneth Omeruo, Calvin Bassey, Zaidu Sanusi and Bruno Onyemaechi to pick from for the rearguard, as well as England-based quartet Wilfred Ndidi, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi and Joe Aribo in the middle of the pack.
Captain Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Moses Simon, Ademola Lookman, Terem Moffi and Paul Onuachu are available for the fore sector, as the Eagles aim for all six points that will super-pave their pathway to the finals.
Sierra Leone’s 2-2 draw with Sao Tome and Principe in Agadir, Morocco on Wednesday turned out a boon for the Eagles, as the Leone Stars are stuck on one point after three matches and would no longer be in the contest if Nigeria grab all six points from these two matches.
Coach Baciro Candé, who has led the Djurtus an impressive four points in their previous two games, said on arrival in Nigeria on Wednesday that his boys will play with confidence and invention.
Guinea Bissau have featured in three Africa Cup of Nations finals, making an impressive debut at the 2017 tournament in Gabon.
PHOTO: Osimhen gets going against Omeruo and Uzoho at training on Wednesday.
NFF’s partners dangle N3 Million for various awards
The Super Eagles have a lot to look forward to on Friday, apart from the three points that will put daylight between them and any other team in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying pool.
Telecommunication behemoth, MTN is offering the sum of one million naira for that player that is selected Most Valuable Player in the clash with Guinea Bissau’s Wild Dogs at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
On its part, Nigerian Breweries PLC, who are NFF partners with their two products, Life and Goldberg, are offering two million naira in total. There is the sum of one million naira for Man-of-the-Match, and another one million naira for the new Energy-Moment-of-the-Match.
The Super Eagles will thus be extra motivated for the big game, even as they look forward to climbing to nine points while the Wild Dogs remain on four points in the race.
Sierra Leone are third on the table with two points while Sao Tome and Principe have only one point.