Nigeria continue their quest to qualifying for a first AFCON tournament since they won it in 2013 when they face Group E leaders Libya in what is gradually turning to a slaughter’s slab in Uyo.
Ironically, the Super Eagles started the group stage with a loss at that venue in Uyo; a 0-2 reversal in the hands of South Africa. An expected victory over Seychelles was to follow in September but the Eagles must earn creditable points from the upcoming double fixtures against Libya.
Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr has emphasised the importance of good results in the game and has targeted “at least four points” from both games. The Libyans have had a difficult buildup to the game with head coach Adel Amrouche leaving his position at the start of the week.
Interim coach Omar Al-Miryami, a man familiar with the team led the Mediterranean Knights to Uyo barely twenty-four hours to the game but will be hoping to draw inspiration from their deserved point in South Africa last month.
Date: 13th October, 2018
Venue: Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo
Time: 4pm (WAT)
Centre Referee: Jean-Jacques Ndala Ngambo (DR Congo)
Assistant Referees: Olivier Safari Kabene (Assistant Referee 1), Nabina Blaise Sebutu (Assistant Referee 2) and Malala Kabanga Yannick (Reserve Referee).
Experienced midfielder Ogenyi Onazi is ruled out of the game with what officials say is an Achilles injury. His injury adds to the already excluded captain John Mikel Obi who the head coach says has not attained full fitness.
Arsenal star Alex Iwobi is expected to play in an advanced midfield role in front of Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi while the central defensive pair of Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong should carry on with their pre-World Cup partnership.
Libya have called up majority of the squad which drew in Durban last month and in spite of the managerial brouhaha, they still have experienced goalkeeper Mohammed Nashnoush to count on in goal while New York City forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi will be saddled with the responsibility of getting the goals.
WHAT THEY SAY:
Gernot Rohr (Nigeria head coach)
“I believe we have the players here to earn a decent result and then go and give their all in Libya for another credible outcome.
“We need the points now; we cannot pretend about that. If we pick the points in these two games, we will be very close to the AFCON ticket.”
Abdullahi Shehu (Super Eagles right back):
“We the players all know about the game and how it is like for Nigerians and we as players know what is at stake. We did it when we were meeting Cameroon and it’s not going to be easy but we have to do everything to make sure we win the game so I think all the players know about the importance of the task including the new players and we are ready for this.
“If we really want to be at the Nations Cup, we have to beat them home and away, that’s it. The players know about it, we all know and we just have to go there and do it.”
Uzoho: Shehu, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Collins; Etebo, Ndidi; S. Kalu, Iwobi, A. Musa; Ighalo
Nashnoush; Mohammed, Nasaoud, El Trbi, Fahim, Mourad; Al Moatasem, El Houni, Mousrati; Anis, Salem, Tajouri-Shradi.
By Fisayo Dairo in Uyo