From Francis Ajuonuma, Lagos
With less than 10 days to the Super Eagles 2021 AFCON Qualifier against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone slated for the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, former Nigerian international, Godwin Okpara has warned the Nigerian players that they will be shooting themselves in foot if they dare underrate their West African neighbours in the match.
Presently, the Super Eagles lead in Group L with six points from two matches, while their closes rival, Benin Republic and Tanzania have three points each from same matches, while Sierra Leone has no point with four more matches left to be decided.
Okpara, while reacting to the Super Eagles 24-man squad unveiled by head coach, Gernot Rohr to prosecute the encounter which will be played on March 27 in Asaba with the reverse scheduled to hold four days later in Freetown, noted that though, presently, the Leone Stars are the sweeping team in group they are not going to be pushover as they are going to battle hard in an attempt to pounce back to contention for the two top spots reserved for the finals to be staged in Cameron.
“I expect a very tough match from the two teams. On paper, the Super Eagles are favourites to win but these days football has gone beyond that in the sense that there are no more minnows in the game. Forget about their positions on the table, should the Super Eagles dare make the mistake to underrate them then they will be doing that at their peril.
“For the fact that the Leone Stars are at the bottom of the Group L table doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer rather they are going to fight back hard to remedy themselves and remain in contention for qualification. With four matches remaining to go they still have a chance and in football anything is possible,” he said
“My advice to the Super Eagles is that they should be focused and approach the game with all the determination needed to win. We’ve the quality players to deliver on big occasion like this and I know we can do it with the right attitude,” added the former Paris Saint Germain of France star.