AFCON 2023: Super Eagles Form Coming into the Qualifiers

AFCON 2023: Super Eagles Form Coming into the Qualifiers
Credit: Iconsport

Another matchday in the AFCON 2023 qualifiers fixtures is upon us and the Nigeria national football team, the Super Eagles, will be up against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.

A win will see Nigeria confirm their place in the AFCON 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast with one match to spare while a loss could see Sierra Leone go second. Nigeria will also have to win their last game against Sao Tome and Principe to confirm their place in the next AFCON. Ahead of the upcoming game, we will take a look at the form of the AFCON title hopefuls.

Super Eagles form guide

Three-time African champions, Nigeria Super Eagles, will travel to Liberia later in the week after warm-up training in Lagos. There, they will face the Sierra Leone team who are looking for an upset to increase their chances of playing in the next edition of the continental showpiece.

Nigeria has participated in the last two AFCON tournaments after narrowly missing out on the 2017 edition. They finished in third place in the 2019 edition and got knocked out of the 2021 edition despite putting in a team of the tournament performance in the group stages.

The team has undergone a management overhaul in that time and the new boss, José Peseiro, has done a good job on the African front. Internationally, however, there is still much work to be done as pre-tournament friendlies involving Peseiro’s Nigeria showed that they would have had a poor 2022 FIFA World Cup outing if they qualified ahead of Ghana.

In the last four qualifiers, Nigeria has won three and lost one, scoring 13 goals and conceding two in the process. 10 of those goals came in one game – the 10-nil thrashing of Sao Tome in June 2022. Judging by the other two wins, only the win in the reverse leg against Sierra Leone back in June 2022 showed Peseiro’s boys at their best.

They should not expect the same Sierra Leone at the weekend, especially after the warning from their manager, John Keister.

Sierra Leone striker confident of beating Nigeria

Expectations are high for the Super Eagles among fans but so are they for the Sierra Leone national team. Leone Stars striker, Ismael Dumbuya has expressed optimism ahead of the clash to quell the fears of his home country’s supporters and put Peseiro’s team on their toes.

Dumbuya expressed hopes of making the matchday XI for Sierra Leone while stating matter-of-factly that the team’s target is the AFCON 2023 tournament. “I hope to make the final squad for the game against Nigeria,” the LISCR FC forward said in a short video posted on the official Twitter handle of the Sierra Leone Football Federation. “We want to beat Nigeria and qualify for the next AFCON.”

Meanwhile, Engr. Audu Ojo, the head coach of non-league side Dawaki Rangers believes that Nigeria will be hard for their opponents to beat on Sunday. “It will be a tough game for both teams. Sierra Leone needs this match more than Nigeria because they sit in the third position in the Group,” Ojo said to journalists from the Nigeria football news media.

“But I expect the Super Eagles to be too strong for them. Just like the reverse fixture, I expect a similar outcome on Sunday, a close match. However, I see Nigeria picking the ticket for the 2023 AFCON in Ivory Coast this weekend.”

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

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