The Home Eagles are up against it after losing 1-0 to Benin Republic in the first leg of the African Nations Championship play-offs last Sunday in Cotonou. The Salisu Yusuf-led side must come out firing with a different approach to scale through on Saturday (today).
Completesportnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD presents five reasons why the Nigerians will win in Kano…
1) Stephen Odey, Al Hassan Will Start
MFM striker Stephen Odey is the most prolific marksman in the Nigeria Professional Football League this season with 18 goals in 32 games. Surprisingly, he was left on the bench in the first leg in Cotonou and the Home Eagles failed to take any of the goal scoring chances they had during the encounter.
The Nigerian attack in the first leg was heavily criticised but with the return of Odey and Akwa United’s Ibrahim Alhassan in the starting line-up, the side should be too strong for the Squirrels of Benin.
2) Home Advantage
There is a refreshing exuberance about the Home Eagles squad this time after the 1-0 win over Kano Pillars in a friendly on Wednesday.
Several players who spoke on different ocasions with Completesportsnigeria.com on Friday insisted that they are free of the usual burden of expectation and that playing at home they will pay their visitors (Benin Republic) back in their own coin.
3) History In Nigeria’s Favour
Benin Republic are one of the numerous African country which Nigeria enjoy a better head-to-head record against and the first time Nigeria got beaten in a competitive game by their next-door neighbours was that first leg defeat suffered last weekend in Cotonou. This should bode well for a Home Eagles victory.
The first leg defeat to Benin Republic must have left the Home Eagles players eager for the return leg so they can have their revenge. Some of the Nigerian Players felt they were unlucky to have lost in the closing stages of the encounter and they will be relishing the opportunity to show their superiority over the Beninoise side this time around.
The Nigerian team possess lots of quality players with experience. No fewer than four players (Osas Okoro, Rabiu Ali, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Chima Akas) have featured at the CHAN tournament proper before.