The revenge mission of Gernot Rohr and his men to Freetown ended in a goalless draw, but the team remains on course for qualification for Afcon 2021
Former Nigeria international Nwankwo Kanu says he saw an improvement in the Super Eagles’ performance in the return leg played at the National Stadium in Freetown on Tuesday.
And the former Arsenal striker is pleased that the Nigerian national team is a win away from sealing their place at the next Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon.
Gernot Rohr’s side threw away a four-goal lead to tie 4-4 in the first meeting with the Leone Stars in Benin City, a development which was met with a loud outcry from a large section of supporters and football administrators.
But the reverse fixture on November 17 failed to produce a single goal, with Nigeria unable to beat a team 88 spots below them on the FIFA World ranking.
Kanu, though, wants the Super Eagles to be commended for keeping a clean sheet against John Keister’s men.
“Going by the game [on Tuesday], the Super Eagles did not concede any goal, and to me, that is a sign of improvement,” the former Super Eagles captain told Goal.
“To me, that is not a bad result when compared with what happened in Nigeria. They should have won in Freetown, but as we all saw, their pitch was bad, and I’m sure our players were playing with caution to avoid a repeat of what happened in Benin City.
“The fact remains that we have to qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, and I believe that the boys will get the job done.”
Nigeria were huge favourites across both games to beat the world’s 120th-best national team.
But Kanu insists there are no longer minnows in football, and huge victories should not often be expected in international games, no matter the team.
“In the first leg, we scored four goals in the first 30 minutes, that is Nigeria playing, but the scoreline changed in the second half,” he added.
Nigeria stay on top of Group L with eight points, one better than the Benin Republic and five ahead of Sierra Leone.
One win in any of their final two games will see Gernot Rohr’s men earn their spot at Cameroon 2021.