Any of the Benin Republic, Sierra Leone, and Lesotho can still qualify for the next edition of the continent’s premier competition, and the German manager is aware of what needs to be done for Nigeria to secure their qualification
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr says he is anticipating challenging games in Porto Novo against the Squirrels and in Lagos against Lesotho on March 27 and 30, respectively.
Nigeria lead the Group L qualifying group with eight points after four matches while Benin trail in second place with seven points, and Lesotho are at the bottom of the group with two points.
The Squirrels lost 2-1 in Benin City on matchday one over a year ago but have regrouped to win two and draw one of their three other matches to climb behind the Super Eagles on the group standings.
A win over Nigeria would seal the West Africans’ qualification ticket, who are expected to throw everything they have got at the three-time African champions.
Lesotho have managed just two draws against Benin and Sierra Leone but retain slim qualifying hopes, knowing two stunning wins in their remaining games – with other results going their way – could earn the Crocodile an unlikely ticket.
But the Super Eagles remain the favourites to join the party at Cameroon 2022, especially with the majority of invited Europe and home-based stars already available in the country for the two crucial encounters.
And a confident Rohr is targeting a draw in Porto Novo against the tough Squirrels and a big win in Lagos versus Lesotho.
“We want to finish our qualification on a positive note, and the two matches against Benin and Lesotho are very important,” Rohr told the CAF website.
“Of course, we know that Benin is difficult to beat after our last game in Uyo (Nigeria won 2-1), and we need at least a point against them to qualify for next year’s Afcon.
“Then, we are playing our final game in Lagos. We want to win in Lagos because it has been a long time since we last played there, and we want to conclude the qualifiers with a victory as well.
“These are not going to be easy matches because Lesotho drew with Benin, but we are going to give our best against these opponents.”
Nigeria defeated Benin (2-2 at home) and Lesotho (4-2 away) in 2019 during the first legs of the qualifying rounds.
A point against any of the two sides will see the Eagles soar to the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.