The three-time African champions have not been at their best in recent times, and another disappointing display could turn their vociferous supporters against them
Nigerian fans have urged the Super Eagles to go for victory and secure their Afcon qualification ticket when the side face the Benin Republic at the Charles de Gaulle Stadium in Porto Novo on Saturday.
The 2013 Afcon winners play their first game of the year against the Squirrels, knowing a win will not only seal Group L’s top spot and a place at Cameroon 2022 but also banish the ugly skeletons of the past year.
Nigeria won none of the four games played in 2020, losing to Algeria and managing three draws against Tunisia and Sierra Leone twice.
The hardest one to take for many of the team’s supporters was the 4-4 draw at home to the Leone Stars on matchday three.
The Eagles ran to a four-goal lead within the first half hour of the encounter but somehow contrived to throw away the advantage to the lowly visitors.
A stalemate in the return leg in Freetown did little to appease fans, many of whom are eager to see their darling team get back to winning ways in Porto Novo.
Benin, a team that knocked Morocco out of the 2019 Afcon in Egypt, are no pushovers, especially on their home soil, where the Squirrels have not lost a game in eight years.
The Super Eagles made the boat trip to Cotonou on Friday morning, and fans have tasked the Gernot Rohr-led side to avoid a loss to Benin or face some ugly consequences.
Here are some of their reactions on Twitter:
If dem beat una make una just send our jerseys come back home y'all can trek back to Europe.— Phoenix💙 (@_Phoenixville_) March 26, 2021
This is beautiful. It is a privilege to represent your nation and a should be a pride as well. Let this translate to a huge result at Cotonou.— Wale Opemipo (@Walelavender) March 26, 2021
All the best guys!
Ghana don already qualify abeg Nigeria should not disappoint— Mortal Man 👤 (@pacman_preach) March 26, 2021
I can't stand collecting bants from my Ghanaian friends
Only snap pictures and insha allah…. no win tomorrow…..EEe go choke— Tushak (@ETushak) March 26, 2021
3point with huge performance! Nothing less ✌— chukwuka (@ibeeto) March 26, 2021
If una like make una no win— I Love Manchester United (@G_Eteng) March 26, 2021
Nigeria, boasting eight points, sit atop Group L, with the Benin Republic a further point behind in second place.
Both teams could qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations should third-place Sierra Leone fail to beat basement side Lesotho.