Having failed to break the goalless draw in the much anticipated first leg of the World Cup qualifier duel at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Friday, arch-rivals, Nigeria and Ghana, will meet on the turf of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja for the second leg of their tie.
The last time both nations met at the World Cup qualifier was in July 2001. The two West African football giants held each other to a goalless stalemate in Accra and in the return leg, the Super Eagles thumped the visitors 3-0 in Port Harcourt to qualify for Korea/Japan.
With the glaring failure of the super-hyped regional derby to live up to its expectation and the particularly “boring” performance of the Eagles on Friday, it is crystal-clear that Coach Eguavoen has some reshuffling and talking to do if the team is serious about beating the Ghanaians who started out strong, had more possession and chances but failed to convert them to goals.
To bolster the confidence of the Super Eagles for the rematch, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in conjunction with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has procured 20,000 tickets and made buses available to convey fans in Abuja to the Moshood Abiola Stadium for the clash against the Black Stars. This gesture coupled with the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) approval of Nigeria’s request to have a full house at the 60,000 capacity MK stadium ties the ribbon nicely on the home advantage the host already have.
Otto’s men need a scoring draw or a win to pick up a ticket to Qatar. The swore rivals are no doubt in dire need for a ticket to Qatar 2022 and as such, have all to play for in the second leg.
What we can say is, a high-octane encounter is sure to ensue on Nigerian soil, where one side will be the victor and the other, the vanquished. Only one team will join the other four nations that will represent Africa at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this year.
The question now is, who will it be?