The three-time African champions take on Sierra Leone in their opening fixture of the 2023 AFCON qualifiers, but it would be without fans
Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa has stated that playing behind closed doors will not be a problem for the Super Eagles when they take on Sierra Leone in their opening fixture of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Nigeria’s last competitive game was against Ghana at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja. However, it ended on an unfortunate note, as the Super Eagles were denied a World Cup ticket after the Black Stars picked up a 1-1 draw in Nigeria.
The events that followed were gory, as spectators trooped onto the pitch, destroying stadium equipment and putting the players at risk.
FIFA swung into action, banning Nigeria from allowing fans into the stadium for one game.
Nigeria has played two games since then, but both were friendlies. However, they will serve the punishment when playing their first competitive game against Sierra Leone on Thursday.
Ahead of the game, Captain Ahmed Musa insists that the absence of fans would not be a problem for them.
“We are used to it, there is no problem. we played almost one and half years in the league without the fans(during the COVID-19 lockdown)”, Musa said at the pre-match presser as per Victor Modo.
“That is not a new thing. It is what we have to pay for because we did what we are paying for. So it is left for us to play for what we need because we have to win the fans’ confidence back.”
The last time the Leone stars came visiting was when Gernot Rohr was still in charge of the Super Eagles, and they picked a disturbing 4-4 draw in Benin City.
Nonetheless, with Jose Peseiro in charge, Nigeria can be hopeful of a victory despite his poor start.