The stakes are high for the Super Eagles of Nigeria as they prepare to face Guinea-Bissau in the second leg of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Having lost the first leg 1-0 on home soil, Nigeria will be under pressure to win the match and secure a place in the tournament.
However, if they lose again to Guinea-Bissau, there could be serious consequences. Here are three potential outcomes that could result from another defeat.
Nigeria’s qualification hopes could be in jeopardy
A second loss to Guinea-Bissau would put Nigeria’s qualification hopes in serious jeopardy. They are currently second in the group behind the Bissau-Guineans, and a defeat would leave them with six points from three games.
Third-place Sierra Leone have two points, but they could leap to five with a likely win over Sao Tome and Principe, turning their home game against Nigeria into a crucial decider.
With only the group winners and runners-up qualifying for the tournament, a loss on Monday could put Nigeria’s AFCON hopes at risk.
Pressure on coach Jose Peseiro could increase
Nigerian football fans are known to be passionate and demanding. If the Super Eagles fail to win on Monday, the pressure on coach Jose Peseiro will increase.
The Portuguese tactician has been criticized for his team selection and tactics, and a loss could lead to more scrutiny of his methods.
There are already increasing groanings after the former Lisbon man led the Eagles to five defeats in his first seven games in charge.
And calls for his dismissal could become louder, and he may be forced to make changes or resign.
Drop in FIFA Ranking
Another possible consequence of a second consecutive loss to Guinea-Bissau is a drop in the FIFA rankings for Nigeria.
Nigeria are currently ranked 35th in the world and fifth in Africa. The Super Eagles’ first match since FIFA’s last update in December was that surprise 1-0 home defeat to Guinea-Bissau in Abuja on Friday.
Another loss to Guinea-Bissau could see them drop down the rankings. This would not only affect the team’s morale but could also impact their chances of being seeded in future tournaments.
Both teams will square off at Estadio 24 de September in Guinea Bissau by 5 PM on Monday.