Sierra Leone’s head coach John Keister has urged the Leone Stars to stay positive against the Super Eagles to secure a historic victory that will brighten their chances of qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, Soccernet.ng reports.
The Leone Stars are in a precarious position, currently sitting in third place, and they must win their remaining two group games to have any hope of claiming one of the two qualifying tickets.
Their next match is against Nigeria, a team they have not defeated in 22 years. This crucial encounter will take place in Monrovia, and anything less than a win would confirm their exclusion from Ivory Coast 2023.
Out of the 17 previous meetings between the two teams, the Super Eagles have emerged victorious in ten, with five ending in draws, and they have suffered only two losses.
John Keister, a member of the famous Leone Stars squad that secured a 1-0 win over Nigeria in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in 2021, is convinced that a positive attitude is the key to helping his underdog side defeat the three-time continental champions.
“We know this is a match that we need to win, and therefore we have to be positive in our approach against a difficult Nigerian side – and we will definitely be,” – Keister told Football Sierra Leone.
“We are a young group, but there is just this feeling that we can come here and get a result against Nigeria. It’s going to be a fight – we are ready to deal with whatever is thrown at us. Football is about the day who wants it the most.”
Guinea Bissau are Group A leaders at the moment following their hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sao Tome & Principe. That win propelled the Djurtus to 10 points after five games, giving them a one-point advantage over Jose Peseiro’s Nigerian squad.
However, both Nigeria and Guinea Bissau will secure their places in Ivory Coast for the 2023 tournament if the Super Eagles manage to avoid defeat against the Leone Stars.