Super Eagles are condemned to beat Swaziland today in Port Harcourt to advance to the league stage of the qualifying tournament for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Swaziland held star-studded Nigeria to a scoreless draw in the first-ever meeting between the two teams on Friday in Lobambo.
Today’s kick-off is 4pm Nigerian time at the Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
The Southern Africans were resolute in defence and limited their more famous opponents to just a handful of chances for their enthusiastic fans to later celebrate a confidence-boosting draw.
The Eagles midfield again lacked creativity and so forcing the strikers like Odion Ighalo and Obafemi Martins to fall back deep to be part of the game.
Swaziland coach Harries Bulunga said his team are still capable of upsetting the three-time African champions in front of their own fans.
“We still believe. Our defence was superb (in the first leg), but we were not that sharp upfront,” Bulunga said.
“We’re underdogs, no one expects us to win, but we can fight against the big dogs.
“It will be difficult to stop them from scoring especially as they are playing at home. They will come at us, most of their stars did not shine as expected, and so they will now want to impress.
“We will be patient, but we will stop them because my boys are determined even though they are not professionals.”
Coach Sunday Oliseh admitted his team were not at their best in Swaziland.
“We can’t give any excuses, we did not bring out ‘A’ game to the pitch,” he said.
Captain Ahmed Musa said they will step up their game to guarantee their passage to the next round of the qualifiers.
“We are home and we will do much more and that means Swaziland have to be ready for us,” said the CSKA Moscow forward.
“We have put the draw in Swaziland behind us, that is in the past. We know the importance of this second leg, what we need is victory, that we are going for and that we will get to progress in the qualifiers.”
Swaziland are set to miss two starters from last week’s 0-0 draw – Mbabane Swallows attacking midfielder Felix Badenhorst is nursing a hamstring after he suffered a cut that needed stitches in the game and Royal Leopards Simunye midfielder Mxolisi Lukhele has a shoulder complaint.
Eagles midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim is nursing a knee injury and he is not likely to start as Oliseh plans to ring some changes for this clash.