Plenty of drama awaits whatever the result is between Nigeria and Ghana in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying playoff as the Super Eagles attempt to get one over on the rival Black Stars in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja on Tuesday. However, the pressure is as high as it can possibly be for a Nigerian side that clearly has the talent to succeed in Qatar but has not quite performed up to the nearly impossibly high standards of its supporters. A victory is needed following a 0-0 draw in the first leg that took place in Ghana.
The absence of steadying presence Wilfred Ndidi in the center of midfield seemed to have an effect on the Super Eagles in the first leg, and concerns remain over the midfield battle with Ghana’s Thomas Partey clearly the best talent between both teams. Oghenekaro Etebo and Frank Onyeka are the options to replace the injured Bonke Innocent after he went off due to injury, and either holding midfielder will partner with the more attack-minded Joe Aribo.
Forwards Emmanuel Dennis and Victor Osimhen expressed that they are determined to leave it all on the pitch in Abuja following comments to BBC Sport Africa’s Oluwashina Okeleji. The pressure from supporters remains the theme of Nigeria’s preparations, but the Nigerian players are maintaining that it is a positive pressure that will help the performance rather than overwhelm them.
More on the high stakes matchup form the Nigerian perspective is below.