Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr wants to, at least, secure a point that will guarantee Nigeria qualification for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon, when the 3-time African champions play the Squirrels of Benin Republic next month in the penultimate round of the qualifiers.
The Super Eagles top Group L of the 2021 AFCON qualification series, with 8 points from 4 matches, a point ahead of Benin who they face on 22 March, before wrapping up the qualifiers with a home fixture against the Crocodiles of Lesotho on 30 March.
After blowing a chance to seal their place in Cameroon during the last qualification round in November with two uninspiring draws against Sierra Leone, Rohr’s men need just a point to secure their spot at the 33rd edition of Africa’s showpiece tournament.
The former Gabon and Burkina Faso coach added that with a ‘very fit’ squad, he is hopeful of getting a result against Benin next month, while admitting that the Squirrels, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, are a good team.
“The plan for the moment is to be very fit for these two crucial games,” the 67-year-old Franco-German tactician told Super Eagles TV. “They are the last games.
“We are still unbeaten in this competition, with two wins and two draws. So, we want to finish this competition well. And we need one point to be qualified. Let’s try to do it already in Benin Republic.
“They have a good team. They played very well in the last AFCON. They have experience, they have speed and they are very difficult to beat at home.”
The brilliance of the West African nation notwithstanding, the Super Eagles gaffer believes with an injury-free squad, adequate preparation and a good traveling arrangement to Benin, Nigeria will secure the desired result to see them through to the 2021 AFCON.
“If we have a good list, and I think we will have, I hope to have everybody and no injuries,” he said. “And a good traveling is also important.
“It’s also important to have a good preparation, we know it will be very short again. It’s depending on if we play in the middle of the week, Wednesday, Thursday, and if we arrive on Tuesday, it’s very short preparation.
“So, we need, perhaps, to go directly to Benin for the European-based players, not to go through Abuja or Lagos, because that can lose time, seeing families or friends before coming would not be the best.
“So, we will actually check with the NFF how to bring them here, how to have a good list first, and then, I hope we will have a good first match (against Benin).”