AFCON 2023Q

VIDEO: Intensity increases for Super Eagles, Peseiro as Sierra Leone game draws closer

The Super Eagles were all smiles as they got in shape for Thursday's qualifier against Sierra Leone.

Super Eagles training

The Super Eagles kicked off preparations for their journey to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) by opening camp, and training at the Abuja National Stadium ahead of Thursday's qualifying match against Sierra Leone.

The team, managed by Portuguese tactician Jose Peseiro saw the likes of captain Ahmed Musa, forwards Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, and nine others all return to the squad, following the completion Nigeria's tour to the United States.

With ghosts of the failure to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup now put behind them, the three-time African champions will look to return to winning ways, having failed to a win a match in five game: dating back to a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau at the last AFCON.

As of Monday night, all invited players were said to have made it to Abuja: the venue of the qualifying fixture.

Watch as the Super Eagles train in Monday's session.

Here are some things to note ahead of Thursday, about Super Eagles' qualifying opponents, Sierra Leone.

  1. Sierra Leone's head-to-head record with Nigeria stands at two wins, five draws and nine defeats. They have played the Super Eagles 16 times.
  2. The Leone Stars have failed to win a match against the Super Eagles since 2001. Their last victory over Nigeria came in a qualifying match ahead of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
  3. Sierra Leone's last visit to Nigeria saw them claw their way back from 4-0 to draw 4-4. The game was a qualifying fixture for the 2021 AFCON.
  4. As compared to the Super Eagles' run of 1W, 2D, and 3L in their last six matches, Sierra Leone's record stands at 2W, 2D and 2L. 
  5. Unlike the Super Eagles, they won two of their last two friendly games: a 2-0 victory over Congo and a 1-0 win over Liberia.
  6. Sierra Leone will be contesting for a place in their fourth-ever AFCON tournament, having participated in the 2021, 1996 and 1994 editions.
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