Qatar 2022 qualifiers: Eagles must beat Cape Verde, says Musa

The Super Eagles’ delegation to Saturday’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Liberia in Tangier, Morocco flew into Lagos on Sunday morning aboard a chartered Air Peace flight, with team captain Ahmed Musa insisting they would best Cape Verde in their final group qualifier.

The aircraft touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at 7.30am Sunday and the three-time African champions were immediately driven to their Eko Hotel abode, with a gym session in the evening, ahead of a full training session on Monday (today) at the match venue – Teslim Balogun Stadium.

The 2-0 victory in Tangier over the Lone Star meant the Eagles have won all their away matches in the qualifying series, and need only a draw against the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde on Tuesday to progress into the final knockout round of African series for Qatar 2022.

They have scored two goals in each of the away games, with a 2-1 defeat of the Sharks on the island on Mindelo and 2-0 defeats of Central African Republic and Liberia in Douala and Tangier respectively.

Musa, who won a record 102 caps for Nigeria after coming on as a substitute in Saturday’s triumph against Liberia, said, “No one is thinking of a draw. It is a must-win match, as far as we are concerned. The mindset is to win and reach the final round of the World Cup series without any story.”

Victory or draw against the Sharks will send Eagles, who have 12 points into the knockout round, with the visitors, who are on 10, needing to win to make progress at Nigeria’s expense.

Already, Senegal, Egypt, Mali, Morocco and DR Congo qualified for the final round, with African champions Algeria expected to have no trouble doing the same.

Three other matches will produce the remaining two qualifiers. Five-time African champions Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are at home to Ivory Coast’s Elephants in Yaounde on Tuesday. The Lions, on 12 points, need a win while Elephants (13 points) require only a draw.

Tunisia host Zambia also on Tuesday, and would scale through with a draw as long as Equatorial Guinea, who shocked the Carthage Eagles on Saturday, do not pick all the points in Nouakchott against Mauritania. The Eagles and the Equatoguineans are both on 10 points. Zambia, who hammered Mauritania 4-0 on Saturday to go seven points, are also in with a chance, if they win well in Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea drop all points in Nouakchott.

The final round of the African qualifying series will hold in March 2022.

<<Daily Post>>