Former Nigeria international, Tijani Babangida has declared that the Super Eagles cannot afford any margin of error not to pick maximum points when they face Cape Verde on Tuesday in Matchday 2 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification race.
Nigeria are top of Group C with three points after last Friday’s 2-0 win over Liberia while the Blue Sharks pulled a 1-1 draw away to the Central African Republic for a valuable one point to sit in second place.
Going into Tuesday’s match at the Estadio Municipal Aderito Esna in Mindelo, the game will reportedly be played on an astro turf pitch which may not be too comfortable for Nigeria’s large army of Europe-based stars.
Another issue is that, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the England-based contingent were allowed to go back to base which means half of the starting eleven against Liberia will not be available for Tuesday’s game.
Nevertheless, Babangida reckons that these limitations will not be enough to prevent the Super Eagles from picking a favourable result in Mindelo.
“I understand the game will be played on astro-turf but that shouldn’t be a problem because our players are based in Europe where there clubs have artificial and natural pitches so they cannot use that as an excuse.
“The fact that some players are also missing can be a blessing in disguise for players who were on the bench for the last game. It is an opportunity for them to do well and make it difficult for the coach to drop them from the starting line-up,” he said.
The former Ajax of Amsterdam right winger, however, warned that the Cape Verdeans will not be pushovers so the Super Eagles cannot afford any margin of error against them.
“Cape Verde are a difficult side to play. They’re giant-killers and the rising stars of African football. They are also playing at home so they hold a lot of advantages and the Super Eagles must be wary of being careless.”
In the other game, Liberia will host Central African Republic in Monrovia. Only one team from the group will qualify for the final stage of the qualifiers.