Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), who hit a brace as Leicester flung Manchester United out of the FA Cup at the weekend, is yet to arrive at Eko Hotel & Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos where the three-time African champions are ensconced ahead of the big duels.
However, Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and 22 other players have arrived as of lunchtime, according to a statement by Nigeria Football Federation.
The players in camp are goalkeepers Maduka Okoye, Francis Uzoho, John Noble; defenders William Ekong, Olaoluwa Aina, Adekunle Adeleke, Chidozie Awaziem, Leon Balogun, Tyronne Ebuehi, Jamilu Collins, Zaidu Sanusi; midfielders Semi Ajayi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Abdullahi Shehu, Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, Wilfred Ndidi; forwards Ahmed Musa, Henry Onyekuru, Anayo Iwuala, Alex Iwobi, Paul Onuachu, Samuel Chukwueze, and Victor Osimhen.
The Eagles have Cape Verde, Liberia, and Central Africa Republic to dispute in the 2022 FIFA World Cup race, with only the winner heading to the final knockout series in November. Liberia’s Lone Star will be the Eagles’ first opponents in that race, at home, before a trip to Bangui.
The Super Eagles will travel by waterways to Porto Novo on Friday morning, and will stay the night in the Beninoise capital, Cotonou before moving to Porto Novo on Saturday for the game. The contingent will return to Cotonou after the game and travel back to Lagos on Sunday morning.
Nigeria top their group with eight points, one better than the Squirrels of Benin Republic, against whom they trade tackles at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo on Saturday in the penultimate round of the qualifying campaign. Three days later, the Eagles confront the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos in what will be their first encounter in Nigeria’s commercial and economic capital in 10 years.
With three–pointer Sierra Leone, third in the pool, concluding their game away to bottom–placed Lesotho in Maseru earlier, the Eagles could be guaranteed qualification for the final tournament in Cameroon before kick-off in Porto Novo. Failure by the Leone Stars to pick all three points will mean Nigeria and Benin are through to Cameroon.