Nigeria must respect Benin and Lesotho to secure Afcon spot – Enyimba coach Osho

Nigeria must respect Benin and Lesotho to secure Afcon spot – Enyimba coach Osho

The Super Eagles are yet to secure their qualification for next year’s continental showpiece despite sitting at the top of Group L

Enyimba coach Fatai Osho believes the Super Eagles will work hard if they respect Benin and Lesotho in their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Nigeria lead Group L with eight points and they remain unbeaten after four matches while Benin follow in second spot with seven points, Sierra Leone and Lesotho occupy third and fourth spots with three points and two points respectively.

Despite their dominance in the group, the former Remo Stars manager advised Gernot Rohr’s squad not to underrate any team ahead of their trip to Porto Novo for Saturday’s clash against the Squirrels.

“I stand by the idea of respecting other countries. Gone are those days when we have minors in African football,” Osho told Goal.

“We have to give them their due respect, and that’s how the team will realise how hard they need to work in the games. If we are not respecting them enough, we might go there with a team thinking they are there for jamboree.

“If we give respect to them, I think that will enhance our work-rate and we get the required result.”

An elated Osho also reacted to the maiden call-ups as two of his players got to join the Super Eagles ahead of the crucial matches.

Goalkeeper John Noble and striker Anayo Iwuala came from the Aba Warriors while Abia Warriors centre-back Adeleke Adekunle completed the three invitees from the Nigeria Professional Football League.

“It’s a good thing for them when you work hard and you get compensated, they will be a good addition to the Super Eagles,” he continued. “It is something that will actually raise the standard of the NPFL because it is not the two of them (Noble and Iwuala), also the Abia Warriors defender (Adekunle).

“These invitations will really improve the standard of the league because they are players who are ready to work and learn, I’m sure the Super Eagles coach will enjoy working with them.”

Iwuala joins Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho, Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Genk’s Paul Onauchu, Galatasaray’s Henry Onyekuru in the Super Eagles’ frontline but Osho is not expecting the 22-year-old to suddenly break into the team.

“I have to be honest with you, the invitation is a good one for him but if you start looking at it that he must be able to compete with these guys, it’s not the ideal thing at this point,” he added.

“His development is quite important because the Super Eagles coach is the one that will train them and if he thinks he can complement the team in their games, it’s also good for him. I can sure you the boy can play at any level but trying to say he’s better than one or two players is not good, let him develop.

“What I can assure you is that what you have in the boy is a bundle of talent, with time people will get to know the potential in him as a player.”