Zaidu Sanusi of Nigeria challenged by Youssouf Assogba Benin during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier between Benin and Nigeria at Stade Charles de Gaulle,Porto-Novo,Benin,on 27 March 2021 ©BackpagePix
Lawal: Nigeria lucky there will be no fans today
Tuesday Mar 30, 2021. 10:00
Former Nigeria winger Garba Lawal believes the Super Eagles are lucky that they will be playing in front of an empty stadium in their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier later today.
Nigeria, who have already secured qualification for the AFCON, will host Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos for their last Group L game this evening. The stands will be empty, in line with efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic.
2022 AFCON QUALIFIERS GROUP STANDINGS
After an unconvincing win away to Benin this past weekend, Nigeria would be under pressure to produce a more emphatic display against Likuena, especially in front of the passionate Lagos fans.
“They are lucky because I know the pressure of Lagos, I played in the city for many years when I was playing in the national team but I liked to see fans when I played there,” Lawal told Goal.
“They are lucky they don’t have that pressure at the moment but the most important thing is a win.
“For sure, they will miss the fans’ songs because whenever you don’t score in 10 to 15 minutes they start singing. However, it is good for the team to test the Lagos ground.”
Even though Lesotho are bottom of the log and have been eliminated from potential AFCON qualification, Lawal has urged the Super Eagles not to underestimate them.
“Everyone knows in normal circumstances, Benin and Lesotho are no match for Nigeria but football these days has changed. There are no small games again,” he explained.
“I believe they want to win both games and we have confidence in them because the coach made his list and he called the best of the best. And I believe we want to see them playing good football and we want to see them winning.
“If someone had predicted that we would play 4-4 with Sierra Leone in Nigeria, we would have said no but it happened so what it means is that we can never tell what will happen in football these days. They just have to take the game very seriously.”