2023 AFCONQ | Sierra Leone Vs Nigeria | Super Eagles Face A Daunting Task Against Leone Stars
The qualification for the 2023 African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) is drawing to a close with some of the penultimate matches already played while some are scheduled for this weekend, one of such, is the make or mar match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Monrovia.
Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Monrovia (Liberia) will host the match while Mahmood Ismail from Sudan will officiate as the Central referee.
In this preview, Citysports takes a look at the chances of both Nigeria and Sierra Leone making it to the finals.
Ordinarily, this match shouldn’t have posed any threat to the Nigerian national team but in Football, anything can happen.
The three-time African champions are second on the log with nine points behind Guinea Bissau who have ten points after beating Sao Tome and Principe 1-0.
The threat to Nigeria”s qualification is that the team must not lose this penultimate game but must secure at least a point against Sierra Leone.
Should the Super Eagles lose this game to the Leone Stars, it will not only open the group more but enhance the chances of Sierra Leone making it to Cote D’Ivoire 2024.
What will happen is that Nigeria’s Qualification will now be on probability and of course to be determined by the last qualifying match against Sao Tome and Principe which comes up in September.
So instead of seeking just a draw the Super Eagles must earn outright victory against an improved Sao Tome and Principe side, who after their 10-nil demolition in the hands of Nigeria have not conceded more than two goals. The implication of this development is that teams considered underdogs have in recent times proven that they can spring surprises.
Though Sao Tome and Principe have been eliminated having secured just a point from five games, pride would not make things easier for the Eagles in the last game at the MKO Abiola national stadium, Abuja.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leon would fancy the chance of qualifying ahead of Nigeria or Guinea Bissau, should they (Leone Stars) earn maximum points from the remaining two games. If this happens, the Leone Stars would be appearing for a consecutive tournament after the 2021 edition which birth their return to the continental biennial tournament since 1996.
Both the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Djutus of Guinea risk losing the 2023 AFCON ticket to the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone. However, Nigeria might be able to make amend by defeating Sao Tome and Principe in the last qualifying match.
So what are the chances of either Nigeria or Sierra Leone winning Sunday’s match?
To analyze the chances of both countries we shall consider the followings: history – history like statistics plays a vital role in projecting the future, form, how have these teams fair in their last five games, players – who are their key players, and how well are they ranked (rankings and statistics.) N/B bullets on screen.
Sierra Leone – Ranking | History | Form & Statistics (Head-To-Head) | Players
The Leone Stars are ranked 117 according to April 2023 FIFA ranking and are 22nd in Africa.
Sierra Leone have appeared at the African Cup Of Nations three times, first in Tunisia in 1994 when Nigeria claimed their second Afcon title. Two years later, the Leone Stars also participated in the tournament and the latest was in Cameroon, in 2021. Sierra Leone have not gone past the group stage of the tournament, hence would be chasing first title if they qualify for the 2023 edition. The Leone Stars have never qualified for the Fifa World Cup.
Coincidentally, Sierra Leone first ever international game was against Nigeria (who were also playing their first-ever international game) in 1949 at the Freetown stadium. The Leone Stars lost that game 2-0
The Leone Stars’ biggest win was against Niger, first in 1976, and in 1995, Sierra Leone won the two matches by the same margin, 5-1. Their biggest loss however was against Mali on June 17, 2007, when they suffered a 6-0 loss at the Bamako stadium in Mali
Position P-Name Age Appearances Goals Club Status
FW Alhaji Kamara 29 12 5 Randers HB
FW Musa Noah Kamara 23 11 3 Bo Rangers HB
MF Mohamed Kamara 35 33 2
FW Augustus Kargbo 23 11 1 Crotone HB
FW Mustapha Bundu 26 11 1 Anderlecht FB
FW Jonathan Morsay 25 7 1 Panetolikos
FW Ron Gandy Williams 24 20 Mighty Blackpool. FB
DF John Kamara 35 26 1
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are ranked 40th in the world and sixth in Africa.
Nigeria has a rich history as far as the African Cup Of Nations is concerned. The Super Eagles have appeared 19 times at the African biggest football tournament (AFCON) winning three editions, finishing runners-up four times, and bronze medalists eight times.
Nigeria’s biggest win at the senior level was the double-digit Victory against Sao Tome and Principe during one of the ongoing AFCON qualifying matches played in Morocco. The country’s biggest defeat was prior to independence against British Togo land and Gold Coast, now Ghana. The matches ended 7-0.
Super Eagles Players
The current Super Eagles squad have an array of stars who play their professional football in Europe apart from Ebube Duru Who plays for the Nigerian side, Rivers United, and Divine Nwa Chukwu, the Bendel Insurance forward.
Of the stars that will be executing the match for Nigeria are: Victor Osimhen – Serie A top Scorer 2022-23 season, Serie A MVP, he has scored a total of 15 goals for the senior national team. He’s a joint top Scorer with Senegalese Sadio Mane in the ongoing Qualifiers with five goals.v
Others include Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Ademola Lookman, Taiwo Awoniyi, Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon, and a host of others.
Form and Statistics (Head to Head)
Let’s now look at these teams’ current form based on their last five matches:
Sierra Leone have won Just one of their last five matches, the Victory against Sao Tome and Principe, drawn one against the same opponents, and lost three matches earlier. They lost 2-0 to Mali during Afcon, 4-0, and 3-0 to South Africa and Congo respectively.
Nigeria on the other hand have managed just one Victory and four losses in their last five games.
Both teams have met seven times before now, with the Nigerian Super Eagles triumphing five times, and drawing two.
The most daring game was at Abuja stadium when the Leone Stars came from four goals down to equalize to draw the game 4-4.
What To Expect – Based on the permutations and the if analysis explained earlier this is a must-win game for Sierra Leone if they want to boost their chances of qualifying for the tournament, but all the Eagles need is a draw, and that will sink the Leone Stars.
However, knowing fully well that it is not over for them to get the ticket to Ivory Coast 2023, Sierra Leone will do everything possible to frustrate the star-studded Super Eagles and perhaps, enhance their chances of qualifying with a victory.
This is exactly the reason we believe the Super Eagles of Nigeria will be facing a Daunting Task in Monrovia.
The question is, who wants it the most?
Historically, Nigeria have the upper hands but in Football, results are determined on the pitch. This certainly will be an explosive game.
Should Nigeria win or draw, that will seal qualification for both Super Eagles and Djuturs of Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone will have to wait for another qualification for a chance to participate in the continental tournament.
Watch the preview below