It will be a game of 11 players in each side no doubt, but Coach Gernot Rohr would do his conscience a world of good by resigning from the Super Eagles’ job if he failed to get the win Nigeria needs to resuscitate its ambition of qualifying for the Cameroun 2019 African Nations Cup.
Such was the sentiment expressed by some pundits on Nigeria’s African Nations Cup qualifier against Seychelles this weekend.
Seychelles’ biggest competitive win came against Zimbabwe in the qualifiers of the 2004 African Cup of Nations.
Goals by strikers Alpha Baldé and Philip Zialor gave Seychelles a 2–1 win at Stade Linité against Zimbabwe captained by Peter Ndlovu.
Last week, Seychelles Coach, Gavin Jeanne boasted that his team would beat Nigeria to send a warning to other African countries.
This is a team beaten 5-1 by Libya in the first week of the Cameroun 2019 qualifying series.
Some would argue that the Super Eagles did not fare much better as Nigeria lost 0-2 to South Africa at home the same day.
But against a Nigerian team, which wants to bounce back after a not too impressive outing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, winning on Saturday should be a big ask for the Pirates.
Although Jeanne points at Seychelles performance in the COSAFA Cup as a sign that his team could ruffle Eagles’ feathers, the Nigerians recognize that it would be a massive blow to their pedigree and qualification ambition to get anything other than a win in Victoria.
Football pundit, Mike Miyaki describes Saturday’s game as a match Nigeria should win comfortably.
He said the Eagles are pumped up for the game considering they lost the first match.
“No mater what the Seychelles coach says, it is highly unlikely they will beat Nigeria.
“He can talk to psyche up his boys because he is their main psychologist, but there is a big gap in class between the two sides.
“That is not saying the Eagles should take things for granted because in international football surprises happen.
“We should forget the withdrawals in the Nigerian team because there is still enough quality players to do the job,” he said.
Granted there are no more minnows in African football, sports analyst, Sabinus Ikewuaku said, “no sane football follower would accept that a team of part timers, who have never qualified for any major championship outside the regional COSAFA Cup, would stand on the same pedestal as the Super Eagles, even if Nigeria played with solely home-based players.
“Seychelles is among the smallest countries in Africa, with a population of 95,235.
Its football revolves around the COSAFA Cup and the Indian Ocean Islands Games, a competition that features such countries as Maldives, Madagascar, Mayotte, Comoros and Reunion.
The Pirates won the Games in 2011, but that is all it has to show for its participation in international football.”
Also dismissing Seychelles dream of a win, Super Eagles’ new strikers, Samuel Kalu and Simeon Nwankwo, want the Indian Ocean Islanders to forget Saturday and look for another occasion for success.
Kalu, who plays in the French Ligue for Bordeaux, is confident that nothing would derail Nigeria’s march to three points in Seychelles.
Simeon Nwankwo, who was a surprise inclusion in Nigeria’s Russia 2018 World Cup squad, also echoes his sentiment.
“Comparing the quality in both teams, I think Nigeria has an upper hand,” Nwankwo told a local website yesterday. But he cautioned his team against underrating the Seychellois and work very hard to win the match in Victoria.