Nigeria vs. Sao Tome and Principe: Five things to expect


Nigeria vs. Sao Tome and Principe: Five things to expect

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will take on Sao Tome and Principe in their final Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Sunday at the magnificent Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Though the three-time African champions have already qualified for the AFCON tournament billed for Cote d’Ivoire next year even before Sunday’s kickoff, Jose Peseiro’s men will be looking to win the match and finish top of their group.

Sao Tome and Principe on their part are out of contention for the flagship African football tournament, but they will be looking to put up a fight and salvage what is left of their national pride; especially after the 10-0 bashing suffered in the reverse leg played in June 2022.

PREMIUM TIMES makes a pick of five things to expect from Sunday’s match in Uyo:

Plenty of goals for the Super Eagles

The Super Eagles are the clear favorites to win the match, and they are expected to do so in an empathic fashion with plenty of goals.

With the array of strikers assembled for Sunday’s game, a 3-0 victory will not be considered good enough for many fans who are waiting to see how Victor Osimhen and his new strike partners, Gift Orban and Victor Boniface will rip the Sao Tome and Principe team apart.

With 16 goals scored so far in five matches, the Super Eagles boast of the most lethal attack in this qualifying campaign and they are primed to improve on that tally.

Currently, at the bottom of their group, Sao Tome have been one of the worst-performing sides during the 2023 Afcon qualifying campaign and conceded a total of 20 goals in five matches.

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Clean sheet for Super Eagles

Even though the Super Eagles have just one clean sheet in their last five games, Sao Tome and Principe would most likely find it hard to penetrate the Nigeria backline ably marshalled by captain William Troost-Ekong.

With the rejuvenated Ola Aina, Calvin Bassey, and even the newbie Jordan Torunarigha all roaring to go, getting the ball into the net that would most likely be manned by the returning Francis Uzoho would definitely be a tough one for Sao Tome and Principe

Debut for new faces

There are a number of new faces in the Super Eagles squad for this match, including Victor Boniface, Gift Orban, and Jordan Torunarigha.

One of the reasons given by officials for inviting the foreign pros is to access them for the World Cup qualifiers starting in November.

It is only rational that these players who are looking to make a good impression and stake a claim for a place in the team will be given playing minutes to show what they’ve got on Sunday.

Osimhen is likely to finish as top scorer with more goals

Victor Osimhen is not just Nigeria’s top scorer in the AFCON qualifiers but he is leading the race on the continent with seven goals.

The 24-year-old is in good form for Napoli in Serie A, and he will be looking to continue his scoring streak against Sao Tome and Principe.

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Many believe he will score at least one goal in this match, and he could even break the record for most goals scored in a single AFCON qualifying campaign if things go his way.

Better crowd attendance

With the 30,000 tickets for Sunday’s game already paid for by the Akwa Ibom State government, the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium should have an impressive crowd to cheer on the Super Eagles.

Fans definitely will be eager to catch a glimpse of the superstars in their neighborhood especially when they are not required to pay for match tickets anymore.

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Thankfully, it is the international break so there will be no divided attention from the European Leagues.

A carnival-like atmosphere is anticipated as the Super Eagles will be looking to end their campaign in the Afcon qualifiers on a blistering note.

Join PREMIUM TIMES for the Live updates of Sunday’s game from 4.30 pm.

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