Leone Stars of Sierra Leone midfielder Rodney Strasser has attributed his side’s surprise comeback against Super Eagles to the absence of injured Victor Osimhen.
Sierra Leone made a shock comeback by cancelling a 4-0 deficit to draw 4-4 in the first-leg of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers in Benin.
Osimhen, who was on target in the game, was replaced when the game was 4-2 after dislocating his shoulder before the Leone Stars went on to complete the fightback.
And in a chat with top Nigerian journalist Oma Akatugba, Strasser admitted Osimhen gave them problems while on the pitch.
“I told the guys if we score 4-3 they’re gonna pee on their pants. When we scored 4-2 they came out and then 4-3 and I said we need to go and then it was good for us when Osimhen went out. It was good for us because he was the one that was keeping it up there. He was the trouble guy in the field, he alone can keep two or three players but when he went out it was better for us.”
Strasser stated that the poor state of the Siaka Stevens stadium did not only affected the Eagles but also the Leone Stars.
“We all normally win at home but we had a problem because our pitch wasn’t that good even for us because most of us play abroad, it wasn’t good for us also, not only for Nigeria, that’s what people don’t understand.
“It was difficult for us because we only trained for just two days on the pitch. It was okay for the local players. We used two defenders based at home because our captain was disqualified and another player was on the bench, he plays in Greece.
“The home-based guys had less problem, two of our defenders and the goalkeeper were home-based, so those were comfortable on the pitch but the rest were professionals and it was a little difficult for us to play on the pitch. We went for the win, we had a couple of chances, Nigeria also had chances but it was like a normal game, a 50-50 because of the pitch.”
And on comments made by NFF president Amaju Pinnick urging the Eagles to go to Freetown and win 4-0, the midfielder described it as disrespectful.
He added: ”Everyone saw the video, it felt disrespectful, though Nigeria is bigger than us in everything, population and Nigeria is an African giant. It made the fans angry and they were like we need to win, we need to beat them because he said they need to come and beat us 4-0, a wake-up call should not come from Sierra Leone.
“Wake-up calls should come from countries like Sierra Leone, not Brazil because Brazil is a bigger team. If Nigeria loses to Brazil, it’s normal. The game in Nigeria was a wake-up call because we drew there, coming from 4 goals down, that was a wake-up call. But he said that wasn’t a wake-up call because you need a wake-up call from Argentina, for me that was a wake-up call.”