Nigerian football great Mutiu Adepoju has called on supporters to maintain faith in the Super Eagles despite their appalling performance against Sierra Leone.
Inspired by a brace from Alex Iwobi and goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze, Gernot Rohr’s men took a four-goal lead against the Leone Stars after 29 minutes.
After that, they put up to a lethargic display which ensured John Keister’s men left the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium with a point after clawing back to end the game 4-4 with substitute Al-Hadji Kamara beating goalkeeper Maduka Okoye twice.
The game ended on a sour note for the 2013 African champions as top striker Victor Osimhen was stretchered off after suffering a wrist injury – and as a result, he remains a major doubt for the reverse fixture.
Having in mind that Nigerians are furious with Rohr’s Eagles following their wretched outing against the struggling West African team, the former Real Madrid and Racing Santander star posted on social media to calm their nerves.
“Every game comes with its lessons and this game against Sierra Leone is one of them,” Adepoju tweeted.
“A match is not won until the final whistle is blown. Fellow Nigerians, I appeal to you that we keep supporting our dear Super Eagles and I strongly believe they will bounce back in the return leg.”
Even at this result, the three-time African champions still lead Group L having accrued seven points from three games. Victory at the Freetown Stadium on Tuesday will see them through to the biennial African football showpiece billed for Cameroon with two games to spare.
Nigeria has appeared at the finals 18 times, winning it thrice – with their most recent triumph at the 2013 edition hosted by South Africa. There, they defeated Paul Put’s Burkina Faso 1-0 at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg.
They finished third in the 2019 edition staged in Egypt after defeating Tunisia 1-0 in the third-place play-off in Cairo.
For Sierra Leone, they are hoping to make their third appearance in the competition. Their last outing was at the 1996 edition staged in South Africa and they crashed out of the group stage after losing twice and winning one game.