On Monday, June 13, Nigeria will face the tiny island nation of Sao Tome and Principe in a matchday two match of Group A’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.
Sao Tome & Principle (183rd) face a behemoth in the former African champions (30th), 153 places above them on the FIFA ranking, with a population roughly the size of Apapa, one of the smallest local government areas in Lagos, Nigeria.
On matchday one, the Super Eagles barely got out of first gear, but they had enough quality to come from behind and defeat Sierra Leone 2-1 at the MKO Stadium in Abuja.
Everton’s Alex Iwobi cancelled out Jonathan Morsay’s 11th-minute header with a deft finish, before Napoli’s Victor Osimhen smashed home the winner just before halftime to give the Eagles their tenth win over the Leone Stars.
On the same day, Sao Tome & Principe suffered a 5-1 defeat in Guinea-Bissau, despite taking an early lead through Edmlson Viegas.
The Sao Tomeans will be put to the ultimate test when they face the Super Eagles, the three-time African champions.
The game in Agadir will be the first-ever matchup between the two teams as Nigeria’s Super Eagles have never met the Falcons and Patriot Team of Sao Tome & Principe.
It is no surprise as the Falcons seldom mix it up against the big sides. The Islanders have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup or the Africa Cup of Nations.
Still, the Sao Tomeans boast a poor record, with Mauritius the only team they have drawn against or beaten in the last six years, losing 17 of 21 matches within that period.
Nigeria, though, ended a run of five matches without a win with Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Sierra Leone.
With nine wins and three draws in their last 12 Afcon qualifiers, the Super Eagles are the massive favourites to pick up the maximum points in Morocco.
Despite being the designated home team, Sao Tome & Principe will host this match at the Stade d’Agadir in Morocco, as the island nation lacks a stadium capable of hosting such a match.
Africa Cup of Nations Qualification
Game week 2
Date: June 13, 2022
Time: 14:00 (2 pm, Nigerian time)
Venue: Stade d’Agadir, Agadir, Morocco.
Super Eagles team news
Stand-in captain William Troost-Ekong will be missed by Nigeria. In the final minutes of the Super Eagles’ match against the Leone Stars, the Watford defender hobbled off with an injury.
Apart from Innocent Bonke of Lorient, head coach Jose Peseiro has a full complement of invited stars and will look to unleash the best against the Patriot Team.
Nigeria probable starting lineup (4-4-2):
Uzoho; Aina, Balogun, Ajayi, Bassey; Iwobi, Aribo, Simon, Chukwueze; Osimhen, Sadiq
Sao Tome & Principe possible starting lineup (4-4-2):
Braganca; Soares, Ivonaldo Viegas, Nilton, Nazare; Iniesta, Aldair, Eba Viegas, Edmilson Viegas; Rocha, Leal.