The Super Eagles have started training at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, in preparation for Thursday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone.
The Eagles returned to Nigeria on Friday after a two-game friendly tour of the United States, where they lost 1-2 to Mexico and 0-1 to Ecuador.
According to officials of the team, all the players listed for the qualifiers are already in town, but the trio of Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey and Shehu Abdullahi did not take part in the evening’s training session, as they arrived late in the day.
According to the Eagles’ itinerary, the team will continue their preparation for the game with the training sessions opened to journalists today and tomorrow, while the squad will meet with journalists on Wednesday.
Thursday’s match will give Nigerians an insight into what to expect from the new technical crew led by Jose Peseiro, who was in charge of the games against Mexico and Ecuador.
Nigeria lost the matches, but officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) believe there is a marked improvement from the sides tutored by Gernot Rohr and Augustine Eguavoen.
Echoing the sentiments of his colleagues on the NFF board after Peseiro’s first games in charge, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said: “I am happy and I can tell you that we fulfilled our objectives of restoring the spirit of the Super Eagles following the failure to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.”
We lost both games against Mexico and Ecuador narrowly, but we were up for it and never finished on the back foot. The boys gave a good account of themselves in both games.
“Given the number of first-team players that were not available, we have to praise the boys, who showed up here and gave their all. They have given us confidence going into the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The despondency is over and we can now march forward in a sure-footed manner.”
The Super Eagles will meet Sierra Leone in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match in Abuja on Thursday evening.