Kickoff: January 16, 16:00 GMT, Benguela Stadium The Nigerians go into this game knowing that only a victory against Benin will do, as they look to stay alive in the Africa Cup of Nations. A win is also neccessary to appease their fans back home who are already calling for the heads of the team’s officials and the federation’s administrators.
Losing 3-1 to defending champions Egypt on opening day was the most scandalous loss for the team in over a decade. Shuaibu Amodu's men looked slow against the Pharaohs and they know now that they cannot afford to be slack any longer otherwise they will be taking the first flight home from Angola on Thursday morning as their last match against Mozambique will be of no significance.
The fear of failure and what awaits the players at home will be sure to spur the Nigerians on to fight for a victory against a Benin side that they have twice beaten in the Nations Cup, in Tunisia and recently in Ghana when they badly needed a win to secure passage to the quarter-finals when all hope seemed lost. They will hope that luck does not desert them this time around as the Benin team is eager to turn the tables against them.
Squirrels spoiling for a fight Having never won a match in the Nations Cup, Benin will hope that they can draw on the confidence gained from earning a point against Mozambique on Tuesday. The Squirrels may have a spring in the step as they prepare to face the Super Eagles who have always dominated their meetings at the Nations Cup.
The Squirrel’s 2-2 draw with the Mambas was the first point they have picked up in the tournament. And their two goals made it a total of three they have scored in all that time. With this feat in the back of their minds, Benin will know they can beat the floundering Eagles who are having problems in defence.
Michel Dussuyer’s lads know that this is a good time to beat their next-door neighbours because the Eagles’ big name players are low in confidence.
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Amodu is expected to make changes to the team that lost 3-1 to Egypt by dropping defenders Taye Taiwo, Yusuf Mohamed and Obinna Nwaneri as he will give starting places to Elderson Echiejile, Chidi Odiah and Onyekachi Apam. Obafemi Martins is out of the team to treat his recurring shin injury but Osaze Odemwingie will look to make a start against the Squirrels after recovering from the flu.
Benin Dussuyer has said he will be looking to the services of his Nigerian-born duo of Razak Omotoyossi and Mouri Ogunbiyi to trouble the Super Eagles defence. Omotoyossi has said that he looks forward to scoring against the country of his birth and this may be the time to fulfill that ambition.
Players To Watch Chinedu Obasi – Nigeria The star man in Nigeria’s first game, Obasi brought a lot of pace to the Eagles strike force as he consistently troubled the Egyptian back four. He will be a handful for the Benin defence.
Razak Omotoyossi – Benin Omotoyossi will hope he can get his 16th goal in 30 international matches for Benin against his country of birth. The resourceful striker has been a constant threat to defenders throughout the tournament.