Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

AFCON 2023 QUALIFIERS: Leone Stars commence preparations to host Nigeria

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Leone Stars are preparing to host the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia, Liberia on Sunday, June 18. 

However, the odds seem to be stacked against the home team as they go into the contest with few injuries which includes Jonathan Moseray with knee injury, and team captain Steven Caulker is doubtful because he is recovering from knee surgery. Midfielder Alhassan Koroma is also ruled out on suspension after a second booking against São Tomé. 

Also, Issa Kallon, Alex Bangura and Sullay Kai Kai are unavailable due to club challenges and personal reasons. These missing players’ concerns will certainly make things harder for Leone Stars as they prepare for this all-important match.

On the other hand, the Super Eagles of Nigeria look solid and unshakable. They are currently sitting at the top of the group with nine points, having won three matches and losing one. The Super Eagles know that a win will guarantee their spot at the 2023 AFCON tournament and will be looking to achieve nothing less. This seems to indicate that the Leone Stars are set to face a hard nut to crack for a chance at winning the match, while a defeat could seriously jeopardize their chances of making it to Cote d’Ivoire 2023 AFCON. 

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Despite these challenges facing the home team, Leone Stars’ coach, John Keister, remains hopeful that his side will pull an upset against the Super Eagles. He knows that they are underdogs but feels that his team is capable of delivering a surprise victory. His main focus is to instil a belief in his players that they can achieve the impossible and shock the three-time African champions.

“We are going to go there to compete. We are not going to go there and lie down. I don’t really need to let the players understand the significance of this game. They should relish the challenge of coming up against Nigerian players who are doing well overseas.” Keister said in a short video. 

Nigeria won the reverse fixture 2-1 at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja in June last year, and they’re currently leading the group table, followed by Guinea Bissau with seven points and Sierra Leone and São Tomé with five and one points respectively. 

The Leone Stars started preparations for the game in Monrovia on Thursday, June 8, 2023, after completing some training sessions at the Southern Arena in Bo, en route to Monrovia.

 

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