AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Super Eagles skipper Musa not taking Sierra Leone for granted

AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Super Eagles skipper Musa not taking Sierra Leone for granted

Nigeria captain Ahmed Musa is not taking Sierra Leone for granted as both teams square off at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Monrovia in the penultimate round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

The Super Eagles sit second in Group A behind Guinea-Bissau who defeated Sao Tome and Principe on Wednesday. Victory in Monrovia will hand Nigeria a third consecutive AFCON appearance while a victory for the Leone Stars will keep their hopes alive going into the final round of qualifiers in September.

Sierra Leone will be hosting Nigeria on neutral ground after none of the stadiums in the country met the standards of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Afrosport asked Musa if the neutral ground is an advantage for Nigeria to which he replied:

“Any country that wants to play the Super Eagles, they come all out to want to win us, so we know it is not going to be easy. That’s football. No matter where you play you have to do your best to win the game.

“Nowadays, there is no home or away [advantage] in football, you just have to put in extra work if you want to win the game.

“Our boys know what is important because like the last game we played [against Sierra Leone] in Benin from 4-0 to 4-4. There is nothing surprising. It is the hardwork that they [Sierra Leone] put in. So, we know about that and we know how they play over here. The last game that we defeated them 2-1, it was not easy.

“No matter how many goals we score, you all would say it is normal, you can beat Sierra Leone but when we lose it is something else, so we have to put that in our mind that this game is not easy because we know if we win that game, we will qualify for AFCON so we do not have to take it for granted.”

When asked by Afrosport how many goals he would score if he gets to play, Musa said: “For me, I cannot say. Always when I start the game, I will say Insha Allah and after the game so for me, if I score a goal, it is fine.”

Musa was also asked by other sections of the media how he feels about the prospect of adding more caps for Nigeria should the Super Eagles qualify for AFCON. Musa is the most-capped player for the country with 109 caps and says it is left for coach Jose Peseiro to decide whether he features or not, stressing he is not bothered if he plays or the number of minutes he spends on the pitch so long the Super Eagles are winning.

“Yeah, for now, I don’t know if I am going to play. The coach has to decide first but the most important thing is to win that game and qualify for AFCON,” Musa said. “So, for me playing or not playing, it is no big deal but we have to wait until that day [Sunday] to see who the coach will start.

“Everybody knows what I can do. I don’t care if I start or don’t start but the most important thing is to win. The coach has the final say, I am not the one to put myself in the game. My first call up in the Super Eagles I played just a few minutes and it made me be where I am today, so I don’t care if I play two minutes, five minutes, I will always give my best to win the game.”

Musa made his debut for Nigeria on September 5, 2010, in a 2-0 win over Madagascar during the 2012 AFCON qualifiers. He has featured at three AFCON tournaments (2013, 2019 and 2021) and two FIFA World Cups (2014 and 2018). He is the highest-scoring Nigerian at the Mundial with four goals.

Catch the AFCON 2023 qualifier between Sierra Leone and Nigeria LIVE on AFROSPORT TV across Nigeria, channel 730 on Free TV and stream online via Vidivu TV and TikTok.

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