The Leone Stars of Sierra Leone face an uphill task against the Squirrels of Benin Republic later today at the Freetown National Stadium in Freetown, Sierra Leone in the AFCON qualifiers final Group L game.
Sierra Leone drew Lesotho in their last game while Benin Republic were beaten 1-0 at home, for the first time in eight years by Nigeria. The results left qualification open for the two teams.
Benin Republic who won the first leg 1-0 are second on the table with eight points while Sierra Leone have seven points and are third. A clean sheet regardless of the result would see Benin through but Sierra Leone will need a win to proceed.
Both nations have good home records. Sierra Leone haven’t lost at home in four years. A Leone Star told Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho “we don’t lose in Freetown” after Iheanacho told him Nigeria came to Freetown to avenge surrendering a 4-0 lead to draw 4-4 in Nigeria, the match ended 0-0.
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has now added an extra motivation for the Leone Stars by promising each player $10,000 and a parcel of land if they defeat Benin Republic and qualify for their first AFCON in 25 years. Their only two appearances so far came in the 1994 and 1996 editions.
The match will kickoff at 5pm in Freetown while the other group game is between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the same time at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos.
cover image – cafonline.com