Nigeria’s Super Eagles are already in Lagos in preparation for their final World Cup qualifying group game against Cape Verde on Tuesday.
The Super Eagles’ 2-0 victory over Liberia in their penultimate group stage match on Saturday meant they have won all their away games in this qualifying series, including a 2-1 win over their Tuesday opponents in Mindelo back in September.
Nigeria now require only a draw against Cape Verde to advance to the final knockout phase of the World Cup qualifiers.
But captain Ahmed Musa, who won a record 102nd senior cap for Nigeria after coming on as a substitute in Saturday’s triumph, said they all have their sights set on collecting maximum points against the Blue Sharks at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Tuesday.
“No one is thinking of a draw. It is a must-win match, as far as we are concerned. The mindset is to win and reach the final round of the World Cup series without any story,” Musa said.
A win or draw against the Blue Sharks will see the Super Eagles, who are on 12 points, go through to the knockout phase. However, Cape Verde, are second with 10 points and a win in Lagos will see them advance at the expense of Nigeria.
Nigeria has participated in all FIFA World Cup final tournaments since its debut in 1994 in the USA, bar the 2006 showpiece in Germany that she missed narrowly after FIFA opted to use the head-to-head rule in the qualifying campaign, which favoured Angola.
Senegal, Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Democratic Republic of Congo have already progressed into that final round, with African champions Algeria expected to have no trouble doing the same. One of Ghana and South Africa was set to emerge on Sunday night after their group’s final fixture in Cape Coast, with the home team needing a win and the visitors only in need of a draw.
Three other matches will produce the remaining two qualifiers. Five-time African champions Cameroon are at home to Cote d’Ivoire in Yaounde on Tuesday. The Lions, on 12 points, need a win while 13-pointer Cote d’Ivoire require only a draw.
Tunisia hosts Zambia also on Tuesday, and would scale through with a draw as long as Equatorial Guinea, who shocked the Carthage Eagles on Saturday, do not pick all the points in Nouakchott against Mauritania. The Eagles and the Guineans are both on 10 points. Zambia, who victimized Mauritania 4-0 on Saturday to go to seven points, are also still in with a chance, if they win well in Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea drop all points in Nouakchott.
The final round of the African qualifying series will hold in March 2022. Only five African nations will be at World Cup in Qatar.