Liberia will be looking to secure their first win against Nigeria since 2000 when they battle it out with the Super Eagles in their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification Group C match today, Friday (1800 Hrs).
Today’s match is scheduled to take place at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria. Liberia last defeated Nigeria 2-1 on July 9, 2000, at the SKD Sports Stadium, courtesy of Christopher Wreh’s brace. The Lone Star has never qualified for the World Cup and they will be looking to put up a surprise beginning with the Super Eagles today.
They have lost four of their last five matches in all competitions including their last game, which was against Algeria's home-based team. However, prior to the Liberian team’s departure to Nigeria, Coach Peter Butler expressed optimism that his team can make a positive impact in the African qualifiers.
“Yes, we are in a very tough group with opponents that have good players and are well-founded, but I am not going to complain about that, I’ll rather work with what we have at our disposal to work. I will back myself against any of the coaches in that group that we will be as organized, as competitive, and with an attacking mind on our games. We’ve more young, vibrant, and energetic players on the front and in midfield, although we are going to get peppered by a team with stronger and better players, we have plans and I know we can be as competitive and make a positive impact,” Butler said during his pre-departure news conference.
Butler’s full squad has been completed in Lagos, following the late arrival of the last four overseas players. Belarus-based David Tweh, Prince Blade (Kosovo), Ashely Williams, and Jeremy Sengbe, both of Spanish club RB Linense, were the last batch of overseas players to arrive.
Nigeria, on the other hand, is keen on making its fourth successive appearance at the FIFA World Cup. The Super Eagles have qualified for six World Cup finals since their first appearance in 1994. Nigeria has also had a rough ride of late, as they are winless in their last three matches across all competitions. However, the 5th FIFA ranked on the African continent will be eying a winning start to their qualifiers campaign.
The previous game between Nigeria and Liberia was on 13 October 2012, when Nigeria secured a massive 6-1 win over Liberia in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
The two teams are paired in Group C, along with Cape Verde and the Central African Republic. The Lone Star must finish round-2 of the qualifiers as group winners if they should progress to the next round. Cape Verde and the Central African Republic already have one point each, following their 1-1 draw on Wednesday, August 1, at the Stade de la Reunification in Duala, Cameroon.