Super Eagles chief coach, Gernot Rohr has told reporters in a question and answer session that he will make sure that his boys fight until the end when they face Benin Republic on Saturday.
He has also demanded total concentration as he and his players have learnt a few lessons from their 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone last year despite Nigeria going 4-0 ahead in the first period.
Coach, once again, another successful training session. How did it go?
It was okay, it was a long one as it is Wednesday evening, so we wanted it to be physical so as to work hard. The weather was good, it was not too hot, so we could spend one hour and 38 minutes which is a long time for a training session.
But we did not train on Wednesday morning so we were able to do a little bit more in the afternoon and late into the evening. We are very much satisfied with the quality of the pitch (Teslim Balogun Stadium) in Surulere, Lagos.
The players worked very well on the pitch and now, we can play very good football on it. It was a good training session as there was no injury for any of our players and on Thursday, we will train on it.
On Friday morning, we will travel to Port-Novo and from their to Cotonou. We will then go back to Port-Novo where we will have one training session and we will also face Benin there.
I am sure you have been taking a look at what Nigeria’s opponents are doing, talking about Benin Republic and preparing hard for them.
Benin have not lost a match for eight years at home, the last time they lost was in 2013, so you it is a challenge that we want to be the first team to win there in eight years.
It was the same thing with Algeria in the World Cup qualifiers but we beat them right on their home ground. Since Benin haven’t lost at home in a while, we know that it will not be easy against them.
It will not be easy, they have a very good defence, they were quarter-finalists in the last Afcon. They eliminated Morocco. But we know that we will have to stay humble, we are confident.
We have good players who are doing great things at their respective clubs in Europe, so we will try to do very well against Benin like we have always done when we play our matches.
The qualification is almost done but we know that this is still the first step for us, if we can win the game, of course, we will like to beat Benin but we know it will be a difficult match.
Coach, you have a record which is that you have always qualified for all major tournaments with a game to spare. Are you hoping to do that for Nigeria again?
Yes, we hope to do it again which means that we should not lose to Benin because even with a draw, we are already through to the 2022 African Cup of Nations in Cameroun.
We will do it against Benin come Saturday, I hope so but I know that it will not be easy. Everybody must know that the lesson gained from the 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone is that we cannot afford to relax even when we have the lead.
We have to fight until the end and we must stay concentrated until the blast of the final whistle.
By Oluyemi Ogunseyin