As the qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations reconvene this week, Nigeria gear up for the doubleheader against Sierra Leone, starting with the home leg at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
The Super Eagles are currently at the top of Group L after winning both group games last year. They saw off Benin in a 2-1 comeback victory before thrashing Lesotho 4-2 on the road.
Sierra Leone, meanwhile, are looking to qualify for the tournament finals for the first time since 1996 under returning manager John Kiester, who's confident ahead of his second spell with the side.
His two-year reign in charge of the Leone Stars ended last year after he stepped down following a poor start to the qualifying campaign, which saw them draw to Benin and lose to Lesotho.
However, the England-born former midfielder was rehired in August this year and has urged the nation "to be positive" ahead of this week's make-or-break doubleheader as he embarks on a "rebuilding process".
Nigeria vs Sierra Leone Head-To-Head
The West African nations have met 14 times previously, with Nigeria the dominant force having claimed nine wins compared to Sierra Leone's meager two.
The upcoming clash will also mark their first since February 2011, when Nigeria narrowly beat Sierra Leone in a 2-1 friendly international.
Nigeria Form Guide (all competitions): D-W-W-L-D
Sierra Leone Form Guide (all competitions): L-D-L
Nigeria vs Sierra Leone Team News
Nigeria have recalled Napoli striker Victor Osimhen and Rangers FC star Joe Aribo, both of whom missed last month's friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia. Goalkeeper Sebastian Osigwe has received his first international call-up.
Leicester City star Wilfred Ndidi is the only notable absentee as he continues to recover from an abductor injury.
Injured: Wilfred Ndidi
John Kiester has announced a 23-man squad for the upcoming qualifiers, with the major highlight being Augustus Williams, last season's USL Championship's top-scorer, who's eyeing his first international cap.
Former AC Milan midfielder Rodney Strasser, Alhaji Kamara, and Mohamed Kamara return to the squad. Forward Kei Kamara has come out of retirement and is also called up by the manager.
Nigeria vs Sierra Leone Predicted XI
Nigeria (4-3-3): Daniel Akpeyi; Chidozie Awaziem, Ola Aina, Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong; Alex Iwobi, Joe Aribo, Peter Etebo; Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen.
Sierra Leone (4-3-3): Mohamed Kamara; Umaro Bangura, Alie Sesay, Osman Kakay, Kevin Wright; Hassan Koroma, John Kamara, Rodney Strasser; Kwame Quee, Alhaji Kamara, Augustus Williams.
Nigeria vs Sierra Leone Prediction
Nigeria are clearly the better side on paper and boast some lethal attacking weapons in Iheanacho, Chukwueze, and Osimhen, all of whom have proven pedigree at top European sides.
Sierra Leone have traditionally been one of the weakest sides on the continent and do not have the tools to shoot down the high-flying Eagles, who should canter to another easy win in this qualifier.
Prediction: Nigeria 3-0 Sierra LeonePublished 11 Nov 2020, 21:18 IST