The Nigeria Football Federation declared yesterday that the Senior National Team, Super Eagles will pull no punches when hostilities begin against the Lone Star of Liberia in a 2013 African Cup of Nations decider in Calabar next week.
Saturday’s duel in Canaan City qualifies as Nigeria’s most important football match of the past two years, but the NFF says the Super Eagles have the capacity to take the game by the scruff and turn back the visitors with plenty of goals.
“The match in Calabar is a huge one, very important one, and we are treating it as such. It doesn’t get bigger than what we have on our hands. But the NFF has no fear at all. The Super Eagles will work very hard and deal decisively with the Liberians.
“The NFF is providing and will continue to provide everything that the team needs to emerge victorious on the day. The Super Eagles will take no prisoners.
“In history, Liberia has never come to Nigeria to beat us, at any level. It will not happen on 13th October, ” said High Chief Emeka Inyama, Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee.
A total of 23 home-based players have been training in Abuja for the encounter, to be joined by 15 foreign-based stars on Sunday as the squad heads to Calabar.
The first international match between Nigeria and Liberia was played in Monrovia on 8th October, 1963. The friendly match ended 2-2, with Albert Onyeawuna scoring both Nigerian goals.
Since then, there have been 13 encounters between both countries at senior level, with Nigeria winning nine of those, Liberia winning two and two drawn.
In a World Cup qualifying match in Lagos on 20th October 1984, the Eagles spanked the Lone Star 3-0 with a double from Humphrey Edobor and one from Ademola Adeshina.
In an Olympic Games qualifying match in Monrovia on 28th June 1987, Liberia defeated Nigeria 2-1, but was crushed 4-1 in the return leg in Lagos. Liberia also won a 2002 World Cup qualifying match in Monrovia 2-1 on 9th July 2000, only for the Eagles to thrash their visitors 2-0 in the return in Port Harcourt on 5th May 2001.
That win paved the way to Nigeria’s qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals, as the Super Eagles went ahead to defeat Sudan in Khartoum and also spanked Ghana in Port Harcourt on the final day of the qualifiers.
The first leg of this final qualifying fixture ended 2-2 in Monrovia on 8th September, but Inyama says nothing will stop a deluge of goals raining in the Liberian net from supercharged Super Eagles’ strikers in Calabar next weekend.
“It is a battle the NFF and the Super Eagles are working assiduously hard towards conquering on all fronts. The only possible outcome is victory for Nigeria,” he said.