Only a Win against Benin can Redeem Nigeria’s Image, Says Ndidi

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Wilfred Ndidi has said that the two draws that the Super Eagles played against Sierra Leone last November should serve as a reminder that that they cannot afford to be complacent when they battle the Republic of Benin today’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The Leicester City midfielder escaped the wrath of the fans and the media after the game against Sierra Leone because he was not available for selection as he was recovering from injury.

It is common knowledge that Ndidi is certain to start against the Squirrels tomorrow in what would be his first appearance for the national team since going the distance vs Lesotho on matchday two.

In an interview with Channels Television, Ndidi said: “From the previous games, it wasn’t our best of games so it’s something that we have learnt so much of it so we know what we have to do in this game, so I think it is one of those games that we have to actually give our everything.

“Because of the expectation after not doing so well in the last games, it’s this kind of game that we have to redeem our image.
“We are really looking forward to the game and we will try and do our best and see what comes out of it”.

Meanwhile, defender William Troost-Ekong is confident Nigeria can qualify for the African Cup of Nations finals so he can then return to Watford and concentrate on the task of securing automatic promotion.

The defender is in the squad for games against Benin today and Lesotho on Tuesday, with the Super Eagles needing just one point to qualify from Group L and reach the showpiece event in Cameron next year.

“We are top of the table and need one point to qualify as group winners,” said Troost-Ekong. “I’m sure we are going to do it. I’ve got lots of confidence in our team. We have a very good team and I’m looking forward to playing. I’m really looking forward to the games and coming back having qualified for Nigeria. It’s massive for us.”

Troost-Ekong will win his 40th cap if he is selected by Gernot Rohr and he hopes the games will be more straight forward than caps number 38 and 39. In their previous two fixtures, Nigeria raced into a four-goal lead after just 29 minutes against Sierra Leone only to blow it and draw the game. They then, in a complete reversal of fortunes, played out a goalless draw against the same opposition two weeks later.

“Those games were a massive talking point,” said Troost-Ekong. “Drawing 4-4 after being 4-0 up is something unheard of and one of the strangest experiences of my career. I look at it as another experience in the bag.”