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Super Eagles ‘ll grow into AFCON qualifiers, says Akanni

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A former Super Eagles defender, Waidi Akanni, has expressed optimism that the Nigerian national football team would keep improving and getting better with each 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match.

Akanni was reacting to the hard-fought 2-1 victory recorded by the Super Eagles against the Squirrels of Benin Republic in their Group L encounter on Wednesday.

The match, played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, saw the Super Eagles come from behind to defeat their West African opponents 2-1.

Akanni, a former chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, told the Nigeria News Agency that the most important thing about the game against Benin Republic was that the Eagles secured victory.

“The most important thing is that we got the three points. It is true that we struggled in the opening part of the game but it was due to lack of cohesion, especially in the midfield.

“It is not unusual because it is the first game of the qualifiers, but going forward, I believe the boys will play better as a team,” he said.

Squirrels’ Stephane Sessegnon opened scoring in the fifth minute to send Nigeria into panic mode before Victor Osimhen levelled up in the 45th minute.

Samuel Kalu then won the match for the Super Eagles with a close-range effort in the 62nd minute to seal a 2-1 victory.

Nigeria’s No. 10 jersey, which former Chelsea midfielder, Mikel Obi had made his own for years, was handed to new entrant, Joe Aribo, against the Squirrels.

Akanni said that the 23-year-old Glasgow Rangers midfielder gave a good account of himself.

“Joe Aribo was solid. He has easily blended into the national team. What the Eagles need now is playing together more. The players will get better,” he said.

Edited by Joseph Edeh and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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