By Victor Okoye
Abuja, June 10, 2022
Leone Stars’ team captain Steven Caulker is optimistic about Sierra Leone’s chances of defeating Nigeria when they meet in the reverse fixture in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that first-half goals by Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen made the difference as the Super Eagles won 2-1 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Thursday.
The Nigerian side struck back after Sierra Leone took a shock early lead in a display that was hardly the most convincing.
Caulker told newsmen at a post-match conference that he was confident that his team would get a good result against the Super Eagles on home soil in March 2023.
He said his team showed too much respect for Nigeria during Thursday’s game and as a result made too many errors.
The centre-back added that they would however go back to the drawing board and correct their mistakes.
“I am very optimistic about our chances as we await the return leg of this fixture on home soil because we held our own during a large part of the game.
“We definitely got some areas to improve on, but like the coach said we are in a period of transition with a young team.
“We missed it when we sat back on our lead and gave Nigeria too much respect and allowed them back into the game,” he said.
Caulker noted that there were a lot of positives to take from the game, claiming however that poor officiating caused his team from taking something out of the game.
“It’s just one game and we still have five more to play even though we felt that there were a few decisions that on another day could have hopefully gone our way.
“We’d like to think that when we host Nigeria, we will have these kind of decisions go our way and hopefully win the game.
“These decisions change games and I think we were a little unfortunate today as it could have been a different result.
“But kudos to Nigeria anyway. They did well and have taken all three points which is a very good way to start,” he said.
NAN also reports that after the first round of Group A games in the 2023 AFCON Qualifiers, Guinea-Bissau are top with three points with a superior goals difference (+4).
The Super Eagles are also with three points and a goals difference of +1, and are placed second on the four-team log.
Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Principe are with no points, and are in third and fourth positions respectively.