Benin Republic Commences Preparation For Fixture Against Nigeria

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The Squirrels of Benin Republic on Tuesday commenced preparation for this weekend’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Nigeria, as the team’s French coach, Michel Dussuyer took his squad out for its first session.

Dussuyer looked relieved having the full complement of his invited legion from France, as The Squirrels started training together for the first time ahead of Saturday’s match with the three-time African champions.

Fédération Béninoise de Football revealed that Dussuyer worked with several France-based players, who flew to Cotonou earlier this week aboard a private jet.

That allowed Dussuyer have all players he called up for the last two games of the AFCON 2022 qualifiers against Nigeria and Sierra Leone, such that the gaffer was beaming with delight during The Squirrels’ first training session at Mathieu Kérékou Stadium in Cotonou on Tuesday.

Heading into Saturday’ fixture, Benin are trail Nigeria by one point, having accumulated seven from four matches, while he Eagles are on eight, with two victories and same number of draws.

Nigeria also stand atop their opponents head-to-head, with Gernot Rohr’s side having defeated The Squirrels 2-1 in the first leg staged at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo thanks to goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu.

Having played out an unacceptable goalless draw against Sierra Leone the last time out, the Super Eagles would be going all out for a win which would guarantee them a ticket to their 19th appearance at the biennial African football showpiece.

However, being unbeaten in their last three games, Dussuyer’s team would fancy their chances of stunning the 2013 African champions as they are keen on reaching the finals for the fifth time.

A preview by added: Former PSG star, Stephane Sessegnon stunned the Super Eagles in Nigeria and he could still be the man to wreck havoc on Saturday when the two teams clash in a decisive AFCON qualifier in Porto-Novo.

Two years ago, Sessegnon put Benin in front in the reverse tie against Nigeria before the home team fought back to win 2-1.

The experienced forward, who will be 37 in June and made his international debut in 2004, has been named by Benin as “guest player” for Saturday’s showdown as he has been without a club since last year.

“Will Stephane Sessegnon play? I cannot say, but for certain his presence in the group is very important,” insisted Benin coach Michel Dussuyer.

Close watchers of the Squirils of Benin have gone on to say that the talented forward could well be thrown into the fray should he prove his class in training.

“Our old captain could still play against Nigeria, even though he has been without a club for a long time, it will be determined by what he shows in training. It will be the coach to decide,” he added.

Arinze Asuzu/SCORENigeria
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