Joseph Onoja Modzero: Modo Victor

Chan 2023 qualifying: Nigeria 'fearless' but Ghana a must-win game, says Onoja

Nigeria B midfielder Joseph Onoja says the Super Eagles are aware Ghana are a dangerous team and they will need to be at their best in the 2023 African Nations Championship second-round clash to stand a chance to advance.

Having been given a bye in the first round, Salisu Yusuf’s men will now square up against the Black Galaxies - who overcame Benin Republic 4-0 on aggregate to reach this stage.

As Nigeria continue preparations for the first leg billed for the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, the Rivers United star states his side cannot afford any slip-ups in their bid to qualify for Algeria 2023.

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“All is well in camp and we are focused and getting ready for this crunch and must-win qualifier against Ghana,” Onoja told GOAL.

“Our opponents are not pushovers but we are fearless and are well prepared for all their antics.

“The nation is yet to recover from the defeat to their A side which denied us a place in the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, we are aware of this and our target is to win both legs.

“It doesn't matter who gets dressed for action on that day, but the target is to win convincingly and book a ticket to Algeria.”

To some, the West African showdown may go the way of coach Annor Walker’s side because they appear more settled, having played more games than the Nigerians.

Nonetheless, Onoja thinks otherwise: “I don’t think that is a factor. Pundits have every right to say what that want.

“Our duty is to get into the field and do the job. Many of us are getting a chance to represent Nigeria for the first time and we must make it count.

“'Every player wants to put on the national colours and for us, it is not an exception. We all know what's at stake and it is a privilege even to be called up.”

The winner between Nigeria and Ghana will qualify for the next edition of the competition slated for Algeria. 

The Super Eagles' best performance remains a runners-up finish achieved at Morocco 2018. There, they bowed 4-0 to the Atlas Lions with Zakaria Hadraf bagging a brace at Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca.