Mathew Olorunleke has warned Nigeria they cannot afford to get carried away if they are to defeat Sierra Leone on Friday evening.
The Group L leaders face the Leone Stars at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium as they continue their push for an early place in Cameroon 2022.
Victory for Gernot Rohr’s men and a draw at least in Freetown will hand the three-time African kings their 19th appearance at the biennial African football fiesta.
Nevertheless, the former Reggiana, Bagnolese and Juve Stabia defender has stressed Rohr’s team must be wary of the West Africans who are hoping to cause an upset to reive their stuttering Afcon ambitions.
“There is no result before a game is played,” Olorunleke told Goal.
“Trust me, these Sierra Leoneans can be dangerous and will go all miles to do their own part to get a win. So, the Super Eagles must avoid complacency and place as if it’s a do or die affair.
“I have a feeling Nigeria will get the result because they have a stronger team compared to Sierra Leone, nevertheless, the visitors must not be underrated because the three points are not given before the game.”
Although the game will be played in an empty stadium to curtail the spread of Covid-19, he former Bagnolese manager discloses that recent happenings in the country is enough motivation for the players to brush aside John Keister’s team.
“I strongly believe that Nigeria will definitely do better against Sierra Leone because so much is being expected from the team,” he continued.
“Here, we are not talking about winning but winning convincingly. The players must put into consideration happenings in Nigeria in recent times to get the goals.
“Football is the only thing that brings Nigerians together notwithstanding the religious and tribal differences.
“So, the onus is on the Super Eagles to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians, and I believe they will deliver.”
The country finished third at the 2019 edition of the continental championship staged in Egypt, defeating Tunisia 1-0 in the third-place play-off at the Al Salam Stadium, Cairo.
Manchester United’s Odion Ighalo scored the only goal against the Carthage Eagles in the third minute.