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2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Why Nigeria must be wary of Ghana - Ex-sports minister Dalung

12:30 BST 29/03/2022
Ayew, Partey
Anything short of victory over the Black Stars could end Super Eagles' ambitions of playing in Qatar 2022

Ghana still have a joker up their sleeve and Nigeria must be cautious when they face them in Tuesday's World Cup qualification play-off, according to former sports minister Solomon Dalung.

The Black Stars settled for a 0-0 draw in the first leg played at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi - to make their chances of reaching Qatar 2022 slim.

Nevertheless, they will make their fourth appearance at the global football showpiece if they secure an away victory or at least a score draw at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

Having this in mind, Augustine Eguavoen's men have been warned by the elder statesman not to lose their guard in the make or break showdown.

He also tasked them to go for early goals against Otto Addo's side.

"Nigeria will have to work very hard because watching the way the boys played in Ghana and pattern of play of the Ghanaian team, they were quite strategic in pinning us down to a draw," Dalung told GOAL.

"They [Ghana] still have a joker to play which we all have to watch out for. So, our team [on Tuesday] must maximize all advantages at their disposal.

"[Coach Eguavoen] would have studied the first leg with his team very well. So, he should plan for a strategic advance and that should be realised in the first 20 minutes.

"If they allow that period to go by without a goal at least, then it's going to be tough for Nigeria.

"Also, coach Eguavoen must play his best players in the first half while leaving the rest for the second 45 minutes.​

"My wish is to see Nigeria qualify for the World Cup but it will require a lot of hardwork."

Under Dalung as the chief-in-dock of Nigeria's sports, the three-time African champions finished third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and participated in the 2018 World Cup. 

In Russia, Gernot Rohr's Eagles crashed out of the group stage after failing to scale Croatia, Iceland and Argentina hurdles.

In a related development, the Nigeria Football Federation and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development have purchased 20,000 tickets for fans to watch the game live.