News
WC Qualification Africa

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Akpeyi banking on Ighalo, Osimhen return as Nigeria brace for Ghana

12:01 PM GMT 23/03/2022
Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo of Nigeria.
A few of the Super Eagles' big stars are back for the crucial two-legged qualifier after missing the Africa Cup of Nations finals

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has shared his thoughts on the presence of forwards Odion Ighalo and Victor Osimhen for Nigeria’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying matches against Ghana.

The Super Eagles take on the Black Stars at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Friday, before concluding this play-offs round with the second leg at Abuja National Stadium four days later.

Although Everton’s Alex Iwobi is suspended, Nigeria’s bid for a fourth straight World Cup appearance has been boosted by the availability of Ighalo and Osimhen, who missed the Africa Cup of Nations finals earlier this year.

Also returning for Nigeria after missing Afcon are Watford forward Emmanuel Dennis and Rangers FC defender Leon Balogun.

Leicester City winger Ademola Lookman has switched international allegiance to Nigeria after turning out for England's youth teams.

“It’s a good thing for the team, it’s good for the coach he now has options like Osimhen, Ighalo and Dennis from Watford, Lookman as well,” Akpeyi told Kaizer Chiefs’ website.

“These are strong players who can give us the result we desire at the end of the day. We missed Ighalo and Osimhen during the Afcon they have been a strong force for us. Now that they are back, we hope everything plays out as we expect it and that we qualify.”

Akpeyi believes they have what it takes to book a ticket to Qatar 2022 against their West African rivals Ghana.

The Super Eagles are pushing to qualify for a seventh World Cup finals since their maiden appearance at the competition in 1994.

“We have a crop of good players who are able to qualify for Nigeria to Qatar,” added Akpeyi.

“Ghana is also a strong team, there has been a rivalry between the countries on many things. Football is a big part of this at the end of the day it is the team that prepares very well and gets ready to take their chances and defend as well. That is the team that will qualify.

“I believe in the quality of our squad at the moment fully. We will qualify. For me, history does not really work for football. What works for football is the preparation for today, currently, we are doing well and we have been to the last three World Cups.

“This is not going to be any different. It is not going to be a walk in the park but we going to give our heart out there.”

Nigeria's Leicester City Wilfred Ndidi midfielder is out of Friday's match and has been replaced by Lorient’s Innocent Bonke.