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Leicester City’s Lookman plays down Nigeria v Ghana rivalry: 'It’s just another game!'

16:08 GMT+3 23/03/2022
Ademola Lookman
The 24-year-old stated that the Super Eagles will not play under pressure when they square up against the Black Stars in Kumasi

Ademola Lookman claims Friday’s World Cup qualification play-off between Nigeria and Ghana is "just another game" and says the Super Eagles will avoid putting pressure on themselves.

After a failed expedition at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, Augustine Eguavoen’s men are eyeing a place in Qatar.

And to achieve that ambition, they must get past their West African foes in a potentially explosive two-legged tie.

For Lookman, who trained with the three-time African champions for the time, his international teammates are not moved by the age-long rivalry between both countries.

Notwithstanding the burden of expectation, the Leicester City winger stated that Nigeria would go out to enjoy the game as well as avoid unnecessary pressure.

"It's just another game, there is a lot of expectation on the game not to put any pressure on ourselves but to go out and enjoy ourselves,” the former Everton and Fulham player told Naija Sports.

Barring any fitness worries, Lookman could make his Nigeria debut against Otto Addo’s side at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

Born to Nigerian parents in London, the 24-year represented England at U19, U20 and U21 level.

Interestingly, he was part of the Three Lions squad that lifted the 2017 Fifa U20 World Cup staged in South Korea.

Even at that, Lookman put in place requirements to switch his international commitment to the Super Eagles in January 2020 and it was approved by Fifa in February 2022. 

In the same view, the Nigeria Football Federation has reiterated that they are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the 2013 African kings overcome the Ghanaians.

“I want to assure that the NFF is putting all arrangements in place to motivate and incentivize the players and officials for the two big matches,” said general secretary Mohammed Sanusi in a statement made available to GOAL.

“We have concluded most of the arrangements and expect no glitch anywhere. We are also ready to deal with eventualities as they arise because these are matches that we must win. “The NFF is very much alive to its responsibilities and will put everything in place to inspire the Super Eagles to triumph.”

En route to qualifying for the 2002 edition co-hosted by South Korea and Japan, Nigeria and Ghana were pooled in Group B of the final round that had Liberia, Sudan and Sierra Leone. 

The first leg staged at the Accra Sports Stadium ended 0-0, while the Super Eagles – handled by the late Amodu Shaibu triumphed 3-0 in the reverse fixture.