Nigeria’s Super Eagles will face Benin in Thursday’s first semi final of the WAFU Cup of Nations at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium.
Both teams qualified for the semi final in dramatic fashion on the final day of their group stage games.
Nigeria required two second half goals from striker Tony Okpotu and winger Peter Eneji to beat hosts and sworn rivals Ghana 2-0 in their final group game.
Benin on their own left it late to beat Niger 2-1 on Tuesday courtesy of Jules Elegbede’s 88th minute winner which took them to the top of the Group B table.
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The Beninoise are led-by defender Salomon Junior, a league winner with Nigerian side Plateau United while they have a handful of Nigeria-born stars in the team including Salomon, Ibrahim Ogoulola, Ismael Osseni and Kola Rami.
Both teams will come face to face again after their 2018 CHAN Qualifiers in early August which Nigerian won 2-1 on aggregate.
Nigeria will be without towering defender Stephen Eze due to injury meaning that his club mate Adeleye Olamilekan will continue in centre back with Emmanuel Ariwachukwu.
Nigeria coach Salisu Yusuf is impressed with the input of Adeleye and other new players in the squad.
“The new players we brought in have done very well,” Salisu told www.aclsports.com.
“Adeleye (in defence), Friday (Ubong), Peter Eneji and Okpotu (Tony) are good players and they have shown why they were invited.”
“We came here without a proper preparation but the players have shown good character,” he added.
Nigeria’s game against Benin comes up at 3pm local time (4pm West African Time) and will be followed immediately by Ghana’s clash with Niger.
Both matches hold at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium which have hosted the tournament so far.