Nigeria meet Benin in WAFU Cup semi final

Salisu Yusuf & Ikechukwu Ezenwa of Nigeria Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Nigeria and Benin meet on Thursday evening at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in the second semi final of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations, a rematch of the recent 2018 African Nations Championship qualifier between the two.

In August, the Super Eagles progressed to the CHAN at the expense of their near neighbours after an aggregate triumph, but expect the Squirrels to be desperate to make amends in the WAFU Cup semi.

Benin have already proved that they can upset their more illustrious opponents after winning the first leg of the CHAN qualifier 1-0 at home before falling to a 2-0 defeat away, and coach Oumar Tchomogo will surely be keen to channel that first performance when the two contest a spot in the WAFU Cup final.

Benin finished top of Group B thanks to some impressive contributions and goals from Charbel Gomez, Ibrahim Ogoulola, Agnide Osseni and Mama Seibou, but Nigeria remain the only team in the tournament to preserve a perfect defensive record.

They are also the only team to have defeated Ghana, after beating the hosts in their final group game to advance ahead of Mali and Guinea as second in Group 1.

"It will be a tough game but we will stop them again," midfielder Afeez Aremu told Score Nigeria. "Before the match against Ghana, we created numerous scoring chances but failed to convert, hence the draws recorded against Guinea and Mali.

"The fact that we won against the hosts has really lifted us, and we will go into Thursday's game with a lot of confidence."

Coach Salisu Yusuf shuffled his pack ahead of the meeting with the Black Stars following uninspiring draws in their first two group games, and may well be tempted to stick with the winning team, including the trio of Anthony Okpotu, Ubong Friday and Peter Eneji.

Kindsley Eduwo, netted one of the two goals against Benin Republic during the CHAN qualifier in Kano, but has so far failed to justify his place in the starting lineup after three successive starts.

He was duly dropped in favour of club strike partner and league top scorer Okpotu, who netted against the Ghanaians, but the former could be a valuable option off the bench.

The winners of the Nigeria/Benin clash will face the victors of Ghana's showdown with Niger, which takes place later on Thursday.