Tomorrow’s decisive 2021 AFCON qualifier between inspired Benin and the Super Eagles will be a contest between the resolute defence of the home team up against the fearsome attack of the Nigerians.
In Benin, this game has been tagged ‘Derby of Truth’.
Benin coach Michel Dussuyer was asked at a press conference this week whether he plans “to park the bus” against an attack with the force of Victor Osimhen, the tricky of Samuel Chukwueze and the guile of Alex Iwobi.
The experienced Frenchman insisted Benin will count of their strengths, one of which is their defensive organisation.
Since a 3-1 loss to Algeria eight years ago at the Charles de Gaulle Stadium in Porto-Novo, same venue for tomorrow’s clash, the Squirrels have gone 16 home games unbeaten.
Skipper Abdou Khaled Adenon is the boss of the defence, who will also parade Youssouf Assogba (Amiens/France), Cédric Hountondji (Clermont/France), Yohan Roche (Rodez/France), David Kiki (PFC Montana/Bulgaria) and Emmanuel Imorou (Évian TGG/France).
The battle for the No 1 shirt will be between France-based Saturnin Allagbe and Fabien Farnolle, who has recovered from injury and now plays in Ethiopia.
The team’s biggest selection poser is whether or not Stephane Sessegnon, who scored for Benin in the 2-1 loss to Nigeria in 2019, will see action.
The former PSG and Fulham star, 36, has been without a club since he terminated his contract with Turkish club Genclerbirligi in August 2020.
Will the “Guest Player” be thrown into the fray?
“It will depend on his feelings and what he shows in the trainings,” answered an evasive Dussuyer.
It could well be a choice between Sessegnon and Arminia Bielefeld ace Cebio Soukou, who is only returning to action after several weeks by the sidelines.
The other joker for a Benin victory over mighty Nigeria will be France-based striker Jodel Dossou.
He has so far netted 11 goals and provided two assists for Clermont and in the AFCON qualifiers he was the match winner against both Sierra Leone and Lesotho and assisted Sessegnon for the goal against the Super Eagles.