Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr wants 'winning mentality' back after barren 2020
The Super Eagles, the three-time champions of Africa, failed to win a match in a coronavirus-disrupted 2020.
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr said on Wednesday he would use the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho to "restore a winning mentality" to the squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Super Eagles, the three-time champions of Africa, failed to win a match in a coronavirus -disrupted 2020.
Nigeria travel to Benin Saturday, before they welcome Lesotho to Lagos on Tuesday to round up the qualification series for the Cup of Nations, which will be hosted by Cameroon in January.
This will be the only chance for Nigeria to play together before the next international break in June when they open their Qatar 2022 campaign.
They are drawn against Cape Verde, Liberia and Central African Republic with only the overall winners advancing to a final playoff to be played on a knockout basis in November.
"We are keen to restore a winning mentality to the group ahead of very crucial games we have," said Rohr.
"It is important that we earn victories in the upcoming matches so that we get into our paces for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers," he said.
"There will be tough games to come and we will be raring to go."
The Super Eagles have been relatively unaffected by travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and are able to call on their top players like Victor Osimhen from Napoli, Leicester City pair Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi and Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal.
Nigeria have qualified for the last three World Cups, reaching the knockout round in 2014 in Brazil.
Germany’s minister for culture, Monika Gruetters, said the Benin Bronzes were a key test for the way the country deals with its colonial past.
India are already out of reckoning for a 2022 FIFA World Cup berth but still in contention for a 2023 Asian Cup spot in the joint qualifiers.
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: African fixtures postponed to September due to 'disruption' caused by COVID-19
FIFA cited “current disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” for the decision, which was taken along with the Confederation of African Football (CAF).