The Super Eagles will be without strikers Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Osimhen when they confront Mozambique’s Black Mambas today in their second international friendly match of the current FIFA free window.
The match will hold in Portugal, where the Super Eagles conceded a last-minute goal to draw 2-2 with Saudi Arabia’s Green Falcons on Friday.
Iheanacho, who changed the tenor of the game and netted a spectacular second goal against the Green Falcons, according to thenff.com, has left the camp to attend to personal matters, while Osimhen is nursing a hamstring injury.
There are fears that Osimhen may miss the African Cup of Nations again if the scan he had at the weekend showed that he copped a hamstring injury. The Napoli of Italy star missed the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon also due to injury.
Yet, Peseiro is bullish ahead of the encounter with Mozambique, insisting he has a clutch of forwards, who can send packing the southern Africans in their only fifth-ever clash with Nigeria at senior level.
“We will miss Kelechi and Victor, but we have other good players who can make Nigeria proud. I look at the bench and see players who can step up and take their chances,” he told thenff.com.
The Eagles are expected to beat the Mambas to have a positive mindset ahead of their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Lesotho and Zimbabwe next month.
The clash with the Mambas is the last gathering for the three-time African champions before the race to the 2026 FIFA World Cup begins, in which they host the Crocodiles of Lesotho and then fly to play Zimbabwe’s Warriors away, all within a few days in November.
With Iheanacho and Osimhen out, the Eagles’ attacking duty will fall on Victor Boniface, who forced an own goal in the game against Saudi Arabia on Friday, Terem Moffi, a late replacement for Osimhen in that game and Sadiq Umar, as well as Samuel Chukwueze and Moses Simon, with Alex Iwobi supplying the ammunition.
Defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Jordan Torunarigha and Chidozie Awaziem, and midfielders Frank Onyeka, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and Raphael Onyedika did not taste action against the Saudis and could prove to be Peseiro’s aces against the Mambas at the Estadio Municipal de Portimäo.
Nigeria and Mozambique have met four times at senior level, with the Super Eagles winning a friendly match in Maputo by a lone goal, before home-and-away 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches that remain fresh in the memory till this day.
Mambas’ forward ‘Tico Portimão’ Bucuane proved a thorn in Nigeria’s flesh in the first encounter in Maputo that ended scoreless. At the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja in October 2009, it was heading to another 0-0 scoreline before Yusuf Ayila valiantly rescued an outbound ball that landed on the head of Victor Obinna Nsofor for the only goal of the match. Had the match ended 0-0, Nigeria would have been eliminated from the race to the first FIFA World Cup on African soil.
Few months later, at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Angola, the Eagles spanked the Mambas 3-0 in Lubango to qualify for the tournament’s quarterfinals.