Sierra Leone have announced their 25-man squad to face Nigeria in next month’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier billed for June.
The Leone Stars must negotiate their way past the West Africans, Guinea Bissau and Mauritius to book a ticket to the biennial African football showpiece billed for Cote d’Ivoire.
John Keister’s men begin their campaign against the Super Eagles on June 9 at the M.K.O Abiola Stadium, and he has named his team for that assignment.
Making the cut are former Tottenham Hotspur defender Steve Caulker, Bolton Wanderers’ Amadou Bakayoko, Watford’s Kamil Conteh, and Queens Park Rangers’ Osman Kakay.
Others include goalkeeper Donald Kamara who represents East End Lions, Cambuur’s Alex Bangura as well as Hapoel Umm al-Fahm’s Emmanuel Samadia.
Sierra Leone participated in the 2021 Afcon, however, they crashed out in the group stage after failing to get past Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, and Equatorial Guinea in Group E.
In a recent interview, captain Caulker disclosed why the Nigeria match will be of major importance to his country during the qualification series.
“We have to be at our best for every game and against Nigeria is an opportunity to put Sierra Leone on the world football map,” the Gaziantep star told the Caf website.
“I’m sure like we did in the last Afcon, we have to be at our best for all games, not just against Nigeria, we should go into every game with the ambition to win.
“Our qualifying group is going to be tough, obviously Nigeria will be looking to bounce back from their disappointment following their elimination to Ghana in the 2022 World Cup.
“The qualifiers will therefore be a way to forget the disappointment, so it will be revengeful and difficult to manoeuvre around the Nigeria team, which will be in front.”
SIERRA LEONE SQUAD FOR NIGERIA
Goalkeeper: Donald Kamara, Ibrahim Sesay, Mohamed Kamara
Defender: Osman Kakay, Kevin Wright, Steven Caulker, Daniel Francis, Alie Sesay, Lamin Conteh, Saidu Mansaray, John Kamara
Midfielders: Kamil Conteh, Ibrahim Sillah, Emmanuel Samadia, Alhassan Koroma, Saidu Kamara, Kwame Quee, Kallum Csay, Mustapha Bundu, Augustus Kargbo
Forwards: Amadou Bakayoko, Musa Kamara, Jonathan Morsay, Sulaiman Kaikai, Mohamed Turay