Cuiaba: The bomb attack that killed at least 21 people watching a World Cup game in Nigeria has cast a sombre shadow over the African champions' build-up to Saturday's date with Bosnia-Hercegovina in Cuiaba.
Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel will play a key role
Tuesday night’s bomb exploded in the midst of a crowd watching Brazil play Mexico on a giant screen in Damataru, capital of Yobe state. Stephan Keshi’s men observed one minute’s silence at training on Wednesday as team media officer Ben Alaiya predicted the atrocity would add further motivation for a strong performance at the Arena Pantanal.
Not that any extra incentive is needed as a win would push them onto four points and in a solid enough position to secure a ticket to the knockout stages as runners-up to likely table toppers Argentina. They will have a clearer idea of what’s required before kick-off with Iran tackling Argentina earlier in the day.
Nigeria stand on one point, the reward for their part in the much-maligned goalless stalemate with Iran which left them without a World Cup win in nine matches.
One certitude about Saturday’s game is that defeat for Bosnia would mean an early trip back to Sarajevo after their concluding first round fixture, against Iran, next week. Bosnia were stumped by Lionel Messi who set up the opening goal and then conjured up a superb second in Argentina’s 2-1 win.