The head coach of São Tomé and Príncipe, Adriano Eusébio, will use foreign-based players against the Super Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday, September 10.
Before now, the national team of São Tomé And Príncipe was mostly made up of players plying their trade in the local league. But that has greatly changed ahead of their last 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Super Eagles.
On Monday, the São Tomé and Príncipe coach unveiled his 22-man squad for the clash which will take place at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, and they are all based abroad.
The coach aims to use his new setup to land his first win in the AFCON qualifiers after suffering four defeats including a 10-0 defeat to Nigeria on June 13, 2022.
Fans of the bottom-placed team in Group A are criticizing the team, the coach in particular, for snubbing local-based players for foreign-based players ahead of an “inconsequential match”.
In his response to the criticism, the São Tomé and Príncipe coach said he decided to invite foreign-based players for the game because he wanted to use the match to start preparing for the 2026 World Cup qualifier which is set to commence two months from now.
He said, “This call is already thinking about the World Cup qualifying games that start in November, we have to take into account that, at this time, we will not have championships in the country and the players will be in vacation mode.”
While the outcome of the game between São Tomé and Príncipe vs. the Super Eagles of Nigeria is inconsequential for the away team, the Super Eagles who have already booked their place for the 2023 AFCON, need to win the game to boost their FIFA ranking and silent critics. The game will kick off at 5 p.m. on Sunday.