By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport, Calabar
Nigeria international Emmanuel Emenike has warned that Ethiopia still pose a major threat to the African champions’ quest for a fifth World Cup appearance.
The Super Eagles host the East Africans on Saturday, leading 2-1 from last month’s first leg in Addis Ababa.
Nonetheless, the forward rates Ethiopia as one of the most difficult of the 10 teams in the African play-offs.
“They are dangerous and difficult to break down, which we know from our two games against them this year,” he said.
AFRICAN PLAY-OFFS (aggregate scores in brackets)
- Nigeria (2-1) Ethiopia
- Ivory Coast (3-1) Senegal
- Cameroon (0-0) Tunisia
- Egypt (1-6) Ghana
- Algeria (2-3) Burkina Faso
“We can’t celebrate or think we’ve achieved success already because they are one of the difficult teams in this play-off.
“They’ve been talking tough and that is expected because they are coming here to deny us a place, so we can’t underrate them.
“But we have quality players ourselves and we will look to secure a place in Brazil on Saturday,” Emenike told BBC Sport.
Ethiopia need victory in Nigeria to qualify for their first World Cup, but anything other than a home win in Calabar would be a major shock.
The big boost for the three-time African champions is the return of Kenneth Omeruo.
The Chelsea defender missed the first leg of the play-offs because of a long-term shoulder injury.
“Omeruo is important like all the players here but we are stronger at the back with his return,” Emenike said.
“Our fans need to come out and give us maximum support because we need them on our side.
“They’ve made the right noise in the past and make life difficult for our opponents, we need them again on Saturday.
“The World Cup is the biggest stage for any footballer and we are ready to give everything on the pitch to make it to Brazil.”
Nigeria, who won the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, are looking to secure their second straight World Cup qualification after missing out on the 2006 finals.