But that is exactly the dire scenario that confronts the fans as the Super Eagles go into today’s final round of matches in Group B.
An opening day loss to Ivory Coast, followed by a frantic draw against Mali has left the Eagles facing their worst nightmare, with their fate no longer in their own hands.In a country as passionate as Nigeria about their football, the fans have been quick to vent their spleen.
In Sekondi, it took a detachment of heavily armed policemen to prevent fans from taking out their anger on the team.
The situation has been no different in Lagos, with the NFA Liaison Office coming under attack.
It has become a season of permutations, but the lowest common fraction is that anything other than a Mali loss will see a Nigeria team boasting the likes of Kanu, Yakubu, Mikel, Utaka and Obafemi Martins heading home on an early flight.
The embarrassment has been compounded by the fact that the team is yet to score; shocking considering the number of attacking players in the squad.
Newcastle’s Obafemi Martins blames it on bad luck.
“We strikers are trying our best to score goals. You can only try, but if things are going like this, it’s difficult. We are just unlucky.”
His view is shared by Chelsea star John Mikel Obi.
“We have given our best; all the guys have given their best. I just think we have been a little bit unlucky and we have to work at scoring goals.”
Both players are confident that the tide can be turned against Benin
“We just have to keep doing what we are doing, and hopefully, the goals will come,” Martins said.
Team skipper Nwankwo Kanu is also hopeful that the impossible can happen and adds that the players will respond.
“We are very much together and the spirit is high. Our intention is to go in there and do our part by winning and leaving the rest to God.
“Nobody was happy after the loss to Ivory Coast, or after the draw with Mali. But these are professionals and they know how to respond. We all feel it; we do care. It is wrong for anyone to have the impression that players don’t care,” said Kanu
And his assistant Joseph Yobo assured that the players will go in there and get a win against Benin Republic in order to salvage the campaign.
“Everybody's been complaining because we haven’t won. We do feel it. I have been in the national team for many years and this is about the best camp I’ve been. There is no division in this camp, no in-fighting of any sort. We’re a family.”
It’s not the first time noises such as these have come out from the Eagles’ camp, and the fans will be looking for much more than rhetoric and they wait too see what their team put on display today.
Heaven help us - and them - if those fans are not satisfied.