Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha feels the team has what it takes to win the forthcoming Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
Okocha, who was part of the team that got a bronze medal, when Egypt hosted the 2006 edition of the Nations Cup, told The Guardian in Lagos on Thursday that he expects the team to lift the trophy going by the quality of players it has.
“My expectation is for the Eagles to win in Egypt. I am now a big fan of the Super Eagles, and I can say that coach Gernot Rohr is doing a great job with the team. But we must know that preparation is key at any tournament,” Okocha stated.
Another Nigerian former International, Etim Esin has expressed optimism that the current Super Eagles, with lots of promising young talents would make the country proud if the right preparation is organised for the team ahead of the Nations holding between June 21 and July 19.
Nigeria will play her first Group B match in Alexandria Stadium on June 22 against Burundi, and then take on Madagascar and Guinea in the remaining two matches.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Esin said he believes the players are rearing to go, adding that many of them would want to make name for themselves and hope to feature for big clubs in Europe in the nearest future.
“Doing well at the AFCON is all about having good preparation. All we have to do is to prepare well and get a good team plan. We pray there will be no injury along the way to the start of the tournament.
“Also, in winning a tournament you don’t need a fire brigade approach. If we can overcome that, it will really enhance our chances of at least getting to the semi final if that is the target or even winning the trophy. We shouldn’t underrate any country in this group.
The former midfield maestro, who played for Nigeria at both the junior and senior levels, said he believes that players like Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo are eager to prove a point at the Nations Cup.
“Musa, Ighalo and others I believe are ready for the battle at the AFCON because every era in the worlds of football wants to always prove a point. I only hope they will take into consideration of not undermining or look down on the other teams.
“You know the only thing that unites Nigerians is football and we cannot afford any unknown team in Africa football to spring any form of surprise. And you know that Africa football has come of age as no team is no minnow again,” he stated.