Super Eagles eye 4th trophy at AFCON 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire

Sun, Jan 21, 2024
By editor


with the growing level of trust in the ability of the Super Eagles to emerge victorious in the ongoing AFCON 2023, 10 years after it did same in South Africa, the team, with the best of professional players in Africa and parading the current African Footballer of the Year, 2023, has no excuse not to meet the expectations of Nigerians by winning the trophy.

By Tennyson Sampson

DESPITE the 1-1 draw played out in the first match by the Super Eagles in their first group match in the 2024 AFCON against the national team of Equatorial Guinea, many Nigerian football lovers and followers believe that the Super Eagles can go all the way to win the continental trophy for the fourth time.

Although the Super Eagles won their third and its last trophy in the 2013 AFCON hosted by South Africa, the 1-0 victory over the host, the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the ongoing tournament may have changed the initial perception of a poor outing of the Super Eagles.

But against all odds and the fact that the Super Eagles had never beaten the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in their home soil, the Super Eagles captain William Troost-Ekong converted the penalty awarded to the Nigerian team early in the second half when Victor Osimhen was fouled by the Ivorian defender within the 18-yard box. The Super Eagles defended the lone goal till the end of proceedings to secure their first victory and earning 4 points from two games.

Reacting to the performance of the Super Eagles in the ongoing 2023 AFCON, former captain of the national team and football legend, Segun Odegbami said: “I have unflagging confidence that this team will do it again. I have been saying it for some weeks now and the belief is getting stronger…”

Speaking recently on his radio programme on Eagle FM, Odegbami reiterated his belief that Nigeria will emerge champions of the continent for the fourth time at the final tournament in Cote d’Ivoire, and called on all patriotic Nigerians to do their bit in their own place and sector to back the team’s campaign.

“I have unflagging confidence that this team will do it again. I have been saying it for some weeks now and the belief is getting stronger by the day. That is why I drove all the way from Nigeria with my team, across the stretch of one thousand and one hundred kilometres of single carriage-way, all to cheer the team to victory.

“Some people have said that anytime we play or defeat Cote d’Ivoire at the AFCON, we go all the way to the Final, and even win it. That may be superstitious but there are facts in-there. Our team was not in a good place before the tournament and the opening game against Equatorial Guinea was not reassuring, but the victory over the host nation and one of the strong favourites has turned things around and we’re looking good.”

“I am very much convinced that this is our year and I want Nigerians from high and low places to support the NFF in whichever they can to motivate and galvanise the team. That win over Cote d’Ivoire has strengthened my faith. It takes a champion team to beat the host nation with such self-belief, panache and calmness,” the report by Arise News quoted Odegbami as saying.

Obviously, Odegbami is not alone in his optimism of the victory of the Super Eagles. Some football analysts and fans, who spoke with Realnews in telephone conversations, said that the Super Eagles are the team to beat in the tournament. For instance, Otobong Emem Andem, a football analyst, expressed optimism that Nigeria would go ahead to win the AFCON finals. Andem, who is a member of the coaching staff of Akwa United, said that the Super Eagles “are favorites to win this year’s tournament”.

According to him, with the likes of Napoli’s striker and Best African Footballer, Victor Osimhen, the Super Eagles will get the needed goals to win their matches. He added that with the presence of Nigeria’s legend and former PSG player, Austin J. J. Okocha in their camp, the players are already feeling motivated to give their best.

Meanwhile, the Super Eagles have continued their preparations for their third and last match of the group stage of the tournament against Guinea Bissau on Monday at the Stade Félix Houphouët Boigny in Abidjan.

According to local media reports, both Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze have assured Nigerians that the team would not underestimate Guinea Bissau. Speaking on the team’s preparations Ekong said: “We are not in the business of underrating any team in this tournament. Every single team that is here qualified to be here; no one got a free pass. We must approach every match with a business-like mentality. No team ever wins a match before the final whistle.”

With the Super Eagles parading some of the best players of the tournament and the African Footballer of the year 2023, the optimism expressed by football experts and football legend, Odegbami, there is every reason to be hopeful that the Super Eagles will emerge victorious in AFCON 2023 like they did 10 years ago in AFCON 2013 in South Africa.


-January 21, 2024 @ 18:44 GMT|