Former Nigeria National Team captain, Austin ‘ Jay-Jay ‘ Okocha says the current Super Eagles squad is blessed with ‘ more than enough quality players ‘ to push for the 2023 AFCON title.
Nigeria will be participating at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Ivory Coast alongside 23 other countries.
According to the draws released yesterday, the Super Eagles will face, tournament hosts, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea Bissau In Group A.
A tricky group with familiar foes, the Super Eagles squad has the complete trust of former midfield maestro, Okocha who is looking up to Head Coach, Jose Peseiro to put the Individual talents into a formidable team that will go all the way in Ivory Coast.
On the form of Super Eagles players, especially the forwards, Victor Osimhen, Victor Boniface, Taiwo Awoniyi, Terem Moffi and others who are excelling at their respective clubs, Okocha says it is a good selection headache for Jose Peseiro.
” It’s a good headache for the manager to have. It is better to have more players than not to have enough good players in your squad, ” Okocha is quoted by GOAL.
“So the ball is in court to find the right way to get the best out of the players because we are expecting so much from the team and from the manager in this AFCON.
Before we used to say we are still building, we are still looking at players. Now we’ve got more than enough players to go all the way. So the expectations are very high,”
He continued; ” Well at the moment, you can say we are looking good, we’ve got exciting players, We’ve got good competition in the team. Because for you to win a tournament like this you need a big squad. At least, two or three good players in each position.
“And I think at the moment in the striker role we are more than equipped and in midfield, we’ve got good players. [Our] defense has always been challenging for us but I think we’ve got a good mix of experience and young players as well there,” the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winner said.
On his target for Nigeria at the 2023 AFCON, the 50-year Old said the Super Eagles have no reason not to advance to the semifinals, and a player’s target is always to win a medal.
Okocha who won Africa Cup of Nations, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals while representing the Super Eagles of Nigeria spoke from a players point of view.
“So I still don’t see a reason why we should expect the team to get to at least a semifinal. I’m speaking from a former football player point of view.
“Even as a player, your target should be to get to the semifinal, and anything can happen from there. You have to give yourself the chance to win a medal, and that’s why you are going to a competition to compete, to come back home with something,” Okocha remarked.
In a related development, Nigeria will begin preparations for the AFCON with two International Friendly matches vs Saudi Arabia and Mozambique.
Jose Peseiro’s men will face Saudi Arabia on Friday, October 13 (today) , before taking on fellow African nation, Mozambique on the 16th.
The matches will offer Jose Peseiro and his crew opportunity to see new players like German-born defender, Jordan Torunarigha, midfielder Fisayo Bashiru, and also access returning Eagles, Maduka Okoye, Sadiq Umar and Chidozie Awaziem