Super Eagles’ goalkeeper trainer, Alloy Agu, says the team have been prepared in training camps and are ready to fight battles of their lives against Burundi, Madagascar and Guinea to advance from the Group B of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Completesports.com reports.
Super Eagles lost their last pre-AFCON test match 1-0 to Teranga Lions of Senegal in Ismailia on Sunday. They will now head to Alexandria where they will face their AFCON 2019 Group foes.
Gernot Rohr’s men will clash with AFCON debutants, the Swallows of Burundi, in their first group match on Saturday, June 22, before confronting the Syli Nationale of Guinea on June 26. They will face another AFCON newcomers, the Barea of Madagascar, in their last group game on June 30.
Agu who lost one of his teeth while manning the posts for the Super Eagles during his playing days disagrees with the belief in some quarters that Nigeria is in a ‘soft group.’
“Football has gone beyond that now,” Agu counters.
“If you look around the whole world and see what’s going on in football, you will realise its all about 11 players on each side.
“Result goes to the side that wants it more by working harder.
“Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar did not just join a flight to Egypt for the AFCON. They worked hard for it and advanced through the qualifiers where they defeated other teams from other countries.
“That shows they are very formidable teams. On our side, we are formidable too, and we will go out there, knowing all our group opponents are strong, ensure we keep to our objectives and what Nigerians expect from us, fight hard to get good results against them.
“Truth is that our Group B opponents are not pushovers and and there are no more minnows in football, not even in Africa”.
Having won three Africa Cup of Nations titles; 1980 (in Lagos), 1994 (in Tunisia) and 2013 (in South Africa), Agu emphasises it won’t be impossible for the Super Eagles to lift the trophy a fourth time, this time in Egypt.
“In football, anything is possible. Every team that goes into a tournament has the zeal to take the trophy home,” he said.
“Nigeria is not exempted. The Super Eagles equally have that ambition. So we have that zeal to go out there and do Nigeria proud by bringing the AFCON trophy back home to Nigeria.”
Agu says the fact the 2019 AFCON have a 24-team format for the first time does not give the Super Eagles goose pimples.
“We knew that for the first time, 24 countries will participate in the 2019 AFCON. So, we started our preparations well, the players responded well by putting in their best.
“NFF did, and still doing what they know how to do best in terms of support. With these, we are going out there in Egypt to do our best to fly our dear nation’s flag high at the AFCON.”
By Sab Osuji