Super Eagles stars have taken yet another opportunity to assure Nigerians and fans of the team that they are ready for the battle ahead as they take on Burkina Faso in their first Group C game on Monday in Nelspruit, South Africa. The match is billed as the second match of the day and kicks off at 7pm (Nigerian time).
Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi who trained with his colleagues in and out of the rain told reporters that they adapted to that training regime because they do no not want to give to chances. He said that they won’t fail in their quest.
Mikel said on Sunday, “We can’t take chances whether it rains or not.”
Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo said they were inclined to take each game as they come. He said, “Winning the trophy is not going to be easy but I promise we will give it our best shot. Let us not get beyond ourselves. The focus for now is on getting past the group stages and only then should we think about quarter-finals and, hopefully, the semi-finals and final.”
He is also gladdened and encouraged by the weather in South Africa.
“It’s been good since we got here and I think the players are gradually getting used to being together and I know we will have a beautiful tournament.”
Yobo is poised to equal Nwankwo Kanu’s record of six Nations Cup appearances for Nigeria.
Chelsea winger Victor Moses who is expected to make his Africa Cup of Nations debut with the Monday match said, “We have prepared well and, having missed the last tournament, wish to make Nigerians proud by the end of it.”
Burkina Faso are the underdogs on paper having gone 17 matches without a win in the Cup of Nations. The team failed to win a point at the tournament in 2012 – an event the Eagles failed to qualify after being kicked out by Guinea. So far FIFA rankings and historical records have not aided any team in the competition which means the Nigerians need to work hard to overcome their fellow West Africans.
Eagles have been training at the pitch of Ingwenyama Sports and Resort Centre. The players trained while it rained heavily on Saturday and Sunday. Goalkeeper Austin Ejide who copped an injury in the friendly against Cape Verde in Portugal returned to training on Sunday. Vincent Enyeama is billed to start the match on Today.