Former Nigerian football player Jonathan Akpoborie says he is baffled by the numerous boasts of Nigerian players, their managers and fans of the Super Eagles concerning Friday’s match against Zambia in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations. Akpoborie, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said the match should be seen and treated as very difficult by Nigerians. Eagles are billed to meet the African reigning champions in a Group C Nations Cup match in Nelspruit.
He said, “It is going to be a very difficult game. I am so astonished by the comments I have been reading on the game. Every Nigerian is talking about beating Zambia like they are kids in a competition where all the games have been very tight so far. It’s all mouth, mouth and mouth.
“Look at Cape Verde and see how well they have performed and we are just talking about Zambia like a third-rate team. Honestly, Eagles have not impressed me so far; our quality is still low. I’m not saying we don’t have good players on individual basis but their combined translation on the pitch is still very far from it. We must recognise the fact that Zambia are a formidable side and for us to beat them, we must bend backwards and really work hard.”
Another ex-Nigeria international Yisa Shofoluwe told The PUNCH that unless there is change of attitude the competition is as good as over for Nigeria. He said the Eagles played the match against Burkina Faso like a friendly match.
“This time, they have to take their chances; even half chances for Nigeria to win. Eagles are good enough to win the Nations Cup but they are not business-like. A serious team should not throw away points like they did against Burkina Faso. With Zambia, it is tough to call.”
Team captain Joseph Yobo, said he would not talk much about the boast by the Zambian side that they will take Nigeria to the cleaners. “We shall see when we get to the pitch tomorrow,” he said.