The Super Eagles have reiterated their desire to play in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. The players’ determination is drawn from the sudden rise in their profile after beating the Elephants of Ivory Coast to reach the semifinals.
Ikechukwu Uche, who has not had the best of time at the competition, expressed his ecstasy at featuring in the final. The Villarreal striker, who played at the 2010 finals when Nigeria finished third in Angola, said a shot at the final would be rewarding.
“I don’t think there is a player who will not like to play on the big stage. The Nations Cup is Africa’s biggest tournament in football and having reached this stage, I will be fulfilled to play in the final and lift the cup,” said Uche whose brother Kalu also featured at the 2010 edition.
Captain Joseph Yobo was also in Angola but his reign as Super Eagles captain is yet to produce a major trophy. After the first match against Burkina Faso in Nelspruit, which was unimpressive due to injury, his appearances have been limited to few minutes show in the last two games.
The Fenerbahce of Turkey defender said he was still eyeing the next World Cup in Brazil, but conceded that the 2013 Nations Cup would be his last.
“This is my last Nations Cup but I still have the World Cup ahead of me. I want to make it memorable. We are a match away from the final and it’s only a matter of putting in more effort to reach our goal. I have played more than 90 matches for Nigeria but what is missing is the cup. If this is the time to get what is missing in my national career, I am ready to make a sacrifice,” Yobo said.
Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was also in the 2010 squad and has kept his position as the Super Eagles number one in goal. In the absence of Yobo, he has been the stand-in captain of the team. He said the Eagles were wholly committed to lifting the cup but added that football was a difficult game to predict.
“If you ask me if I am ready, I will say yes, but it’s not about one player. We need to work as one because the Malians have the same target as we do. We want to win but football is played on the pitch not by talking. So I will prefer to let our action do the talking,” the goalkeeper said.