By Olawale Ajimotokan
Super Eagles fringe player, Chibuzor Okonkwo said Nigeria must rise up to their billing as the holders of the Africa Cup of Nations, by beating Kenya next in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Calabar.
Okonkwo, who was left out of the pre-Nations Cup training camp in Portugal because of visa hitches, noted that Nigeria would be boosted, rather than being pressured by their new status as winners of Africa’s coveted football trophy when they host the Harambee Stars at the UJ Esuene Stadium.
“I am 100 per cent sure that we are going to beat Kenya. We must work as team and show class as Africa Cup of Nations champions by scoring not one goal, but three or four goals. We are not under any pressure to win. We must finish the job in first half and relax and play our game in the second half,” Okonkwo said.
The Enyimba of Aba defender is one of the army of home-based players currently undergoing intensive preparation in Abuja for the Group F fixture that will enhance Nigeria’s prospect of appearing in their fifth FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
The right full back last appeared for Nigeria in September 2011, in the friendly match against Argentina in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
But the former Heartland Of Owerri stalwart will face competition in his bid to re-establish himself as he has not only lost his position in the national team to Efe Ambrose, the Eagles appeared not to miss him as they came out sparkling by winning the AFCON trophy in South Africa.
The power playing defender in a chat with THISDAY Thursday underlined his desire to ease his way back to the national team by showing he is the right man for the right full back position.
“ I am happy that the team won the Africa Cup of Nations, but after narrowly missing being a part of that historic campaign because of visa issues, I want to regain the right full back position. I believe I am capable as I will grab the shirt back” he said with confidence.