Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, has tipped the senior Nigerian team to win the 29th Africa Cup of Nations after overcoming the hurdle posed by the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the quarter final last Sunday.
The former Bolton Wanderers playmaker, who is here in South Africa, said shortly after Eagles defeated the tournament favourites, the Ivoiriens, 2-1 inside the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg that there is no reason why Stephen Keshi and his wards should not smile back to Nigeria with the trophy with the manner they played the quarter final game.
“I don’t think words can express the way I am feeling right now. These boys have really done us proud and I feel so happy. If these boys can play the way they did against the Ivoiriens on Wednesday in the semi-final, I don’t think we will have any problem advancing to the final,” observed the player who remains one of the best playmakers in Nigeria’s green and white jersey.
Okocha, who is a member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Technical Committee, insisted that the tactical discipline exhibited by the Super Eagles against the Elephants was amazing.
“The boys were pushed to the wall and written off as no-hoppers and so were ready to prove everybody wrong by fighting back. I just love the team spirit and tactical discipline they showed today and hope that they can repeat it against Mali,” he said.
Also speaking on the victory, another former Super Eagles captain, Sunday Oliseh, expressed his happiness with how the team lifted their game in the quarter final match.
Oliseh, who is here as a pundit for sports cable network, Supersport, said shortly after the game tagged ‘The Match of the Day’, that the Super Eagles is now the favourite team to lift the trophy after dismissing the Elephants last Sunday.
“I feel really happy and relieved now. The boys have really done Nigerians proud and can only go all the way to the final now after overcoming Ivory Coast. I never doubted their capacity to do well despite starting the tournament sluggishly. Even those who did not reckon with them will have a rethink now after all they have done,” stressed Oliseh who along with former Dutch legend, Ruud Gullit, and Ghana ex-international, Sammy Kuffour, are offering refreshing insights into the 2013 AFCON here in South Africa.
Nigeria and Mali are to battle for the final ticket at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban Wednesday while Ghana will take on Burkina Faso in the other semi-final at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.