Ahead of Thursday’s must-win clash with hosts Côte d’Ivoire in the ongoing 34th Africa Cup of Nations, Super Eagles On-field Captain, William Troost-Ekong, has appealed to Nigerians to rally round the team despite the opening 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea last Sunday.
The Côte d’Ivoire versus Nigeria game as well as all the other matches of AFCON 2023 matches will air on Sports Premium, channel 252 or 246, on StarTimes as well as on StarTimes-ON app
“We went all out to pick the three points against Equatorial Guinea, but it didn’t happen. We live to fight another day. From our side, we are appealing to Nigerians from all over the world to keep supporting and believing in the team,” began the Greek Super League Club PAOK centre-back.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Elephants currently lead the Group A standing with three points while Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea have one apiece. Guinea Bissau are at the bottom of the log with no point yet.
But Ekong who knows that another draw or defeat for Eagles will put Nigeria’s dream of a fourth AFCON title in jeopardy, insisted that the three-time continental champions will push for all three points tomorrow when they confront Côte d’Ivoire at the Stade Alassane Ouattara in Ebimpe, Abidjan.
“Our objective is to first reach the knockout rounds and then we push strongly from there,” stressed the former Watford and Udinese central defender.
Eagles created opportunity after opportunity against theNzalang Nacional but poor finishing up front ensured a 1-1 draw and a share of the spoils on Sunday afternoon.
However, with the arrival of both Kelechi Iheanacho and Terem Moffi in Super Eagles camp in Abidjan, Coach José Peseiro has now been provided with options in the attack.
“We expect a tough game because the Ivorians are the hosts and they are also top of our group. But we have our aspirations as well and we believe in ourselves,” defender Kenneth Omeruo said on Monday.
Half of the squad spent Monday morning in the gym before the evening training session, which was open to the media.
The stature of Thursday’s encounter has been enhanced by current realities around the two teams, but it was always going to be a game to behold since the draw was made, as matches between both countries at senior level have been furious and feisty on the terrain, and even outside it.
B’Faso 1-0 Mauritania
Tunisia 0-1 Namibia
Mali 2-0 South Africa
Morocco v Tanzania
DR Congo v Zambia