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AFCON 2013: Super Eagles fans, coaches optimistic

26 October 2012, 11:00

Lagos - Some top coaches and pundits have predicted that the Super Eagles will top its Group C at the end of the preliminaries of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

The competition has been scheduled to hold from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10 in South Africa.

Ike Shorunmu, the Eagles goalkeeper trainer, said on Thursday that even though there were no minnows any more, he was optimistic the team would qualify and possibly top the group.

Shorunmu, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, admitted however, that every country would be there at the tournament to prove a point and that the Eagles would do the same.

"But on our own side, we need to focus on our performances and to improve on what we lacked during our qualifications, which didn’t come on a platter of gold.

"We will do everything humanly possible to ensure that we tie all loose ends in our goal keeping and defences as we prepare,’’ Shorunmu said.

Ejiro Omonode, a Lagos-based soccer analyst from Mastersports International, said there was no cause for alarm.

"As long as the Super Eagles are adequately prepared and deploy the best materials, the team will make it to the top.

"I do not see Zambians as a threat, because they will be under pressure to retain the title as defending champions.

"For them to qualify via a penalty shootout, shows they are not formidable as defending champions,’’ he said.

Former Flying Eagles Coach, Tunde Disu, said: "Nigeria is a force to reckon with in African football, but that our problem has been how to manage our abundant God-given talents to stardom’’.

According to him,the Eagles will not have any problems overrunning the other teams – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia -- in group C.

Yisa Sofoluwe, an ex-international and coach of Nath Boys FC of Surulere, however, warned the Eagles not underrate any team in their group.

He said: "Nigeria is seen as Brazil of Africa and because of this, teams coming to play Nigeria try to prepare well to subdue the Eagles."

Sofoluwe, urged the Eagles to prosecute every match with all seriousness in order to top the group.

From Abuja, Director of Competition of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mohammed Sanusi, said even though the team was fortunate to be drawn in a good group, they should not underrate any team.

"We thank God that we have a very good group. By the grace of God we will top the group.

"As it is now, we are going to crush any team that will pose an obstacle and I am sure we will bring the trophy back to Nigeria."

An Abuja-based referee, Bunmi Ogunkolade hailed Group C, where the Eagles had been drawn, saying:  "It is a good draw and we expect Nigeria to come atop of the group. They should focus on the ultimate, which is winning the trophy.

"Having Zambia in the group is not a threat at all because we have always beaten them in both competitive and friendly games.

"On their way to the Nations Cup in 2011, we beat them in Kaduna and at the 1994 finals in Tunisia, we defeated them to win the trophy. We also beat them in Angola 2010."

A civil servant, Jimoh Mustapha, said the grouping was good, but that Zambia posed a threat, being the defending champions.



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