ABUJA – Three Super Eagles players on Wednesday in Abuja said the team would have to be at their best if they were to beat their Congolese counterparts in Pointe Noire.
The Eagles will face the Red Devils on Saturday in a crucial 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in Pointe Noire.
Ogenyi Onazi, a Super Eagles midfielder, told NAN that a win was not negotiable, adding that they must win the game in order to remain in contention for a place at the tournament.
“We know what is at stake and we have to give our best to get all three points and make sure we remain in the qualifying campaign to qualify for AFCON,” he said.
NAN recalls that the SS Lazio of Italy midfielder was one of the early arrivals to the Super Eagles’ camp in Abuja.
The 21-year-old has been an integral member of the team since making his debut in late 2012 and has gone on to represent Nigeria at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa.
He was also at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June, where he helped the African champions reach the round of 16, where they lost to France.
Austin Ejide, the team’s vice-captain, on his part said they must work as a team in order to overcome the Red Devils of Congo.
“We have to believe in ourselves and work as a team, because we have to work more. From the goalkeeper to the strikers, everybody has to keep working and keep running.
“If all of us run as hard as we should and don’t lose the ball unnecessarily, then we should be good.”
A reserve player for most of his time with the national team, Ejide said he was more concerned about how the team fared, rather than whether he plays or not.
“Any of us can start in goal, but only one will play and we will support whoever plays.
“Vincent (Enyeama) is a very good goalkeeper and has been with the team for a long time like me. Chigozie (Agbim) is also very good as well.
“So, it’s not a problem for any of us, all we need is the three points,” the goalkeeper with Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel said.
Also, Godfrey Oboabona, a defender, said he was firm in his belief that he and his teammates would qualify for the 2015 AFCON.
He told NAN that the 2015 AFCON qualifiers against Congo and South Africa on Saturday and Wednesday respectively were “a must-win for Nigeria’’.
Oboabona said he remained confident about their chances, adding that he was absolutely sure Nigeria would still qualify.
“I still have confidence we will qualify. I don’t have any doubts whatsoever as I am 100 per cent sure we will qualify because I have confidence in the team,” he said.
The central defender with Caykur Rizespor of Turkey, however, acknowledged the Super Eagles’ current poor run of form, adding “while we can’t win all games, we must keep fighting to win as many as possible.
“Sometimes, you win and sometimes you don’t. But we have to keep fighting and keep winning as many games as possible and ensure that we get the most important ones,” he said.
NAN recalls that Nigeria, three-time African champions, are in a very tight situation at present, as they are third in their qualifying group behind South Africa and Congo.
They however have to now beat both teams in a space of four days to have a chance of being at the 2015 AFCON.
Nigeria has four points from four matches played so far, while Sudan is at the bottom of the Group A table with three points.
South Africa is leading the group with eight points followed by Congo Brazzaville with seven points.
The Super Eagles final qualifier game is against South Africa on Nov. 19 at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium in Uyo.(NAN)