By Tony Ubani
EAGLES Coach, Sha-ibu Amodu,Â yesterday, gave an inkling to what the team that would battle defending champions Egypt in their first game of the Angola African Nations Cup would be like.
â€œThe team that played Kenya in our last qualifier in Nairobi will form the nucleus. That team had character and the players showed commitment. That team will make the starting line-up or 75% in the opening matchâ€, Amodu said in a round table with Journalists organised by Cardbury, the makers ofÂ Â Tom Tom.
Nigeria qualified through the skin of the teeth beating Kenya 3-2 while Mozambique pipped enemy next door, Tunisia, 1-0 to ensure the Eagles land in South Africa for the World Cup. Amodu still savours the commitment of the players in canceling goals and rising up to outscore the Kenyans at home.
â€œThat fighting spirit of the Eagles was amazing. Maybe one can say it is because of the situation at hand. We know that if we lose we are out. All we had was to go out and give our best. We saw a Mikel Obi who became more offensive than his usual type of play. I think that majority of the players will be on parade against Egypt on January 12 in Luandaâ€.
The coach who exuded the confidence of having a team that would do well in the Nations Cup said that he was primarily concerned about the Nations Cup. â€œWe have a team that is capable of winning the Nations Cup. The Egyptian team is a good team but we have a better team.
I donâ€™t think about Egypt. I think about the trophy. Many people do not reckon with our Eagles but I think that a team that did not lose a single match throughout the rigorous qualifiers have something special.
Something must be good about the Nigerian team apart from the fact that you people want an entertaining team. But I cannot sacrifice a winning team on the altar of playing jelly, entertaining games. Those of you who know me right from my days in the local league know that I love entertaining football.
It is a gradual thing and the players are gradually getting to that level. All I want is the support of the press and not to put the players and coaches under pressure. But I confess that we have a team that can do well in the Nations Cup. I want to face the Nations Cup before the World Cup. First things firstâ€, he emphasised.