By Jacob Ajom
Nigeriaâ€™s captain Nwankwo Kanu has assured Nigerians that the Eagles will not go into the World Cup, especially the opening group match against Argentina to pick balls, but to play all the way to an appreciable level Africa would be proud of.
Speaking on a BBC TV interview programme, Extra time, the Eaglesâ€™skipper said, â€œWe only have to have the belief and be positive. We donâ€™t go down to anybody because we have to show the world weâ€™re good especially on a big stage like the World Cup.â€
He added: â€œIn Nigeria, we can die because of football. Four years ago, we did not make it to the World Cup, but luckily we will be in South Africa.
â€œThis is a big opportunity for an African team especially as the tournament is being played in Africa. It is a chance for an African team to make a big impact â€“ either to win the World Cup or at least get to the final,â€
The Portsmouth forward said that the Eagles want to come out with something everybody could be proud of.â€
The Nigeria Football Association had already given new coach, Lars Lagerback, a semi-final target but Kanu who is in the twilight of his career said the Eagles can play all the way and win the tournament.
â€œNigeria will be one of the strongest African teams at the World Cup. On a good day, we can beat any team, be it Brazil or Argentina.
â€œThere will be surprises at this World Cup and it wonâ€™t be advisable for anybody to underrate any team,â€ said Kanu.
â€œArgentina are a big football country, but all the same, we wonâ€™t go into this match just to go and pick balls. It will be an interesting game and the result of this game could determine this group.
â€œItâ€™s important to win our first game and from there, we can move forward.â€
Nigeria will move into camp in England on Friday after a Presidential reception in Abuja on Thursday.