By Jacob Ajom
One of Nigeria’s USA 1994 heroes, Uche Okafor, has said that the national team campaigning at the African Cup of Nations should not be written off yet.

In a telephone chat with Sports Vanguard from his US base, Okafor said he was not totally disappointed with what he saw of the Nigerian team against Egypt in their opening group game although the Eagles lost 3-1.

“I was impressed with the way the Eagles played in the first forty minutes of the match. I liked the way they passed the ball and their movement with or without the ball,” Okafor said, remarking that he had not seen the Eagles play that way for a long time now.

He blamed the heavy defeat at the hands of the Egyptians on defensive blunders by the Eagles rear guards. “They lost focus and character after conceding that cheeky equaliser by the champions.”

The towering former defender said all is not lost yet as he was confident the Eagles could still progress in the tournament. “There is hope. If they can be resilient and remain focussed when leading or even when they are trailing their opponents I believe they can still go far in the tournament. Once they can make up against Benin tomorrow, then the rest will follow naturally.”

Okafor recalled Algiers ‘90 when Nigeria lost the opening game 5-1 to host, Algeria, but were able to regroup and qualified for the final.

“Even at the last Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon lost the opening game to Egypt but still went ahead and reached the final. We should be hopeful and encourage the team in their bid to bring the trophy home,” Okafor pleaded.

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