Nigeria’s midfielder John Mikel Obi (C) falls next to South Africa’s defender Thabo Matlaba (L) and midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi (R) during the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifying football match between South Africa and Nigeria on September 10, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. AFP PHOTO
By Dennis Udoma, Uyo
SUPER EAGLES Captain, Ogenyi Onazi has said that, Saturday’s AFCON 2019 qualifying match between the visiting national team of South Africa, Bafana Bafana slated for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital would be a redeemer for the Super Eagles.
Onazi said this in Uyo, while fielding questions from sports journalists shortly after the first training session since their arrival on Tuesday.
He said that, the players were combat ready to redeem themselves against the South Africans to ensure that Nigeria qualify for AFCON 2019.
According to him, “we remember that it was in this stadium that we missed the opportunity to play in AFCON 2015, when we drew with South Africa. It is still in our hearts, we have not forgotten it. Though it is not a grudge match but, we are approaching it with all seriousness.
“All we need from Nigerians is their support and prayers because at such times it is only their prayers and support that will help us overcome the challenge”.
Onazi also spoke on the new players in the team saying that, both players have adjusted to the assignment on the ground on Saturday as they are all professionals.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles Coach, Rohr has said the South African team, is his strongest opponent so far, noting that, the professionalism in his players would embolden them crush Bafana Bafana this Saturday.
“They are the strongest opponent I will face so far as Eagles Coach because they have not lost a match over a long time.
“I am also aware that they stopped Nigeria from getting to the AFCON 2015, and that this match is very important to Nigeria”, said Rhor maintaining also that, though he is missing the services of some of the injured players, the new players have made the necessary adjustment and have shown their readiness to make Nigeria proud.
All the players invited to camp trained at the training pitch of the Nest of Champions on Tuesday morning under the supervision of Coach Rohr and his assistants except, Elderson Echiejile and Ahmed Musa.
Rohr also said, he would give limited time during training sessions to the Moslem players because of the Ramadan fasting worldwide.
The Eagles, Bafana Bafana match in Uyo on Saturday would be the first group E match for the AFCON 2019 qualifiers before taking on Libya and Seychelles.
However, Akwa Ibom state government has put necessary preparations in place to ensure a hitch free match with facilities at the match venue undergoing frequent tests.