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Super Eagles can build on AFCON 2019 success — Okpara

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Ahead of the 2021 qualifiers, former Eagles defender Godwin Okpara says continuation is important for the team to excel in future tournaments, but insists the team did not underperform at AFCON 2019.

Nigerian players celebrate after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Third place play-off football match between Tunisia and Nigeria at the Al Salam stadium in Cairo on July 17, 2019. (Photo AFP)

Nigeria finished third in Egypt following a 1-0 win over Tunisia, and the team can build on that outcome Okpara said.

“AFCON 2019 was not bad, continuation is what we need in the national team, we’ve to blend the players and continue with what we are doing. This will make us stronger in the next AFCON.” the former Midfielder said.

He however said that the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr’s tactical genius was on display at the recently concluded 2019 AFCON in Egypt, saying while many were not impressed, the German didn’t disappoint mostly – and can improve.

NSA congratulates Super Eagles for winning bronze(Opens in a new browser tab)

Okpara believes Rohr’s errors are amendable but the Eagles Coach needs to do more with allowing competition in the team.

“The coach did well only few mistake and I believe he is aware of these mistakes so he can rectify it before then.

“If there is competition it will make the team stronger and they’ll go far as a team. If a player knows he has a secured shirt he will not work hard, every player has to fight for his jersey which was the style when we were playing back then.

“There is still small a problem with the defence, there is lack of understanding between our central defenders, If you look deeper you’ll spot the lapses, but I will advice that they get more friendly matches to build understanding in the defenders and entire team.”

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