Former Middlesborough midfielder and Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi alongside Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze on Sunday, led in the arrival of Nigeria’s National Team stars to the team’s pre-AFCON Nigeria camp – the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba where they’d remain for intensive preparation ahead of June’s 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
— 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 2, 2019
The Super Eagles are set to make their 18th appearance in the continental tournament with the aim of winning a fourth title. Before travelling to Egypt where they will take on Burundi, Madagascar and Guinea in Group B, the three-time African champions have lined up two friendly matches.
Players in camp: John Obi Mikel, Leon Balogun, Jamiliu Collins, Moses Simon, Chidozie Awaziem, Semi Ajayi, Samuel Kalu, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, Victor Osimhen, Ola Aina, Samuel Chukwueze, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Henry Onyekuru, Paul Onuachu, Kelechi Iheanacho and Francis Uzoho.
Meanwhile, former Nigeria international Joseph Yobo has thrown his weight behind the Super Eagles to impress in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
— 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 3, 2019
The West Africans will be making a return to the biennial tournament since Yobo captained them to their third title in 2013, having missed the 2015 and 2017 editions. Notwithstanding, the 38-year-old former Everton defender is hopeful that the Super Eagles can deliver in Egypt.
“I’ve played with a squad full of talented and established players, yet we finished third on three occasions [2002, 2004 and 2006], Remember that in 2013 when we had an inexperienced squad we ended up as champions and it’s kudos to our late coach Stephen Keshi for such a brave move. Ours is a massive country and football easily generates differing opinions among the populace, because they all love the game. ” Yobo told BBC Sport.
“Right now I think the coach has selected a squad he believes can do the business and as fans, we can only support them. They have fearless young players who are all doing well in top leagues around the world and they can look up to some old faces for motivation.”
“I’ve experienced it personally and I can say that anything is possible in Egypt. It was disappointing to watch the last two editions without Nigeria and we now have a chance to make a strong statement.”
“The excitement is real and I have a positive expectation about these boys because they represent a nation of almost 200 million people. The young players need to enjoy their first Nations Cup without pressure and take in the whole experience.”
Nigeria will hope to manoeuvre their way past Group B rivals Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar for a chance to reach the knockout stage of the tournament. Gernot Rohr’s side play against AFCON-bound Zimbabwe on June 8 before wrapping up their preparation with a game against Senegal on June 16.