Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo has rated Nigeria’s chances of emerging 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winners as high, saying the three-time champions must work hard and put everything on the line in order to return home with the trophy.
Ighalo is likely to spearhead the Nigeria attack when they begin their campaign for a fourth African title in Group B with a clash against debutants Burundi on June 22 in Alexandria, before coming up against Guinea on June 26 and Madagascar on June 30.
While speaking with the NFF media from the team’s camp in Egypt, the China-based striker, who finished as top scorer in the qualifying series with seven goals, stated the way to the title may not be smooth-sailing but the Super Eagles have what it takes to make it to the latter stages.
“If anybody says the tournament will be easy, it is a lie because it is going to be tough, it is going to be hot but I believe in the team we have, we have all it takes to do well at the Afcon. Nigeria has a good team that can play in the semi-final and the final,” the Shanghai Shenshua forward said.
— 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 15, 2019
Ighalo added: “As I said, we will not get carried away. We have a team that can even win the trophy if we work hard and if we give everything we have on the pitch, not saying had I known later. We have all it takes to win it but let’s just start with the first game, to the quarter-finals, semis then we will see how it goes.”
Having said that, Ighalo admitted that he would prefer being seen as an underdog at the competition. “Anything I do in life, I like people to take me as an underdog because I like to surprise people and I like to take people unaware, that’s for me as a person,” he said.
The former Watford striker added: “If they are taking us [underdog], it is very good because it won’t give the team more pressure.”
He went on to say: “When the team has more pressure of winning this and that, that’s when you will start thinking of the final when you have not even played the first game.”
Do you agree with Ighalo’s sentiments about the Super Eagles’ chances of winning the AFCON 2019 title? Share your thoughts about this with us in the comment section.