Super Eagles assistant coach, George Finidi, is optimistic of the team winning a medal in next year’s African Cup of Nations holding in Ivory Coast.
Since 2013, when the late coach Stephen Keshi led the Super Eagles to win the AFCON title in South Africa, beating Burkina Faso in the final, the team had not been impressive in subsequent editions of the competition.
Nigeria could not defeat the AFCON title at the 2015 edition under the Amaju Pinnick-led Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), and the team also failed to qualify for the 2017 edition.
Nigeria eventually qualified for the 2019 edition held in Egypt, but the Super Eagles, under coach Gernot Rohr could only managed to grab a bronze medal after losing to Algeria in the semifinal.
And at the last edition held in Cameroun, the Eagles, under coach Austin Eguavoen, recorded its worst performance ever, crashing out in the round of 16.
The team has sealed its ticket to the 2024 edition, and Finidi is sounding optimistic that something good will come in Cote d’Ivoire. The Super Eagles, on Sunday, at the Goodswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, defeated Sao Tome and Principe 6-0 to send a warning signal to the potential opponents in the competition.
The former Ajax Amsterdam winger admitted that every team going into the tournament wants to win it, and the Eagles are no exception.
“Every country wants to win the AFCON even before the competition begins, but when you get there, it all depends on how you start the tournament.”
“If you start well, and the confidence builds up, that will take you even further. So, we aim to win it, but you never know what can happen.
“We’ll go there with the mindset to win it. The first mission for the AFCON is to win it,” he said. Finidi was in the glorious 1994 Super Eagles squad that won the African title in Tunisia, beating Zambia in the final. That was under former coach Clemence Westerhof. He was also part of the Dream Team that won the Olympics Gold at Atlanta ’96, where Nigeria defeated Argentina in the final.