Daily Trust (Abuja)

21 January 2013

Nigeria: Okocha, Taribo Differ On Eagles

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Ikechukwu Uche of Nigeria reacts after missing a chance during the match against Burkina Faso.

Former Nigerian internationals, Augustine Okocha and Taribo West have voiced their sentiments about the chances of the Super Eagles at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

The Super Eagles must navigate the treacherous waters in Group C which will see them come up against Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and the reigning champions, Zambia in the preliminary round.

West believes it would be easier to make snowballs in hell than for the Eagles to emerge champions in South Africa but Okocha who scored 14 goals in more than 70 international appearances for Nigeria feels it is time to "regain some lost pride" at the AFCON.

"I am not seeing them winning (the AFCON title). They will have a good tournament. From there, we can build a good and solid team for the future but Nigerians should not put pressure on the team because we won't win (the title) and the team must not be disbanded (afterwards)," West told supersport.com.

Okocha was not as damning in his assessment of the team's chances as he paid tribute to the "improved quality of African football."

"We (African football) have improved over the years and there are no many underdogs anymore. That makes this year's (AFCON) very competitive and the standard will very high," he said.

The former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder also took the time to give his thoughts on the Super Eagles' chances in South Africa.

"Hopefully the Super Eagles will regain their pride having missed out on the previous edition (in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in 2012)," he said.

Nigeria won the AFCON title in 1980 and 1994.

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