3 February 2013

Nigeria/Cote d'Ivoire: Eagles Must Give 150 Percent to Beat Cote d'Ivoire - Babangida

Former Super Eagles winger, Tijani Babangida has said for the Eagles to beat Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire in today's quarterfinal match at the 2013 AFCON, the players must be ready to put in not only 100 per cent but 150 percent effort.

Speaking to Sunday Trust yesterday, the former Ajax of Holland player said the Eagles face a herculean task today but if they can step up their performance they would be able to overcome their opponents.

Babangida said Eagles did not qualify for the quarterfinal by luck as he noted that all the teams that played against the Eagles in Group C struggled to survive which to him is enough indication that the Eagles are a good side and can go all the way.

His words: "The match against Cote d'Ivoire is not going to be easy. It will be a difficult one for both teams. What the Eagles need to beat Elephants is to put in at least 150 percent effort. They have to do what they did not do in the past matches.

"On paper, the Ivoriens are favoured but the Eagles cannot be written off with a wave of the hand. I know most of the Ivoriens are playing their last nations Cup and would like to win the trophy but with determination, Eagles caan stop them".

Babangida also said Eagles major setback has been lack of a creative midfielder which he said has been responsible for the strikers inability to deliver.

He said Mikel Obi does most of the marking and ball holding for the team but there is no other creative midfielder to release the strikers with penetrative passes as it was when Kanu Nwankwo and Jay Jay Okocha held sway in the team.

"One thing I have observed is that the team lacks a creative midfielder in the mould of Kanu Nwankwo and Austin Jay Jay Okocha. There is nobody to give penetrative passes because Mikel does more of ball holding and marking in the midfield".

Babangida reiterated that it is not going to be easy but if the Eagles can surmount today's hurdle, they will stand a good chance of lifting the trophy for the third time.

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