Former international star, Etim Esin has described Super Eagles' nomination in the National Team category of the yearly CAF Awards as good for the team's confidence going into the 2018 World Cup.
CAF recently listed Nigeria, Cameroun, Egypt, Mali's U-17 and Zambia U-20 teams as contenders for the 2017 Best Team of the Year award.
Esin said the manner the Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup from the supposedly group of death even when the team failed to qualify for the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) made them favourites for the award.
"If performance during the World Cup qualifiers were the yardstick in picking the best team, then I think the Super Eagles merit it.
"This is a team that did excellently well by qualifying from the group termed the group of death. Nobody gave them a chance from the group that included AFCON defending champion, Cameroun, the Algerians, who had a wonderful outing at the last World Cup and the tough Zambians," he said.
Etim, who now scouts for clubs in Europe, added that if the Eagles won the award, it would give them the respect and confidence to excel at the World Cup.
"I really do not know the criteria CAF uses in determining which team becomes the best national team of the year. But winning the award will give us the moral boost going into the World Cup proper. It will not only be good for us, it will also give us the nickname as the best team from Africa, which is what matters," he stated.