Super Eagles striker Odion Jude Ighalo has expressed confidence that three –time champions, Super Eagles of Nigeria can make a serious impact at the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for next year summer.
The China –based striker scored five goals over three days, against the Mediterranean Knights of Libya in the month of October, propelled the Super Eagles to top place in Group E of the qualification series, with the score draw away to South Africa in November eventually sealing a place at the finals.
“Whether the championship is held in Egypt or South Africa, we will be ready. We have the advantage of having been together for sometime now, with the bulk of the team having played at the World Cup. Qualifying for the AFCON has also made us believe very much in our ability and of course, the Nigerian Spirit is always there to propel us in difficult times.
“We are all aware of what Nigerians expect from us. We will prepare hard and strive to deliver,” Ighalo said as he savoured the occasion when the Nigeria Football Federation celebrated its sponsors and partners in Lagos on Thursday night.
Africa’s football –governing body, CAF is set to name a new host nation on 9th January 2019 after withdrawing the hosting mantle from Cameroon. But Ighalo says anywhere the finals are staged (South Africa and Egypt are the candidates), Nigeria would be ready to contest strongly for the diadem.
Ighalo presently has six goals in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers. His first goal was in the Matchday 2 game away to Seychelles in September, which Nigeria won 3-0.
The final match of the qualification series, an academic exercise against Seychelles in Nigeria on 22nd March 2019, will rather serve as part of the preparation for the 2019 finals.