Some football enthusiasts on Friday hailed the Super Eagles’ WAFU Nations Cup semi-final victory over the Republic of Benin, saying it showed they are good enough to win the trophy.
Reports that Nigeria moved into the final match of the competition on Thursday after a 1-0 defeat of the Squirrels of Benin Republic.
The match was played in Cape Coast, Ghana.
A cross-section of football enthusiasts said in Abuja that the victory was well-deserved and expressed confidence that the Super Eagles would win the trophy.
Tunde Popoola, Secretary-General of Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), said the Super Eagles have what it takes to lift the trophy.
“The guys can do it. They have defied the odds by beating Ghana on their home ground as well as their Beninoise counterparts in the semi-finals. But there is one more step to go and that is the title.
“I don’t believe in this talk of local boys as against foreign-based footballers. All I know is that they are all Nigerian footballers and Nigerian footballers can play football once they put their minds in the game.
“The players just have to be focused in the final and they will win,” he said.
Musa Talle, the Chairman of FCT Football Association, praised the Eagles’ solid defence, saying it was the reason behind the home-based Eagles success in the tournament.
“The Eagles’ defence must be given credit. They have kept six clean sheets in the competition so far. That is not a mere feat.
“They are indeed the only team yet to concede a goal in the tournament,” he said.
Talle also singled out Kano Pillars’ star Rabiu Ali for praise, adding that he produced a man-of-the-match performance for the Eagles against Republic of Benin.
“Ali was a delight to watch for Nigeria. He fought for every ball and distributed it nicely.
“Little wonder he scored the only goal for the Eagles as he was deadly all through on the pitch. His goal was really worth its weight in gold.
“I am confident that with this kind of performance by the boys, they will win the cup, no matter who their final opponents are. They will be up for the challenge,” he said.
Nduka Ugbade, an ex-international and former Assistant Coach of the Flying Eagles, said he was not surprised with the players’ performance so far.
“Even before the tournament started, I had monitored the progress of this team and always knew that they were the team to beat.
“They have showed class, mental strength and team spirit which are the major ingredients of a successful team.
“I don’t think any team can stop their title ambition, not even the hosts Ghana, who will be coming with revenge on their minds.
“A Ghana-Nigeria final is definitely good and a spectacle to behold,” he said.
Reports that the Super Eagles will take on Ghana, who won the second semi-final against Niger Republic, in Sunday’s final at the Cape Coast Stadium.