Super Eagles’ striker, Odion Ighalo who despite missing in action in the matchday 5 with South Africa is a joint leader scorer of the qualifying tournament of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, is optimistic that Nigeria can win the final tournament.
Along with Burundi’s Fiston Abdul Razak, Ighalo has five goals to his credit. According to a media release by the NFF, Ighalo has expressed confidence that Super Eagles of Nigeria can make a serious impact at the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for next year summer.
A five –goal haul by the China –based striker over three days, against the Mediterranean Knights of Libya in October, propelled the Super Eagles to top place in Group E of the qualification series.
The score draw away to South Africa in November eventually sealed a place at the finals for Nigeria.
Even with the venue of the final tournament undecided, Ighalo told the NFF that anywhere the finals are staged Nigeria would be ready to contest strongly for the diadem.
“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.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, used the occasion to pinpoint Ighalo as the very definition of patience, perseverance and fortitude, whose experience is worthy of study by the average Nigerian youth seeking success but confronted with challenges.
“Ighalo has become the metaphor for success on the back of perseverance, continued improvement and patience.
“For several months he was looking to score for the National Team but it did not happen. He never gave up, and the coaches kept their belief in him. Then, in only three days, he scored five goals to become the leading scorer in the 2019 AFCON qualification series. There is nothing drive and doggedness cannot achieve.”