–Enyeama, Uche, others sure of victory over South Africa to pick AFCON ticket
The Super Eagles have no doubts about their chances of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for Equatorial Guinea next year.
The African champions have to defeat South Africa tonight in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State to guarantee passage, but each of the several players Complete Sports spoke with yesterday at the team hotel expressed absolute confidence.
Captain and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama said the team has not come this far only to be denied a chance to defend the title they won last year.
“I don’t really like talking about expectations, but I’ll tell you this: we will win tomorrow (tonight),” the Lille keeper said. “We will be at the Nations Cup next year. South Africa have a very good team and they play very good football, but nobody is going to stop us now, by the grace of God.
“We’ve had our tough patch and we’ve come through it, it’s now time to cross the finish line and God will see us through. We won’t let South Africa stop us.”
Striker Ikechukwu Uche insists he is battle ready for the win-or-bust game.
The Villarreal forward who made a scoring return to the Eagles in last Saturday’s win over Congo says the team is ready and in high spirits mood for the game.
“I’m ready for the game and I’m optimistic we will win.
“God is my strength and we will not disappoint,” he said.
Warri Wolves striker Gbolahan Salami, who has been regularly involved and scored against Congo in Calabar, has assured that he will not let the chance slip again.
“We have to feel we can win,” he said. “We need the victory against South Africa who have lready qualified but we are confident going into the game.
“We will take a few of the positives from the game against Congo and hopefully that can help us there.
“I think it will [feel like a do-or-die game]. We know if we lose the game we are more or less out, so we have to be positive and go at it in some ways the way we did.”
Turkey-based midfielder Lawal has declared himself fit for today’s crucial game against Sou after fully recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of last weekend’s 2-0 win against Congo.
“I’m fully fit for Wednesday’s game,” he told Complete Sports.
The midfielder, who played in the 3-1 win over Sudan in Abuja last month however added that he hopes to help the team qualify for the 2015 AFCON to enhance his chances of making the squad for competition in Equatorial Guinea. “I completed our final training so there’s no doubt about my fitness again.
“Missing out on the last edition which we won hurts but to avoid it happening a second time, I will give all I have if I get the chance to start,” he told Complete Sports.
Hull City forward Sone Aluko admits the Eagles know it is win or nothing for them.
“We have no option but to win. We have a chance now to defend our title and it’s great to have our destiny in our hands, which is good for us.”
Dolphins star Emem Eduok, whob scored the first goal ever at the Akwa State Stadium Complex, venue of tonight’s match, hopes to be given the chance to net again in his state of origin.
He said: “It would be nice to score again in front of my home fans; that will be the icing on the cake but firstly I pray we win.
“We know the South African how they play but they won’t spoil our AFCON dreams.”