By Johnny Edward:
Home-based Eagles first choice goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has admitted that the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) competition will be tough but says the players are fully prepared to battle through and even stake claims for spots in the Russia 2018 World Cup squad.
The fifth African Nations Championship will hold in Morocco from 13 January to 4 February 2018 with Nigeria drawn against Rwanda, Libya and Equatorial Guinea in Group C.
Ezenwa who is poised to make his second appearance at the tournament is banking on the unity in the team to excel at the tournament.
The 29-year-old Enyimba shot stopper told thenff.com: “Rwanda, Libya and Equatorial Guinea are very good sides when it comes to the CHAN tournament. Look at the last edition, Rwanda were very tough and they performed better than us.
“Libya are former champions so they are no newcomers to the competition and for Equatorial Guinea, they will be coming with the bunch of players that played the World Cup qualifiers for them, so to be honest, it’s going to be a very tough group for us but we are up to the task.
“The preparation has been going on well. We have been playing some friendly games and I must say it has been good preparation all round. The camping here in Nigeria is coming to an end we are in good shape to continue the next phase of preparation in Morocco ahead of our first match.
“First of all, we are going to take each game as it comes; we have had very good preparation so far and the unity in the team is awesome and with that, I am confident of a better outing than the last time in Rwanda.”
Nigeria could not progress beyond the group stage at the last edition in Rwanda two years ago.
Ezenwa, who is the captain of the team, also bared his mind on the chances of the Home Eagles players making main Super Eagles final squad list for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“I think any player that does very well will have an opportunity because the Technical Adviser, Mr. Gernot Rohr, will be in Morocco with us just like he was with us in Ghana where some players who did well were invited for the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Zambia.
“So, I strongly believe anyone who proves himself well will definitely get a look-in, but the most important thing for us right now is to go to Morocco and do the nation proud by winning the trophy.”