By Johnny Edward:
Sunshine Stars assistant coach, Ike Shorunmu, believes the young Super Eagles squad can keep their cool amid talks of pressure when they take on the Bafana Bafana in Saturday's 2019 AFCON qualifiers opening Group E match in Uyo, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Though the Super Eagles have not lost to South Africa in an official game, the Bafana Bafana stopped the Super Eagles from qualifying for the 2015 AFCON after they played a 2-2 draw in Uyo in a decisive qualifying match.
Super Eagles failed to qualify for two successive AFCON, missing out on those occasions to South Africa and Egypt.
The Eagles will also be without their influential captain, Tianjin TEDA Mikel Obi and the likes of Odion Ighalo, Brown Ideye and Victor Moses. Shorunmu, however, believes the squad have a lot to prove in the absence of the key players.
Shorunmu, a former goalkeeper trainier of the Super Eagles under coach Samson Siasia and the late Stephen Keshi, also states that Gernot Rohr is lucky to have the plethora of talents at his disposal ahead of a game.
"These are probably the best players we have playing good football at the moment and I think they are condemed to banish the horror we suffered from not beating South Africa in our final group game in Uyo in 2014," Shorunmu tells Completesportsnigeria.com.
"We have to be ready for that and I am sure we will be,"
"During our time, we only had couple of players who were actually very competitive but now from the goalkeeper to the attack there are players who have a lot to prove, but I don't think we will miss Victor Moses."
"The competition is healthy and I think, but I believe the team have a lot to prove and I don't expect them to be under pressure to do that."