By James Agberebi:
Former Nigeria international Austin Okocha has expressed sadness that the Super Eagles will not be at this year's FIFA Confederations Cup but says he will be rooting for African champions Cameroon.
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup will hold in Russia from 17 June to 2 July.
Cameroon, who were crowned African champions at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, will represent Africa at the Confederations Cup, their third participation in the tournament (2001, 2003).
The Indomitable Lions will face the Super Eagles in a double-header in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Uyo and Yaounde in August.
Okocha who was in Kazan, one of the venues for the Confederations Cup in Russia with Brazil legend and former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Ronaldinho, said he is expecting an exciting tournament.
“The champions of each continent are playing at the Confederations Cup, so there’ll be a very high standard of football," Okocha who played at the 1995 Confederations Cup told FIFA.com.
"There will be supporters from all over the world, but Russia will have the best support. It’s a shame that Nigeria didn’t qualify, so instead I’ll support Cameroon."
Commenting on his visit to Kazan, Okocha stated that he was tempted to come out of retirement hoping that the Super Eagles will eventually qualify for next year's World Cup.
“I felt the hospitality and friendliness from the moment I stepped off the plane. I’m really impressed with what I saw in Kazan! I even thought for a moment about starting to play football again when I was at the Kazan Arena!" he added.
"I’d really like to perform at this stadium! Alas, my career is behind me, but I’ll be delighted if Nigeria get to play matches here at Russia 2018."