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EXCLUSIVE: ‘No Easy AFCON 2023 Qualifying Group’ –Okala Warns Super Eagles

EXCLUSIVE: ‘No Easy AFCON 2023 Qualifying Group’  –Okala Warns Super Eagles

Nigeria’s goalkeeping legend, Emmanuel Okala, has handed a stern warning to Super Eagles as they get set to start their 2023 Africa Cup of qualifying games after they were logged in poll A during the draw staged by CAF in Cairo on Tuesday, Completesports.com reports.

The three-time African champions will compete against Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome/ Principe or Mauritius. Nigeria will first host Sierra Leone, then play an away game against Sao Tome/ Principe or Mauritius during the 30th May – 14th June international break.

But despite many regarding the group as a relatively ‘easy’ one for the West African side to seal their place in next year’s tournament in Ivory Coast, Okala plays down such, during and exclusive interview with Completesports.com, insisting that only hard work is key to Super Eagles’ qualification.

emma-okala-super-eagles-nigeria -afcon-2023-africa-cup-of-nations

Emma Okala

Aparently drawing inspiration from the current state of affairs in Nigeria football following the Super Eagles’ inability to qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals, Qatar 2022, the former Enugu Rangers and Green Eagles goalkeeper who nicknamed ‘Man-Mountain’, warns that no team is inferior these days and as such, no team should be underrated.

Also Read – 2023 AFCON: Super Eagles Begin Race To Cote d’lvoire Against Sierra Leone

“It is not a matter of ‘easy’ or no ‘easy’ group. Football has gone far beyond that. The point is that you must earn your place in the finals. And to earn it, you must work for it. Yes, Super Eagles must work hard to finish top in the Group A,” Okala told Completesports.com.

“With hard work and doing the right things, the Super Eagles can make it to Ivory Coast. It is important that they finish tops in the group so that they can command ‘fear and respect’ going into the tournament proper and of course, securing a good seeding at the AFCON finals draw”.

With Nigeria billed to host Sierra Leone in the Group A opening fixture, the one time Super Eagles goalkeepers trainer charges the team to ‘win with a handsome margin’.

Okala added: “Opening games in every competition is always difficult. But it is always very important for you to win. First, it gives you the confidence going into the other games. Again, it also enhances your qualification chances.

“So, I expect the team to go all out and ensure they won. Not only that, they should win with convincing margin. By so doing, other teams in the group would begin to ‘fear’ and ‘respect’ the team”.

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  • pompei 2 years ago

    Okala has said what needs to be said.
    For me, I would be more comfortable if the Super Falcons played our matches instead of this lacklustre bunch, with their bicycle kick strikers.
    At least Plumptre and company will put in effort and try their best. Not these selfie-taking, big-for-nothing lads.
    Yes, I dey vex. These guys lost to a poor Ghana side, and condemned us to watching the world cup in Qatar on TV. This time last year, ask any Nigerian if it was possible we would not qualify, and they would have laughed in your face. Qualifying for world cup was like a birthright. Now, we entertain genuine fears of not making it out of an Afcon qualifying group consisting of G-Bissau, S/Leone, and Sao Tome!
    Rohr is a genius indeed.
    To have succeeded in squeezing out good results out of this bunch consistently must not have been easy. Yet Rohr did it, and never complained, even though he was being owed months of salary!
    We let him go, now the chicken’s buttocks is fully exposed.

    • Pls Nigeria, go and look for the tape of Ghana vs São Tomé home and away in the last Afcon qualifiers and you will see what awaits you. Especially on that pitch at São Tomé. This is free advice and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • Chibuike 2 years ago

    Honestly it pain me alot why NFF sack that man. Eguaveon and pinik secret plan to eat the man glory didn’t work out because Amadioha is involved. People quickly forget karma is real. Rohr was doing well with the team and about to qualify Nigeria for world cup, they sack him, thinking you can decieve God. Next time una go get sense and stop cunning honest people. Give us local coach, give us local coach. Una Don see am say rohr is better than our best coaches self. You think is easy to coach national team. Oya bring sia sia come, bring Amunike come. Bring Mr techinical director come and join him Africa gadiola. Rohr big pass all of una for tactics levels Ndi ara.

  • Victor 2 years ago

    Thank you Mr Okala for acknowledging this and for not referring to how you beat some of the opponents 6:0 forty years ago and using that as a gauge for now our days like some people would do. Simply put no easy matches. Football is now a chess game between tactical masters(coaches) whoever has the better tactics wins the game. Having quality players doesn’t guarantee you anything the earlier that sinks the better.

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