Obaroakpo: We Can’t Afford To Disappoint Nigerians In Rwanda

Obaroakpo: We Can’t Afford To Disappoint Nigerians In Rwanda

Nigeria's Home Eagles defender, Austin Obaroakpo speaks to Completesportsnigeria.com's ADEBOYE AMOSU and DAVID MESHIOYE in Kigali about his experience and the national team's progress so far at the 2016 CHAN. Excerpts…

You have played two games at the African Nations Championship, how would you describe the performance of your team so far?


I want to start by saying that we are happy with where we are at the moment. Four points in two games is not a bad at all. We also sit at the top the group and have a good chance of qualifying for the quater-finals. 

We were so determined to win the the last game against Tunisia, but the draw was a positive result for us. Like we say in local parlance, " at all, at all na him bad". 

Zenith Ziva

It's good that we don't have to depend on the other game between Tunisia and Niger to determine our qualification. 

How would you rate the Guineans, your opponent in Tuesday's Group C fixture?

They are a very good side and we must be at our best to beat them. We saw a bit of their game against Tunisia and also watched their last game against Niger.

We respect them, but we are not afraid of them. 

It's an important game for both teams. We are both looking to qualify for the next round which will make it a very tough game. For the neutrals, it will be an interesting affair.

I strongly believe we will make it to the last eight. We know our fans back home expect so much from us and we can't afford to disappoint them.

Nigeria need just a point to make it to the quarter- finals, and many are thinking it will be safe to play for a draw against the Guineans instead of going all out for a win?

Well, like I said earlier, we are in a good position to qualify to next round which is our objective coming into this competition, but we are also in a tricky situation as well.

The only thing on our mind is securing three points and nothing else. All the teams in the group still have a good chance of qualifying which makes it very tricky.

Thinking about a draw can be dangerous because at the end of the day, you can end up 
coming out with nothing. 

Would you describe your group as the toughest in the competition? 

I wouldn't want to say that so as not to disrespect the other teams in the competition. But you can't dispute the fact that we have some of the top quality side's of the competition in our group.

Tunisia have proved themselves as one of the tournament favourites, while Guinea and Niger have talented players in their squad too.

It's interesting that all of us still have a decent chance of qualifying for the quater-finals going into the last group games.

How difficult was it for you and your colleagues coming up against Tunisia forward, Ahmed Akaichi in your last game?

He is a good forward and we did our best against him. We saw what he did against Guinea in the first game and were determined to stop him. 
Unfortunately, he scored against us, while our own pointman, Chisom Chikatara also scored against his side.

It was a good experience for me personally. You learn a lot when you play against the best strikers in the game.

The home- Eagles seem to have struggled in the defence in your first two games, first Jamiu Alimi was substituted early in the game against Niger and then Stephen Eze was also not at his best against the Tunisians...

(cuts in) Coming here has been a good experience for all of us.We have conceded two goals in two games and we have seen the coach made changes that have had positive effect on the team.

We will keep on working hard and correct our mistakes in subsequent games. 

On a final note, how far do you think the home-based Super Eagles can go in this competition? 

We want to take it game by game. We are a young team who have an ambition of doing well in future. We don't want to put ourselves under any undue pressure by promising that we will win the trophy.
We know what our fans back home want and we will do our best not to let them down.

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