Former captain Joseph Yobo believes the Super Eagles of Nigeria have the squad depth to cope with their much anticipated return to the Africa Cup of Nations.
The 38-year old skippered the Super Eagles to continental success in 2013, before the they missed back-to-back tournaments in 2015 and 2017.
John Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa and Kenneth Omeruo are the only surviving members of the class of 2013 ahead of Egypt 2019, but Yobo has thrown his support behind coach Gernot Rohr and dismissed talk of inexperience.
“I’ve played with a squad full of talented and established players, yet we finished third on three occasions [2002, 2004 and 2006],” Yobo told BBC Sport.
“Remember that in 2013 when we had a largely inexperienced squad we ended up as champions and it’s kudos to our late coach Stephen Keshi for such a brave move.
“Ours is a massive country and football easily generates differing opinions among the populace, because they all love the game.
“Right now, I think the coach has selected a squad he believes can do the business, and as fans, we can only support them.
“They have fearless young players who are all doing well in top leagues around the world and they can look up to some old faces for motivation.
“I’ve experienced it personally and I can say that anything is possible in Egypt.”
The Super Eagles will be in a training camp in Asaba from June 2nd to 9th June, before heading to the Egyptian city of Ismailia for a pre-tournament friendly against Senegal on 16 June.
Three-time champions Nigeria will play in Group B at AFCON 2019, alongside Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi in Alexandria.
Yobo, the first man to reach 100 appearances for Nigeria, is excited and expectant as the West Africans return to the tournament.
“It was disappointing to watch the last two editions without Nigeria and we now have a chance to make a strong statement,” he added.
“The excitement is real and I have a positive expectation about these boys because they represent a nation of almost 200 million people.
“The young players need to enjoy their first Nations Cup without pressure and take in the whole experience.”
Yobo won the first of his 100 caps for Nigeria against Zambia in Chingola in 2001.
The former Everton, Fenerbahce and Norwich City defender played in six Africa Cup of Nations tournaments between 2002 and 2013 in a 14-year career.
He featured in three World Cup tournaments in 2002, 2010 and 2014, playing ten matches at the World Cup finals in total – the most appearances for his country on the biggest stage.11 BUSINESS NUGGETS FROM SUPER EAGLES BRONZE MEDAL TRIUMPH. The content of this ebook will propel you above your competition. Buy NOW!!!