Nigeria will be crowned the next AFCON champions holding next January in Cote d ‘Ivoire, a former junior international and Ex Super Eagles Star Dimeji Lawal has sensationally declared.
Speaking as a Special Guest of the Ex-University Ibadan Footballers Association virtual interactive program yesterday, a former junior international and ex Super Eagles star Dimeji Lawal, popularly called Kabongo by his numerous fans, has declared that the Super Eagles have the players and the talent to win the next AFCON holding next January in Cote d Ivoire. According to the former dazzling U-17 and U-20 World Cup silver medalist, “Nigeria will be the team to beat at the next CAF Nations Cup. I have no doubt about that”.
“We have the generation of young African talents doing so well in various European top clubs. Not only that, they are young and have the opportunity to play with and against the best legs week in week out,” he said, beaming with total confidence about the talent depth at the disposal of the Coaching crew.
Speaking further, the former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan dazzling winger, who signed for Real Madrid before proceeding to the Saudi ’89 World Cup where the Flying Eagles lost in the final to Portugal, however issued a note of caution to the Eagles Coaching crew to stop experimenting with the team and instead focus on building a formidable team with cohesion and understanding. According to Lawal who was voted the man of the match when the Flying Eagles squared off against a Luis Figo inspired team at the group stage of the U20 World Cup at Saudi ’89, “Notwithstanding the talent depth of the Super Eagles, this group of players have not won anything tangible for the country yet, except at their club sides. I am very sure that will be a big drive for them to really cement their arrival as new boys on the block.”
Furthermore, he said, “My advice for the technical crew is simple: the time of trials should be over. We have had enough of testing and trials. Its time to build a formidable team with cohesion and understanding. Suddenly, we have become a country without a standing team. It’s not the best for our football. I know the first eleven of Germany, England, Spain, Holland, and France, unless there are any unforeseen circumstances (injuries, sickness etc). Our coaching crew keeps searching for new half casts or European born players every day. That must stop now so that they can focus on team cohesion”, Dimeji Lawal, who currently serves as the General Manager of one of Nigeria’s oldest club sides, the Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan, declared as a matter fact.
The Nigerian national team has been drawn in Group A alongside hosts– Cote d’Ivoire, and fast-improving Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, who have qualified for a fourth straight edition in next year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to kick off on January 13 and end on February 11, with matches at six stadiums in five cities in Cote d Ivoire.
Cote d’Ivoire, seeking a third Cup of Nations title, will face Guinea-Bissau in the opening match on January 13 in Abidjan, while the Super Eagles, seeking its 4th title will square off against Equitorial guinea in its first match of the tournament.
Nigeria were last crowned Cup of Nations winners in 2013 in South Africa and the Ivory Coast succeeded the Eagles two years later in Equatorial Guinea.
Defending champions Senegal are in Group C with five-time winners Cameroon, Guinea and the Gambia.