AFCON 2023: How Super Eagles can win the Africa Cup of Nations – Siasia

Former player and coach of the Super Eagles, Samson Siasia, has said the Nigerian team can put themselves in pole position to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire with better teamwork and organisation.

Siasia, who spoke exclusively to Africa Interviews recently, acknowledged the quality in the current Super Eagles team, but said they need more cohesiveness as a unit to be successful on the continental and global stage.

“The (Super Eagles) team has good players, but they have to play as a team. If they start playing as a team, then we might have a chance to do whatever. But time is not our friend. The time is short,” he said.

Just a few days ago, the Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, named 40 players in the provisional list for the Africa Cup of Nations starting in January 2024 in Cote d’Ivoire. Nigeria’s first match will be against Equatorial Guinea at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on January 13.

With the right attitude and application, the Nigerian team can go all the way to the last lap, Siasia added.

“If they can up their game, we never know. But we’ve got to get the right players. And let’s see. We’re not going to say they can win it or not. They can win it all. But let’s see how they improve from now on, moving forward. That will give us the kind of idea if they can win it. It depends on how they play in the next game. But now they are there. Everybody (other teams) is afraid. But they need to build their confidence back.”

According to the former Super Eagles coach, who scored a famous goal against Argentina at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, aside from proper organization and administration, building a winning team takes time.

Citing the Eagles team he was part of in the 90s, Siasia noted that that the famed golden generation were able to win the 1994 Nations Cup, and impress at the FIFA World Cup because they bonded and played together for years.

Although the Super Eagles lost to Italy in the Round of 16, they were adjudged as one of the top five teams and the most entertaining team of the USA 1994 FIFA World Cup.

He said, “The team that won the AFCON in 1994 actually played in 1992 Nations Cup. We were there since the 90s and it took us almost a year to put up a team like that that can compete. I mean, we won the Nations Cup and we can compete like that in the world. So, it took some time, years, to put up that team; a team that was very strong and won the Nations Cup.

“We need time to build a team. And we don’t have that time because time is gone. In another 10 years’ time, we should be looking at trying to win the World Cup, not just the Africa Nations Cup. So, we have to start building now.”

Speaking on the Eagles players, Siasia pointed out current African Player of the Year, Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Bayer Leverkusen’s Victor Boniface and Real Sociedad’s Umar Sadiq as some players to watch out for now, and in the near future.

“Sadiq (Umar) is very good. They need to give him a chance and give him the kind of confidence he needs. Then he’s going to surprise. We see him playing in his club and he’s doing very well. He can actually do the same thing here (with the Eagles team),” he said.


  • Arukaino Umukoro

    Arukaino is an award-winning writer and journalist, a recipient of the CNN/MultiChoice Africa Journalist of the Year Awards (Sports reporting)

Arukaino Umukoro

Arukaino is an award-winning writer and journalist, a recipient of the CNN/MultiChoice Africa Journalist of the Year Awards (Sports reporting)

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