The Super Eagles qualified for the next round of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers last Saturday with a 2-0 aggregate win over Rwanda but Ikechukwu Uche, who scored the first goal in that encounter says that the challenges ahead will be stiffer.
“It is very important for us - not only the players but even for the nation knowing that we did not qualify for the last edition so we must fight harder to make the next one,” Uche told the BBC.
“We have to come out and work harder than we have done before, work as a team and try and make corrections on our lapses as there is no time.
“The teams that are next will be tougher and we have to be conscious of that and concentrate and make sure that we get the ticket to the next Nations Cup,” he added.
Uche also noted that it has been hard to work with different coaches and different players in the national team in a few years – from Amodu Shuaibu to Lars Lagerback to Samson Siasia and now Stephen Keshi.
“It is very difficult to play with a different set of players every short time as it is very difficult to adapt to each other.
“Now we have a new coach and he is trying to bring in his own ideas but it is not something that we will get just like that. It is something that works with time before we start getting the desired results.
“We are picking his ideas but we have to continue to work as a team and as we are not from the same league and have never played together, we have to come, pick his idea and work together.”
He added that togetherness is the key to successes in the future. “The key to success is working together as a team, having patience, knowing where we are going, what we want - I believe that is the key to success.”
He also said that Keshi listens to differing opinions and is always willing to learn. “Keshi is a fantastic person, he talks to me. Also he allows you to voice your own opinion.“He talks to everyone while reiterating that he cannot do it all alone. He played football and as a coach we still have to help him if we have any idea or if he is missing something, we can always suggest so I think he has been great for the national team,” Uche concluded.