The former captain and coach of the national team says that the squad is ready to well in South Africa when the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off
Former Nigeria coach Christian Chukwu has expressed happiness over the Super Eagles’ impressive 1-1 score draw against Catalonia in an international friendly match that was decided at in Spain on Wednesday.
The Eagles were playing their first friendly match since resuming final camping for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in Faro, Portugal and they did not disappoint their fans with the impressive way they held their hosts to a pulsating 1-1 draw.
Chukwu, a member of the Nigeria Football Federation Technical Committee has good words for the Eagles most especially the home based stars for holding their own against the better-experienced and exposed Catalonia team loaded with top Barcelona, Espanyol and other Liga players.
“This is what we have been saying all this while that Nigeria is blessed with quality and talented football stars. We just need a good coach who will detect them and polish them and they will become great players. We should work on the players on home front so that over reliance on foreign based players would be a thing of the past,” Chukwu told Goal.com.
“I am very happy with the overall performance of the team, but I will say the home based players surprised me by fighting hard in the match and trying their best to stop the star studded Catalonians from doing the damage on Nigeria. We won’t be relying on the foreign based players again if we can work hard on the home lads. I say kudos to them and their technical crew.”
Chukwu showered praises on the NFF for organizing the Catalonia friendly and he is also happy that the Eagles would also play two more quality friendly matches against a strong Cape Verde team that stopped Cameroon from going to the Afcon. The friendly match has been fixed for January 9. The Eagles also have a date with Angola on January 11.
“The good thing is that the Eagles have two more tune-up matches to play against giant killers Cape Verde and a strong Angola national team. The two matches would be able to knock the Eagles into competition mood and get them ready for the Cup of Nations. With the way the team is going I have already tipped Nigeria to play in the semi-finals of this year’s tournament,” Chukwu predicted.
He however warned them of being overconfident and complacent.
“The team should not be over confident but should work more as a team to get to the Promise Land. One good thing the Catalonia game has done to the team now is that other players that are used to strolling into the team would now hurriedly pack their bags and personal effects and rush to the Faro, Portugal Camp to fight for shirts”, the former Eagles captain said.