Nigerian players have been trying to psyche themselves up as well as encourage their fans ahead of this evening’s very important Group C clash with Benin in Benguela.
The Super Eagles lost 3-1 to Egypt on January 12 and they know that only a victory against the Squirrels will keep them in the tournament.
In betraying the fact that they are under enormous pressure to deliver against Benin, the players have been talking about their levels of motivation in separate interviews with Complete Sports and Soccer Star.
Lokomotiv Moscow striker Osaze Odemwingie who missed out on the opening game says that the Eagles will come out flying. “Benin is on everybody’s mind here. We have to beat them. (It) means a lot to us. Our continuity in this championship is tied to it and we cannot afford to lose this game” says Odemwingie.
Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu also weighed in with his own opinion. “Take me by my word, Benin will pay for our loss to Egypt just as we shall also defeat Mozambique. I know very well that it will not be easy but we must win to remain in contention because we want to win the trophy for the third time for Nigeria”.
The Eagles’ best performer in the match against Egypt Chinedu Obasi has also pitched in. “My performance against Egypt was okay but I am planning to take it to another level (against Benin). We are all determined to do well and I promise Nigerians that they will see another great performance from me” says the Hoffenheim striker.
Midfielder John Mikel Obi also feels that today’s game cannot but favour the Nigerians. “We shall not be sent out of this championship at an early stage like what happened in the last edition. We have the mandate to dispatch our opponents and by the grace of God, the stubborn foes will fall” says the Chelsea player.
Benin have never beaten Nigeria in their two previous outings in the Nation Cup. The Eagles triumphed 2-1 at Tunisia 2004 and 2-0 at Ghana 2008. Whatever happens on that pitch tonight in Benguela, their legion of fans will be praying for one thing only, three points. They cannot afford anything else.