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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon: Sam Sodje urges Super Eagles to make winning start against Burundi

1:23 am AEST 22/6/19
Paul Onuachu - Nigeria vs. Egypt
The former Nigeria centre-back has tasked the Eagles to go all out for a win against the Swallows of Burundi in their Afcon opener

Former Super Eagles defender Sam Sodje has stressed that only a positive start at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday will be good enough for Nigeria if they are to be crowned African champions.

The Eagles will face the Swallows of Burundi in their opening game in Group B and Sodje, who was capped four times by the senior national team, disclosed that securing maximum points in their first game should be apriority.

He affirmed that since Nigeria are the seeded team in the group and are expected to qualify for the next round, they must ensure that they justify the confidence reposed in them by Nigerians to aspire to a winning start in Alexandria.

“I am expecting something new from the Eagles in Egypt,” Sodje told Goal.

“We already know that as the seeded team in the group, the Eagles should not labour to qualify for the next round. They should have a winning start against Burundi because they are the team to beat in the group and it is what is expected of them.

“Knowing that football could be cruel at times, the Eagles must face Burundi and their other group opponents with all the seriousness that it entails ensuring that they are not surprised.

"It won’t speak well for the Eagles to struggle as our national teams have done in recent competitions.”

The former centre-back added that the only way the Eagles can surmount the Swallows is by taking the game to their opponents from the start of the match, and that they cannot afford to be complacent..

“No matter the result of the game, the Eagles are the favourites to win the game and it won’t count for anything the final result if Nigeria beat them,” he continued.

“The Eagles cannot afford to be complacent against them. The whole world is watching and any unfavourable result against Nigeria will form the basis for news and commentaries.

"The Eagles must be prepared and they must play Burundi just like the same way they would approach the game with Egypt or any other top team.”

Nigerian are making a return to the Afcon finals after missing out on the last two editions.