The tricky nature of Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between the Super Eagles and their South African counterparts has spurred the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, President, Amaju Pinnick, to warn the Nigerian national team players.
The NFF President said the Super Eagles cannot afford to be over–confident going into Wednesday’s crucial Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana even though they have never been beaten by the Rainbow country in any competitive meeting.
“Pointe Noire was a bright point for us, no doubt. We went there with a strong mind to turn the campaign around and we did just that. But there are still 90 minutes to go in the qualifying race and it is critical that we maintain focus.
“The wise guys tell you that it is when a guy gets too confident that he is wide open for a sucker punch. I am a strong optimist and I know that we are as good as being in the Draw for the final tournament. But we must keep a level head for those 90 minutes, maintain focus and clinically take our chances.”
The two-goal win in Pointe Noire on Saturday means that the African champions will be eligible to defend their title in Equatorial Guinea early next year once they achieve any margin of victory against group winners South Africa at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium in South–South Nigeria.
However, Pinnick, whose infant regime (elected into office only seven weeks ago) has already been blessed with triumph at the African Women Championship in Namibia and a landmark passage of the long –hanging NFF Bill by the National Assembly, says qualification for the 30th Africa Cup of Nations is guaranteed as the Eagles know what is at stake on Wednesday.
“I have been speaking with the Head Coach and some of the players and I know that they are determined that nothing will go wrong. We have a way with South Africa but we will not under –rate them.”
South Africa has never beaten Nigeria in a competitive senior men’s game, with both sides finishing 0-0 when they met in Cape Town in September.
The Confederation of African Football has already fixed the Draw Ceremony for the 30th Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday, December 3, in Malabo.