28th January, 2013
By Bamidele Olowosagba
Following the Super Eagles’ back to back score draw against Stallions of Burkina Faso and Chipolopolo of Zambia in the ongoing African Cup of Nations in South Africa, former Eagles’ left back, Benedict Iroha has slammed Stephen Keshi’s Eagles for lacking the needed character to win the tournament.
Eagles’ chances of qualification for the quarter final of the Nations Cup were put in doubts last Friday, after they threw away a 1-0 lead to draw 1-1 against the defending champions, Zambia.
Speaking on the chances of the Nigerian team to qualify for the quarter final despite the not too convincing prformance in their last two matches, Iroha, who was a member of the Eagles that won the trophy at Tunisia ‘94, said the team need to show character and hunger for goals if they are to go far in the tournament.
“It is unfortunate that the Eagles conceded a last minute goal against Burkina Faso in their first match and against Zambia on Friday, they conceded a bizzare penalty in the last five minutes of the match. However, I don’t think they can make it to the quarter final because the team lack character and hunger, which saw our set winning the trophy in Tunisia in 1994.
“Keshi has to work harder and talk to the players to be more aggressive,” Iroha said.
The duo of Tijani Babangida and Nduka Ugbade have also warned the Eagles not to underrate the Antelopes of Ethiopia in their last Group C match tomorrow.
Ugbade, who was the youngest member of Nigeria’s squad to Tunisia ‘94 tournament, warned the Eagles to avoid unnecessary errors in the crucial match, while Babangida said the team must win the match with total concentration from the blast of the whistle till end of the match.
Meanwhile, the Times of Zambia reported that Ethiopia coach, Sewnet Bishaw has been talking tough that they must face their last encounter against Nigeria with the hunger for goals if they are to go through to the quarter final. The Walya Antelopes lost 4-0 to 10-man Burkina Faso in their second match in Group C on Friday.
“We didn’t expect that result from the very beginning, but we hope that we would play well against Nigeria just as we did in the first game,” Bishaw said.
The Antelopes still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the last eight when they play against the Super Eagles and Bishaw is determined for his side not to go out on a whimper.
He added: “We’re not going to the field to defend, because defending will only give you one point. Now we must try to play against Nigeria to score goals to have three points.
“If we get three points, in total we’ll have four, and may qualify for the next stage.
“Not only will we just score one or two goals, we need to score lots of goals, otherwise, it is a matter of dignity for our boys.”