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Nigeria's Pride At Stake, says David Mark

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Senate President, David Mark, has urged  Nigeria’s Super Eagles to beat the Elephants of Ivory Coast in their quarter final match at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday because the pride of the nation is at stake.

The Eagles and the Elephants’ cracker has been dubbed a ‘Titanic Battle’ judging by the pedigree of Nigeria and Ivory Coast in African football and Mark believes Stephen Keshi and his team must defeat the Ivorians to show the world that Nigeria is the giant of Africa.

The Senate President, who wants Nigerian senators to fast and pray for the Eagles ahead of the match, said it would be his delight if the Eagles can qualify for the semi final of the Nations Cup at the expense of the Ivorians.

“There is no doubt that national pride and dignity are at stake when Super Eagles take to the pitch against Ivory Coast on Sunday. “We will pray as hard as we can but they must play as hard as they can because our prayers alone cannot score goals,’’ Mark said.

Speaking ahead of the match, Eagles’ goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama said: “Ivory Coast have reached the end of the road. We are going to attack them because we also want to make a name for ourselves.

“The last time Nigeria won the AFCON title was in 1994, with our current coach serving as captain. That’s a long time ago and that is also unacceptable for a big team of Nigeria’s calibre.

“We are not intimidated by the fact that Ivory Coast have assembled a team of world-class players. It will be great to play against top players such as Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Kolo Toure and Didier Zokora.”

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Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi is expected to recall the likes of Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Siaka Tiene and Didier Zokora. Victor Moses, who scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Ethiopia on Tuesday, said: “We know that many people are not giving us a chance, but we will cause an upset.”

Yaya Toure, whose country last won the AFCON title 21 years ago, said: “We made it clear when the tournament started that we want to win it for the people of Ivory Coast. The long wait is finally coming to an end.”

Wilfried Guemiand, who scored for the Ivorians in the draw against Algeria along with Didier Drogba, is hoping his side’s appetite for goals will continue, adding that the Ivorians will be in the semifinals.

Besides Enyeama, Nigeria have other experienced players such as John Obi Mikel and Joseph Yobo, who are capable of causing a major upset.

The two sides had met five times before at the AFCON finals, with Ivory Coast winning two matches and Nigeria one.

The other games ended in draws.

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