The president of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), Sam Ikpea, advised Nigerians on Tuesday not to be too hasty in judging the Super Eagles based on the last friendly match against Guinea's Syli National.
Ikpea gave the advice in an exclusive interview while reflecting on the Super Eagles' preparations for the 34th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote D’Ivoire.
The Super Eagles, three-time AFCON winners, will be making their 21st appearance at Africa’s biggest football showpiece hosted by Cote D’Ivoire.
The team spent a week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, preparing for the tournament and had a friendly match against Guinea's Syli National, which they lost 2-0.
Despite pundits commenting on the loss against another AFCON-bound team, Ikpea argued that it would be presumptuous to conclude that the team would not perform well.
He pointed out that competition was a different ball game compared to a friendly match, which was only organized to shape up the team, among other factors.
“My assessment of the Super Eagles is that they are well prepared for AFCON 2023. The game against Guinea is just a friendly match that we can't use to fully assess the team.
“We should realize that all the players want to participate in the major tournament, which is the AFCON; hence, they must avoid injuries, and some played with caution.
“The result from the Guinea match is not enough to condemn the team or say they are not good enough. I know that when the competition starts, the players will give their all.
“The team has quality, and I expect them to prove the doubters wrong. We should not be bothered by the friendly match; instead, we should support the team more,” he said.
Ikpea assured that the Super Eagles would surprise the world and Africa when the competition starts on January 13.
He also revealed that the team would be traveling to the host country, Abidjan, on January 16 to cheer on the Eagles.