Talents not enough to play for Super Eagles, says Ex Eagles, Aghahowa

Posted : 01 December 2023

Former Super Eagles striker, Julius Aghahowa, on Friday, voiced his opinion on the performances of the Super Eagles, stating that talent alone is not sufficient to wear the national jersey, emphasizing the need for absolute commitment.

Aghahowa made this statement in an exclusive interview while reacting to the below-par performances of the Super Eagles and their preparations for the 2024 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The Nigeria Super Eagles are set to participate in the biennial AFCON starting from January 13 to February 11 and are placed in Group A alongside host Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea.

Nigeria will play the first match against Equatorial Guinea on January 14, followed by a match against host Cote D'Ivoire on January 18, and the final group match against Guinea-Bissau on January 22, 2024.

Aghahowa, who scored 14 international goals for Nigeria, expressed optimism about the talents in the Super Eagles but added that the players should demonstrate more commitment to playing for Nigeria.

"I am optimistic about the Super Eagles' chances at the AFCON; the players are talented and have the capacity to deliver.

"The main issue I am having is the willpower, that enthusiasm, and passion to deliver 120 per cent; that is the concern, their commitment.

"The players are in Europe, which is easier because everyone is playing the same style. But coming to Africa to play and vie for major tournaments like World Cup qualifiers or AFCON, we are not going to have it easy.

"The other African countries will come with their home-based players, and when a country has a full home-based team, what do we expect?

Aghahowa, a member of the 2000 Summer Olympics team, added that the senior national team needed much enthusiasm to play against other African countries that might want to make a name at the expense of Nigeria.

"When these African countries are playing Nigeria, there will be a lot of fight because they also want to be known all over the world, so our players should also have the same mentality.

"The Super Eagles coming to play here should understand that they are coming for a very difficult game, either they want to play for a big African country or others.

"Our players need to have it at the back of their mind that it will be a difficult match and be well-prepared; once they sort that out, the rest will be history.

"The players can do it, and I believe in them, but that commitment and resilience, the game is a must-win should be added to their mentality," he said.

Aghahowa also admitted that it might not be realistic to win all matches; yet, adequate preparations and commitment must be shown in case the results don't go as planned.

"Our players should be able to beat their chest that they did all they could in case the match did not go as planned.

"The fans themselves will see the outcome that they tried but didn't get the result. But on another scenario when they played without sweat and lose the game, that is not what we want.

"Playing with commitment is for their good as well and for the country. If we miss the World Cup, many things are at stake for the economy, media, tourism, and others; companies won't bring their money.

"Losing the World Cup ticket is not a win-win situation because I can see that other smaller countries are beginning to have the guts to come to Nigeria and hope to win us here; we don't want that," he said.

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