Posted: Saturday 12th January 2013 at 0:07 am

Nations Cup: Expect strong oppositions, Sofoluwe, Lawal warn Eagles

By Solomon Nwoke

Ex-internationals Yisa Sofoluwe and Garba Lawal have both submitted that the Super Eagles should be  prepared to face strong oppositions in the  2013 Africa Cup of Nations  which begins next week in South Africa

Both former players spoke separately to Saturday Vanguard sports as the Eagles prepare to face Burkina Faso in their opening game on January 21 and other countries in the championship.

Catalonia’s Martin Montoya (R) vies with Nigeria’s Benjamin Francis during the friendly football match between the selection of Catalonia and Nigeria at the Cornella-El Prat stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on January 2, 2013. AFP PHOTO

Sofoluwe, known as the Dean of Defence during his playing days, expressed happiness with the level of work done by Stephen Keshi on the team so far but said that the defence line should be strengthened  in order to contain the  strong oppositions they would face at the competition proper.

He said the Eagles could do well as long as they stay focused, determined and cool headed just as he commended Keshi’s 23-man list  which has a good  number of  home-based players.

“I know that Eagles will have so many oppositions in the competition. But notwithstanding, I believe they (Eagles) can do well in the Nations Cup as long as they’re focused determined and abide by the instructions of their coach. They can even win the cup. There are no longer minnows in African football, but I’m so confident that the Eagles will be ready to unleash the anger of not playing in the last edition on their opponents. The only thing that can stand Eagles out is their work rate if increased”, he said.

Also speaking on the expectations of the Eagles, Lawal, who was a member of the technical committee that was recently dissolved by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said Nigerians should appreciate Stephen Keshi for finding space for new set of players in the team.

“It’s too early to say how far the Eagles would fair in the 2013 AFCON. We have to wait to see the first three games of the tournament. Football in Africa is strong. Countries like Niger, Cape Verde and Ethiopia are tough. The way we are preparing is the same way others are doing. The only way out is for the coach to ensure he has a good  bench,” he stressed.

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