African football at the ongoing Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Angola 2010.
The Super Eagles will come face-to-face with traditional rivals GhanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Black Stars in the first semi-final of the tournament at the November 11 Stadium in Luanda on Thursday, and Odemwingie says they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t allow the golden opportunity of playing in the grand finale slip by.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are closer than ever to realizing our dreams and we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t afford to miss out. Our destiny is in our hands,Ã¢â‚¬Â the Locomotiv Moscow midfielder told cafonline.com after the Super Eagles training session at the June 11 Stadium in Luanda on the eve of the semis clash.
Spotting his training gear while sipping a mini-bottle of energy drink with a cluster of journalists around him; the 27 year old said the team is regaining back their confidence after a false start to the competition.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our confidence level is high. Victories is the last three games has boosted our chances.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Youth versus Experience
The midfielder who made his debut at the Tunisia 2004 Africa Cup of Nations admitted the Super Eagles are experienced than the Black Stars, dominated by countable debutants.
His view is shared by Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi, who remarked that his charges will have no excuses for failing to scale over the Ghana hurdle.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In football, experience counts largely. Sometimes, experience doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter. They are good side with talented young players.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Black Stars cut short the Super EaglesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ campaign at Ghana 2008 with a 2-1 win at the quarter-final, a result the 22-year old is seeking to overturn.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have played them before, but this is a different ball game. We are determined to advance and we will put in our best to achieve our target.Ã¢â‚¬Â
For Head Coach, Shuaibu Amodu, the clash revives the age-long rivalry between the two West African giants.
Amodu, an unpopular figure back home in Nigeria reckons a tough outing against the youthful Ghanaian side, ousters of hosts Angola at the last four.
In six meetings between the two sides at the Africa Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles have been on the winning side thrice, two losses and one draw, and the 51-year old trainer is seeking to maintain the winning run.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is an old rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria even at the lowest level. We expect a very tough game. We promised our fans to go far and a place in the final will be good.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ghana has a young team and the confidence keeps growing after every game. Expectations are not high from them as every one knows they are experimenting with young players. In Nigeria, it is never so as there is pressure on you to win.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Meanwhile, central defender Joseph Yobo is likely to make a return as he was actively involved in the session. Yobo has not tasted action since sustaining a hamstring injury during the group phase clash against Benin. He has since not seen action with France-based defender Onyekachi Apam replacing him at the centre of the Super Eagles defence.
The Super Eagles recent appearance in the final of the biennial championship was in 1994 in Tunisia, where they beat Zambia 2-1 to claim their second title.