By Sylvanus Ofekun
The Super Eagles will face strong competition from other top African teams who are also determined to win the AFCON title. Teams like Egypt, Senegal, and Cameroon have proven to be formidable opponents in the past and will present significant challenges.
The Super Eagles must conquer the following hurdles if they must win Nigeria’s Fourth AFCON Title;
1. Squad selection and team chemistry: It is important for the Super Eagles to select a well-balanced squad, comprising both experienced and young talented players. Building good team chemistry and cohesion will be crucial in achieving success at the AFCON tournament.
2. Coaching and tactics: The Super Eagles Coach, Jose Pesiro must display skills, dexterity and effectively strategize,implement tactics that suit the team’s style of play. A clear game plan and effective communication will be pivotal for the team’s success.
3. Mental and physical fitness: The players need to maintain high levels of physical fitness and mental focus throughout the tournament. Avoiding injuries and fatigue will be important factors in maintaining a competitive edge.
4. Defensive solidity: The Super Eagles must address their defensive vulnerabilities to compete effectively. Strong defensive organization, solid goalkeeping performances, and disciplined defending will be essential in keeping opposition teams at bay.
5. Efficient and clinical finishing: Nigeria will need to improve their attacking prowess and be more clinical in front of goal. Scoring goals consistently will give them an advantage in tight games and could be the difference between winning and losing.
6. Maintaining consistency throughout the tournament: The Super Eagles must ensure they remain consistent throughout the tournament, avoiding complacency and taking every match seriously. They should not underestimate any opponent and approach each game with the same determination and focus.
7. Effective set-piece execution: Proper execution of set-pieces can be a game-changer in tight contests. The Super Eagles must work on their set-piece routines, both defensively and offensively, to maximize their chances of success.
8. Support from fans and public: The Super Eagles will need the support of Nigerians both on and off the pitch. The positive energy from fans, along with the belief and backing from the country, can provide an added boost to the players’ motivation and confidence.
9. Managing pressure and expectations: Nigeria is a soccer-loving nation with high expectations for their national team. Handling pressure and managing expectations will be crucial for the Super Eagles to remain focused and perform at their best. They must not let the weight of expectation hinder their performance.
Thankfully, President Bola Tinubu has approved the payment of N12 billion owed to Nigeria’s national teams of various sports, which includes the Super Eagles.