Super Eagles forward Odion Ighalo says he and his teammates are determined to give everything in today’s Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal game against South Africa to get a deserving result.
The Shanghai Shenhua of China forward admitted that the game against Bafana Bafana would be tough but he believes that Nigeria is mentally ready for the big occasion. In a chat with SportingLife.ng in Cairo on Tuesday, Ighalo said the game would be more difficult than Cameroon game. He stressed that the players talked about the game and how they will approach it to get the victory. “It is in our head now that we do not have to lose this game. We have been reading many kinds of stuff from fans from two countries that we are rivals, and we just laughed it off because that was fans saying. It is going to be a tough game but we are going to fight, we want to give everything we have and that is the only way we can win it,” Ighalo said to reporters.
He added: “I am one of the oldest players in the team and we have to encourage the young players in team because sometimes when you are down, it is very difficult to come back, so that was why I told them to keep fighting in the game against Cameroon because everything is possible in football. Even in the last minutes, you could score a goal. Come to South Africa game, we have spoken about it because we know it will be more difficult than Cameroon game. Those guys are very fast. They are not physical like Cameroon but they can play good football. I believe we are going to put a good fight tomorrow and make Nigerian proud.” Ighalo said today’s game will be different from the AFCON qualifying games played by the two sides in Uyo and Johannesburg last year.
Bafana Bafana defeated Super Eagles 2-0 in the first leg encounter in Uyo and coach Genort Rohr tutored side pulled a 1-1 draw in the return leg Johannesburg “We lost to them in Uyo because some of us were not there when South Africa defeated us. We got a draw there in Johannesburg as well. So this a tournament now and it is quarter-final. It is going to be a different ball game. It going to be a cup game. South Africa is an even better team now than a team we played in Nigeria and South Africa then. We are ready and we going to do our best.”
Ighalo has however pleaded with Nigeria fans to rally behind the team.