After watching other nations commence their 2019 ANSA African Nations Cup NSW campaigns, Nigeria is ready to begin their quest for the title.
Heading up Group C, the Super Eagles are looking to go a couple of places better after finishing third in the 2018 edition.
Alongside with head coach Anthony Nnamdi, Starger Ezeonu is one of the people tasked with guiding the former African Cup NSW champions to the top of the pyramid.
Ezeonu believes that the 2019 version of Nigeria has assembled a team that can be more than a contender.
“I strongly believe we have better young and talented players that are keen on the African Cup 2019,” he said.
“I have spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how we will lift the trophy this season, even if it will involve phasing out certain players for whom I had strong feelings, but that was my job.”
The young players coming in will the nucleus of the team include midfielders Emmanuel Ebiniyi, Abi Onifade and “our Ngolo Kante” Taiwo Akintunde.
Nnamdi and Ezeonu will be hoping that the work of the engine room will be finished off by well regarded forwards Dominic Esoghume and Collins Okocha.
“We the coaching crew have carefully selected the talented players that are keen and ready to bring the trophy back to the Nigerian community,” he said of the squad assembled.
“I can tell from the way they train and from our pre-season friendly matches results – which saw three wins and one draw – I believe in the players we have.”
“I made my boys understand that winning does not necessarily mean being a victor in every game. It’s not winning every game at any cost.”
That being said, the Super Falcons will definitely be one of the nations looking to be playing in that final match on 7 December 2019.
“It is a season and a series of seasons in which the team wins more games than it loses and each team member plays up to his potential”
“If you are continually developing your skills and refining your approach, then winning will be the final result.”
For Nigeria, it all starts on Saturday when they take on an Ivory Coast side coming off a strong performance in Round 1.
Kick off is at 2.00pm at Progress Park in Auburn.