Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has asked fans of the Super Eagles to ‘stay humble’ in their expectations from the team at the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Egypt, adding that the country no longer has star players like in the past.
The Super Eagles on Friday wrapped up their 2019 AFCON qualifiers with a 3-1 win against Seychelles at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba before overcoming record 7-time African champions Egypt 1-0 on Tuesday in a prestige friendly match at the same venue to kick-start their preparations for the continental showpiece.
After qualifying for the AFCON in style with a game to spare, fans of the 3-time African Champions are already expecting Rohr’s men to conquer Africa but the 65-year-old, however, thinks his young team lacks star players who can make that happen.
“Stay humble, please,” Rohr responded when asked if Nigeria are favourites to win the AFCON in Egypt. “Because when you see our players, which one is playing in a big team? Which one is playing Champions League?
“I saw the (Champions League) games on Tuesday and Wednesday, I don’t see anybody. We don’t have the big players we have before. Where is (Austin) Okocha? Where is (Nwankwo) Kanu? Where is the other one; (Vincent) Enyeama? We don’t have.
“We have young players, we have a good team, a good spirit, but we don’t have the stars which you had before. I hope that we come back to that time.”
Despite the absence of star players in his side, the former Burkina Faso and Gabon coach is hoping that with teamwork, his young Eagles will ‘go far’ at the AFCON.
“Fortunately, we have (Alex) Iwobi playing in the Europa League with (Arsenal), but he did not start the last match (against Rennes). (We have) young players who have future, but our strength is the team.
“So, I hope that with our strength we can go far in the AFCON.”
The 2019 AFCON will be staged in Egypt from 21 June to 19 July.
Nigeria won the competition for the third time in 2013 but failed to qualify for the next two editions of the biennial tournament in 2015 and 2017.
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