1st Vice-President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Seyi Akinwunmi, says the home-based Super Eagles have not been given a minimum target ahead of the 5th Championship for African Nations (CHAN) which begins in Morocco on Saturday.
The Super Eagles play in Group C alongside 2014 winners, Libya, host of the 2016 edition, Rwanda, and debutants, Equatorial Guinea.
Despite being one of the biggest football nations in Africa, Nigeria has failed to truly impress at this competition meant for only players who ply their trade in their respective home leagues. The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the first two editions of the competition and got knocked out from the group stage in 2016, with their best ever performance being finishing third under the late Coach Stephen Keshi in 2014.
The Nigeria Professional Football League, from where Coach Salisu Yusuf picked the Super Eagles players, has experienced huge improvements and growth in recent years with more money and better organization introduced, prompting an extra level of expectation from many of the country’s football fans on the chances of the team to succeed in Morocco.
In an exclusive interview withBusybuddiesng.com, Akinwunmi, who is also Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, said the NFF sent the team to Morocco “without giving any direct target,” but it is “going to try and win” the tournament.
“We’ve planned to win, but if they don’t they won’t be castigated because of that,” said Akinwunmi. “We know it’s a competition and we are one of the competitors, but we go to competitions hoping and expecting to win.”
Nigeria will play Rwanda on January 15 in their first game before taking on Libya four days later, and, then, Equatorial Guinea on January 23 in their quest to qualify from the group stage of the competition.
The winner of the tournament will receive of 1.25 million dollars in prize money.