Nigeria’s Super Eagles have missed out on the two previous tournaments, with their last appearance coming in their successful 2013 campaign in South Africa.
Ndidi who was a key figure during Nigeria’s World Cup campaign in Russia made his Super Eagles debut in 2015 and has never been to the continental spectacle. However, with Gernot Rohr’s side seating at the top of Group E of the qualifying round, they stand a chance of making the 32-team party to Cameroon.
The 21-year old who spoke to the BBC said: “We have a big opportunity to return to the Nations Cup and I believe the players can make it happen
“The World Cup is gone and we’ve been winning games after Russia, and it is an extra motivation to prove that we learned from the mistake of missing the last two tournaments in Africa.
“It is my dream to play in Cameroon next year, my teammates share the same ambition and we have a big chance to make it happen now.”
After being caught off guard by South Africa in their AFCON qualifiers opener last year, Nigeria have returned strongly defeating Seychelles and Libya in a doubleheader to lead the pack with nine points.
The Eagles have a few injury problems ahead of a pivotal reunion with second-placed Bafana Bafana at the weekend, while Ndidi is suspended after picking up a third yellow card.
“We’ve suffered some setbacks but that is all part of the game, but I don’t think that is enough to stop us,” he continued.
“Injury and suspension should not prevent us, it’s been tough because other players at the club will tease you if you don’t play in big tournaments.
“For our careers, our country and fans we should be playing in the Nations Cup and we have to make it happen now.”