Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has insisted it ‘will be very difficult’ for the Super Eagles to win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt which has been expanded to a 24-team tournament for the first time.
Three-time African champions, Nigeria were on Friday drawn to face Guinea and debutants, Madagascar and Burundi in Group B of the tournament, described by the Franco-German coach as ‘tough’.
The 65-year-old Rohr, who previously led Gabon (2012) and Niger (2013) to unsuccessful stints at the AFCON, is, however, hoping to be third time lucky with the Super Eagles in Egypt.
“After two comes three, and I hope that this one will be a good one for our team,” Rohr said. “We already qualified (for the AFCON) since November, which is wonderful. So, we have the time to prepare for what is in our mind a big tournament.
“It is the greatest one because we never had 24 teams, and it will be very difficult to win it because you have one more match to win, eight matches (seven) if you want to win it. Also, all the big teams are there.”
Nonetheless, the former Burkina Faso coach is hopeful of a good outing from his ‘young team’ at the AFCON.
“But we still have our young team with good spirit, and we are feeling good. We are happy to be there; this wonderful country of Egypt.
“And of course, we want to do well. That’s why we are preparing very well.”
After booking a place at the AFCON last November, the Super Eagles played out a goalless draw with the Cranes of Uganda and recently beat tournament hosts, Egypt 1-0 in friendly matches decided at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State.
The 2019 AFCON kicks off on 21st June and ends on 19thJuly.