Super Eagles assistant captain, Ahmed Musa tell stories about the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to inspire his teammates ahead of Cameroon clash on Saturday, William Troost-Ekong reveals.
Nigeria won their third AFCON title in 2013 under Late Stephen Keshi as coach, the team in a similar situation with the 2019 squad struggled in their first two games before their first win of the tournament against Ethiopia.
Interestingly, the 2013 winning squad finished second in their group and were paired against tournament favourite Cote d’Ivoire in the quarter-final. Nigeria defeated Cote d’Ivoire and eventually won the title.
“We have motivation from Ahmed Musa, John Mikel Obi and Kenneth Omeruo who were part of 2013 AFCON wining team. Musa has told us 2013 stories, we are motivated and inspired. We have to show up big against Cameroon. Cameroon are the champions and they will have motivation to defend their title, the AFCON is the biggest football event in Africa and we are hoping to win it.
“It will be a mental battle, we played against them two years ago. We understand the football history between Nigeria and Cameroon, they are the champions and we have to respect them for that. We are up against big players and this is the moment that makes you a player.
“Winning the AFCON will be one of my best highlights of my career, I have been privileged to win a medal for Nigeria at the Olympics (In 2016) and we know how much it means to bring glory back to Nigeria, we also understand winning the AFCON will also change our general life,” said Ekong at Friday’s press conference in Alexandria.
Nigeria and Cameroon share eight African titles between them. While the Indomitable Lions have won five times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017), Nigeria were champions in 1980, 1994 and 2013. The Udinese defender says the defeat to Madagascar is behind the team as they look forward to the round of 16 fixture.
“The Madagascar defeat is behind us now, we have extra motivation for this game. We know we have to give everything in the game, it will be a big game against Cameroon. We played them (Cameroon) before, in the World Cup qualifiers. Maybe, they might play for revenge but we’ll be ready for them.
“Like any team, we have been in this situation before, we have lost games we were tagged favourites. We had similar experience against South Africa in the AFCON qualifiers and we came out strong from the situation and reacted positively as a team. We have put our heads together, we were not satisfied with the result against Madagascar. Tomorrow’s game is on our minds, we need to prove a point and change the narratives in the minds of our fans,” Ekong concluded.