Nigeria’s Super Eagles beat Zambia 1-0 last week Saturday to become the first African team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
And now Seyi Olofinjana believes it is time for the super Eagles who have reached the
second round at three of their five World Cups to go a step further.
“We’ve been to a few World Cups in recent years, and we need to be looking at progressing further – rather than crashing out in the early stages,” Olofinjana told BBC Sport.
“I think the country should be looking at perhaps the quarter-finals,” added the former midfielder, who won over 40 caps for Nigeria before bowing out at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
Only three African teams have ever reached the quarter finals at the World Cup being Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.
Olofinjana thinks it’s time for the current players to make history next year and ensure the Super Eagles who have reached the second round at three World Cups – 1994, 1998 and 2014 go beyond that stage next year.
“It’s doable – it’s not impossible,” he said.
“We have a coach who knows how to bring everybody together, and the boys we’ve got are hungrier and have a bit of experience; players like (captain) John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Ahmed Musa.
He further advocates for coach Gernot Rohr to continue with the blend of experience and youth as the team heads into football’s biggest tournament next year.
“They can bring the younger ones with them so that we do not just to go the tournament to enjoy it, but to push ourselves to the next level.”
Since making their World Cup debut in 1994, Nigeria have played in every World Cup bar the 2006 edition in Germany.
Nigeria qualified with relative ease from a group dubbed the ‘group of death’ with reigning AFCON champions Cameroon, Algeria and 2012 AFCON champions Zambia, winning four and drawing one of
their games with the last game against Algeria to come next month.