Former Eagles midfielder Etim Esin says the Super Eagles can only underrate their foes at their own peril.
Defending champions Chipolopolo of Zambia and the Eagles are the favorites to advance from the group to the knockout stage of the tournament but Etim admits that there are no longer underdogs in African football.
“There are no longer underdogs in African football. Don’t forget that champions Zambia are in our group. Nobody expected them to win the trophy last time out,” Etim said.
“There are spoilers like Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. These teams can make things difficult for us if we underrate them.
We saw what little Cape Verde did to us during a friendly game. So we should expect more of that in South Africa,” explained Etim.
Nwosu plays down pre-AFCON game
Former Golden Eaglets’ coach, Henry Nwosu has cautioned Nigerians not be carried away by Super Eagles 5-0 thumping of Portuguese side, Farense in Faro, Portugal.
Tuesday’s pre-AFCON 2013 build-up game stood out as the biggest win in the Eagles pre-Africa Cup of Nations. The Eagles had earlier drawn 1-1 against the Catalonian selected and goalless against AFCON debutants, Cape Verde.
Nwosu said the massive win may count as nothing when the team square up against their AFCON foes in South Africa starting against Burkina Faso next Monday in Nelspruit.
“That result was recorded between a national team and second division club side, we shouldn’t overrate the encounter as to make prediction on how far the team will go in South Africa 2013.
“I won’t judge the Eagles with the result against Farense rather the team is improving gradually.
“Of course, in football you don’t stop trying until you get it right. We’ve not seen other teams in competitive games and not until they square up every prediction may come to nothing,” said the former Nigerian player.
Nwosu believes the Eagles will start off well against Burkina Faso and take it up from there.
“Burkina Faso is a good side and Nigeria is a big name in African football.
“No team are in South Africa for sight-seeing rather as potential winners, so if we get our act together we’ll overcome the Burkinabes.
“And I think after the encounter one can properly assess the team’s chances at the AFCON,” he said.
Nigeria will start their title campaign against Burkina Faso on Monday in Nelspruit before tackling Cup holders, Zambia at same venue and Ethiopia in Rustenburg.