Officials of the team disclosed Tuesday that with the exception of midfielder Ikenna Paul who sustained a hamstring injury, other members of the team are fit and ready to take on the Atlas Lions of Morocco at the 41,000-capacity Free State Stadium in Mangaung.
‘Nearly every person is well now, I can say 95% of the team is healthy,’ said Nigerian team’s spokesman Ben Alaiya.
‘You saw Benjamin Francis who didn’t play the last game against Bafana Bafana in full flair training with the full team. He is fit, he is ready. The only person who is not ready, who is running still running around, you saw him in canvas instead of boots, is Ikenna Paul, the combative midfielder for us, he is not ready yet. But the medics and the coaches are watching him.’
Also, Super Eagles defender Solomon Kwambe will miss the Morocco match after picking up a red card in the match against South Africa, which the Eagles won 3-1
SavidNews reports that the Super Eagles, who lost their opening group A match 2-1 to Mali, rebounded to beat Mozambique 4-2 and host South African 3-1 and qualify for the last eight.
The team, which is featuring in its first African Nations Championship, is now regarded as one of the favourites to lift the trophy on 1 Feb.
Explaining the rebound, Eagles’ official psychologist Robinson Okosun said the strategy he employed was simply to make the team play with a ‘relaxed mind’.
‘In the match against South Africa, they were told to play in a relaxed mind. We also told them that the South Africans will be under pressure and that they should play their normal game,’ he said.
Okosun said the defeat of the hosts had boosted the morale of the Nigerian team and prepped it to go for the title.
Nigeria holds the more prestigious Africa Cup of Nations title, having won the last edition of the tournament also in South Africa last year.