Ahead of the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers on Saturday in Calabar, returning Nigeria forward Sone Aluko has told Goal that he and his teammates are fully aware of the challenge against Congo will pose, but insists they have a winning game plan in place.
Aluko believes the Super Eagles have the quality and technical know-how to get the maximum points against the Red Devils on at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
The 25-year-old expressed excitement at returning to the national team and admitted his failure to impress on during his first call-up to the national team was due to lack of fitness and adaptation.
The former Rangers and Aberdeen of Scotland striker told Goal that though he was sad missing the 2013 African Cup of Nations and 2014 Fifa World Cup, he had no regret and as well rooted for the country at the Mundial.
“Of course, we can win Saturday’s game, being African Champions; every African team will want
to beat us because we are Nigeria,” Aluko told Goal.
“We know we will come up against a tough challenge. But I’m confident with the players we have here and the coach and with what we know about them already. We are going to execute a good game plan and win the game.
“I’m very good. I feel great to be back and very proud to be back in the squad. Obviously, you want to play for the national team and want to go to competitions. First and foremost, I’m a Super Eagles’ fan.
“When the team went to the World Cup and African Cup of Nations, I supported the team as a fan. Honestly I was a bit disappointed not being part of the squad, but had regretted supporting the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hull City of England striker has vowed to bring his wealth of experience of playing in the English Premier League and declared he is fit to challenge against Kenneth Country.
The former England youth international, urged Nigerians to rally support for the Super Eagles and promised the African champions will start their title defence on a winning note.
“Premier League is one of the top places in the World. You learn more about the game and get more experience quickly,” he told Goal.
“I hope that I can bring that to the national team and help the squad, because we have a young squad and bring some of my experiences here. I hope I add the knowledge I’ve gained from the Premier League,” he continued.
“Honestly, it was adapting, when I came to the team in initially, I was just coming back from injury and was not fully fit then. When I came to the squad, unfortunately I couldn’t adapt and I didn’t get to play many minutes.
“Like naturally, there so much competition in the team and your next chance could be two year down the line I feel good, I’m fit and doing well in training. Hoping the manager feels I’m doing well enough to deserve a chance on Saturday.
“Keep supporting us, keep praying for us and be behind us. I know sometimes the Nigerians will get frustrated with when things don’t go our way, but everybody here is focused in the same direction as we all want to win, so they should get behind us,” he concluded.
The Nigeria versus Congo game will kick off by 5pm on Saturday.