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NIGERIA VS COTE D’IVOIRE: Why we can’t rely on history – Okocha 

NIGERIA VS COTE D’IVOIRE: Why we can’t rely on history – Okocha 

As the world awaits the Super Eagles second Group A matches against hosts Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday, 18 January, Super Eagles legend Jay Jay Okocha has said Nigeria could win.

when reminded that Nigeria’s last meeting with Cote d’Ivoire was a loss back in 2015, and whether that will play a factor, he said:

“It’s not just Cote d’Ivoire. Every match today is difficult. The gap has narrowed, and I think we don’t have to rely much on history. What interests us is the current Côte d’Ivoire that we will play on Thursday. If you look at our two teams, you will see that the difference is not big. It will be a good match.”

Nigeria were held to a 1-1 draw by Equatorial Guinea in their opening clash, while Cote d’Ivoire triumphed to a 2-0 victory of Guinea-Bissau.

CAFOnline asked Okocha who he expects the match to be difficult for his country, and he said yes.

“Absolutely! Every match is difficult but when you play the host country, it is even more difficult. But, of course the beauty of football is that if you want to be champions, you have to win against the best. And as we know, in football, every match is difficult. If you are well prepared, you have a chance of winning your match. But, we Nigerians, we know that it will be a difficult match but also, we believe that we have enough potential to be able to win this match”, Okocha said.

He however exposed the secrets to winning the encounter.

“I think what the key will be is experience, desire and state of mind. For me, they are professionals, and they know the importance of this match, I think their mindset will be the key.”

Okocha didn’t believe Nigeria played badly in the match against Equatorial Guinea.

“I think we didn’t really play bad like many people say. There were a lot of positive things that were seen in the match. The only problem is that we didn’t take our opportunities. We created a lot of chances, which is a positive aspect for me. That’s the sign of a good team. It looks like two points lost because we were favorites, but we know how difficult it is to win a match. This is also a good thing because they now know that they are not perfect and that they need to improve certain things.”

Asked who he thinks is the favorite to win the competition, Okocha did not hesitate to name Nigeria, his country. It was not clear if that was based on analysis or sentiment.

“My favorite, of course, is Nigeria, naturally (laughing). Come on, we’ll wait and see”, he said.



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