Newcastle FC striker Shola Ameobi has described next month’s 2014 World Cup playoff qualifying round as “the big test for” the Super Eagles.
Nigeria secured a slot in the 10-team two-legged qualifying round of the 2014 Brazil World Cup on Saturday by beating Malawi 2-0 and ending the group stage top of Group F.
The top five seeded teams for next Monday’s draw, which comes up in Cairo, Egypt, will be determined by Thursday’s Fifa Rankings.
The playoff round begins in October with the return leg slated for November.
Ameobi made his competitive debut for the Super Eagles in Saturday’s victory over Malawi, coming on as a second-half substitute and came close to netting his first goal for Nigeria on the dead of 90 minutes but saw his effort blocked by Simplex Nthara.
“The big test for us will be in the playoffs and we have to show how far we have come here,” said Ameobi.
The veteran Newcastle striker said he is delighted he is now representing his fatherland at full international level, after featuring for England at the junior level.
“It’s a joy to play at the world stage. The coach and the lads have been very welcoming,” he added.
The 31-year-old also hopes ‘The Magpies’ improve in their Premier League campaign this season as he looks forward to playing regular football.
“Last season was a grueling season and this wore on our thin squad, but we hope to finish in the top half of the table this campaign. We did that two years ago and no reason why we should not do that again.
“I want to play more games, give everything I have got and score as many goals as possible,” Ameobi declared.
Ameobi is in line to start Eagles’ friendly match against Burkina Faso at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna, on Tuesday.