Ex-Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu has admitted that Nigeria’s first leg 2014 World Cup qualifying playoff against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Sunday will be a tough one, saying “we need luck”.
The return match takes place in Calabar on November 16 and the aggregate winners qualify for next year’s finals in Brazil.
And the Walya Antelopes have vowed to beat the Eagles at their Addis Ababa National Stadium fortress and travel to Calabar to seal their place at the World Cup.
Coach Bishaw Sewnet and midfielder Menyahil Teshome said on Monday the Walya Antelopes had learned some lessons from their 2-0 defeat by the Eagles at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, warning Nigeria not to take victory for granted this time around.
Teshome said, “I think we will have a better game in the coming match against Nigeria.” We are ready for this match, we are very ready. We learned a lesson from the mistakes we made last time.Our strength is our team spirit.
“We have nothing to fear. Until now, we’ve been supported by our people.”
But Kanu, who represented Nigeria at the France ’98, Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010 World Cups, is backing the Eagles to pick up maximum points from the encounter.
However, the Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games gold medallist maintains victory will not come easy for Nigeria in the high altitude of Ethiopia, calling for support for the Eagles.
“As the crucial match against Ethiopia draws near, let’s give our team support and prayers,” the 1995 UEFA Champions League winner wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
“We need all the luck and three points in the match.”
Meanwhile, coach Stephen Keshi says only “big characters” will be selected for the clash.
“This (match) will be a serious test for us because it is the final hurdle. Only big characters will be selected to play and concentration and focus must be high,”supersport quoted the Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nation winner as saying.