Nigeria vow to knock Ghana out of Nations Cup
Nigeria have said they are looking forward to ruining the victory party for hosts Ghana when the two teams clash Sunday in the quarter-finals of the 2008 African Nations Cup.
The Super Eagles sneaked through the back door to the last eight of the tournament on the back of a 2-0 win over Benin and a massive favour by fierce rivals Ivory Coast, who put out Group B rivals Mali 3-0.
"We are rated as the best team in Africa currently and so should not fear any team in this competition," said Nigeria assistant coach Austin Eguavoen.
"Our target is to win the Cup and that means we have to knock out Ghana to stay on course. It will not be easy but if there is one team capable of doing this, it is Nigeria.
"We are preparing for the 2010 World Cup and have a young team that has shown great promise and character."
The Eagles first round record, where they lost to Ivory Coast and drew 0-0 with Mali, falls short of that of Ghana, who scored the maximum nine points to reach the knockout stage of the biennial competition.
"We were unlucky and did not take our chances against Ivory Coast. We also failed to beat a very determined Malian team. It seems our opponents are extra-motivated when they face us," said Eguavoen.
Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, who scored Nigeria's first goal against Benin Tuesday and created the other, said the team are determined to again beat the odds against the Black Stars in Accra in the quarter-final.
"Against Benin we showed character and got the result. We only have to step it up against Ghana and we will be in the semi-finals. We can do this because we're a team for the big occasion," said Mikel.
Nigeria beat their west African arch-rivals 1-0 in a group game of the 2006 Nations Cup in Egypt.
However, Ghana took revenge in a friendly a year ago in London with a 4-1 thrashing.