Chelsea star, Mikel Obi, has urged the Eagles to brace up and beat Ethiopia in their next match in order to reach the quarterfinal of the 2013 AFCON, which is underway in South Africa. The Eagles, parading as many as 17 debutantes at the ongoing Nations Cup, have twice allowed their opponents to cancel out their lead at the tournament.
They were pegged back 1-1 by Burkina Faso with virtually the last kick of the ball on Monday. And on Friday, they again allowed Zambia to salvage a precious point in Nelspruit. “We have to learn how to retain our lead. We have to keep concentration and keep doing what we are doing till the end of every game,” Mikel said. “We have to keep improving, we have to keep believing in what we are doing; we have to keep believing in the team.
“We still have a chance to qualify from the group and hopefully, in the last game, we will get the three points we need to qualify for the quarterfinals.” Nigeria’s Under-20 star, Kenneth Omeruo, shone in his first start for his full international game and he revealed that Eagles will have to be focused against Ethiopia on Tuesday in Rustenburg. “The officiating has not been good for us in the last two games and so, we would have to play against the referee in the next game, but we must keep our head up to ensure we get all the three points,” said the Chelsea player on loan.
“It was so unfortunate against Zambia because that was not a penalty, but that game has come and gone. We need to focus on the next,” added Lazio youngster, Ogenyi Onazi. In the meantime, ex-Eagles’ skipper, Sunday Oliseh, has blasted Egyptian referee, Ghead Grisha for awarding Zambia a dubious penalty from which the Chipolopolo drew level with Nigeria on Friday.
“What we saw in the game was a show of shame from the referee, he showed how incompetent he was by choosing to award that penalty to Zambia. He should have consulted his assistants before he took such a decision,” said Oliseh. “It was a dubious penalty but I am optimistic that Eagles will go beyond the group stage by beating Ethiopia in their last game in the group.”