Tue 5 Feb '13
| © supersport.com
Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, David Ngodigha, believes Nigeria would reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations following their decisive victory against the Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals.
Nigeria played their best match since the start of the competition to send the pre-tournament favourites crashing, and Ngodigha reckons they should be able to beat Mali on Wednesday with their new found form.
He told supersport.com: "We are definitely the favourites to beat Mali and reach the final.
"The Super Eagles didn't convince us much in the group stages, and I feel the boys probably realised this and decided to raise their game and they have now shown that typical Nigerian fighting spirit in major tournaments that had been lacking earlier on.
"They stuck together, worked hard, marked very well, were quick to the ball and generally took the game to the Ivorians.
"The team have found some momentum and are playing really well at the moment.
"The change in attitude unsettled the plans of Sabri Lamouchi, and it would be best for them to continue with the same team against Mali.
"I can’t see Mali surviving us if we play with the same belief and team work; we should only avoid being over complacent and realise we still have tough opposition ahead."
Ngodigha also put the team's resurgence down to the fact that the coaches were bold enough to make a raft of changes.
"The coaches made changes after each game and they have tinkered the team gradually from being laid back to one that plays robustly," he said.
"After the first game (Kenneth) Omeruo was brought in to pair (Godfrey) Oboabona, and when Efe Ambrose returned from suspension, we had a determined quartet of youngsters in defence who are ready to play for 95 minutes.
"(Sunday) Mba and (Ogenyi) Onazi's introduction appears to have done the trick in the middle, as they have complemented Mikel's efforts; for once we had a very mobile and fluid midfield that didn't leave much gap between themselves and the forward line.
"In the attack, Ahmed Musa hasn't really found his best form in this competition, and something had to be done.
"Ideye has taken his chance well and it also helped having two strikers in the middle rather than two wide men and a lone striker," he reasoned.