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Football | Super Eagles

Okonkwo © Shengolpix

Okonkwo gives Eagles 'thumbs up'

Super Eagles' right-back, Chibuzor Okonkwo has awarded the Nigerian squad a pass mark against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia.

The Eagles on Tuesday in Rustenburg defeated the East Africans 2-0 in the last Group C game to book passage to the knockout stages of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

Two second half penalties converted by winger, Victor Moses ensured the Eagles finished the group's campaign on the second spot behind leaders, the Stallions of Burkina Faso.

The two-time African champions will confront the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire in the quarterfinals in Rustenburg on Sunday.

Okonkwo, who missed out from the 2013 Afcon due to non-possession of a valid Shengan visa, said the Eagles will improve further as hostilities hit the knockout stages.

"We played a good game today (Tuesday) against Ethiopia, we've been playing a good game only that goals were not forthcoming.

"Ethiopia have never been minnows. Of course, there are no minnows in football again. During one of the qualifying matches we fought hard to play a 2-2 draw in Addis Ababa.

"Though I'm worried that we've not been scoring goals but I know now we're in the knockout stage and the goals will surely come," the former Heartland strongman said to supersport.com.

Okonkwo said Nigeria have an equal chance at qualifying for the semifinals as well as the Ivoriens.

"Cote d'Ivoire have been together for two to three years, they equally understand themselves unlike ours that are just knowing each other. Ivoriens are a complete side but against Nigeria in the quarterfinals it will be a different ball game. It's a 50/50 qualification game for both sides," said the former Bayelsa United defender.

Okonkwo would however want more work done on the backline before the quarterfinal clash against fellow West Africans.

"Keshi needs to work more on the defence as well as the midfield and attack. A little work on those areas will make the team compact and thick to face any opposition," he said.


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