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Football | Super Eagles

Okocha © Shengolpix

Mali will test Nigeria - Okocha

Former Nigerian captain, Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha believes Wednesday’s semifinal game between Nigeria and Mali at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations will be a complicated affair.

Okocha says the tag of favourites on Nigeria ahead of the game may work against the Super Eagles if "they are not careful."

“If they (Super Eagles) are not careful, being the favourites may work in the advantage of the Malians because the pressure is now on Nigeria to win. We have every chance of winning though if we approach the game in the right way,” Okocha said.

The former Paris Saint Germain and Bolton Wanderers midfielder then took the time to explain the reasons behind Nigeria’s surprise quarterfinal success against the pre-tournament favourites, the Ivory Coast on Sunday.

“I think the name alone (of the Ivorians) was enough of a motivating factor for our boys.

“People had already written off Nigeria. When you are pushed to the wall, you can only attack.

“They had nothing to lose and they came out to prove people wrong. I am glad they did a good job. Team discipline and tactical discipline was the main reason we beat the Elephants,” he said.

Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba predicted on Monday that the Super Eagles would win the tournament but Okocha was a little bit more cautious in his prediction.

“This is football so all teams have a chance. Having beaten Ivory Coast, the tournament is wide open,” he stressed.


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