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Football | Super Eagles

Efe Ambrose © Action Images

Ambrose relishes Confed Cup challenge



Nigeria defender, Efe Ambrose is now "looking forward to going to Brazil" for the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup in June.

"It is a big thing, and we are all looking forward to going to Brazil. And we will not only be going there to play for Nigeria, but we will go there to make Africa proud.

"The Confederations Cup is bigger than what we were playing for in South Africa," he told Fifa.com.

The Celtic man revealed that Nigeria head coach, Stephen Keshi had always wanted to see the Super Eagles win the African title and qualify to feature in the 'Festival of Champions,' as the Confederations Cup is also known.

The former Kaduna United centre-back, who played as a right-back all through the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria, added that Keshi's "trust and confidence" was enough to motivate them to winning the continent's biggest football prize.

He also recalled the pain of missing out on qualifying for the 2012 Afcon.

"The coach had trust and confidence in the players. That matters the most, for without that, you cannot succeed. But he believed in us and that we could do it. From the start he told us that when we were here, there was nothing that could stop us from winning this cup.

"He said, even before we came here, that his aim was not only to win the cup, but to go to the Confederations Cup. With his dream, it helped us a lot to know that we had a bigger thing ahead of us. Nobody gave Nigeria the chance because last year we did not even qualify for the finals, so everybody wrote us off.

"But this made us more determined to work hard, train more and prove people wrong. We wanted to make sure that we are a giant of African football, and we wanted to bring back the glory of the past to the present," Ambrose said.

The 24-year-old also declared that winning the African title has now overtaken the silver medal he won with Nigeria's Under-23 team at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"This is my biggest achievement that I have had to date. Before this, it was the Olympic silver medal. But this is the biggest, so this is one of the greatest moments of my life. It was always my dream to play in the Nations Cup, but I would have never thought of winning it.

"So now I just have to thank God and all Nigerians, from the President to the last person in Nigeria for their belief. It is no longer about us on the pitch, it is all about team effort and we are one, because football unites us and I know people at Celtic and back home in Nigeria will be celebrating for us and waiting for the cup to be paraded in Nigeria," said Ambrose.

Nigeria won their third African title defeating Burkina Faso by a goal from Sunday Mba in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The African champions will face Tahiti, Uruguay and world champions, Spain in Group B of the Confederations Cup in Brazil.



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