What Nigeria's national team is missing according to AFCON legend
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What Nigeria's national team is missing according to AFCON legend

29/03/24 12:23

Nigerian AFCON legend Emmanuel Emenike says the national team aren’t using ex-players to their advantage.

In an exclusive interview with Football Park, Emenike claims he’s in contact with current Nigerian stars such as Kenneth Omeruo, Kelechi Ineanacho and Moses Simon.

But when asked if the 2013 AFCON winner is able to pass his experience on to the current squad, he said, “Not really, because you have to be given the opportunity to do that.

Emenike Nigerian National team

“At the end of the day you can’t just walk in and do that, you know?

“People on top of Nigerian Football, need to bring ex players and get us involved. To let the players know that it’s very important to win for Nigeria. Which is what they did during our time.”

Emenike won the Golden Boot in Nigeria’s victorious 2013 campaign, and defied the odds in the quarter-finals. His long-range free-kick strike helped beat an Ivory Coast team featuring stars such as Yaya Toure, Saloman and Didier Drogba.

“They invited Nwankwo Kanu, Okocha… most of the ex-players to come and speak to us and it worked.

“Against Ivory Coast, Okocha came, Kanu came, and they spoke to us. Telling us that we should just give our best. That these guys Ivory Coast are not better than us, they just have the name. And then, we did it.”

“Sometimes it’s important you get a lot of ex-players involved in the national team,” said Emenike, who was convinced his nation had won their 4th AFCON title last month when William Troost-Ekong put them ahead in the final.

But it was Sebastian Haller who stole the headlines, who scored the winner for the opposition in the 81st minute.

“It could have been way different,” said Emenike on the final. “We have a lot of players that can talk to the boys. Or even if you don’t talk to the boys, when they see you they have confidence. They know that, ‘Okay, if this guy can do it. We can also do it.’

“If you see any ex-player in the national team he was probably not invited by anybody. He just went there by himself.

But at the end of the day I’m proud of them because they got to the final. Nigeria is one of the best teams in Africa at the moment.”

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