Afcon 2023: Musa and Omeruo want another trophy after the 2013 triumph
Captain Ahmed Musa and defender Kenneth Omeruo were in the Super Eagles squad that last won the Africa Cup of Nations title, back in 2013 in South Africa. They are also in the present squad that is at the cusp of glory in Cote d’Ivoire, with the Final match against the host nation taking place on Sunday night at the 60,000-capacity Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Ebimpé.
Musa, who scored against Mali in a 4-1 win for Nigeria in the semi-finals in South Africa 11 years ago, and is Nigeria’s record goalscorer at the FIFA World Cup with four goals, was very relaxed in a brief chat with thenff.com at the team’s Pullman Hotel in the Plateau district of Cote d’Ivoire’s industrial and economic capital.
“It is a feeling you can’t always properly describe. Winning the AFCON and touching the trophy is an unforgettable experience. Omeruo and I experienced that when we won in South Africa. But I want another one and he also wants another one. The good feeling and experience must be double-double.”
Omeruo, also very relaxed and in company with filial relations, corroborated the team leader: “We want that special feeling again – the feeling of being a champion of Africa. We have not gone this far to throw it away now. We have thrown everything into the six matches we have played here. We will give more than 100 percent against the Ivorians on Sunday.”
When Cote d’Ivoire hosted the competition 40 years ago, the Super Eagles also played in the Final match, but against Cameroon. The hosts failed to qualify for the group stage. That was an era when the final competition welcomed only eight teams.
Today, the tournament welcomes 24 teams (nearly half the member federations of CAF), making it a far bigger competition with so much glamour, glitz, grit, and plenty of drama.
After a 0-4 trashing by Equatorial Guinea in their final group phase game, many thought the Elephants had been eliminated. But Hakim Ziyech’s goal days later eliminated Zambia and sneaked the Elephants into the knock-out rounds, where they have prospered.
Nigeria’s on-field captain William Ekong says he expects Sunday’s Final between the Eagles and the Elephants to be a classic.
“It will not be a tea party, and we won’t be going out there with a teacup. We will work hard and fight hard for the trophy.”