The former Glasgow Rangers midfielder appeared at his first international tournament for the African giants earlier this year
Southampton playmaker Joe Aribo has shared one of the positives he took away from a disappointing CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon in January.
Aribo, who made his debut for Nigeria shortly after AFCON 2019 in Egypt, was one of the Super Eagles’ key players at the 2021 edition of the Championship.
The 26-year-old featured prominently as Nigeria defeated favourites Egypt, Sudan, and Guinea-Bissau to finish top of their group.
But the Super Eagles’ adventure was halted in the Round of 16 following a shocking loss to unfancied Tunisia.
Despite Nigeria’s disappointing exit in the knockout phase, Aribo believes the AFCON was a beautiful experience for him to savour.
The Saints ace insists he particularly enjoyed the genuine brotherhood and friendship among the Super Eagles players at the tournament.
Speaking about what it was like to experience an international tournament, Aribo said, “It was good, even being around the boys.
“Nigeria is a tight-knit group; everyone is friendly, everyone banters, so it’s really good to have that and it was a really good experience.”
EPL: Aribo vs. Ndidi and Iheanacho
On Saturday (today), Aribo’s Southampton make the trip to the King Power Stadium to face Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City.
The Foxes boast the services of two of Aribo’s international teammates in striker Kelechi Iheanacho and midfield dynamo Wilfred Ndidi.
Aribo, Ndidi, and Iheanacho were part of the Nigerian squad for that AFCON tournament in Cameroon earlier in the year.
And after just joining Southampton in the summer, Aribo would face his international teammates for the first time in a competitive match.
Asked how it makes him feel, the former Charlton Athletic star said, “It’s going to be really good. It’s going to be a tough test but I am excited to play against them, to be up against them.”
Both Southampton and Leicester City are yet to record a win in two matches played this term.
Aribo, coming on as a substitute, scored his first goal for the Saints in their 2-2 draw at home to Leeds United last weekend. Leicester were, on the same day, at the end of a 4-2 defeat at Arsenal.
Still, Aribo does not expect an easy encounter against Brendan Rodgers’ men.
“Leicester are a very good team, so it is not going to be easy for us,” the midfielder said.
“But we just need to stick to the manager’s game plan; our players need to turn up on the day, and hopefully we will get the result.”
Leicester City sit in 15th place on one point from two matches.
Southampton’s draw against Leeds United at St. Mary’s Stadium also earned them their first point of the campaign, putting them in 17th place.
When the two sides last met in Premier League action, Leicester were victorious 4-1 at King Power Stadium last season.