The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to tackle São Tomé and Principe at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Sunday
The head coach of the Golden Eaglets, Nduka Ugbade, has emphasized the importance of early preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) next year, Soccernet.ng reports.
Jose Peseiro’s troops, having already secured qualification for the tournament, will tackle Sao Tome and Principe in their final qualifying match on Sunday.
Earlier, the Super Eagles of Nigeria experienced an unexpected 1-0 defeat to Guinea Bissau, in the Group A that includes Sierra Leone and São Tomé.
Although, with a return leg away from, Nigeria secure two victories against Guinea-Bissau and the Leone Stars which placed them atop the group with 12 points.
Ugbade, in a conversation with Brila FM ahead of the upcoming match, urged Peseiro and his staff to view each game as an opportunity to build a championship-winning team for the AFCON in Côte d’Ivoire.
He emphasized the importance of selecting the best available players, as other strong teams that have qualified for the tournament are doing the same.
“Teams like Senegal, Cameroon, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea are all preparing, which means Nigeria must prepare for the AFCON with our best hands.” Ugbade told Brila FM.
Ugbade encouraged the team to approach the match against Sao Tome and Principe with the aim of winning and sealing the group, allowing them to focus on performing well at the AFCON.
He also pointed out that many of the national team players only have occasional opportunities to represent their country, underscoring the need for meticulous preparation to ensure they perform at their best in the tournament.
“Although we beat this team 10-nil and the match is not actually needed, let them just go to the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, win the match, close up the group, then go to the Cup of Nations, and perform well,” he concluded.
The 2013 AFCON Champions who have earlier thumped São Tomé and Principe in Morocco will be looking to build on their previous success when they face off in Uyo on Sunday.