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    Thursday, December 21, 2023

    Osimhen Can Lead Eagles to AFCON Glory – Nwakali

    Chaves midfielder, Kelechi Nwakali, feels with Victor Osimhen the Super Eagles have a squad capable of matching any side for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations title in Ivory Coast

    The new African Footballer of The Year, Osimhen will make a return to the Eagles for the tournament after missing the team’s World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in November due to a hamstring injury.

    The Eagles on their part head into the AFCON tournament in a rather confident mood with a seven-game unbeaten record (four wins and three draws) and are up against host Equatorial Guinea Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau in Group A.

    Nwakali who has been included in the provisional squad for the 34th edition of the competition said while the Eagles’ versatility and quality are clear to see, consistency will be key to any success in Ivory Coast.

    “I feel we’ve got a very good squad to win the AFCON,” Nwakali told The PUNCH.

    “This time around, the Eagles will have Victor (Osimhen), he can lead the team to the AFCON title. He is the best striker in the world at the moment.

    “I believe our squad is capable in any given game of matching any team. But obviously, it’s one thing having that and another being able to do that consistently throughout a tournament.

    “We’ve got players who can play anywhere in so many positions. You never know with the players we’ve got how well they can do. We’ve had a good qualifying campaign, but we need to make sure that we don’t slack, that we keep going and keep pushing forward, and give ourselves every possible chance.”

    The 25-year-old has been used as a central midfielder by Chaves coach Joao Moreno this season and has made three assists in 15 appearances this season.

    Speaking on his preferred role, he said, “As a player, you are always adapting.

    “You adapt to your teammates, you adapt to the different coaches you are working under. It depends on what the coaches want from you.

    “Throughout my career, I’ve adapted to different situations and different teams I’ve played in, and I have no problem doing it. In football, you need players who can play in different positions. I’ve always felt like I can play in different positions. But I’ve always believed I am capable of playing in different positions.

    “To have players like that in your squad is important.

    Nwakali, who has made only four appearances for the Eagles, won the best player award at the 2015 U-17 World Cup where he captained Nigeria to the title for a record fifth time.

    Nwakali featured three times for Nigeria at the Nations Cup in Cameroon but missed their last-16 defeat by Tunisia through illness.

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