AFCON 2021: ‘This is where our athleticism would come in’- Awoniyi optimistic over Super Eagles chances

The three-time AFCON winners had a poor preparation for the African showpiece, but Awoniyi believes they can still achieve glory

Super Eagles forward Taiwo Awoniyi has admitted that Nigeria have not had a proper preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Still, he believes their skills will help them go all the way in Cameroon. The Super Eagles begin their quest for a fourth AFCON crown on Tuesday when they trade tackles with Egypt.

But the preparation for this year’s competition has been undesirable. Issues with player participation and administrative hiccups have been on the front burner.

Asides from that, the Super Eagles camp opened twelve days before the start of the AFCON, but most of the players arrived in camp barely a week before the start.

Also, the three-time AFCON champions have had just one friendly game under interim boss Augustine Eguavoen.

Awoniyi admits it is not ideal but insists the players have enough talents to make up for their lack of proper preparation.

“When it comes to football, you can’t just get on the pitch and believe that you’ll perform miracles,” Awoniyi told NFF TV.

“It’s all about what you have done before, and that is what will reciprocate in gameday.”

“But looking at the short moment and short time for most countries, I think everyone is aware of it already, and this is where our athleticism would come in.”

“As a player, this is when the experience, the maturity should set in from each individual this is my own belief as a person.”

“At the same time, there should be preparation, but now we know that the preparation is not there, but we still have little time to put things together, which is now, tomorrow and before the first game.”

“And I think it is still a little bit better than having nothing at all.”

Meanwhile, in the absence of Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo, the Union Berlin star could be the one to spearhead Nigeria’s attack. And he has given a hint of what to expect of him.

“My strength is the power I put into my game, the fighting spirit in me, the willingness like you can always go as far as you want to go.

“I think that is my own greatest strength as an individual and in terms of football terms.”

“I think my strength is helping my teammates, and when I do all those dirty jobs and all those things, that is when my own finishing aspect will come into play,” he added.

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