Monday Oct 10, 2016. 12:25
Skipper Mikel Obi has saluted the young players in the Super Eagles, adding they are fired up to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Nigeria recorded a first-ever 2-1 win in Zambia to get their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start with goals from Premier League youngsters Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho.
In August, Chelsea midfielder Mikel led the country to a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.
Six of the players on the starting XI in Zambia on Sunday are under 23 – Kenneth Omeruo (22), Ekong (23), Moses Simon (21), Kelechi Iheanacho (20), Alex Iwobi (21), Wilfred Ndidi (19).
And Mikel has now said he is excited to lead another team of young, talented players to more international glory.
“It is always great to play with young players, who are hungry, who want to establish themselves in the first team,” said the 29-year-old midfielder after the win in Ndola.
“That was what happened at the Olympics and I could see that it was much easier to play with the younger players.
“It was also the case for me when I started out (with the national team) and I played alongside the likes of ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha and (Nwankwo) Kanu.
“It is now the same with these young guys, we enjoy the way we play and we have to keep going.
“It will be a tough group to qualify from, but we will do it.”
By Kola Daniel in Ndola, Zambia