Mario Mandzukic of Croatia (R), Luka Modric of Croatia (L) and Oghenekaro Etebo of Nigeria in action during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group D preliminary round soccer match between Croatia and Nigeria in Kaliningrad, Russia, 16 June 2018.
Tuesday Jun 11, 2019. 10:00
Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo says the Super Eagles “cannot afford to fail” in their return to the Africa Cup of Nations.
The West African heavyweights won the tournament in 2013, but failed to qualify for the subsequent two editions in 2015 and 2017.
Under manager Gernot Rohr they will return to the finals later this month when they take on Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar in Group B in Egypt.
“This is a special Nations Cup. We have missed two editions and that means the whole of the continent will be looking on to us to redeem our image,” Etebo told the Stoke Sentinel.
“So we cannot afford to fail. The last time we were there we left as champions in 2013, so this is the first opportunity to take part in the competition for many of us.”
He added, “I know a number of my teammates and management of my club will be looking up to me to do well on the international stage at the Africa Cup of Nations.
“Stoke is a fantastic club and they make you feel at home at every point in time. After our last game, I was put on the spot and celebrated as a send-off to the Africa Nations Cup.
“They are happy that I’m going to Egypt and playing in the colours of Nigeria.”
Nigeria open their campaign with a clash against Burundi in Alexandria on June 22.