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Sports: Oliseh proud as Eagles return

Sports: Oliseh proud as Eagles return

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The Super Eagles, who crashed out of the 2016 African Nations Championship on Tuesday, are expected to return to the country on Thursday, the Nigeria Football Federation officials have confirmed. They are expected to arrive in Lagos at night from Kigali.

As they prepare to take off from the East African country, Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh has reiterated that the players did well and that many of them would continue with the main national team as the qualifiers for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations continue.

“They have proved their class here and will surely get their chance,” he was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

“It’s a big disappointment, but I’m proud of my boys even though we did not go through. They gave a good image of themselves.

“Somewhere inside, it was difficult for the players. They have given their best, they needed that lift and they couldn’t find it then. We came out to win, but we did not play. My players are human and there is limit to what they can hold.

“I’m not making excuses, but this is an adult tournament and there are some things that must be put in store for players to deliver. One of the lessons learnt is that when next we are going for a tournament, I think we can prepare a little better.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi has vowed to not just live up to comparisons with his uncle Austin Jay-Jay Okocha but to be better than the Nigerian legend.

The 19-year-old is among the most-highly rated youngsters in the Arsenal youth setup and has already made his debut in the senior Nigeria side.

An attacking midfielder capable of playing across the line behind a central striker Iwobi is likely to draw comparisons with his uncle, Okocha. However the youngster is keen to do even better.

“I grew up in a footballing environment,” Iwobi told the club website. “My dad, my uncle and my whole family loves football. I played with a local team with Chuba Akpom so I grew up with a footballing life.

“I see it helps me (to be related to Jay-Jay Okocha) and it gives me guidance, (it shows) what I need to work on and what I need advice on. So, it has helped me over the years. I don’t see it as pressure (to be related to him) but he is someone I look up to as motivation as I try to be better than him.

“I had a few doubts when I was younger, especially when I was 13 to 14 years old. I was questioning whether I was good enough at that age as I…had to work on a few things. I didn’t let it get to me but I stayed focused and try to prove to them why I should get another contract.”

 

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