Austin Jay Jay Okocha, a former Super Eagles captain, urged the team on Thursday to be more consistent and stable in their quest to maintain the team’s status as Africa’s number one.
The advice was given by the mercurial midfielder in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the unveiling of the African Heroes Penalty Cup in Lagos.
Okocha, who recently celebrated 30 years since his first call-up to the Senior National team, stated that the Super Eagles team has been less impressive in recent years, missing important competitions such as the World Cup.
“We all want to see our Super Eagles succeed; we know how disappointing it is not to be in the World Cup; the team needs to right the ship.”
“The Super Eagles must be more consistent, which they clearly are not.” We all know that when it comes to football, we are a demanding nation.
“We don’t lack talent, so it’s all about putting together a strong team; a team that can represent the country properly.”
“We as ex-players will always support them and wish them all the best,” he said.
Okocha stated that he expected the Nigeria Football Federation to make an informed decision on the contract extension of the current Super Eagles coach, Jose Pesseiro.
“Football is a result-based game; if a team performs well, they are rewarded; otherwise, they are punished.” If the coach’s performance deteriorates, his position will be jeopardized.
“It is not my place to advise the NFF on what to do about Pesseiro’s contract, because they are there for a reason, and they should make the right decision,” he said.
Okocha also advised in-form Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen to keep his head up and make the most of his opportunities.
“My advice to Osimhen is to stay grounded while maintaining his passion and spirit. He clearly plays with hunger, which is what I like about him.
“Osimhen should keep his guard up,” he advised.
The former Paris Saint-German player also stated that his participation in the upcoming Africa Heroes Penalty Cup would allow him to reunite with former football colleagues.
“My focus is on having the opportunity to compete once more, in our comfort zone, with no pressure to perform.”
“Despite the fact that it is a competition, I will be meeting with former colleagues and adversaries,” Okocha said.
According to NAN, Okocha is the Tournament Facilitator of the African Heroes Penalty Cup, in which he will represent Nigeria alongside Daniel Amokachi and Finidi George.
The African Heroes Penalty Cup will be held in Lagos at a later date to be announced.
Nigeria, which will host the inaugural edition, will be joined by Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, and Senegal.
Each country will send three representatives to compete in a knockout quarter-final game until a finalist emerges to determine the competition’s eventual winners.