Rustenburg, South Africa - Saying that this is one of the most important matches of his career, Super Eagles captain Joseph Yobo, Monday promised that Nigeria will qualify for the quarter-finals of the ongoing African Nations' Cup finals in South Africa.
“I am now more determined than ever before and we will correct the errors of our first two matches,' said Yobo in an apparent reference to the 1-all draws against Burkina Faso and Zambia in their Group C ties.
Yobo was speaking to PANA as he stepped out of the official press conference ahead of Tuesday's make-or-mar match against Ethiopia.
He said his long career as a footballer would come to nothing is he failed to steer Nigeria to the trophy this year.
“I have been the most capped player for Nigeria at the moment and had played football form the youth level to become the captain of the national team. But all these will mean nothing if I fail to lift a trophy for the country after having played top-flight football in Europe,' he said.
He disclosed that the spirit among the Nigeria players was very high and that the Super Eagles are in the right frame of mind ahead of the game.
The Nigerian team captain assured that there were no injuries in the camp and that Victor Moses, who signalled to be substituted in the last match against Zambia, was now back on his feet.
“We have our destiny in our hands and will focus on the game instead of getting worried or distracted on what may be happening in the other group game between Zambia and Burkina Faso. That match will be played simultaneously with the Nigeria- Ethiopia clash.
He noted that in the likely event of both Nigeria and Zambia winning their respective matches by the same number of goals; the fair play record may count against Nigeria in determining the group leader.
The leadership of the group is very important as teams are avoiding an early confrontation with Cote d’Ivoire, reportedly the most complete side of the tournament.
“We will try and reduce our accumulation of yellow cards which has put Nigeria behind Zambia in the event that the fair play rule will be used as tie-breaker.
He, however, noted that the Super Eagles did not go out to be physical against their opponents but that some of the calls by the referees were unjustified.
“Don’t forget that football is a contact game. There is no way players will not clash. But we will try to be less physical,' he promised.