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Obafemi : Smaller Countries Won’t Respect Us At The 2023 AFCON

Olympics Gold medalist and former Nigerian defender Abiodun Obafemi has told the Super Eagles of Nigeria not to expect any atom of respect from smaller countries at the 2023 AFCON tournament.

Obafemi who was speaking in a recent interview with The PUNCH said that what the Super Eagles witnessed against Mozambique last Monday, is exactly what they will likely experience in Ivory Coast.

Nigeria for the 2023 AFCON was seeded in Group A alongside host nation Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. And according to Obafemi, countries are always extra motivated to play and attempt to beat Nigeria.

Based on the analysis of the 1996 Summer Olympics gold medalist, Nigerians had after the draw switched it’s attention to Ivory Coast; thus neglecting other smaller nations.

Abiodun Obafemi warns Nigeria against smaller countries ahead of the AFCON

“Countries are always extra motivated to play us because of the pedigree of our players and it has always been like that and if care is not taken we might struggle at the AFCON,” he said.

“After the draws, our attention has been so much on the hosts but honestly I think the games against the Guineans are going to be tough and they might just be the stumbling blocks for us. They are going to be the teams that will give us bigger problems than the Ivorians.”

Speaking further, the Former Augsburg defender, advised Jose Peseiro and his boys to raise the level of their games, and take every match as if it’s a do-or-die affair. Because many countries that will be coming up against Nigeria would want to beat them, because of the quality of players they possess.

“We just need to raise the level of our seriousness and take the game as war because we need to get it right in every department,” he continued.

“We are the team to beat and every country wants to beat us because with the quality of players we have, every team in the world knows that we are a formidable side and they take us seriously.”

He added, “What to expect in Ivory Coast is exactly what we saw against Mozambique during our last friendly game. The smaller countries won’t respect us and they throw everything at us.”

Abiodun Olugbemiga Obafemi (born 25 December 1973 in Lagos) is a Nigerian former professional footballer. He is a defender who played most of his career in Germany, and was part of Nigeria's Gold Medal winning team at the 1996 Olympics(Wikipedia).

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