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Super Eagles ‘ll need to work hard to win AFCON in Cameroon-Uwe

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By Danusa Ocholi

Nigeria’s former international and a member of the national team to Algeria 1990 Africa Cup of Nations [AFCON] Andrew Uwe, has advised the Austin Eguavoen-led side to work extra hard to win the 33rd edition of the competition which commences in Yaounde, Cameroon, on Sunday, January 9.

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Uwe, a UEFA B coaching licence holder, who is currently based in Germany and is handling VFB Oldenburg, an under-17 side, said with the football gap between the strong teams and the emerging sides in the continent narrowing with the passage of time “our current national team made mainly of players who are based in Europe, “ require to work hard, and work very hard in order to win their fourth title for Nigeria”, stressing that the Eagles will need to up their games in the competition, especially with the participation of formidable sides and previous winners like Egypt, Senegal, Cameron, Algeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and a couple of others. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Uwe further added that “ with Nigeria’s position in world and the continent, the country is undoubtedly due for the fourth Cup of Nations title.”

The former Nigeria’s international had similarly handled teams in the under-23 under-20, and under-19 categories in the United States and Germany and it is his hope that one day he ill be given the opportunity to handle one of the country’s teams in these categories to handle.

Nigeria’s former international who was the captain of the “Flying Eagles” to the FIFA – organised World Youth Championship[WYC] held in the former USSR in 1985, where they won bronze medal faulted the handlers of the Super Eagles for not giving home-based footballers adequate attention and places in the present team. While reminiscing on the 1990 Cup of Nations in which Nigeria though lost their first match of the competition with a scandalous loss of 5-1 to the hosts, Algeria, the game that which was the opening match of the event, the Eagles on to win their remaining matches and to qualify for the final. And in what has been adjudged to be one of the greatest recoveries in the history of AFCON they lost by the narrowest of margins. 1-0 to the hosts in the final of the competition.

Uwe attributed the Eagles’ heroics to the tenacity of the team which was made 100 per-cent of home based players, and the coaching skills of Clemens Westerhof reputed to be the most successful manager of the Nigeria national team.He explained why his team did so well with little resources in Algeria.

He explained:”Our love for the country, you can say patriotism was unprecedented. Our winning bonus was just N200 only.We did not grumble over the amount, and there was no rift in any way in the camp. That unfortunately cannot be said of today’s players who put money first in their outings for the nation.”

Coach Uwe, a brilliant central defender, also featured in the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations, where he alongside other team members brought pride to the nation when the Green Eagles of Nigerian won the silver medal in Morocco.

He also represented Nigeria at the 1988 Olympic games in South Korea.Uwe played for several club sides in Nigeria including Leventis United FC, Iwuanyanwu Nationale and Calabar Rover. He furthered his playing career at club side in Portugal, Holland, South Korea, Belgium, and at VFB Oldenburg Germany. He last played for Houston Dynamo of Texas in the United States before embarking on his coaching career.

The ex-Nigerian international, apart from UEFA B licence currently holds a German Elite licenses. Having served as an assistant coach at Northwest youth team before he was later appointed as their Manager. He also managed BV Essen, a German side.

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