Former Nigerian national team star, Paul Okoku, has issued a passionate appeal to the current Super Eagles team, urging them to rewrite history and claim AFCON glory in Sunday’s final against Ivory Coast.
Drawing upon his experience as part of the Eagles team that fell short in the 1984 final, where Nigeria lost 3-1 to Cameroon in Abidjan, Okoku urged the present squad to “rise from the ashes of their defeat 40 years ago with a thumping win.” He sees their journey to the final as a “Cinderella story” fueled by “perseverance, resilience, and the enduring allure of football.”
Charging up the Super Eagles ahead of the mother of all battles with the hosts, Okoku, while hailing the Eagles for their victory over Bafana Bafana in Bouake on Wednesday, said, “in the unfolding drama of the AFCON finals on Sunday, the Super Eagles stand as living testament to the power of perseverance, resilience, and the enduring allure of football. As they prepare to take the field once more, the world watches in awe, eager to witness the next chapter of this captivating Cinderella story.
“In the heart of the African continent, amidst the roar of the crowd and the fervor of the game, a story of resilience and determination unfolds. It is the story of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, a team forged in the crucible of competition, rising to meet the challenges that lie before them. The entire team, united in purpose and vision, played with heart and determination, inspiring a nation with their indomitable spirit*, added Okoku.
Speaking further, the US-based Okoku, said, ” as you prepare to face Ivory Coast in the finals, the Super Eagles carry with them the hopes and dreams of millions Nigerians, home and abroad. They know that the journey is far from over, that the final chapter of their Cinderella story is yet to be written.
“So as they take to the field against Ivory Coast, let us join together in celebration and support, cheering them on as they chase victory with unwavering zeal and zest. For in their journey, we find inspiration, reminding us that with perseverance and courage, anything is possible.
“But who truly embodies the Cinderella archetype in this narrative? Is it the Super Eagles, who struggled to find the back of the net during the group stage, only to rise from the ashes and defy expectations? Or perhaps it is the Ivory Coast team, rejuvenated by their journey as best loser teams, poised to challenge the Super Eagles in the finals showdown”,Okoku added.
He reminded the team that, “forty years ago, my team and I stood where you stand today, on the brink of a monumental battle in the finals. We walked onto that field with hope in our hearts and determination in our souls, ready to seize victory. Yet, fate had other plans, and we tasted the bitterness of defeat in the hands of Cameroon.
“But on Sunday, as you prepare to tread the same hallowed ground, I urge you to heed the lessons of history. Let not the shadows of past defeats cloud your vision or dampen your spirit. Instead, let them serve as reminders of the strength that lies within you, waiting to be unleashed.
“Brace yourselves, my dear Super Eagles, for you stand at the threshold of greatness. With each step you take, with each pass you make, remember the legacy that you carry – the hopes and dreams of a nation that believes in you.
“Never allow the history of defeat to repeat itself again. Rise above the echoes of the past and forge a new destiny on that field. With courage in your hearts and fire in your eyes, go forth and conquer. This is your moment, your time to shine. Seize it with all your might, and let the world witness the triumph of the indomitable spirit of the Super Eagles,” added Okoku.