Udinese defender, William Ekong is confident the Super Eagles can qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon if they perform at their optimal level with five games left to play in group E.
The three time African champions will face Seychelles on Saturday in their second group E game after losing their first game 2-0 to South Africa in their first game in June last year.
Ekong who will partner Leon Balogun in the central defence barring any last minute hitch told the Thenff.com in an interview that the disappointment of not qualifying for the second round at the 2018 FIFA World Cup will spur the team to qualify for the 2019 AFCON.
“I think we have demonstrated now that when Nigeria plays at its best there aren’t many teams we have to fear,” Ekong told thenff.com.
“But it will be a hard job in the next two months and I know the boys and staffs are taking these games very serious. But of course, I believe if we perform at our optimum, we will garner the points from the remaining matches and qualify for the final tournament.”
“It was hard for all of us not to make progress from the group stage at the World Cup. But I still look back with pride about the team because our outing in Russia has definitely made us hungrier to qualify for the 2019 AFCON and to go all the way there.
The 25 year old defender also revealed that he is aim is to win laurels with the Super Eagles.
Ekong was a member of Nigeria’s Rio 2016 men’s football team that won bronze.
“It has been amazing being able to represent Nigeria for some years now, putting on the green-white-green with pride.”
“I am proud of the medal we brought home to Nigeria from the Olympics Football Tournament in Brazil in 2016, but my big aim is to win something with the Super Eagles. I am really looking forward to that.”
The former Gent defender also revealed his move to the Italian Serie A has brought out the best in him.
“It has been hard work, persistence and the help of God. I’m grateful for where I am now but definitely not satisfied yet; I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”
“It has pulled me out of my comfort zone again and I feel like I’m already making some good progress since my arrival, but I’m only just getting started.”