Striker Odion Ighalo admits the Super Eagles are in for a torrid time when they face South Africa in Wednesday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final in Cairo, but reckons the Bafana Bafana are not as strong as Cameroon, who were ousted 3-2 by the Eagles in the Round of 16 of the tournament.
“It’s going to be a tough game between two good teams. We are ready for the game,” the Shanghai Shenhua striker told reporters.
“Everyone is in good spirit and can’t wait for the game to start. Our target is to win the competition, to do that, we must beat the South Africans and move to the next round.
“We know the South Africans have been saying a lot of things on the internet, but we have told ourselves that we must not lose to them.
“We have to keep fighting, and against South Africa, we have to adapt to their pace. We will be ready. The loss to them in the qualifiers was tough, but this is a tournament quarter-final match and it will be a different matter.”
“They are not that strong compared to the Cameroonians, but they are good on the ball and have pace too.”
Ighalo is tournament’s joint top scorer with three goals.
On the chances of finishing as the tournament’s top scorer, the former Watford star said, “I put the team ahead in everything I do. For me, it won’t be nice to win the top scorer award and we end up not winning the trophy. Honestly, it is something that interests me, but the team comes first in everything.
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He added that the criticisms of his performances lately don’t affect him.
“I don’t pay attention to criticisms. I don’t listen to what people say about me, as long the coach is satisfied with my performance, then I am okay.
“I take everything in the chin and focus on my game. I have experienced same at my club and it’s now part of me. As a footballer, it’s something I have had to deal with up till now and it has made me stronger.”