Sun, Sep

Super Eagles back revamped Nations Cup


Nigerian players have backed CAF's decision to move the Africa Cup of Nations to June and July.

The Super Eagles trio of Vincent Enyeama, Ogenyi Onazi and William Troost-Ekong have all expressed support for CAF's decision, which also included expanding the tournament from 16-24 teams.

According to Former captain Enyeama, the competition will benefit from the new date change, saying: "It will improve the quality of the competition because a lot more players will now be available."

After Nigeria's Nations Cup victory in 2013, many of the players were asked to report back to their clubs immediately, stated midfielder Onazi, who played for Italian side Lazio at the time.

"Fortunately I have not had difficulties with that because my club then never gave me any problems, but when we finished the Nations Cup when I was supposed to celebrate with my teammates, they told me to come back immediately to join them in Germany for our Europa League game.

"It was the same for other players too. I remember Efe Ambrose went from South Africa to his team and when my team saw him playing a game the next day, they called me to come too.

"Also, some teams only allow players to come [to national team camp] when it's three days to the start the tournament, which is not good for the players to bond together.

"[But] the team will now find it easier to release players because now the period for the Nations Cup is better. I think clubs will be happy about the development."

Bursaspor defender Troost-Ekong has also never faced the club-versus-country battle in relation to the Nations Cup, but he had a taste of it with the Olympic Games.

"I haven't had my share yet, but even to be released for the Olympics last summer was a fight," says the defender "And I wasn't even missing that many games in comparison to AFCON. So I know it would be a hard sell to my club now.

"It will be good for the competition and it will also make it better for the players so they don't have to fight with their clubs."