Nigerian and Arsenal starlet Alex Iwobi have revealed his dreams of playing a second final in just three months. Iwobi played a starring role as his English club Arsenal reached the final of the UEFA Europa League where they lost to Chelsea and with that pain still burning his heart, the 23-year old wants to make amends by having a taste of national glory with Nigeria.
Iwobi who came on as a substitute to score in Arsenal’s 4-1 defeat to fellow London side, Chelsea in the final in May reveals he looks to help the Super Eagles reach the final of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019 on their return following a two-edition hiatus.
“Of course it is everyone’s dream as a player to win a title. Of course it was painful losing the final with my club but now I have to focus here. For us as a country there is no bigger title in Africa to win than this so we will go for it,” Iwobi says.
The winger who grew up in Arsenal’s academy as a kid and picks inspiration from his uncle, Nigerian legend Jay Jay Okocha believes the current Super Eagles squad has a good chance to make history by winning their fourth title.
Having won in 2013 under the late Stephen Keshi, Nigeria failed to qualify for the last two editions but have now returned with the hunger to ensure they get back to the king’s table of African football.
Iwobi believes Nigeria has the quality to vie for the title, though he admits it will be tough considering it is an expanded tourney with all of Africa’s top football countries present in Egypt.
“I believe we have the potential because we have a lot of great players. It is not easy but as long as we do our best we will have a chance. We are in a tough group and the first target of course is to get out of it and then from there we will take a step at a time,” stated the Arsenal winger.
Nigeria started their AFCON 2019 campaign with a slim 1-0 win over Burundi with substitute Odion Ighalo netting a late winner. Ighalo had spent just four minutes on the pitch having come on for Paul Ebere Onuachu on 72 minutes.
The China-based forward calmly beat Burundi keeper Jonathan Nahimana on a one-on-one after running through to an outrageous assist from Ola Aina. Aina picked up a pass from Alex Iwobi before backheeling through to Ighalo who finished the rest of the job with a calm finish.
Iwobi believes they showed character against a very tough Burundi side and reiterates that result will give them confidence heading into Wednesday’s tough encounter against Guinea.