Kanu sees Nigeria in the semifinals

Nigeria's Coach Stephen Keshi.

Former Nigeria captain, Nwankwo Kanu, is already looking beyond his country’s Group F clash against Argentina at the Fifa World Cup this Wednesday by tipping the West Africans to reach the last four.

Nigeria's Coach Stephen Keshi.
Nigeria’s Coach Stephen Keshi.

Kanu, who is in Brazil with the Nigerian squad as an ambassador of his country’s football federation, is confident his countrymen have the quality to last till the last day of the tournament.

“Do I think I will be here for the whole tournament? I would say yes, because we are going to get to the semifinals of course,” Kanu told Fifa.com when he was asked about his stay so far in Brazil.

Ahead of the important clash against Argentina that will determine the progress of the African champions in the tournament, Kanu believes that Stephen Keshi’s men have turned the corner after a slow start against Iran.

He is of the view that the win against Bosnia-Herzegovina will help the confidence of the Super Eagles going into Wednesday’s game against Argentina at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre.

The Olympic gold medallist also spoke on why his compatriots were able to defeat the Bosnians.

“Yeah, I think so, because what has happened with the Nigerian team is that they keep getting better game after game, so I believe when we play Argentina the confidence and the winning mentality beating Bosnia will bring will mean we will be able to do well against Argentina.

“When we played against Iran, they were not really coming out. The Bosnians, of course, wanted to win so they came out and that suited our pattern of play, which was good for us,” he said.

Kanu is delighted with the progress the Nigerian team have made since his former teammate, Keshi, took charge as head coach since November 2011.

The Super Eagles have gone ahead to win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, qualified for the Fifa World Cup and are now a match away from reaching the round of 16 for the first time since 1998.

“Yeah, we support him (Keshi), we know what he can do. He has done it in the Africa Cup of Nations but he still has to do it this time round. It’s good to see him, a former captain, become the coach, a player who appeared at the World Cup now leading his side at the tournament again.

“We used to call him the ‘big boss’ [laughs]. He is the big one who makes the decisions and we as the young ones had to respect that and follow him. But the good thing with him was that he had influence and I think he is showing that again with the way he is leading the national team.

“When [Keshi] came in, he said we need to build a team and before we knew it we had won the Nations Cup and now we are in the World Cup, so I think the work is in progress,” Kanu said.

Kanu made 87 appearances for Nigeria and scored 12 goals in a 17-year international career with the West African nation.

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