Former Super Eagles captain Austin Jay Jay Okocha has warned that any encounter between the two countries is a difficult one that must be given everything it takes for the country’s flag to be raised in Qatar ahead of Nigeria’s 2022 FIFA World Cup playoffs with Ghana next month.

Okocha emphasized that the game is more of a matter of pride and bragging rights, and that the Super Eagles cannot afford to fail in their quest for a ticket.

“Ghana versus Nigeria match is never an easy one. It is more about the rivalry, it is a pride match and a bragging right one,” began Okocha who is a legend of the senior Nigerian team.

Okocha stated it doesn’t matter whether the Eagles play beautiful or ugly football to get the ticket in Lagos yesterday.

“For me, what is most important is to get the ticket. It doesn’t matter how, even if we don’t play beautiful football, what is important is getting the ticket to the World Cup in Qatar. It is the result that matters,” stressed Okocha who was a pundit for SuperSport during the last AFCON in Cameroon.

He urged Nigerians not to criticize the Super Eagles based on their early exit from the AFCON 2021 tournament.

“We have a very good team. We just don’t have to judge Super Eagles with the Tunisian match at the last AFCON in Cameroon. We have to review all the matches they played and take the positive and correct the negatives if there were any.

“For me, the signs are there that we have the team to take us to where we want to be in global football,” observed the former midfielder whose void since retiring has been unable to be filled.

He stated that the Eagles’ 100 percent triumph in the group stage of the competition in Cameroon boosted Nigerian hopes.

“I felt bad Eagles exited AFCON the way they did after winning all three games of the group stage.

“Eagles raised our hopes in expectations of good run in the tournament but unfortunately things didn’t go the way we expected.

However, I expect the team to learn from their outing in Cameroon and hopefully use the World Cup playoffs with Ghana to correct those mistakes.”

Whilst complimenting Emmanuel Amuneke’s addition to the Super Eagles coaching staff, Okocha believes the former Tanzania Head Coach will add value to the bench.

“Amuneke’s coming to Eagles coaching crew is a good addition. We all know how qualified he is and the value he’s bringing to the team.

“He was successful In Tanzania and his inclusion is a positive one for Nigeria. It show our intentions in getting things right ahead of the playoffs.

The first leg of the playoff will be held in Cape Coast on March 24, followed by the second leg on March 27 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, with the aggregate winner of the two legs earning a ticket to represent Africa at the Mundial, which will be held in the Middle East for the first time between November and December this year.