News Live Scores
Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: 'Nigeria will do everything possible to have a gold medal, and we can’ – Simon

11:55 GMT+3 10/01/2022
Moses Simon
The 26-year-old also opened up about the dismissal of coach Rohr ahead the Super Eagles' clash with the Pharaohs on Tuesday

Nigeria winger Moses Simon is confident the Super Eagles will go all the way and win the Africa Cup of Nations title in Cameroon.

The 33rd edition of the African competition kicked off on Sunday with hosts Cameroon defeating Burkina Faso 2-1 before Cape Verde edged out 10-man Ethiopia 1-0 in Group A matches at Stade Omnisport Paul Biya in Yaounde.

The Super Eagles, who last won the Afcon title in 2013, have been drawn in Group D alongside Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, and Sudan and they will kick off their 2021 campaign with a game against the Pharaohs at Roumde Adjia Stadium on Tuesday.

Ahead of the fixture, which will see Nigeria come up against Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, the 26-year-old Simon, who is currently having a great season at French Ligue 1 club Nantes, believes they will better their display from the last edition in Egypt when they finished third.

“Winning is the goal,” Simon told AFP as quoted by SuperSport. “The last one we were third, now we have to do everything possible to have a gold medal, and we can.”

Speaking on the sacking of German coach Gernot Rohr in December, who was replaced by Portugal’s Jose Peseiro, Simon said: “It’s difficult for every coach that wants to coach Nigeria because you have to do what the fans want, what the people want. You have to win, you have to play good.

“In Nigeria, everyone is a coach, so it's not easy to coach Nigeria.”

On his ability to play as a striker, winger, and full-back, Simon, who has scored 13 league goals since joining the French side Nantes in 2019 explained: “I don't have a problem with that. If the coach thinks I can play there. If any coach says 'Eh, I want you to play even as a goalkeeper because I believe in you, I will stay in goal.”

Simon further revealed how he went against his father’s wish to become a military officer and instead, opted to play football.

“My dad loves football but he didn't want me to play,” Simon continued. “He wanted me to be like him, in the military, because most football players in my areas didn't make it in football.

“But my mum, like every mum, wants the best for her child. If you are happy, for them of course they are happy.

“But he said ‘No, you have to join the military’. So I had to push, so that was when I went to a school where they played football. He asked: ‘Which school do you want to go, I will pay’. So I had to choose a school that plays football but he didn't know.”

After their opener against the Pharaohs, Nigeria will return to action with a game against Sudan’s Falcons of Jediane on January 15 before winding up their group phase matches against the Djurtus on January 19.