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Okocha to pave way for new generation

Posted by on 2006/01/18 | Views: 736 |

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Okocha to pave way for new generation


Nigeria captain Austin Okocha will be among several top players making a final African Nations Cup appearance in Egypt as a new generation of continental talent prepares to take over.

Nigeria captain Austin Okocha will be among several top players making a final African Nations Cup appearance in Egypt as a new generation of continental talent prepares to take over.

Along with Okocha, Tunisia’s Radhi Jaidi, Ivory Coast’s Cyrille Domoraud, Egyptian Hossam Hassan, Morocco’s Noureddine Naybet and Raymond Kalla of Cameroon are set for their swansongs when the tournament begins on Friday.

Okocha’s role as senior statesman for Nigeria is heightened by the ‘young Turks’ who are likely to surround the 32-year-old in the Super Eagles’ team at the finals.

Coach Augustine Eguavoen has brought a young selection to the Nations Cup and several players under the age of 22 are expected to feature in his starting line-ups. John Obi Mikel, the leading light of last year’s World Youth Championship in the Netherlands and the subject of a tug-of-war between Chelsea and Manchester United last year, is only 18 while fullback Taye Taiwoo is 20.

Nigeria’s attack of Obafemi Martins and Stephen Makinwa, both based in Italy’s Serie A, are 21 and 22 respectively.
Much is expected of Nigeria’s young talent, seen by some on the continent as having the potential to become the dominant force in African football. For all the exciting new talent that will be on view over the next three weeks, some of the elder statesmen may yet outshine the youngsters at the tournament.
Though his career is entering its final years, Okocha was still voted the best player of the finals in Tunisia two years ago

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