Austin Okocha: I’ll give Alex Iwobi AFCON-winning tips

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By Calista Jacob-Akpan

Former Nigeria captain Austin Okocha says he will “chip in some advice” to help nephew Alex Iwobi win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in June, in his first attempt.

The 24-team competition holds in Egypt from June 21 to July 19.

Iwobi had earlier expressed his desire to match his uncle Okocha by winning the AFCON at his first attempt.

Okocha was part of the winning Eagles team in 1994 at his maiden appearance at the AFCON finals.

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The 22-year-old Iwobi was born in Lagos to Okocha’s sister and arrived in the UK aged four.

The Arsenal winger is expected to play a key role for Nigeria at the 2019 AFCON finals this summer in Egypt, which will be his first appearance.

“I’ve seen some of his (Okocha’s) highlights from 1994 and it would be cool to achieve that as well,” Iwobi told BBC Sport.

“I’m excited, I have always dreamt of participating and representing my country at the Africa Cup of Nations, but it won’t be easy for us in Egypt.

“Both dreams are coming true, hopefully I can get to play in Egypt.”

In an interview with journalists in Lagos on Thursday, Okocha said it would be nice for his nephew to win the continent’s top competition in his first attempt.

The Atlanta 1996 Olympics gold medallist added that after winning it in 1994, he never was able to clinch the title again after being part of the squads to the AFCON in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006, a reason why he would want Iwobi to also try and win Africa’s top football competition at first try.

“I think he (Iwobi) has done so well since making his debut for the Eagles, and for me the good thing about him is that he can only get better,” thw former PSG midfielder said.

“He’s a very humble young man willing to learn every day and that shows in his performance. He keeps getting better and improving each day, and I hope he will achieve that dream of winning it on his first try.”

He added, “Of course, I will try and chip in some advice for him to achieve that (win the AFCON). It’s a massive opportunity.

“I was thinking it was going to be easy to win it again after we won it in 1994 but it was not possible for the team until after I retired from football.

“So, it’s a massive opportunity and it is good for some of us to pass that information to all these young ones, for them to realise that you might only get one chance to win it.”

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