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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 15:12 GMT
Chukwu predicts bright future
Nigeria coach Christian Chukwu

Despite his side's semi-final defeat in the Cup of Nations, Nigeria coach Christian Chukwu believes his players are capable of lifting the trophy in two years' time.

Nigeria's exit came after a penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of hosts Tunisia, yet Chukwu is confident that his country has enough young talent to help turn around the Super Eagles' fortunes.

"We have taken the defeat in good faith," said Chukwu.

"There are lessons to be learned and we can go forward.

"But the team needs to stick together, as there is the potential here to make Nigeria as great as they were in the 1990's."

My contract ends in August and I want to be involved
Christian Chukwu

Chukwu pointed to the emerging talent of players such as Gabriel Malcolm, who plays in Germany with Hansa Rostock, and Perugia's Christian Obodo - both of whom are midfielders.

Yet there is still a question mark over Chukwu's future as coach of the Super Eagles.

Last year, former England captain Bryan Robson seemed ready to take the team to Tunisia only for the deal to fall through because of financial problems.

Chukwu says that he is happy to continue working with the national team even if it meant having to work with a foreign coach.

"My contract ends in August and I want to be involved," he said.

"I have no problems at all about a foreign coach."

Nigerian Football Federation chairman Ibrahim Galadima would not comment on Chukwu's future but said crucial decisions on the squad's future will be made next month.

"This Nations Cup was a good tournament for us," Galadima said.

"We reached the semi-finals when many people didn't give us a chance and our next target will be to qualify for the World Cup."

"By March, we hope to take decisions on the way forward for Nigerian football but, in the meantime, we can take important lessons from this tournament.

"One good thing is that, for the first time in a long time, there were no arguments over cash with the players and the team was not disgraced."




SEE ALSO
Tunisia make African final
11 Feb 04  |  African
Chukwu seeks record
06 Feb 04  |  African
Chukwu wins vote of confidence
28 Jan 04  |  African
Chukwu stays in charge
06 Nov 03  |  African



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