Nigeria are adamant that they will have bounced back from their African Nations Cup exit by the time the 2006 World Cup qualifiers get underway in June.

The Super Eagles lost a penalty shoot-out to hosts Tunisia in Wednesday’s semi-final but the players believe they have reason to feel optimistic about qualifying foor the World Cup.

“There is nothing to despair about,” said midfielder.

“Nigeria are still a good team. We have lots of promising youngsters in the side and my only concern is that they sustain their consistency in the World Cup qualifiers.

“The other teams will be raising their games when they face us.”

Nigeria face Algeria, Angola, Zimbabwe, Gabon and Rwanda when the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign gets underway.

Nigerian Football Federation chairman Ibrahim Galadima was pleased with the team’s performance.

“This Nations Cup was a good tournament for us. 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,” Galadima told AFP.

“With the talent we have in the squad, there is no reason why we can’t make it to Germany. The only problem remains getting the best out of our talented players.

“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.”

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