The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is confident the Super Eagles will reach the African Nations Championship (CHAN) for the first time since the maiden edition.
The Super Eagles have twice failed to make the finals, losing to Ghana in the 2009 qualifiers and Niger in 2011.
Ahead of the first-round, first-leg qualifiers against the Elephants of Ivory Coast in Kaduna, the federation has expressed optimism in coach Stephen Keshi’s side, and believes they will get enough goals towards taking control of the two-legged tie.
“It is important, one thing we really want to do is qualify for the CHAN and I am confident we’ll definitely be up for it,” Nigeria Football Federation’s general secretary, Musa Amadu told BBC Sport.
Keshi has invited eight members of the squad to the Confederations Cup in Brazil last month and Amadu is confident the class of 2013 can end the country’s Nations Championship woes.
“Coach Stephen Keshi has had several training camps both in Nigeria and abroad with his team,” Amadu added.
“They’ve played several friendly matches against Egypt, Peru, and other African countries. The exposure and experience they’ve been able to gather I believe would have toughen them, giving them sufficient experience to overcome Ivory Coast on two legs.
“The objective now will be to qualify for the CHAN third edition in South Africa in January 2014 and be able to win this competition.
“That way Nigeria would truly be African champions in both the African level and also in the African Cup of Nations proper.”
The return leg of Saturday’s encounter has been scheduled for late July.