By Jon Essien
Central African Republic midfielder Wilfried Zahibo believes his team has what it takes to pick the sole ticket for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at the expense of Nigeria – he described as ‘biggest team in the group’.
The Wild Beasts are drawn in Group C alongside Nigeria, Cape Verde and Liberia but Francois Zahoui’s men are keen on making history by reaching the global showpiece for the first time ever.
They will begin their quest for qualification against Cape Verde in September and Zahibo revealed that his team mates have have put their AFCON disappointment behind them and are now fired up to qualify for the World Cup and subsequent editions of the AFCON.
“The coach is doing a lot to change the mentality, to make people think that we can do it and to ask the federation to invest more and change the culture around football,” the Dundalk FC star told BBC Sport Africa.
“For World Cup qualifying, we are realistic. Nigeria are obviously the biggest team in the group but the magic of football is you never know what will happen and of course, we want to show we can compete with one of the best teams in Africa.
“However for us, the goal is to qualify for Afcon in the next two to four years. We believe we can do big things together but it’s important to remember that this project is a long-term one and we are still in the early stages right now.”
“We have to change the mentality because for so many years we didn’t win anything or even compete in a good way,” the former Valencia man continued.
“It absolutely motivates us to see these new countries playing at Afcon. There is a new generation, a new wave in African football, and we want to be part of that.
“Players like myself and Geoffrey [Kondogbia] are trying to be the bridge for Central Africa – helping those who play locally reach a higher level, to show that we can play in the Africa Cup of Nations.”