Previous
Sheffield United
Arsenal
12:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Next

Kanu and Amokachi's advice for Watford: Believe!

Manchester City may be odds on favourite to win the FA Cup ahead of Watford, but it is by no means a stretch to think Isaac Success can become the next Nigerian to walk out of Wembley with a winners medal around his neck.

It is nearly a quarter of a century since Daniel Amokachi stepped up, force-subbed his way into the Everton team and shot them to the FA Cup Final, where the underdogs then defied all odds to beat Manchester United and win the Cup.

That made the forward the first Nigerian to both play in, and win an FA Cup Final. Since that victorious appearance, seven more Nigerians have found their way to football's hallowed Cup game.

Celestine Babayaro (2000, 2002), Nwankwo Kanu (2001,2002, 2008, 2010), John Utaka (2008, 2010), Mikel Obi (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012), Joseph Yobo (2009), Sone Aluko (2014), Victor Moses (2017, 2018) and Alex Iwobi (2017) have all graced the final with Nigerian flavour.

Six of those have emerged on the winning side, with a combined 11 winners' medals between them. Mikel has the most with four medals (even though he missed the 2010 Final due to injury), with Kanu just behind on three.

Including Amokachi and Success, that makes nine Nigerians who have been to the Final and won a combined 12 titles in 18 trips for a remarkable 66.7 percent success rate.

Success will be looking to emulate those feats when or if he does make an appearance at Wembley. Or even if he does not.

Like Amokachi, Success has made most of his appearances for Watford as a sub, although he has not produced anywhere near the same sort of heroics in the Hornets' dream run to the Final. His only goal of this year's campaign came in the 2-0 fourth round win at Newcastle.

If anything, the only significant symmetry to be found here is that he plays for the underdog side who, like the Toffees at the time, come up against a juggernaut from the city of Manchester.

But he must at least harbour some hope that the outcome is the same when Watford take to the hallowed pitch of Wembley, and that he will make an appearance at some point.

"It is always good for players that are struggling to be in a team who have talent, and know they will have a run, even if they don't start," Amokachi told ESPN.

"He should just have that belief that he is going to feature in the FA Cup Final at Wembley at some point and focus on the fact that Watford can beat Man City and prepare himself to seize his opportunity when it comes and give everything."

Kanu won two titles with Arsenal and one with Portsmouth. He also lost two and says irrespective of whether he starts, or features at all, Success must go to Wembley with a winning mentality.

"Football is the same, even though Cup finals are a different ball game. So he must go in believing he is the winner and giving everything because that is the place to give all and leave nothing behind," Kanu told ESPN.

"He needs to be calm and be focused and know it is the FA Cup and anything can happen and it can go any way."

When he is on his game, Success can be a beast to play against, as he proved in the League Cup loss on penalties against Tottenham Hotspur, and so can Watford, who showed in their league season that they can mix it with City's All-Star cast.

Amokachi expects the Hornets to take that mentality to Wembley: "We are footballers. And we love challenges especially when you play for a team that everybody considers an underdog.

"But when you look at Watford this year, I see team that will compete because even in the league... remember how they held Man City until City scored two goals... if VAR were there they would not have stood and they would have gotten a point or even won that game.

"It is the FA Cup and it favours underdogs because it is a one-off game. Man City is a team that have a bunch of talent and they know that they can be here again next year. And many years after that.

"But Watford know that this is a chance that they need to take. It is the same mentality I had when I found myself playing for Everton then and we were fighting relegation but we beat Manchester United in that game.

"Underdogs can prevail. I believe in Isaac Success because he is a talent that can change any given game. If he can have one full season injury free, he is a freak of a player."

For Success, Amokachi says he need only do two things: Remember those who came before him, and then give everything. "He should go in there, remembering that a few Nigerians have won this trophy and if he is not starting, he should encourage the players that are starting.

"And when he gets his chance, give everything to join the list of Nigerian and African players who have won the FA Cup.

"I will be cheering for him."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.