By Jacob Ajom
Atlanta â€˜96 Olympic gold medalist, Kingsley Obiekwu has played down on the chances of the national team at both the African Cup of Nations in Angola and the World Cup in South Africa next year.
The former Rangers International of Enugu defense ace said in unequivocal terms that â€œNigeria have the players but lackÂ in tactics.â€
Speaking in a post World Cup draw interview with Sports Vanguard, Obiekwu said he agreed with those who said coach Amodu Shuaibu needed help. â€œHonestly, I. welcome the presence of former Super Eagles captain, Austin â€œJay Jayâ€ Okocha in the present set up because I was told he is there as one of the hidden hands in the technical crew. We need people with such experience to work with the coach.â€
With adequate support and the desired beef up in the technical crew, Obiekwu said Nigeria will do well at the continental and global scenes.
â€œWe need to tell the players to up their game. The coach must check their club records and use only those who play regularly for their clubs. With the right caliber of players and the right formation and tactics, Nigeria can perform beyond your imagination,â€ he reasoned.
He said there was a lot wrong with the present squad as he pointed out that there was no team spirit and no unity of purpose. â€œWe did very well at Atlanta because we were like one big family. We prayed and fasted together. We all knew it was only God that could help us. Indeed, I led the prayers and I doubt if the same obtains in the present squad.â€
Obiekwu who is a coach with Ingas Football Academy advised Coach Amodu Shuaibu to look for a good defender that can pair with Joseph Yobo in the central defense. â€œThe search should not be limited to foreign based players. We should comb the local league as well for a suitable partner for Yobo.â€
Looking at Nigeriaâ€™ world cup opponents, Obiekwu said, â€œpeople are only talking about Argentina but my biggest fear in that group is Korea.
They are quick and tactical.â€
The man who was called Shagari believes that Nigeriaâ€™s performance in the Nations Cup in January will go a long way in strengthening the Eagles for the World Cup.
â€œIf we can win the Nations Cup, then we can do well in South Africa.â€
He has set a target for himselfÂ in his coaching career. â€œI want to be the first indigenous coach to win the FIFA World Cup,â€ he declared.