Only Lagerback has final say, Okocha, Adepoju
ByÂ Kate Obodo
As Nigerians wait to know theÂ players who will fly the nationâ€™s colours at the World Cup in South Africa, former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha has cautioned Super EaglesÂ technical adviser Lars Lagerback not to select unfit players for the crucial football battle.
According to him, any attempt to select players who are not fit for the event will be disastrous. The former PSG of France midfielder suggested strongly that selection of players for the competition should be based on their current form, because the competition needs players who are capable and fit.
â€œWell I am not in position to know the players that should make the team for the competition, but I think he should invite players that will suit his plan for the competition, players who are in form and are technically, physically andÂ psychologically sound.
Okocha added that the issue of time limit has nothing to do with the teamâ€™s performance at the World Cup, as he believes Lagerback has sufficient time to plan for the competition.
â€œWell I do not think the time is too short, itâ€™s all about organization. From the time he took over, he hasÂ enough time to prepare and organize friendly matches to know the abilities of the players. So I donâ€™t think time should be an excuse.
On Lagerbackâ€™s plan to work with Portsmouthâ€™s player Nwankwo Kanu for the World Cup, the ex Bolton Wandererâ€™s captain said the Swede has the authority to choose whoever he wants.
â€œWell I do not like to talk about players individually, I prefer to talk about them collectively. I feel Kanu is goodÂ enough to work with him but that is his own decision. The thing is that he takes the credit if thingsÂ go well and also takes the blame when things do not go well. In all, it is his decision to invite any player or work with anybody, the most important thing is the result at the end.
At the moment, I am doing my best to assist the national teamÂ to make sure they get all they need, of course, through the Presidential Task Force. Apart from that I am doing my business,â€ Okocha said.
Meanwhile, former Racing Santander of Spain midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju does not see anything wrong if Super Eagles technical Adviser Lars Lagerback decides to includeÂ Kanu in his World Cup squad, stressing that the Swede knows the quality he needs in his team and the decision to include Kanu is his.
The 3SC General Manager advisedÂ Lagerback to choose players that are devoted and committedÂ for the World Cup.
Adepoju, a member of
the USAâ€™94 World Cup squad, was reacting to the â€˜mysteryâ€™ list of 45 players Lagerback is presently compiling for the World Cup. According to Adepoju, for Nigeria to make an impact at the World Cup, Lagerback needs players who are in form, who play regularly for their clubs andÂ are ready for the job.
â€œMy idea of a player who should be in the World Cup team should be players that are fit and capable, players who are in form and are ready to play for their fatherland.
If we have these qualities, it will play a big role in the competition. Our players need to be up and doing for this competition, it is not a childâ€™s play. It is serious business with serious people. Lagerback shouldÂ focus on players that he knows can perform excellently,â€ he said.
On the chances of the team at the World Cup, the former Super Eagles attacking midfielder said that it is too early to say if Nigeria will do well at the World Cup or not especially with preparation not in top gear yet.
â€œI can notÂ say we will do well or not, the only thing is that if we are able to prepare well with good players, I think things will be better for us. But letâ€™s just keep our fingers crossed and see what will happen,â€ Adepoju said