After watching Lionel Messi score four goals against Arsenal, Taiwo Ogunjobi, chairman of football federationâ€™s technical committee was forced to comment on the devastating form of the Argentine who faces Eagles on June 12 in Nigeriaâ€™s 2010 first World Cup match.:
â€œI admire what Messi is doing. Anybody who likes football will do so too. He is unbelievable. Everyday he performs the hearts of Nigerians pump up. I can unders
tand. But I have a message for Nigerians. This same Messi will not be allowed to play this way against Nigeria.
Mark my words. African football is different. Europeans do a lot of loose marking. We donâ€™t. And thatâ€™s why you see many of our African stars in Europe struggling when they are playing in the Nations Cup in Africa. You wonder if they are the same players. Ivory Coast is still wondering if it is the same Drogba that they watch on television for Chelsea that played for them at the Angola Nations Cup.
We donâ€™t give the space Europeans give. Our play is totally different and when we meet Argentina in the World Cup, Messi may play well but he will not be able to do the type of things people are seeing of him now.
We will surprise the world against Argentina. Mark my words. Nigerians should not panic. We are working. When we lose to European or South American teams it is because of superior tactical approach and not necessarily because of sheer individual brilliance.
The coach (Lars Lagerback) is working and he has a brilliant idea on what to do. Messi played against Nigeria at the Beijing Olympics. Although what we are seeing now is a different Messi, a much improved one. But against us he was not as dazzling as he was at club football. Things will happen in South Africa and Nigerians will remember what I have just told you.â€