By John Egbokhan
Super Eagles winger, Osaze Odemwingie has warned that Nigeriaâ€™s obsession with the Argentine threat, might end up jeopardizing the teamâ€™s aspirations at the World Cup, taking place for the first time on the African continent.
Nigeria flag off their campaign at the South Africa 2010 finals with a cracking match-up against one of the favourtites, Argentina at the Ellis Park Stadium on June 12, a fixture that has gripped the consciousness of Coach Lars Lagerback and his army of soldiers.
While a majority of the players have been proffering possible ways to stifle the Argentine threat, coming largely from Barcelona prodigious midfielder and reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi, Odemwingie has moved to ease the tension surrounding the game.
Speaking before the teamâ€™s departure for their training cum pre-World Cup tour, the Lokomotiv Moscow.gem, said that Coach Lagerback should be concerned on how to make the players offer their best at the tournament.
â€œWe have to focus on what we have to offer and not bother our head with what Argentina would do or onÂ Lionel Messi or any other player for that matter. We should concentrate on how we are going to play and succeed and not how they will play because the danger in doing that is that they can surprise us with a different strategy, which would throw us into confusion.
â€œI do not think we are approaching our first game against Argentina the way we should. They are a good side but we also have a good side and that should be our focus. Let us not get consumed with Argentina alone because we also have to play Greece and South Koreaâ€, added the 28 year-old former Rennes of France forward.
Raised in Russia, Odemwingie chose to pledge his allegiances to the national football team of Nigeria, although he was also eligible for Russia. Odemwingie chose to represent Nigeria where his father was born . His first appearance was in the 2004 African Cup of Nations in which he scored his first and second goal in the 80th and 82nd minute against South Africa.
He also played in the 2006 African Cup of Nations where he played in the semi_final losing to Ivory Coast 1_0. He was included to play for Nigeria in the 2008 African Cup of Nations.
He captained the team in some matches at the 2010 Nations Cup, and when Nigeria bowed out of the competition at the semi_final stage, Odemwingie openly criticized coach Shaibu Amodu’s tactics, blaming them for the defeat.