The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) has told Coach Lars Lagerback that he cannot renege on the semifinal target which he promised to take the Super Eagles, upon his appointment as coach of technical adviser of the Super Eagles and which the Swede-born tactician, has now come forward to say was no longer achievable.
At the dawn of Lagerbackâ€™s short-term appointment as Eagles coach on February 28, the technical committee led by Taiwo Ogunjobi, had set as benchmark the semifinal of the World Cup, which the coach, optimistically said was possible to attain given the supposed high quality players that would be at his disposal when the World Cup scratches up but only recently, Lagerback, has been having a rethink of the target.
It was hoped that should the coach take the Eagles to the semifinal of the tournament in South Africa that he would be rewarded with a long-term deal that would see him overseeing Nigeriaâ€™s preparations and participation at the next two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
But speaking on Monday with Sports Vanguard, Ogunjobi, the man who set the target for the 62 year-old former Sweden coach, said that the NFA still stands by the semifinal mandate given to Lagerback.
â€œAs far as the NFA is concerned, we expect coach Lagerback to take the Super Eagles to the semifinal of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. We do not see anything that can stop us from believing in the achievement of the mission if all hands are on deck.
â€œI was surprised to learn that Lagerback is already feeling that we cannot make the semifinal and I want to reassure him that he should believe in the ability of his players to deliver. By the way, he said that we can make it to the semifinal and we still hold him by his word when we gave him the jobâ€, added Ogunjobi, in a telephone chat.
Continuing, Ogunjobi said â€˜we in the NFA strongly believe in our players to rise up to the challenge and that is the belief that Lagerback should latch up to in order to make the semifinal target realistic. That is the least we expect from him at the World Cup. Nothing more, nothing lessâ€.