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World Cup: Eagles frighten more souls

Chukwu, Akpoborie, Etim, Erico, Dudu react

By Tony Ubani
MANY Nigerians who watched the Eagles battle to a scoreless draw against Saudi Arabia in a friendly in Austria have expressed disgust at the poor play of the team while many others have outrightly written off the chances of the team in getting to the semi-final target set by the Nigeria Football Association.  A few others, however, said that it’s too early to write-off the team.

LEG LOCK ••• Nigeria’s Peter Suswam, right, and Saudi Arabia’s Saddik Al Mousa Kamil challenge for the ball during the friendly soccer match between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia in Wattens, Austria, on Tuesday . It ended scoreless.

New man on the hotseat, Lars Lagerback’s first outing with the team, turned barren as it was clear that the team lacked understanding. It was his first time of seeing the Eagles play as a team since he inherited the team from former Coach Amodu Shaibu.

Ex-international Jonathan Akpoborie did not mince words when he said that the team was heading to doom after watching their match. “It is evident that the Eagles are going to crash out. What I saw on TV was nothing expected from a team that was going to the World Cup.

And the reasons are clear that the team lack understanding. Time is against them and I don’t expect anything from them.

But former coach and skipper of the Eagles, Christian Chukwu, said that Nigerians should not jump to conclusion because it was just their first match.

“It’s their first match and perhaps Lagerback wanted to know what the players can do. But their average performance was poor considering that Saudi Arabia are outsiders in football. The game itself looked more like a  training than an international friendly, The pitch was bad and the absence of spectators made things worse. Let’s give them a chance, anyway”, Chukwu said.

Ex-international, Etim Esin, said that the Eagles and their coach need a lot of work to do from what he saw yesterday. “My brother, they need to do more. The attack was blunt and the midfield was open. I’m not impressed. I am even scared with the injury of Mikel Obi. We need him. But will he be okay for the matches? Honestly, they need prayers and I am praying for them.”

However, Barrister Dudu Orumen deferred, saying that a draw from a team that was playing for the first time was a fair outing. “Lagerback said that he was going to use players who have not been playing regularly for their clubs. What that means is that the team we saw yesterday was Team B. And for a team B to get a draw after three days with a new coach was a fair outing”, Orumen insisted.
Former national goalkeeper,  Joe  Erico,  said that the scoreline should not be an issue. “It’s good that we have started after all. If they had won, the coach won’t see lapses but with this draw he will look deeper and correct things. It’s early. By the time they play their second match, one can now assess them properly. Scoreline should not be an issue now”, Erico popularly called Jongo Bonito said.

The Eagles would open their World Cup campaign against Argentina on June 12. They have Greece and South Korea to also contend with in the Group.


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