By JACOB AJOM
Former Arsenal star, Ray Palour has written off the chances of any African team making any serious impression at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Palour who was a member of the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ spoke in Lagos yesterday in a media chat organised by Airtel Nigeria. He spoke on a wide range of issues including the 6-0 drubbing Arsenal suffered in the hands of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Asked about the fate of African teams in the forthcoming World Cup, Palour said:
“African teams have a lot of potentials, they have got the technique and a lot of skill. But it is going to be difficult for them because I believe a South American team will win it.
“Brazil have the brightest chance,” he said, adding, “they will have the support from the home fans and they are playing well.”
He also talked about the European teams. “There are strong contenders also from Europe. Spain are good at the moment and Germany too are very strong and highly technical. They stand a good chance. If there is any chance for an outsider, it is going to be Belgium because they have a very good squad with a lot of them in the Premier League and other top leagues.”
On the Super Eagles, the former England international asked, “what are Nigerians expecting from the team? How much pressure is on the Nigerian team? At times when expectations are high people get disappointed when the team fail to go far in a tournament. You need 12 very good players to win the World Cup.”
Either for lack of adequate knowledge on the Super Eagles or lack of faith in the team, Palour could not say in specific terms how far the Eagles could go in the tournament.
He sympathized with Victor Moses over his bench role at Liverpool. “With the way Sturridge, Sterling and Suarez are playing now, it is difficult to change the pattern. Moses should look for another club, a lower club where he could go and rediscover his form before returning to a big club because at Chelsea, he would have the same problem as Hazard and others will make things difficult for him.”
He said Arsene Wenger needs to go to the market during the summer transfer. “Wenger must buy big players to add to what he has. Happily, players like Carzola, Ramsy have penned down new deals. And we expect Ozil will come out stronger next season.”